Are you still here? Have you made it this far? Well, sit back and enjoy while we take a look at the mid-season finale, “Hearts Still Beating.”
And hearts are certainly still beating for our splintered collection of beloved characters.
This week opens at the Hilltop with Maggie holding a vigil at Glenn’s grave. It seems to be part of her routine now. She climbs on top of the Hilltop wall for guard duty and Gregory comes along. He says the Hilltop folks love Maggie and Sasha right now, but they shouldn’t let it go to their heads. Mostly because he’s realizing he’s losing them, although he doesn’t say that.
Over in Alexandria, Negan is still waiting around for Rick and teaches Carl how to shave with a straight razor.
Over in the Sanctuary, Daryl escapes! At least, from his cell. Which is decidedly easy to do since someone slipped him the key last time we saw him.
Back to Alexandria. Negan enjoys cooking in Rick’s kitchen. He’s just making himself right at home.
Tara and Olivia are outside. Tara hands over a can of lemonade and explains they had it because Denise liked it. Seems like they’re trying to remind us that Tara is sad over Denise since she just found out about the death that happened eight months ago. Tara tells Olivia to go home and she’ll take care of Negan. Olivia says, “I promised Rick I’d take care of Judith. And that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Negan puts dinner on the table in a very awkward scene where he tells Carl to set a place for Rick, who isn’t back yet. And he also gives a seat to Lucille.
Rick and Aaron, meanwhile, are still at the Walker Pond, trying to figure out whether to cross it in the hopes of supplies. Rick tells Aaron he can stay behind and Aaron says, “I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just say that.” But the boat is full of bullet holes and there’s no way this is going well.
Over in Alexandria, one of the Saviors greets Spencer, Rosita and Eugene and starts going through all the things Spencer found. He says Negan values hard work. And then a female Savior comes over and starts awkwardly flirting with Spencer and says he might just get to come over to the Sanctuary. Then she yells at Eugene for being a creeper.
On the outskirts of the Kingdom, Carol is in her little cottage. There’s a noise outside and when she opens it, she sees Morgan trying to sneak away after leaving fresh fruits and vegetables on her porch. She invites him in and basically says, “What part of ‘leave me alone’ doesn’t anyone understand?” She tells him she doesn’t need anything and shows Morgan that Ezekiel has brought her things too. And then there’s a knock on the door and it’s Ezekiel’s soldier, Richard.
Rick and Aaron are now in the boat and–shocker!– it’s not going so well. Apparently the plan is to get from the little boat to a canoe, but there are walkers all around trying to get them, so they stab the walkers with the broken ends of their makeshift oars. But then Aaron falls in the water and goes under. Too bad. Aaron was a good–wait a second! He’s still alive and somehow not hurt at all. Rick gets to the canoe and meets Aaron over at the houseboat. This is all very complicated. The point is that they reach the supplies in the middle of Walker Pond. There’s a note inside one of the boxes that says, “Congrats for winning, but you still lose.”
What Aaron SHOULD do is throw that note in the pond. But…he doesn’t. That’s probably not a good idea.
And now back to Daryl in the Sanctuary. Just before he’s about to make his escape from the apartment that is apparently Dwight’s, he smashing some of Dwight’s toys. Who wouldn’t, right?
Rick and Aaron talk as they load up their supplies. Someone is watching from the woods in a creepy, sneaky way. All we know about this person is that his or her boots don’t match. Rick and Aaron talk about their deal with the Saviors and Aaron says, “Either your heart is beating or it isn’t.” He knows this is what they have to do right now.
Last time we saw Michonne, she was holding a gun on a red-headed Savior and demanding to be taken to the Sanctuary. She’s still holding her at gunpoint in the Jeep. She asks the woman why she was alone but gets no answer.
Maggie and Sasha are hanging out in Jesus’s trailer. Apparently one of the Hilltop kids thinks Maggie should run for President of the Hilltop. Heck yes, she should. Maggie asks where Jesus is and Sasha says he left for a supply run this morning. When Maggie leaves the room, Enid says she knows Sasha is lying because Jesus left last night. Enid is a pretty perceptive kid and knows Sasha is planning on going after Negan, but Sasha begs her to keep it a secret from Maggie.
Carol and Morgan talk with Richard. He wants to end the deal and fight the Saviors, but he needs their help convincing Ezekiel.
In Alexandria, Gabriel, who suddenly became kind of interesting just last week, tells Rosita not to kill Negan yet. That it isn’t the right time. Eventually they will all do it together. The fact that even Gabriel knows Negan has to die is really telling.
Daryl is still on his way out of the Sanctuary, and now he has a lead pipe. Perhaps he’ll encounter Colonel Mustard in the Library.
Over at Carol’s house, she tells Richard to go away and Morgan doesn’t want to cause any problems with the Saviors because he’s still trying to be a pacifist. Richard points out that Morgan killed that one Savior, but Morgan explains that was due to an imminent threat. Not just out of convenience. Richard leaves all upset and then Carol tells Morgan to go away and not to tell anyone where she is.
Spencer, Spencer, Spencer. He walks into his house and sees it all a mess from the Savior’s ransacking. He cleans things up and then cleans himself up, practices saying “Hi” in the mirror, takes a bottle of liquor that he still somehow has, and leaves the house.
