In “The Walking Dead” recap, Maggie launches an offensive against the Reapers, Daryl makes his move and the people of Alexandria defend their home against a storm and zombies…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The first eight episode of the final season of “The Walking Dead” are now in the book and it’s been tough to grade what’s unfolded thus far.
The storyline pitting Maggie and the other survivors against a rogue military outfit known as the Reapers was interesting at first but now it’s just dragged out a little longer than desired and even after this new episode, the battle isn’t over yet.
After realizing they were outgunned by the soldiers, Maggie decided for an alternate plan of attack while adopting a former enemy’s strategy — and that meant dressing up as walkers and moving amongst the dead like the Whisperers.
Inside the walls of Meridian where Daryl has been acting as one of the Reapers for a matter of days already, he’s starting to see Maggie’s plan come together but he still has a completely uncontrollable situation in front of him thanks to Pope, an unhinged leader with a God complex.
Meanwhile back at Alexandria, Connie has finally returned home but she didn’t exactly comeback to a safe place to live with the entire community crumbling around itself. The latest episode reveals a huge storm pounding Alexandria, which means the walls are in danger of falling down and that means the zombies won’t be far behind them.
That puts everybody on alert and at risk as the survivors attempt to save whatever they can before Alexandria falls once and for all.
This will be the last episode of “The Walking Dead” until February so for now let’s recap the latest installment titled “For Blood”….
A Fight Is Coming
Inside the Reapers’ compound at Meridian, Pope and his troops notice a herd of walkers are starting to converge nearby but they aren’t charging towards the city walls or really moving forward towards anything at all.
Instead, the walkers are just kind of standing around and Daryl mentions that he’s seen something like this before, which leads to his suggestion that someone should go out and just lead them away. Daryl volunteers because he recognizes this is Maggie’s plan to use the herd just like the Whisperers did once upon a time but Pope opts for another of his loyal soldiers instead.
A man named Wells is given the task of walking out into the herd and leading them away from the compound.
After he gets outside, Wells succeeds in drawing the walkers near him as he walks away from the town and at least part of the herd starts to follow him. But as he makes his way into the woods, Wells finds that there are also more walkers coming from the other side as well, which leaves him sandwiched between two groups of zombies.
He radios back to Pope to tell him what’s happening and then Wells begins trying to clear a path so he can escape except there’s one problem — much like what happened when the Whisperers first appeared and killed Jesus — Maggie and her people duck out of the way of a knife attack and instead stab Wells in the belly.
A few more jabs at him leaves Wells unable to defend himself and the zombies feast on his guts.
Repeated calls from the compound go unanswered and Leah begins to realize that another of her brothers has fallen and Pope is simply consumed by getting to Maggie.
Pope resorts to asking Daryl about her, attempting to find out any kind of information that could help him get to her. Of course, Daryl is pretending that he doesn’t know Maggie other than from some past interactions while exchanging food and supplies so he tells Pope that she’s capable and a really good shot but otherwise he doesn’t know much about her.
Before anything else can happen, Pope first lets his defense system take care of more walkers because he’s planted landmines surrounding the compound. As more and more of the walkers start moving towards the town, huge explosions wipe out dozens of zombies and Daryl can only watch and hope his friends are able to survive this latest fight.
With the majority of the Reapers watching the explosions up front, Daryl spots his friends among the walkers and sees them moving towards the other side of the compound so he races there where he encounters a lookout, who is stationed for security. Daryl pretends to be offering support as ordered by Pope but instead he kills the guard and tosses him over the side. He falls to where Maggie and Gabriel have been positioned just waiting to find a way inside.
Daryl tells them out to get into the compound while he runs to the food storage warehouse and knocks off the padlock so Maggie and the others are able to get inside.
Maggie gives Gabriel a final instruction about a particular building inside the town and they split up to hopefully get the food and take back the town while Daryl tries to slow down Pope from deciding to just kill everybody and sorting out the bodies later.
Into the Storm
Back in Alexandria, a huge storm has hit Virginia and everybody has gone to Aaron’s house in order to hold up and hope that they can survive. With windows breaking and doors flying off the hinges, this storm could simply tear the town apart — and when a section of the wall goes tearing down the street, Aaron, Carol and the others realize that it won’t be long before Alexandria is flooded with the dead.
So Aaron devises a plan with three teams — he’ll lead one deal with the walkers who have already gotten inside while Carol offers to take another to repair damage done to the wall. The third led by Rosita will stay behind to defend the house just in case more zombies get inside the walls than the teams can handle.
Connie volunteers to go with Carol to help repair the walls — and Kelly insists on going with them as well.
Of course it’s a bit of irony that Connie wants to team up with Carol and follow her into the breach again, especially considering it was her thirst for revenge that led all of the survivors into a cave where Alpha had laid a trap for them. Connie ended up separated from her group and nearly died but she still shows trust in Carol so they can team together to save the town.
As for Aaron, his daughter Gracie asks him not to leave but he insists that if he’s not willing to fight for the town then he shouldn’t ask anybody else to do it either.
With the teams headed out into Alexandria to fix the walls and stop the walkers pouring in from the outside, Judith stays behind to help settle down the other children while Rosita leads everybody to board up the windows and doors so hopefully the house will hold together long enough to survive.
