In “The Walking Dead” recap, Maggie and Aaron discover that The Commonwealth doesn’t always have everyone’s best interests at heart…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It was only a matter of time before the curtain got pulled back on The Commonwealth during the final season of “The Walking Dead.”
Up to this point, almost everything seemed too good to be true with a thriving community where 50,000 people no longer live in constant fear of the dead while enjoying all the niceties that the world used to provide. Of course, the hierarchy at The Commonwealth had already been exposed in previous episodes as the rich continued to get richer while the poor were still clinging onto the lowest rung on the ladder.
The latest episode revealed even more about this community after Aaron took on a new job as an outreach coordinator — much like he previously did before the zombie apocalypse and even after the world fell apart — as he sought out people who could benefit from living inside The Commonwealth and those who would become beneficial with their own individual skills.
Of course, Lance Hornsby has a different idea after learning that a supply shipment got hijacked with soldiers being killed and weapons stolen. That puts Hornsby in a precarious position because he’s trying to sell this idea of expansion to Governor Pamela Milton and the smallest hiccup could bring his entire plan crashing down around him.
It’s safe to say by the end of this episode, there’s a whole lot of crashing going on.
With that said, let’s get to our full recap for the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” titled “Warlords”…
A Call for Help
For the sake of clarity, the recap will be told in chronological order outside of the actual opening of the episode because there’s a whole lot of time jumping happening. Credit to “The Walking Dead” for pulling off such an inventive episode.
The action begins at Hilltop where the community is struggling to survive after Maggie turned down The Commonwealth’s offer to join them in solidarity alongside Alexandria. Maggie saw that for all that The Commonwealth offers them, there’s also an overwhelming threat that resisting their leadership in any way could result in everybody being slaughtered thanks to the firepower the community possesses.
Now Maggie’s entire community is holding on by a threat with Lydia about to leave to meet up at a Commonwealth outpost with the possibility that she’s going to abandon the Hilltop as well. Those plans stop rather emphatically when a rider on a horse arrives at the gates with a bullet in his back and he’s bleeding out.
Before the rider expires he tells Lydia that they are slaughtering everybody while handing over a map to show where it’s happening.
Back inside, Maggie is hesitant to offer a helping hand considering this could easily be a trap to lure them away from Hilltop to then allow raiders to ransack what’s left of their community. Lydia is insistent about helping these people and Elijah says much the same so they decided to fuel up one of the trucks and head out to the location on the map.
Just as they are preparing to leave, Maggie joins them because there’s no way she was going to send her people out alone without at least trying to help.
Along the way, Lydia chastises Maggie for making the decision for the entire community to turn down the offer from The Commonwealth, which is probably why several people just decided to leave anyways. Lydia believes Maggie should have put it up for a vote so the entire community could decide what’s best for them.
Maggie tries to explain to Lydia that there’s a lot more to The Commonwealth than just the supplies they are offering to join them. Before she can talk any further, the truck comes upon three dead Commonwealth soldiers, who have reanimated into the walking dead.
Maggie, Lydia and Elijah take down the zombie guards, who were all killed rather precisely in a way that their armor couldn’t protect them but before she can ask any more questions, she hears a shouting from the distance. It’s Aaron waving them down for help but how exactly did he get out here in the middle of nowhere?
That’s really where this story begins.
The Real Agenda
Back at The Commonwealth, Gabriel has returned to preaching and Aaron is actually working there as a community outreach supporter where he joins a group outside the walls trying to find more people to join the community. Aaron stops by Gabriel’s latest sermon to ask him to join them on this particular mission because they are seeking out a group living inside an apartment building that’s covered in religious iconology and he believes Gabriel could be a help building bridges with the people there.
What Aaron doesn’t know is the real agenda behind this particular community outreach.
Lance Hornsby — in his ever expanding need for power outside the walls of The Commonwealth — has been quietly working towards the inclusion of communities like Alexandria so he can rule over them himself. As part of that expansion, Hornsby sent a supply truck out loaded with guns for “that other thing” he’s doing but the shipment got ransacked and looted.
Hornsby sent out scouts who found that the shipment was gone, the soldiers with it were dead and the tracks led back to an apartment house run by a man dressed as an Army general.
He knows arming up and sending a full garrison of soldiers after the weapons would only alert Governor Milton to what he’s really doing so he needs a surgical strike rather than a full out assault. That’s when he calls upon an old friend named Toby Carlson, who actually runs the community outreach program that Aaron works for as well.
It seems Carlson has settled into a life where he’s helping people and bringing more into The Commonwealth but in his old life, he was a CIA operative with a keen ability to snuff out problems with deadly precision.
Hornsby needs that guy to re-emerge so he can lead the mission to this apartment building to find those weapons and kill the people responsible for stealing them. As much as Carlson tries to resist because he enjoys his new job a whole lot more, Hornsby reminds him that everything he’s earned can be taken away from him in an instant if he doesn’t comply.
So Carlson begrudgingly agrees to carry about Hornsby’s mission under the guise that he’s going to try and bring these outsiders into The Commonwealth when really he’s only looking for weapons and the people who killed the soldiers to get them.