Richard the soldier goes into a hidden trailer out in the woods and starts crying. It seems there’s more to his story than we know so far.
Rosita is at home alone when Spencer stops by. He tells her that he wants to try diplomacy, like his mother would have done. That Rick is too dangerous and has gotten too many people killed. He wants to try to get close to Negan. He asks Rosita why she cut things off so quickly and she says she just showed a little interest because he was cute, nothing more. But when he asks her to have dinner with him, she agrees.
And Daryl has made it outside the building. But he runs into Fat Joey. Fat Joey says Daryl can just go, he’s not even going to try to stop him. But Daryl bashes his head in with the pipe anyway. It’s the only possible Savior death right now that seems kind of sad. While Daryl is beating in Joey’s head, Jesus shows up, but even Jesus can’t save Joey now. Then Daryl notices Rick’s Colt Python revolver in Joey’s waistband and takes it. Then he grabs a motorcycle and he and Jesus escape. Daryl is free!
Spencer introduces himself to Negan. Because he is an idiot.
Michonne is still in the Jeep with the red-headed Savior. They see the Sanctuary and Michonne realizes that there are a WHOLE LOT of Saviors. More things that aren’t good. The woman tells Michonne, “We are all Negan,” because that’s just what the Savior’s say. She tells Michonne she may as well just kill her. So Michonne does. While still inside the car.
Spencer and Negan are sitting on the porch, drinking. Negan says he might want to buy a summer home in Alexandria and the only thing he needs right now is a pool table to play some Eight Ball. Spencer tells him there just happens to be one in the garage directly across the street.
At the Alexandria gate, Rick and Aaron get back and find the Saviors, who start inspecting their wares. One of the Saviors finds that note in the box and asks if Aaron thinks he’s being funny. Aaron tries to explain but the Saviors start beating him up. Rick tries to stop them, but some other Saviors grab him and hold him back.
Negan and Spencer have the pool table in the middle of the street and are playing. People stand around watching them and everyone hears Spencer start to spill the beans on Rick. He tells Negan that Rick doesn’t listen to people. That he takes over and gets people killed and that he won’t ever bow down to Negan. He explains that Negan should kill Rick and make him the new leader over Alexandria. Negan is hanging on his every word. Spencer is the worst.
The Saviors decide Aaron has had enough and stop beating him up. Rick helps him to his feet and he asks, “My heart’s still beating, right?”
Negan and Spencer are still talking. In front of basically the entire town. He points out that Rick is actually out there doing what Negan demands and swallowing his hatred. Negan says, “That takes guts.” And then Negan asks why Spencer doesn’t just kill Rick himself. He gets close to Spencer’s face and says, “It’s because you’ve got no guts.” And then he shoves a knife right into Spencer and disembowels him in the middle of the street. And as Spencer’s dying, Negan taunts him. “There they are! They were inside you the whole time!”
Rosita pulls out her gun and shoots.
Except that her bullet hits Lucille instead of Negan’s face. Negan starts screaming that Lucille’s perfect surface is damaged now. One of the Savior’s grabs Rosita and knocks her to the ground, holding a knife on her throat.
Negan looks at the bullet and sees that it was homemade. He demands to know who made it and Rosita claims she did. But Negan’s not buying it and tells the Savior with the knife to carve up Rosita’s face if she doesn’t tell the truth. And he tells the Savior to kill someone, so she turns around and shoots poor Olivia, who’s standing right next to Carl.
Again, Rosita claims she did it. Which is when Rick shows up. He tells Negan all their stuff is at the gate and they need to go. Negan says he’ll leave as soon as he knows who made the bullet and Tara says, “I did it.” The Saviors all point their guns at Tara, but then crying Eugene says it was him and starts explaining how he did it. Negan stops him and says, “I don’t need an explanation. I believe you.” Then he tells Rick he’s depriving him of his bullet maker and the Saviors take Eugene alive.
The rest of the Alexandrites start to disperse and then Walker Spencer wakes up and Rick stabs him in the head. Which is quite fitting, honestly.
At some point, Michonne has returned to Alexandria and finds Rick in the cell that Morgan built. She tells Rick what she was doing. She says there are too many of them and they are completely outnumbered. But she still wants to fight because there are things worth fighting for. She says they should fight for the kids and Alexandria and the Hilltop (and she would have included the Kingdom if she knew about it). “For all of us,” she says. Rick agrees.
So the next day, Maggie is over at the Hilltop and sees something. She frowns at first and then smiles and yells for Sasha and Enid to come quick.
She opens the gate and in walk Rick, Carl, Michonne, Tara and Rosita. Rick tells Maggie she was right from the beginning and they should fight. And then Daryl comes out to see them and he and Rick share the most bromantic hug ever. And Daryl also gives Rick back his gun and they all walk toward the house.
Does this mean the Ricktatorship is back??
After the credits, there’s an extra scene with Gabriel standing guard at night. He doesn’t see anything, but someone sees him. Someone with mismatched boots is hiding in the woods. But then the figure starts to walk toward the Alexandria gate…