Judith is sad because she’s once again been left behind, which can only remind her about what happened with her father, her brother and her adopted mother. At a time like this, Judith could really use Michonne by her side but Virgil offers her some comforting words after he was the last person to interact with her before she left to go find Rick.
He tells Judith that her mother is always by her side and he knows that because he sees the way she carries her sword just like Michonne. That puts a smile on the little girl’s face as she attempts to calm down the other children, including Gracie, who is feeling rather helpless right now after her father left to defend the town.
Judith attempts to help Gracie learn how to use a sword, which gives her some sense of security but she ends up being grabbed by a walker from outside the window. Judith springs into action to save Gracie and kill the walker but another is just behind, which forces an injured Virgil to jump up to kill that one.
Before long, the entire house has been swarmed by zombies and the doors are nearly about to burst open.
That’s when Rosita volunteers to take care of the problem as she arms up with her club and walks out into the horde of zombies at the front door.
Rosita goes into ass kicking overdrive and she takes out a huge number of zombies before knocking on the door to get let back in but she also realizes that she was fighting a losing proposition. The zombies are coming into Alexandria at a greater number than those being killed to keep them out.
With options dwindling, Rosita decides that making a final stand upstairs in Aaron’s house with only one point of entry will give them the best chance to survive.
Everyone begins heading upstairs but Judith can’t find Gracie and she refuses to leave her friend behind.
Judith eventually goes down into the basement where she finds Gracie, who was looking for some kind of weapon so she could help out like everybody else. Judith fashions a staff for her to use for zombie killing but when they make their way back upstairs, the zombies have already started pouring into the house and the stairs are cut off.
So Judith and Gracie race back downstairs into the basement, which is now filling up with water and the lock on the door will only hold off the walkers for so long.
As Maggie makes her way inside the compound, Gabriel gets to the house she told him about and a hidden closet where he finds something that was left there previously.
Outside, Maggie attempts to hotwire a truck but she’s also ducking for cover as members of the Reapers are swirling around the area. When she finally gets the truck started, one of the Reapers runs towards the vehicle to stop her but she’s able to get away just in the nick of time.
Maggie then decides to aim the truck like a missile at the front gates in order to allow the horde of zombies to finally enter the compound. Just before the truck hits, Maggie jumps out of the speeding vehicle as she watches it crash through the gate and soon enough the zombies start pouring through.
The Reapers rush to stop the attack while also noticing that Maggie has made her way inside. While a few of them fight off the zombies, the others surround Maggie and it appears that she will have no escape — until gunshots ring out and several of the Reapers are shot in succession.
It seems the secret compartment hidden in the house contained a sniper rifle that Gabriel retrieved and now he’s using that to take out as many Reapers as possible.
Back upstairs, Pope reveals that he’s got another weapon to use against the invaders — a makeshift missile array made up of arrows and fireworks that will launch down into the crowd of zombies and take out dozens at a time. Daryl realizes that means his friends will also be cut down by the barrage of arrows so he can’t waste any more time pretending to be a member of this psychotic group of soldiers.
With Pope back inside for a few minutes, Daryl finally comes clean to Leah that his friends are down in that horde of zombies and those are his people — they have husbands, wives and children counting on them back at home. Daryl tells her that those people are his family and everything he’s done thus far has been about protecting them.
Just then, Pope reappears in order to launch the arrow attack on the invading zombies and Daryl realizes it’s now or never if he’s going to take out the leader of the Reapers. Pope lights the fuse to launch the arrow array except now the weapon is pointed down into the town — and that means many of his own men will be killed along with the zombies.
Once the fuse gets lit, Daryl has to strike and so he turns with his knives in hand but Pope already has a gun drawn on him.
Pope figured out that Daryl was working against him and now he needs to face the consequences but before he can put Daryl down, Lean strikes first. She stabs Pope in the neck and he falls to the ground, bleeding out his last breath until she puts the blade through the back of his head to end it.
Another Reaper arrives but Daryl cuts him down with a knife.
Daryl then tells Leah that she can come with him and they will return to Alexandria together but she’s not interested. Despite Pope becoming so consumed with Maggie that he couldn’t see straight any longer, Leah hasn’t forgotten about her brothers at arms and she’s not going to abandon them for anybody — even Daryl.
So Leah calls on the radio and tells the rest of the Reapers that Daryl killed Pope and he’s making a getaway.
Daryl doesn’t have much time so he quickly leaps over the roof and back down to the ground to escape before the Reapers arrive to deal with him. When the other troops arrive, Leah tells them what’s happening — Pope is dead, Daryl betrayed them and their enemies have made it inside the compound.
With the zombies pouring into Meridian, Maggie and the other survivors are trying to get to the food in order to get back to Alexandria but getting out of town won’t be so easy.
Negan and Elijah eventually make it inside the walls as well — after Negan helped an injured Elijah when he got caught with some shrapnel — and they are trying to coordinate with Maggie to end this fight.
Unfortunately back upstairs, Leah has decided to use Pope’s weapon against the invading masses and she once again lights the fuse — and Negan looks up as the fireworks start popping off and the arrows start firing down into the crowd.
Who will survive this onslaught and what will be left of the survivors and the Reapers once this battle is finally done?
We’ll have to wait to find out when “The Walking Dead” returns on February 20!