In The Walking Dead recap, Negan gets his house in order after returning to the Sanctuary as he plans for a final attack on the Hilltop as the end of the war looms overhead…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The Walking Dead is barreling towards the season 8 finale after Rick and Morgan decide that the only way to survive is to wipe the Saviors off this planet. As it turns out, the latest episode sets Negan on the same path as the two sides will clash in what we can only expect will be an all out war next week.
First things first, The Walking Dead returned this week with Negan back at the Sanctuary and he has to get his house in order.
With daddy away the kids will play and Negan’s absence has somehow empowered the underlings he tasked with following his every order. That shit doesn’t fly in Negan’s world so he has to get everybody back in line before preparing to launch his attack at the Hilltop next week.
For all the ways The Walking Dead has screwed up the character of Negan from the comic books, this week’s episode at least was more in line with who he truly is and what motivates him the most.
Meanwhile, Daryl and Rosita strike on Negan’s bullet factory, which means Eugene is in some serious trouble. And finally, Rick reads Carl’s letter while Michonne takes it upon herself to call on Negan to read him what Carl wrote before expiring.
Will Carl’s words inspire an end to this fighting? We’ll know for certain next week.
Before we get there, let’s recap this week’s episode of The Walking Dead titled ‘Worth’…
With Negan being gone for the past few weeks, his house has gone into disarray with Simon in charge. Not only did Simon lead the Saviors into slaughter at the Hilltop — even if they did manage to turn several of their people with their tainted weapons — the end result was still a lot of dead soldiers. Add to that, Simon is still plotting a ‘kill em all’ strategy when Negan specifically laid out plans to send a message that would still end with people left alive to work for them.
The first person to find out that Negan is home is Dwight when he goes out for a smoke and he’s confronted by his fearless leader. Dwight hates Negan but he also has every reason to be scared to death of him as well.
That’s why Dwight cowers whenever Negan is around, even when he’s being reminded of all the awful things that have been done to him in the past in the course of keeping him in line.
Once Negan reveals himself to the rest of the leadership, he calls a meeting where Simon pleads his case after leading the assault on the Hilltop. Of course, Simon fails to mention his all out slaughter of the garbage people or that he was conspiring with Gregory just minutes earlier after that cockroach found a way to survive captivity at the Hilltop and then return to the Sanctuary where he hoped to find refuge.
Simon more or less begs for his life before Negan tells him to get down on his knees.
Rather than bashing his brains out and quenching Lucille’s thirst for blood, Negan gives his right hand man a pass under the condition that it’s a lesson learned and water under the bridge. Simon agrees but he’s not ready to go back to the way things were before.
Instead, Simon conspires behind Negan’s back while attempting to recruit Dwight and several other people who are like minded about the way things should be handled. Simon isn’t about negotiations — he’d prefer just to wipe out everybody at the Hilltop and then start over fresh with new communities who would be more willing to play ball with their rule of law.
Dwight agrees to help but it’s pretty evident that he has no intention of going along with the plan. What Dwight is interested in, however, is Negan’s strategy to take out the Hilltop once and for all.
Negan shows his top lieutenants a map where Hilltop is located with his plan of attack to place snipers at key locations around the community and he plans on picking them off one by one as they go beyond their walls. Negan even plans to set up an outpost where he will be stationed as this assault will hopefully bring an end to the ongoing war between the Saviors and the rest of the survivors.
This piece of information leads Dwight to make a map of his own with instructions written out to Rick, telling him where Negan will be while begging him to put an end to this madness once and for all.
Speaking of madness, Simon decides to plot his coup alongside the people willing to follow him but before his best laid plans are revealed, everybody in his group — minus Simon, Dwight and Gregory — are gunned down by snipers when Negan reveals himself. Negan knew all about this meeting and Simon’s attempts to takeover thanks to Dwight telling him everything.
Maybe Dwight believes that getting in Negan’s good graces is a way to ensure this fight is finally finished. Then again perhaps Dwight believes that as bad as Negan might be, he’s still better than putting Simon in charge.
Either way, Negan squashes the uprising but then gives Simon the democratic chance to take over by facing him in a fight to the death.
Simon lands a few shots but ultimately he succumbs to Negan, who beats him within an inch of his life and then chokes the rest of it out of him with his bare hands. Negan finishes Simon by crushing his throat as his former No. 2 in charge chokes on his own blood while wondering how this could have all gone so wrong.
During the fight, Dwight was able to slip away just long enough to hand the map over to Gregory with instructions to run this back to Rick and the Hilltop. Gregory does as instructed because this might be his only means of survival now that Simon is dead.
With Simon gone that also means that Negan needs a new No. 2 in charge and he looks at Dwight for that responsibility. In fact, Negan knows that Dwight will be crucial with his plan to crush Rick once and for all.
That’s when Negan reveals to Dwight that the person he picked up on the side of the road last week was Laura — the Savior who found out Dwight betrayed them during the attack on Alexandria but she got away and was believed to be dead. Instead, Laura is very much alive and well and she’s told Negan all about Dwight’s treacherous intentions to see the Saviors toppled.
