In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, the Hilltop deals with a disaster and Negan finds himself in the crosshairs again after trying to do the right thing…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
A big part of the last two seasons of ‘The Walking Dead’ have been spent attempting to find out if a man like Negan can be redeemed for the better.
Once the ruthless leader of the Saviors, Negan has been living in captivity for the better part of six years now after Rick Grimes opted to let him live as he looked to remake the world in a new image rather than the one consumed by death after the dead started to walk the Earth.
Of course, Negan has largely survived living in Alexandria this long because he’s kept his head down and stayed out of the way of the people who want him dead. It also helps that a new enemy has been pounding at the gates after the survivors encountered the Whisperers and their massive horde of zombies that would roll through the various communities like an unstoppable tornado.
Unfortunately just a week after Negan helped to save Aaron, he’s forced to act again after Lydia faces a group of unhappy townspeople who don’t want her sharing the same air as them because she serves as a constant reminder of the friends they lost when Alpha decided to set some new boundaries by putting heads on spikes.
By the end of the episode, Negan is starting to wonder if he’ll ever be redeemed in the eyes of his fellow survivors.
Meanwhile, the Hilltop is dealing with trouble of their own after a tree comes crashing through their wall, which not only presents a potential safety issue inside the community but it rings a dinner bell for the walkers roaming around outside.
The struggles at the Hilltop bring about issues for King Ezekiel as well because he’s started to question his own leadership skills after he was unable to save the Kingdom a season ago. People are looking to him and yet Ezekiel can’t help but wonder if their trust is ultimately misplaced.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Silence the Whisperers’…
Bullying the Bullies
Nighttime at Hilltop allows for everyone to relax a little bit — some people even take advantage of the quiet to have a passionate evening alone but the peace soon gives way to noise after a massive tree crashes through the wall and falls down upon several homes in the community.
As Magna, Kumiko, Luke and the others rush out to help, King Ezekiel looks like a bucket of ice water has just been thrown on him because he’s struggling to have any kind of reaction other than sheer panic. Even when his old pal Jerry turns to him for direction, Ezekiel can’t find the words to even tell him which way to go because he’s not sure himself.
The entire community knows that action must be taken not only to help the people injured from the falling tree but the noise has brought a group of walkers banging at the Hilltop walls and it won’t take them long to discover the gaping hole that will allow them to flow in without nearly as much trouble.
Magna leads a group outside to battle the walkers while Earl tries to find enough materials to begin fortifying the wall to ensure it doesn’t come down after the falling tree severely hampered their defenses.
The next morning, Michonne leads a caravan from Alexandria to the Hilltop to pitch in some extra support. She’s brought Judith along with her and the little girl has a great intuition already when it comes to the Whisperers.
As Michonne explains to her daughter the concept of bullies and when it’s best to work with them or what it takes to finally shut them down. In the case of the Whisperers, Michonne knows that Alpha has a weapon that she’s wielding at her disposal to keep the communities in line and after this latest encounter, she showed mercy despite Carol trying to take a shot at her. Rather than unleash her horde on Alexandria or the other communities, Alpha chose to just take more land.
That’s when Judith wonders if perhaps the Whisperers might not be lulling the communities into a false sense of security while sending waves of walkers at them day after day. She wonders if perhaps the Whisperers are wearing down the survivors so when they finally attack, the communities will be too exhausted to defend themselves any further.
It’s an interesting theory — one that Michonne has to consider — but she’s soon distracted when she spots Ezekiel wandering on a horse all by himself as he heads into the woods.
Michonne decides to give chase while sending the rest of the convoy ahead to the Hilltop.
When she finally tracks Ezekiel down, he’s standing on the edge of a ravine looking as if he’s about to jump down. Michonne is able to talk him back from the ledge and she embraces Ezekiel just before he kisses her.
Ezekiel apologizes as he sits down and has a heart to heart with Michonne about everything he’s been dealing with in the wake of the Kingdom falling, Henry’s death and losing Carol all within a matter of days. Ezekiel has started to question his own leadership, his ability to save people and he’s doing all of this after becoming estranged from the woman he loves.
Michonne can relate because she felt a similarly immense pain twice in her life — first when she isolated herself at the start of the zombie apocalypse when everyday might have been her last and then again after Rick “died” and she was forced to go on without him.
Michonne is able to give Ezekiel the proper perspective before they head back to the Hilltop to finish cleaning out the walkers attacking the community.
The arrival of reinforcements from Alexandria couldn’t come at a better moment as the survivors at Hilltop were starting to run out of steam as the walkers finally breached the walls and began pouring into the community. Michonne’s arrival along with fighters from Alexandria allow them to battle back the walkers to save the day.
Even King Ezekiel is able to pitch in after realizing he still has a place in this world and people who depend on him.
Judge, Jury and Executioner
Back in Alexandria as Aaron continues to lead drills to help people prepare for a fight against the Whisperers, some of the citizens are holding a grudge against Lydia because she serves as a constant reminder of the friends they lost. A particular trio, who previously rode with the Highwaymen, taunt Lydia and force her to run away where she encounters Negan as he’s doing chores outside his cell.
Negan tries his best to comfort her as Lydia is once again feeling like the outsider in a place where she’s been told is home. Daryl happens upon the two of them talking and he forces Negan to walk away while he discusses the dangers of this faux friendship with Lydia.
He explains that Negan is dangerous and not to be trusted but thus far he’s been just about the only person in the entire community who isn’t looking at Lydia like she’s the enemy.
