In The Walking Dead recap, Simon goes to war with Maggie at the Hilltop and while the Saviors may have been defeated, the fight was far from over…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
To say that The Walking Dead has been a little bit uneven this season would be an understatement.
Certainly the show still delivers great, grand scenes and epic moments like last week’s confrontation between Rick and Negan that really added a layer of tension that’s been missing since the barbed-wire wrapped baseball bat wielding sociopath showed up two seasons ago. That being said, the episode ended with Simon headed to the Hilltop to declare war on the widow while Negan was inexplicably kidnapped by Jadis.
Now throwing that curveball in there where Negan, who’s entire identity is built around power and a brash attitude, has suddenly been reduced to a captive in a trailer to start the season (when he was stuck with Father Gabriel) and now he’s playing hostage to a character that the writers behind The Walking Dead are absolutely obsessed with for some reason.
So rather tha Negan leading the charge on the Hilltop, we get his No. 2 in command doing the deed instead. Negan was supposed to be the biggest of the bads in the history of The Walking Dead but much like the show got The Governor wrong for about a season and a half, they are determined to neuter this character as well apparently.
That being said, the attack on the Hilltop did play out with great intensity and it’s good to know with Carl dead that The Walking Dead can still give us a kid on the show that makes you want to pull your hair out and scream for him to get back into the house.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of The Walking Dead titled ‘Do Not Send Us Astray’…
Prepare for War
With lookouts stationed all around the Hilltop, Morgan is now having visions of a dead Gavin talking to him saying ‘you know what it is’ without any further explanation. The visions are so vivid that Morgan is seen lashing out with his bo staff, swinging at air because he thinks somebody is standing in front of him.
Back at the Hilltop, Siddiq is getting acclimated to his new surroundings where he will serve as medical staff while Maggie is getting her troops gather for the oncoming fight.
Meanwhile, Henry (Ben’s little brother) is still annoyingly asking to help while desperately searching for the man responsible for killing his brother. Apparently, Morgan’s information that it was Gavin doesn’t fly with him.
Still, Carol insists that the kid stay inside to protect the house when the fighting begins.
A moment later, a chorus of car horns sound out that signify the Saviors are on their way and before long Simon appears with his caravan of soldiers ready to attack. Simon talks to Maggie over the walkie talkie about the hostages that they have at the Hilltop and how he already considers them collateral damage — after all they allowed themselves to be captured and still haven’t figured a way out of captivity.
Simon isn’t about bargaining because he’s not trying to send a message like Negan might do. Instead, Simon is all about wiping the Hilltop community off the face of the Earth so he’s not interested in negotiating a peace or retreating without a fight.
No, Simon wants blood on his hands and so before long the fighting starts and the bullets begin flying.
A Cut Above
Just as Simon is ready to storm the gates and attack the Hilltop, he finds his crew being fired on from behind as Daryl emerges on his motorcycle with a machine gun mounted to the handlebars as he sprays them with a barrage of bullets. The Saviors start dropping but that only makes Simon even more determined so he charges through the gates, only to find Maggie was ready for them.
As the lead truck hits a school bus blocking the way into the compound, a horde of Hilltoppers spring from their positions and begin firing down onto the Saviors. It was an ingenious plan but the Savior still have the numbers and the fire power so they eventually force their way inside.
Except the Saviors aren’t firing bullets as much as they are using hand held weapons to inflect damage. In fact, Tobin is one of the first people to get sliced up before Carol is able to save the day and keep him from being killed.
Meanwhile, Simon spots Tara firing away at the troops from behind a truck and he decides to pay her a personal visit. Daryl watches and tries to give her a warning but just before Simon can lob his axe at Tara, it’s Dwight who springs up and pops her in the shoulder with an arrow from his crossbow. Daryl is livid to see Dwight firing on the people he pledged to help and he convinced that the turncoat has once again aligned himself with the Saviors.
Many of the people from the Hilltop are wounded, but not as many are dead until Maggie gives a signal for all the lights in the compound to go out as everybody goes back into hiding.