Negan thanks Dwight for his prompt service in sharing that map with Rick and his people because that will lead them directly in a trap that will be awaiting them. As for Dwight, his fate won’t be the same as Simon, who is now hanging on a fence outside the walls of the Sanctuary.
Instead, Negan insists he has something else in might for Dwight because death is too good for him.
We catch up with Aaron this week, who is still stationed out in the woods near the Oceanside community as he continues to try and convince them to join the fight against Negan. Instead of joining, the members of the Oceanside community just ignore him as Aaron slips further and further from reality as he hasn’t eaten or drank much in days.
Finally, Aaron devolves into hysteria after killing a walker and that’s when it appears that the Oceanside residents arrive yet again except this time it appears they’re willing to listen to what he has to say.
Much like the garbage people, it’s unclear why this story line even needed to happen but apparently the Oceanside will play some role in the final war between the suvivors and the Saviors.
At the bullet factory, Eugene is doling out orders while sucking down a bowl full of slop that he says was a staple of his from college that involves mac and cheese and canned sardines. If that wasn’t bad enough, Eugene is still under the illusion that Simon is in charge and he’s been ordered to deliver an ammunition order in quick fashion for the upcoming battle.
Eugene lays out how crucial it is that everybody works on manufacturing these bullets double quick and he even discovers how Father Gabriel was doing his best to sabotage them by warping his ammunition so that it would cause a backfire to the person with that particular weapon.
Eugene assigns Gabriel a new task where he’s no longer making bullets but he still has to test the ones that are supposed to work. So Eugene goes outside to test those bullets when his guards are cut down — one by an arrow and another by bullet — and that’s when Daryl and Rosita emerge from the shadows.
Last week when they found the factory, Rosita promised that the only way to ensure Negan never gets his bullets would be to kill Eugene but somehow between then and now her plans have changed. Instead, Daryl and Rosita decide to keep Eugene alive and hidden in a basement somewhere until the group needs his smarts and only at that time will he be allowed freedom.
Eugene obviously doesn’t like that plan very much but the way he talks too much nearly gets him killed on the way back. Still with time running out until he’s at the Hilltop, Eugene unleashes one last plan when Daryl is forced to go off and kill some walkers coming towards them.
He shoves two fingers down his own throat and then proceeds to projectile vomit all of that cheese/sardine mixture onto Rosita.
Eugene quickly scampers away with a few more walkers coming their way, which forces Rosita to deal with them rather than give chase to capture her prisoner. When Daryl and Rosita rid themselves of the walkers, they go after Eugene, knowing that he couldn’t have made it that far.
It turns out he didn’t go anywhere at all — instead Eugene hid beneath a pile of dead bodies that had been burned to ash.
Once he’s sure that Daryl and Rosita have gone, Eugene gets out of the ash and makes a beeline back to the bullet factory. When he arrives, Eugene tells them that they need to fortify their borders because intruders just kidnapped him. That’s when Eugene learns that Negan is still alive and he’s back in charge and he needs his ammunition.
Eugene whips his crew back into shape and tells them to work double time to give Negan whatever he needs. It’s evident now that whatever loyalty Eugene had left for his friends at the Hilltop is gone because he’s doing everything in his power to keep Negan on his throne by any means necessary.
Letters from the Dead
As the episode got started this week, Rick finally sat down to read the letter from his son Carl, who went into great detail about how he wanted his father to make a better world for Judith and the rest of the survivors who would have to grow up here. Carl begs his father to stop this fighting and try to find a way to agree to a peace with Negan and the Saviors rather than just trying to wipe each other off the planet.
Rick is obviously torn to pieces reading his son’s final words but did any of it get through to him?
That’s when Rick is handed the map from Gregory, who has made his way back from the Sanctuary with the plans from Dwight. Rick believes this might be the best way to wipe out the Saviors once and for all but little does he know that he’s walking into a trap.
And finally there’s Negan, who gets a call on his walkie talkie from Michonne.
She wants to share with him the letter that Carl wrote to him before dying. Michonne reads the words aloud with Carl explaining that he died trying to help somebody rather than as a result of this war but he still felt it was worthwhile.
Much like the letter to his father, Carl begs Negan to find a middle ground and reach a peace with Rick and the other communities. Unfortunately, Carl’s words while emotional, don’t get the intended job done as Negan finishes the call by telling Michonne that the days for talking are over.
He smashes the walkie and Negan then decides that it’s time to start all over again. There’s no way that he’ll ever get Rick and his people back in line. So now Negan is going to be forced to do exactly what Simon had planned before his death.
Negan is going to wipe out every last survivor at Hilltop until there’s nothing left of Rick and his people but pile of bodies and a river of blood.
The season finale of The Walking Dead season 8 is next Sunday night at 9pm ET on AMC followed by the season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead directly after.