‘The Walking Dead’ Recap ‘The Obliged’: Man Down

In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, Rick is at odds with Daryl and Maggie, Michonne sits down with Negan and Carol faces off with the Saviors…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

There was no hiding the fact that Andrew Lincoln was going to leave ‘The Walking Dead’ during season 9 so he show has addressed that issue head on in the first few episodes.

In fact, next week’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ has already been billed as Rick Grimes’ final episode — perhaps in a move to get ratings up or maybe just to distill the shock from people disappointed that the focal point of the series is leaving the show.

Either way, the last couple of episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ have been solid yet not great and the series continues to veer further and further away from the source material.

There were already complaints from the loyal comic book readers that ‘The Walking Dead’ was going too far off course when the show killed Carl Grimes a season ago. In the comics, Carl is no only a vital part of the series but the future may ultimately lie in his hands.

Now with Rick Grimes about to exit the series — and by all accounts from tonight’s episode, he won’t be making it out alive — ‘The Walking Dead’ is about to take a dramatic turn for the remainder of season 9.

Will that be a good thing?

Is ‘The Walking Dead’ capable of pivoting so far away from the source material that the show really does become it’s own animal and force of nature the way that ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ really turned a corner in season 4?

Or is ‘The Walking Dead’ doomed to fail with ratings slipping week to week and a hardcore fan base none too happy that the major protagonist for the entire series is about to leave just a few weeks into the ninth season?

Only time will tell and we’ll know for certain how Rick Grimes leaves ‘The Walking Dead’ after next week’s episode.

How exactly what his departure set up for next week? Let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘The Obliged’ and find out…

Just Like Me

In Alexandria, Michonne has taken on a new role as leader/mommy as she handles the day-to-day operations of the town with Rick out trying to build a bridge and then caring for Judith by reading her books and having plenty of play time.

At night, Michonne is wandering out beyond the gates of Alexandria where she gleefully attacks walkers at random, slicing them down one by one but still managing to get spooked when she’s forced to use a baseball bat to bash a zombie head in when she accidentally gets ambushed.

This cycle appears to be Michonne’s routine now and she’s trying to find balance between her new responsibilities and the kind of person who thrives best in chaos.

On this particular day, Michonne gets pulled into new directions while dealing with crops being eaten by crows and news that Negan has refused to eat for the past two days. With Rick gone, Alexandria’s No. 1 prisoner is left to Michonne’s charge so she decides to take it upon herself to feed the former sociopathic leader and ensure that he survives just like her almost husband would want.

When she arrives, Negan says he’s not on a hunger strike but rather just not hungry. He then promises to eat the food if Michonne will stay and talk with him.

She agrees and that’s Negan’s mind games begin but really he’s not saying anything that doesn’t carry the weight of truth behind it but rather things that Michonne would probably rather not heart.

Negan more or less digs into the heart of who Michonne really is and who she wants to be and neither of those are a community leader or a mommy to a small child. In fact, Negan really presses the buttons when he suggests that Michonne knows she’s better off without her sons because they weren’t meant for this world just like his wife dying of cancer convinced him that she wasn’t meant for this world.

Michonne lashes out but ultimately returns to see Negan again and he is attempting to convince her that she’s just like him. By the end of their conversation this time around, Negan has figured out that Michonne isn’t his mirror image — she’s scared to death that she’s going to become just like him one day.

Negan also lets Michonne on the torture he’s feeling everyday he’s separated from his beloved baseball bat Lucille because that represented his last connection to the wife he left behind before the zombie apocalypse started. Michonne finally gets a bit of mental revenge when she tells Negan that his baseball bat was left in the same field where he last battle Rick before he was captured.

Negan explodes in anger because he views Lucille almost like a real person. Was Michonne telling him the truth about his baseball bat?

It seems unlikely almost as much as Negan spending that much more time in the prison cell, caged like a wounded animal inside Alexandria. It’s only a matter of time before Negan is free again.

Travel Fast, Travel Alone

Maybe I’m alone in the fact that I’ve never once cared about Jadis as a character much less her trash kingdom or the way that ‘The Walking Dead’ seems obsessed with spending so much time with her. It appeared at the end of last season that the entire ordeal was done when Jadis said goodbye to her fake moniker and became ‘Anne’ , who was a vital part of the community and even decided to get it on with Father Gabriel a couple of weeks ago.

But it turns out that was all a façade as Jadis was really always plotting towards a return to her garbage empire where she hoped to get picked up by a helicopter and move to a new community far away from this one.

Last week saw Jadis decide that Gabriel wasn’t actually an ‘A’ — some sort of classification system that she used to determine who she ultimately traded to this other community in exchange for supplies — and she knocked him out cold by pistol whipping him to the forehead.

This week saw Jadis about to unleash one of her classic walker torture scenes where she had Gabriel tied to a gurney and she released a zombie creation meant to discover whether or not he was worthy of survival. Gabriel saved his own life not by defeating the zombie but rather telling Jadis that he forgives her for all her wrongdoing.

