In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, a group of strangers arrives at Alexandria, Carol gets fired up and Rosita and Eugene run across a new enemy…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Six years have passed since Rick Grimes was ‘killed’ blowing up a bridge to stop a herd of walkers from making it to his home in Alexandria and the people closest to him have started to move on without him.
Obviously, Rick isn’t actually dead and he will reappear in a series of ‘Walking Dead’ made for television movies but for all intents and purposes of the core cast on the main show, he died that day trying to save them all.
In the aftermath of Rick’s exit, Michonne has become the de facto leader of Alexandria, although her official title is head of security. There’s a council set up for all major decisions being made about the community including Gabriel and Aaron amongst the leadership. Judith is 10 years old now — a pistol packing bad ass with her brother’s sense of hope.
At the Kingdom, Ezekiel and Carol have been married for quite some time and they’ve been raising Henry as their son. The rest of the community is thriving, albeit while watching the buildings inside the Kingdom start to fall apart as the years have passed by.
The Hilltop remains the biggest mystery at least through this first episode following Rick’s exit. As we know, Maggie won’t be appearing again during ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9 so there hasn’t been much reference to her yet but it appears Daryl has taken on a bigger role at the Hilltop in her absence.
And of course a new threat is about to arrive after Eugene and Rosita cross paths with a herd of walkers that appear to be talking to each other. More on that later.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Who Are You Now’….
Last week’s episode ended with a 10-year old Judith Grimes rescuing a group of survivors trying to outrun the dead after another member had just been killed and one more was nursing a head wound. Obviously, Judith’s intention was to help the people but when she reconvenes with the rest of her hunting party from Alexandria, they aren’t nearly as excited to help the strangers.
Still Judith convinces them to bring the new group of people back with them to at least help with medical care for the injured person.
When they arrive back in Alexandria, it’s clear the community has changed in the wake of Rick Grimes’ ‘death’ and the new leadership model in place. Michonne largely seems to keep to herself except when she returns to the site of Rick’s death where she talks to him and then she does the same at home whenever she’s in Carl’s room. Unlike Rick’s utopian plans for Alexandria, it seems the community no longer accepts new arrivals and they are largely cut off from the Hilltop and the Kingdom.
Michonne has a lot on her plate these days — in addition to acting as head of security, she’s also raising Judith on her own and it turns out she had a child with Rick after his disappearance. She’s seemingly grown cold to the outside world as she immediately distrusts the new people but she begrudgingly concedes to allow them to stay long enough so that the council at Alexandria can vote on whether or not to keep them here or force them to leave.
When she’s not outside the walls, Judith is training the katana alongside her mother Michonne and then doing school work on the steps of the home where Negan is being kept prisoner. It seems Judith has developed a friendship of sorts with Negan, who she asks for help doing her math homework. It appears this relationship is similar to the one that Negan shared with Carl in the comic books where they almost seemed to become friends yet at the end of every conversation, Carl would make sure to tell Negan how much he hated him.
It seems that same dynamic is developing for Negan and Judith as the former leader of the Savior has now been his cell for more than seven years.
Judith talks to Negan about the new people she found and how she wants the community to give them a chance to stay. Negan then tells her a story about how he used to be obsessed with bringing home stray dogs as a child and his mother let him keep them until one day he brought the wrong one to the pack and he killed all the rest and bit his mother. It taught Negan that bringing home strays can eventually backfire. Judith then fires back with his pessimistic story by asking how well that attitude worked out for him considering he’s now behind bars.
As for the council meeting, the group of new survivors consists of Magna (the leader), Luke (a former music teacher), Connie (a deaf journalist who brought down corrupt politicians) and her sister Kelly (her interpreter who was high school age when the zombie apocalypse started) and Miko (the woman injured when he group was rescued) — and they are asked about who they were before the zombie apocalypse, who they are now and what they’ve done to survive.
Everything seems to be going well until Michonne exposes Magna as a liar by revealing a tattoo on her hand proves she was previously in prison not to mention a secret knife she’s been holding in her belt buckle this entire time. Michonne exposes her secrets but then leaves the meeting and says she’ll second whatever decision the rest of the council makes.
That night, Luke is adamant that Magna give up the second knife she has hidden in her necklace as he’s convinced this could be the perfect place for all of them to call home. It seems they were previously part of a larger community that folded and now they’ve been on the run with nowhere left to turn.
Still Magna isn’t convinced so she escapes the holding room where her group is being kept and she takes back the necklace knife that she’s been hiding. It appears she’s plotting a coup by going after Michonne but when she arrives at her house, she sees the sword wielding security chief tending to her family with two kids at home. Instead of attacking, Magna knocks on the door, hands over the knife and more or less asks for mercy as she’s trying to find a place to stay after her group has lost so much lately.
The next day as the group of survivors are about to be led out of Alexandria, Michonne shows up and offers them an alternative plan. She will take them to Hilltop and see if the leader there will accept the refugees.
Maybe Alexandria just doesn’t have the room or supplies for five more people? Either way, Maggie says she will personally escort them to the Hilltop where she will speak to the leader about taking them in. We know Maggie won’t be back this season so it’s unclear who is leading the Hilltop or why the relationship between the communities seems so frayed but we’ll likely get a look behind those walls in next week’s episode.