With the firing stopped, Simon gathers his remaining troops to get inside the compound and he’s convinced that perhaps the people decided to run rather than fight. That also backfires as Maggie then springs the lights and a second wave of attack is launched with gunfire and cover being provided by Rick and another group of soldiers coming from the other side of the compound.
It’s clear to Simon that this fight won’t be won today so he calls the full retreat as everybody gets into their vehicles and drives away in great haste.
When it’s over, Maggie laments about trying to coax Negan to this battle so she could kill him but he never showed up. Rick admits that he took his shot at Negan last week in an attempt to rid the world of him, but alas he escaped.
Still, the Saviors have been defeated — for now — and it’s time for Maggie and the rest of her people to clean up those that didn’t make it through this fight.
What is Dead May Never Die
Maggie walks around the house with her people sleeping on the floors and all throughout the rooms as they nurse the wounded and try to get ready for whatever comes next. Some of the Hilltoppers commend Maggie on her ability to lead and how she taught them to fight while Gregory just wanted them to roll over and play dead for the Saviors.
Sadly the joy surrounding this victory is short-lived when Tobin expires in the middle of the night and an hour later he rises for his bed. In fact, several more members of the Hilltop community suffer the same fate as the die in the middle of the night and then return shortly thereafter.
Tobin goes on the attack, biting several people in his medical trailer including the one medical professional left at the Hilltop besides Siddiq, who just showed up. Inside the house, several more people begin waking from the dead and before long the entire place is turned into a giant bloodbath.
Rick, Maggie, Michonne and the others spring into action to take down their own people who have become walkers while Carol is forced to put down Tobin after he’s eaten his way through several people already.
Meanwhile outside, Henry shows up with an assault rifle in his hands asking Gregory to point out the man who killed his brother. To make matters worse, Henry even stole a key and he soon unlocks the Saviors’ pen and begins demanding that they tell him who killed his brother. What Henry doesn’t realize is that some of the Savior hostages were also wounded in the fighting and they begin turning as well.
A second later, Henry tries to open fire but he’s knocked down and it’s Jared — the creepy guy actually responsible for Ben’s death — grabs the gun and tells everybody to make a run for the gate. Alden, the one Savior who has been asking to work with Maggie, doesn’t leave but instead gathers the few people who aren’t ready to serve Negan again and they try to close the gates before more walkers get inside.
Maggie, Rick and the rest of the people from inside the house make it outside to find that the majority of the Savior prisoners have escaped and the ones who didn’t make it clear that they want to be part of this community. Sadly no one can find Henry after the melee and Morgan is once again taking it upon himself while talking to ghost Gavin about his influence on the boy.
Back inside, Rick and the others wonder why all of their people turned when none of them had been bitten and that’s when he figures it out. Rick noticed that Negan’s baseball bat was coated in walker blood but he just assumed that the leader of the Saviors had run into some zombies before their encounter. Now Rick knows what’s actually happening.
The Saviors are making Rick and the others work for them yet again by putting down their own people. Rather than killing everybody inside, the Saviors have been cutting and wounding the people from the Hilltop, who inevitably turn into walkers and then attack even more people inside.
That’s bad news for Tara, who is recovering from the arrow she took from Dwight during the battle. At this point even Daryl is done with Dwight as he believes that the traitor has rejoined his old cronies with the Saviors. This time around it’s Tara who sticks up for Dwight after he saved her life in the woods when the Saviors were closing in on their location.
Add to that, Tara isn’t showing any signs of fever or sickness from the arrow she took, which only further cements a story from the comic book where Dwight fired at people during the fight with the Saviors but he didn’t taint his arrows with walker blood. By shooting Tara with his own arrow, he basically saved her life because otherwise Simon would have killed her.
At the end of the episode, Maggie begins burying even more bodies of the people from the Hilltop who didn’t make it out alive. She notes that this is the cost of war and this fight is far from finished.
With only three episodes to go this season, make sure to tune into the next episode of The Walking Dead at 9pm ET on AMC next Sunday night.