Lydia attempts a measure of revenges later that day by standing up to the three people mocking her by sitting down at their dinner table and cutting into a dead possum with her bare hands. The gross scene sends them scurrying away while obviously freaking out a lot of other people from Alexandria as well.
Daryl is forced to explain to Lydia that as much as she wants to stand up for herself, gutting a dead animal at the dinner table might now be the best approach.
Sadly later that night the three people who have been tormenting her find Lydia by the clothes lines and they decide to give her a taste of her own medicine. What starts out as a threat soon turns physical and with three on one, the odds definitely aren’t on Lydia’s side.
Eventually the attack spirals out of control with one of the boys punching Lydia and soon the rest of them join in battering her. That is until Negan arrives to save the day — he quickly dispatches the two guys and throws the woman off Lydia as well as he leans down to check on her condition.
That’s when Negan realizes that when he tossed the woman off Lydia, he threw her head first into a wall where she collapsed and died.
As Daryl and the rest of the townspeople come upon the scene, Negan realizes that this looks awfully bad for him despite the fact that Lydia is clinging onto his leg after he swooped into save her.
As Lydia gets cleaned up at the infirmary, she tells Daryl that Negan saved her and if it wasn’t for him things would have only gotten worse. After this attack, Lydia is beginning to realize that she doesn’t feel safe here any longer and the people of Alexandria obviously aren’t accepting her as one of their own. They’ve even gone as far as spreading graffiti throughout the community that reads ‘silence the Whisperers’.
When Daryl leaves her, he goes to check on Negan, who his back in his cell as a prisoner yet again.
Negan tells Daryl there will be no confession on this night — what he did to defend Lydia was the right thing to do and while the woman’s death was an accident, he’s not going to apologize for stopping a gang from beating on a defenseless girl. He knows the Alexandrians are out for blood — namely his — but now even Daryl is conflicted because deep down he understands that maybe Negan did a good thing by saving Lydia.
Daryl promises that Negan will have his chance to explain what happened in order to save his life but he’s not buying it. Negan knows that ever since the first day he was placed in this cell, the people from this community have just been itching for a reason to execute him. This latest incident finally gives them the ammunition to do it.
Before going to meet with the council, who are deciding Negan’s fate, Daryl calls to the Hilltop to check in with Michonne. She tells him things have been handled while he passes along word that R.J. has been behaving under his care. He’s forced to explain what happened with Negan and Lydia and hearing about the situation snaps Michonne into a realization about her latest encounter with the Whisperers.
When Alpha decided to just take land as a punishment for the survivors crossing their borders, it appeared perhaps she was showing mercy. Instead, Michonne now realizes that she was only giving the survivors a pass because sending the horde at Alexandria means Lydia could also be killed. Despite her outward persona, Alpha is still a mother who loves her daughter.
So Michonne warns Daryl that he needs to stamp down this potential uprising and get everybody in line so that he can protect Lydia because if she leaves or decides she’s no longer safe behind the walls of Alexandria, that might give her mother all the incentive she needs to finally attack.
At the council meeting, Daryl passes along Michonne’s vote to spare Negan but the group is split overall at what to do with him. Even though Lydia backed up Negan’s story and the version told to them by the men who attacked the poor girl was filled with holes and inaccuracies, the overall vote is still tied at whether or not to kill or spare Negan.
Father Gabriel is ultimately the deciding vote but he decides a night of sleep will do everybody some good and he will render his verdict in the morning.
On his way home, Daryl stops to talk to Carol about the events of the day while checking in on her after she’s finally gotten some sleep. The troubles are mounting and she wonders if perhaps they wouldn’t have been happier just leaving and going to New Mexico as they had talked about a couple of weeks ago.
Before Daryl can even get to his bed to grab some sleep, he’s alerted to more bad news — Negan has escaped.
Lydia takes responsibility for opening Negan’s cell and allowing him to escape, which in turn puts her behind bars. Daryl doesn’t buy it, however, but she won’t listen to him because in her mind, this is where the entire town wants her anyways. For now, Lydia remains a prisoner because that might be the safest place for her in Alexandria.
As for Negan, he’s gone and disappeared into the night — and if this instance mirrors the original comic book, there’s a chance he might be meeting Alpha and the Whisperers for the first time in the not too distance future.
Back at Hilltop, Michonne is preparing to head back to Alexandria when she gets a distress call from Rachel at Oceanside. While they can’t be certain, Rachel believes that they’ve spotted members of the Whisperers watching from just outside the community and it gives them pause that maybe an attack is on the way.
Michonne decides to lead a garrison to Oceanside to lend them support and she even brings Judith along as her backup. Luke also joins them because he’s got a crush on Jules, who lives at Oceanside. As for Eugene, he was supposed to go back to Alexandria but he asks Michonne if he could instead stay behind at Hilltop and help them engineer a solution for fixing the wall that just came down.
In reality, Eugene is just trying to stay as far away from Alexandria as possible after he was shot down one final time by Rosita, who told him in no uncertain terms that she didn’t have feelings for him and would never think about him in “that” way. It only makes matters worse to then see Rosita strolling around town with Gabriel on her arm while Siddiq — the father of her baby — is always nearby as well.
The episode ends with Carol looking over a map — maybe plotting her next move against Alpha and the Whisperers — while Daryl cleans the graffiti off the doors where Lydia was being tormented. Outside the gates it’s quiet — almost too quiet — as the hush sound of whispers are heard in the distance.
The Whisperers have proven they are never too far away — and Alexandria may soon find out just how close they really are.
One more note — the song featured throughout the episode is “Heaven I Know” by Gordi
‘The Walking Dead’ returns for a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.