Have you gotten tired of “The Walking Dead” focusing on just one storyline per week? Are you ready to mix things up a bit? Well, too bad. Because this week’s episode, “Swear,” is all about the misadventures of Tara Chambler.
When last we saw Tara (two weeks ago in TWD world), she and Heath were heading out on a two week scavenging trip that was really just an excuse to get rid of Alanna Masterson for the duration of her maternity leave without killing off Tara. So they killed off her girlfriend Denise instead. And even though we, the audience, moved on from that tragedy eight months ago, Tara doesn’t even know about it yet.
So this week’s episode opens on a woman and a girl talking. They are on a beach and the things they say are supposed to be mysterious, because we are hearing them out of context. The girl stabs a walker in the head with her spear. And then she moves toward another one, but the woman realizes this one isn’t dead. It’s…Tara! All passed out and washed up on a sandy beach.
The girl wants to kill her because “those are the rules.” But the woman says no. She pulls Tara into some driftwood and then takes off.
Then we go back in time to Tara and Heath, sitting in an RV. Heath is frustrated. “Eight rusty cans of okra and a bottle of aspirin.” That’s all they’ve found on this two week scavenging mission. Tara says, “Rule number one of scavenging: There’s nothing left in this world that isn’t hidden. We just have to find it.” Glenn told her that back in season 5. Oh, whoops. She doesn’t know Glenn is dead either. Awkward.
Tara and Heath argue about whether to go back or to stay out. And Heath is having all kinds of feelings about killing the Saviors at that outpost as part of the Hilltop deal. He can’t handle the guilt. Tara just sees it as survival. Heath starts up the RV and Tara looks down at a revolver that has Negan’s bat carved into the handle.
The woman who found Tara on the beach is in her room, studying a map. She sees something and then looks up at the clock. She goes back out to the beach and leaves Tara some food and water. As soon as she disappears, Tara opens her eyes, has some food and water, and then follows the woman.
Crouching behind trees, because people always think crouching will make them quieter, Tara follows the woman right into the middle of a settlement. She sees two other women carrying baskets. Some kids play and run around. There’s a lookout up on a platform. There are some other women doing various things.
And then there is a strange clicking sound and the women all run for guns. One of them shoots right at Tara, even though she is crouching.
Someone runs up on Tara, but Tara manages to overpower her and get her gun. And then Tara knocks her out with the butt of her own rifle, but when she turns around to run away, she runs into the girl from the beach. And she’s pointing a gun at Tara. The girl is identified as Rachel, but she is stopped by someone named Cindy.
Tara apologizes for wandering in and says she can just go, but she’s surrounded by armed women.
Flashing back to Tara and Heath, they are stopped on a bridge that is completely blocked by a giant trailer and a lot of cars. They would have to walk across. It appears to be deserted, but they go slowly, checking cars and tents. They find nothing. And then they find a giant truck full of sand that has spilled across the bridge. Tara finds a duffel bag buried in the sand and tries to pull it out, but accidentally unleashes a whole bunch of sand walkers.
Back to the present, Tara is handcuffed to a radiator and a woman who is in charge of the group comes in. Her name is Natania and she introduces Cathy and Beatrice (from the other end of the rifle).
So Natania asks Tara where she came from and Tara starts lying. She says she came from Atlanta and that she and her friend worked on fishing boats, although she can’t come up with a type of fishing boat. She asks to go so she can go look for her friend. But Natania explains that they shoot people on sight. She’s not sure what to do with Tara, given that she could have killed Beatrice and didn’t.
And because time doesn’t exist in the Walking Dead world, it’s suddenly super dark outside. Cathy leads Tara to Natania’s cabin to have dinner. There, they are joined by Cindy, from the beach. Cathy asks when was the last time she ate. Tara says, “Do soy sauce packets count as food?”
Natania invites Tara to stay with them. She even offers to help find her friend. Tara says, “He can stay here?” When Natania wonders why she’s surprised, Tara asks, “Where are the men?” And so Natania explains that they got into a skirmish with another group. A group that killed all the men and boys over age 10. The survivors fled and found this camp area and decided to stay hidden.
Natania asks Tara more details about where she’s from, but Tara keeps trying to lie. Although, when Natania calls her out on it, she drops the act quickly and tells them about Alexandria. And the Saviors. And killing a bunch of Saviors.
The next day, Cathy and Beatrice lead Tara out of the settlement. On the way out, she sees Rachel, the girl who wanted to kill her twice, and flips her off.
In the woods, they come across a walker that is all bound up in some branches. Tara offers to go take care of it, but when she raises her knife, she suddenly runs off, just as a gun goes off at where her head would have been. It wasn’t clear what tipped her off, but she hides and sees Cathy run past.
She attacks Beatrice and they fight, but Beatrice gets the upper hand because she has a rifle. Tara asks if she can go. Beatrice explains that Tara’s people have no idea what they started. Tara says they didn’t start anything. They ended it by killing everyone. Beatrice tells her that the Saviors are the ones that killed all their men and they won’t stop.
Beatrice is about to kill Tara to protect their settlement, but Cindy jumps out of the woods and attacks Beatrice, giving Tara the chance to get away.
Tara runs through the woods. Cindy shouts, “Wait!” She raises her gun and Tara says, “You’re not gonna shoot me.” Cindy asks Tara to swear she’ll never come back and she’ll never tell anyone about this place. And then Cindy tries to give this moral high ground lecture to Tara about how nobody’s evil. But Tara says, “Some people are evil. I’ve seen it.” She’s, of course, referring to her former buddy The Governor because she has NO idea about Negan yet.
Cindy gives Tara her rifle and some food and water, and offers to take her back to the bridge. They get there and find all the walkers covered in dusty sand. Tara wants to run across the bridge and tells Cindy to go back. But Cindy’s like, “I didn’t get you here just to watch you die.” And then she also mentions that Cathy and Beatrice know they were coming here and that they’re on the way.
They share a little “why aren’t you like the rest?” moment and then Tara starts across the bridge. Of course, chaos ensues as walkers attack. Cindy shoots a few until either her gun jams or she runs out of ammo. There’s another brief flashback as Tara remembers the moment she fell off the bridge and got separated from Heath.
Tara thinks she sees Walker Heath, but it turns out to be a Lady Walker. And then she finds Heath’s broken glasses and some very deep tire tracks along the side of the road. And some kind of key car with the letters PPP written on it. She says, “I hope that was you.” And then takes off walking.
But we already know Heath hasn’t made it back to Alexandria. So…is he with the Saviors? Dead? Somewhere else?
Tara keeps going and there’s a little bit of a montage of her trip back home where she finds some random plastic sunglasses in a store. And then she arrives back at Alexandria and she’s all happy until Eugene opens the gate and she sees his face.
Inside Denise’s infirmary, Rosita says, “Sorry, Tara.” And Tara says, “I’m sorry too.” And then Rosita says they don’t have to just sit here. She’s trying to get Tara to join her Let’s Kill Negan Club. She asks if Tara found anything or anywhere out there that can help them. Tara says, “I didn’t see anything like that out there.”
So, there we are for this week.