Jadis decides to stop the zombie attack and she renders Gabriel unconscious again — hopefully they have some apocalyptic Advil ready when he wakes up — and when he finally opens his eyes again, he’s left alone in one of those shipping containers.

Gabriel finds a note pinned to the inside of his jacket from Jadis that says to travel fast, you must travel alone but to travel far you must travel together. Jadis tells him in parting that she has to travel fast and thus she’s left him and presumably gone to join this new community.

Gabriel is heartbroken and he’s left wondering where Jadis has gone. In a perfect world, she’ll never come back but something tells me we’re never going to be that lucky.

Man Down

At the Hilltop, Maggie is arming up with a crowbar and instructions for Jesus to take care of the community while she goes to Alexandria to finish Negan once and for all. Maggie knows Negan shouldn’t have been left alive and she’s finally taking that choice out of Rick’s hand.

Back at the bridge, Rick finds out that the levee has broken and it’s only a matter of time before all of their heard work gets washed away. With the Saviors gone, construction on the bridge has almost stopped and Eugene tells Rick that there’s almost no way to save it now that the water is eventually going to overrun them.

Rick is still determined to save the bridge but first he gets word about Maggie going on a mission to get to Alexandria to kill Negan. Rick quickly sends a dispatch relay back to Alexandria to tell Michonne not to let Maggie into the community until he arrives.

What Rick doesn’t know, however, is that the person handling that relay call is Rachel from Oceanside and she wants Negan dead just as much as anybody so she fails to pass that message along to Alexandria.

Back at the camp, Rick tries to rush back to town before Maggie arrives and Daryl offers to give him a ride on his motorcycle so he’ll get there quicker than on horseback. It doesn’t take long, however, for Rick to figure out that Daryl isn’t taking him back to Alexandria when he misses the turn for the road back to the community.

Rick demands Daryl to stop the bike and that’s when he finds out this was all one orchestrated plan to lead him away from Alexandria so Maggie could finish Negan once and for all. Daryl tells Rick that his message will never reach Michonne and he needs to accept that some capital punishment is about to be dished out with Maggie acting as judge, jury and executioner.

That leads to a fight breaking out between Daryl and Rick before they tumble down a hillside and end up falling into a giant pit that’s been left open in the middle of the woods. With no easy way out of the hole in the ground, Rick and Daryl finally have it out with a brutally honest conversation.

Daryl slaps Rick with the fact that he let Negan live after killing Glenn — a person responsible for saving him in Atlanta, who then helped lead him back to find his family in the first place. Rick then admits that he’s saving Negan as tribute to Carl because that’s what his son would have wanted as he was attempted to rebuild the world in a more hopeful image, far away from the one that descended into war when the survivors were battling the Saviors.

The heated conversation finally gives way when Rick and Daryl hear gunshots in the distance, which means the two giant herds that their group has been diverting away from the camp are going to get drawn to the bridge.

The gunshots came after Billy Walsh and the rest of the Saviors returned to the bridge construction site ready to throw down after the figured out that it was the Oceanside survivors picking them off one by one and killing them. Billy Walsh managed to get his hands on a gun by taking Alden’s weapon and now he’s there for some revenge.

Of course Billy Walsh underestimates Carol, which leads to his own downfall as she gets the drop on him and knocks him to the ground. A second later, the gunfire starts but we don’t find out what happens to Carol and the rest of the bridge crew left behind.

Earlier that same day, Carol decided she was leaving the construction site to return to the Kingdom while trying to help Rick accept the fact that the Saviors were gone and obviously never truly wanted to be part of this community. As disappointing as that news might have been, Rick was still proud to see how far Carol has come and she’s a big part of the future he’s building.

Unfortunately with gunshots ringing out and Rick trapped in a pit, nobody’s vision for the future is surviving right now.

With the zombie herds converging, Rick and Daryl are soon trapped in a giant hole with walkers just falling into the pit one by one as they find their way into the woods. Rick is finally able to climb his way out and eventually helps Daryl escape as well. They put their differences aside to escape with Daryl deciding that destroying the bridge will be the best way to divert the zombie herds so they don’t get anywhere near the communities. Rick disagrees, hops on the back of a horse that’s escaped the camp site and says he’s going to back to do everything in his power to save that bridge.

Daryl tells Rick to be safe and they ride off in different directions.

Sadly, Rick soon finds himself being cornered by the converging herds that are all coming in his direction and his horse gets spooked, which then leads to him being tossed off its back. Rick screams out in pain as he falls on crumbled piece of concrete with a rebar sticking out that is now punctured through his abdomen.

Rick is writhing in pain, bleeding from the stab wound and the zombies are drawing closer and closer. We know next week will be Rick Grimes’ final appearance on ‘The Walking Dead’ and while he’s not gone yet, it’s obviously not looking good that he’s going to ride off into the sunset alive and well.

‘The Walking Dead’ returns next Sunday night at 9pm ET for the episode that will say goodbye to Rick Grimes for the last time ever. Check out a couple of previews below:

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