Snuff Out The Threat
Aaron, Gabriel, Carlson and another member of their team — a young guy named Samuel — arrive at the outskirts of the apartment building preparing to make first contact. Carlson is overly exuberant about this job, which has Gabriel convinced that he’s leading them to slaughter but little does he know it’s the other way around.
The team arrives at the building where they are greeted by a rather fearsome group of people including one carrying an intimidating sickle as a weapon. After giving up their own guns and weapons, Aaron and the others are brought inside where they are taken to the leader of this place — a grizzled man dressed in combat fatigues named Ian — played by the legendary Michael Biehn!
Ian tells everyone to take a seat and he more or less lays out all the reasons why none of them should be trusted because it seems every time these people have been approached by outsiders, they always have nefarious plans in mind. To protect his people, Ian has learned to shoot first and ask questions later and that’s memorialized by a wall of skulls from the people who have crossed him in the past.
They try to explain that this is just community outreach from The Commonwealth but when Ian asks them where this sprawling mecca is located, Carlson refuses to give up any information.
Ian can’t help but wonder why these people are so willing to offer help yet they won’t even tell him where The Commonwealth is located. The standoff nears its end after Aaron tells Ian that they will leave and promise never to return so long as they can leave alive today.
Aaron swears no one from The Commonwealth will ever return here again.
But then out of nowhere, Carlson snatches the gun away from Ian, shoots him in the shoulder and kills the two guards in the back of the room. Carlson then tells Aaron, Gabriel and Samuel to stay put as he takes out even more of the security forces from this building before letting in the troops that are stationed outside.
Carlson is then interrogating Ian about the weapons stolen from The Commonwealth supply run — he wants to retrieve them and he’ll do anything necessary to complete his mission. Ian has no idea who hit this supply run but it wasn’t his people — and evidence to that fact should be that nobody there is carrying the guns that were supposedly stolen.
None of this seems to matter much to Carlson, who is convinced that Ian’s group must have raided the supply run and he’s hiding the weapons. So another bullet gets fired — this time in his head — and Ian has been eliminated.
Gabriel has seen enough and he punches Carlson, who then places him under arrest.
Aaron is shocked by everything that’s transpired but he’s even more stunned when Carlson tells him that this has been the plan all along. His missions are most certainly outreach but he’s also in charge of snuffing out potential threats to The Commonwealth and that’s exactly what he believes Ian and his people would be.
After everything unfolds inside, Samuel tries to flee as he gets back to his horse but he’s soon greeted by a voice telling him to stop in his tracks. The voice belongs to Negan, who didn’t make it very far on his own but instead joined up with this group of people living inside the apartment building.
He made it out of the building along with another woman and they were tracking down the soldiers and people attacking them. Realizing that Samuel isn’t a threat after he pleads for mercy because he didn’t intend on attacking anybody when he signed up for this job, Negan takes pity on him while giving the kid a mission of his own.
After learning that Carlson and the soldiers are holding Aaron and Gabriel inside, Negan takes a map and points to the location so Samuel can find the Hilltop. He tells Samuel to go there and ask to speak to Maggie — no one else but Maggie — and tell her that Aaron and Gabriel are in trouble.
Samuel attempts to get away on his horse but Carlson hears what’s happening and he orders one of the soldiers to take him out. The bullet pierces Samuel in the back but before another shot can be fired, Aaron smacks the soldier in the face with the spiked ball he uses as a fist. Carlson’s had enough of this insubordination so he pulls his gun out to kill Aaron but he’s run out of bullets.
Before the other soldiers can arrive in time, Aaron runs away and that’s obviously what leads him to Maggie and her people on the outskirts of this community. When Maggie questions him about the map he gave to Samuel, Aaron has no idea what she’s talking about.
Little do they both know that Negan is the one who reached out to Maggie for help.
Back inside the building, Negan and his woman friend kill the guard holding Gabriel and free him from captivity. Knowing that they won’t be able to overcome the firepower that Carlson and his soldiers are holding, the entire group flees deep back into the depths of this building.
As for Carlson — he’s now interrogating anybody left alive to try and find the location of his weapons and he’s putting these people on the roof with the threat of kicking them off for either refusing to tell him or pretending they don’t know. One by one, each person gets kicked off the building because nobody there was actually responsible for the stolen guns.
Sadly for them, Carlson is convinced that he’s found his thieves and they’re all going to pay until he gets back what was stolen from The Commonwealth.
Without much of a chance to escape, Negan, Gabriel and the other survivors from this group decide that the only thing they can do is to fight back by using this building to their advantage. They know every room, every hidden passage and every hallway that leads to another entrance. This will hopefully give them some kind of hope to battle back against soldiers with machine guns.
Thankfully they’ll soon have backup because Maggie, Elijah, Lydia and Aaron soon arrive back at the building and sneak inside with plans to stop Carlson and his murderous frenzy.,
So who actually stole the guns and killed the soldiers from The Commonwealth? That much remains a mystery but now Maggie knows she was right not to trust these people and Hornsby is watching his planned takeover fall apart with each passing minute.
“The Walking Dead” returns with a new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.