For now, the new survivors are safe and may find a new home soon enough.
Strike a Match
At the Kingdom, the walls are starting to crumble around the King and Queen — Ezekiel and Carol — but the community is surviving together.
Unfortunately the problems continue to mount after Henry has to patch a busted pipe with some duct tape as more and more issues arise inside the Kingdom as time passes.
Carol tells Ezekiel it’s time for Henry to learn a new skill and she suggests taking him to the Hilltop where he can learn and then return to help the entire community. He’s hesitant to let his family go but obviously Ezekiel knows that Carol can more than handle herself. Ezekiel is forced to stay behind because he’s organized a trading faire in hopes of bringing the communities closer together again as it seems Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom aren’t as united as they once were while battling the Saviors.
On the road to the Hilltop, Carol and Henry hear a screaming woman in the distance begging for help. Henry takes it upon himself to run after her and offer assistance, much to the chagrin of his mother.
It turns out to be a trap with both Henry and Carol being captured — by the last remaining Saviors, who have been surviving after the fallout from the bridge construction led by Billy Walsh (aka Jed). It seems not everybody perished that day when they tried to start an uprising and Carol allowed them to live rather than kill everybody who attempted to usurp control. Afterwards, the Sanctuary fell and this is all that’s left of the once mighty Saviors.
Jed takes all of Carol and Henry’s supplies and even steals her wedding ring while ultimately allowing them to live just as she did six years ago when she spared them from dying on that bridge. Henry just wants revenge, especially after they took his mother’s wedding ring, but Carol says he needs to stay focused on the task at hand and not worry about the people who just attacked them.
Later that night with Henry sound asleep, Carol sneaks off and finds the camp where the Saviors are staying. She covers the entire campsite in gasoline and then wakes Jed up by stealing the match from his mouth that he’s been chewing on. As soon as he opens his eyes, Jed smells the gasoline that’s been spread around the camp and he begs for mercy, offering to stay far away from the Kingdom and anybody from the communities.
Carol offered them mercy once but that’s the only chance they get.
With that, Carol drops the match and lights the entire camp on fire thus snuffing out the last remaining Saviors who were still alive after Negan’s capture.
The next morning, Carol and Henry get back on the road riding in the wagon and he can’t help but notice the wedding ring back on his mother’s finger. Carol is not a woman to cross because she will find you and apparently in some cases, she will burn you alive.
That’s when they are surprised by a shadowy figure stepping out from the woods directly in front of their horse-drawn carriage. Rather than face down another ominous traveler on the road, Carol comes face-to-face with her old friend Daryl, who has been living in the woods on the road to the Hilltop. By all accounts, Daryl has reverted to his loner days where he’s taking care of himself and no longer worrying about anybody else.
Carol offers Daryl a ride on the carriage as they all make their way to the Hilltop.
Whisper Before a Scream
One more major change that’s taken place over the past six years is Eugene not only getting a spine but he’s actually become a zombie killing machine when he’s out in the field. He’s still the technological genius of the group, who has attempted to use a radio he put together to contact people beyond the general area where the communities have called home for more than seven years now.
Eugene believes that going out further to place radio transmitters could be a way to find more survivors or perhaps other communities. Rosita agrees with his course of action and then shares her feelings with Father Gabriel, who apparently has become her new boyfriend. It seems Gabriel wasted no time getting over Anne/Jadis and he’s now moved onto Rosita.
On the way to the middle of nowhere, Eugene talks to Rosita about the choices she’s made in a new boyfriend — hinting that he would prefer she was with him instead. When they finally arrive, Eugene climes the gigantic tower and attaches his transmitter but on the way back down, he spots a herd of zombies barreling towards them. He warns Rosita as he attempts to climb down the tower before the undead descend upon them.
Eugene can’t quite make it once the ladder he attached falls to the side and he’s forced to jump down the final 20-plus feet to the ground. Meanwhile, Rosita watches their horses run away after being spooked by the oncoming herd.
Now Rosita has to help an injured Eugene after he suffered a knee injury from his fall and she gives him a shovel to use as a crutch so they can make their escape.
Eugene knows he’s slowing her down so he stops and offers to run back and serve as a distraction so she can get away. He also finally confesses that he wants to be with Rosita, although now it appears he’ll never get that chance. In response, Rosita tells him to stop making this weird and she pulls him away from the tree so they can keep running to escape together.
Finally, they jump down into a riverbank, cover themselves in mud and hope they won’t be discovered by the mass of zombies walking by. That’s when Eugene and Rosita hear feint voices from inside the herd asking ‘where are they?’ and then saying ‘you lost them’ as the zombies continued to tumble by.
Eugene and Rosita are equally shocked to hear voices coming from the herd — and this was our first official introduction to the Whisperers, a group of vile survivors who cover themselves in the skins of the dead in order to control these massive herds. It appears Eugene and Rosita will escape to tell the communities about what they’ve just discovered but a whole new kind of threat has just arrived on ‘The Walking Dead’.
Only two episodes left to go for the first half of the season of ‘The Walking Dead’ so don’t miss a minute when the next episode airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Check out a couple of previews below: