The season premiere of The Walking Dead marked the 100th episode and most expected big things to happen. Maybe not as exciting as the fate of Glenn and Abraham last season, but we expected some excitement. Some real fireworks and emotionally wrenching action. This episode was full explosions, walkers, Negan, and still fell short of truly knocking anyone’s socks off.
As the advertisements have promised, Rick is ready to go to a full out war against Negan. Rick starts off with one of his famous speeches accompanied by the King and Maggie. The gist of the ongoing speech is that their survival will depend on their ability to stick together like a brotherhood and fight one good fight at a time until Negan is defeated. The more important detail is that Maggie is not speaking as a Rick supporter but on behalf of Hilltop. You might say Hilltop has a new leader and Rick even remarks that after they’re done fighting the good fight he is eager to stop leading and follow her.
We have a new leader in Maggie and I’m all for it!!
Here’s where the episode falls short: The literal plan to get Negan doesn’t make sense. On a sheet of paper, Rick holds a list of places that need to be secured and measures that need to be taken and they are crossed off as follows:
- Morgan clears out a section with no complaints on killing the dead and Negan’s people alike.
- One of Negan’s watchmen posted somewhere outside Negan’s territory on a wooden platform on the top of a tree is sniped from a distance.
- Carol and Tara are waiting on an overpass for a horde of walkers that are lazily walking underneath. Tara has some cool dayglo sunglasses and is biting on a Twizzler that is probably the consistency of a brick.
- Everyone gets together to weld aluminum sheets to the sides of the cars
- Carl goes to clear out a gas station and bumps into a man that sounds like someone who was just looking for food. Rick comes in shooting, although he admits that he purposely aimed away from the guy because he just wanted to scare him off. Savage Rick is back and he doesn’t want Carl trusting anyone. The gas station is the same one that Rick went to in Season one and saw the little girl zombie wandering. Somehow that little girl never left the premise and Rick has to pull out his ax.
- Rick gets one of Negan’s men and looks through his stuff for something that isn’t there. The guy blurts out that they’re going to get his son. Bad move! Rick doesn’t even kill him. He releases a nearby walker that was tied up and lets him eat the man to death.
- Darryl sends a letter via arrow to Dwight to set something up.
- Carol, Tara, Morgan, Darryl, blow up a truck to lead the horde to a highway.
- They also set up a trigger wire in the middle of a street
- Dwight sends out Negan’s people on a wild goose chase to get “Rick.” It’s all part of the plan to lead them away from headquarters.
- Dwight also looks away as Carol snipes Negan’s men who are posted on the headquarter roof.
Finally, Rick and the rest of the gang pull up into Negan headquarters and are protected from his field of walkers because the walkers think that the cars, which have metal sheets on the side, are part of the wall.
ALL OF THIS!! All of this meticulous planning and preparation, for Negan to walk out relaxed and without a care in the world. Then Rick and Negan have a full conversation within feet of each other and NO ONE attempts to shoot Negan.
My argument has been that I have to give the writers of this show the benefit of the doubt and say that there is an underlying plan in the works. They wanted Negan to come out. They wanted all of this stuff to happen exactly like this. Where they failed was to let us know at least somewhat in this episode that we will see the real outcome in a future episode. Now if this isn’t true, this will go down as one of the worst writing I’ve seen on the show.
Negan points out that Rick doesn’t have the numbers to go against him. He brings out Gregory who tells all of the people of Hilltop that Hilltop stands with Negan. His yellow livered ass goes on to say that if the Hilltop folks don’t abandon Rick and his mission, that they will not have a home to return to. No one moves. That’s cause no one liked Gregory anyway. Jesus yells out that the Hilltop stands with Maggie. Simon was a bit pissed because the whole point of grooming Gregory was to keep Hilltop in check with Negan’s plans. So, Simon threw Gregory down a flight of stairs.
I was hoping that Gregory would meet a fate that matched the ugliness inside of him. But the fall down the stairs did nothing.
Rick tells Negan that going to war is the only way and asks his lieutenants to join him or face the consequences later. They don’t budge and Rick counts down but begins to shoot immediately after reaching 7.
For the next few minutes, the kingdom, Hilltop, and Rick’s crew shoot at the warehouse windows. Negan had dashed out the way with the rest of his guys but everyone continued to shoot at the windows. Like it didn’t take 30 episodes to accumulate all that ammo.
Darryl jumps on his bike and sets off random explosives planted along the road to set them aflame to route the walkers towards Negan headquarters.
Rick had said during his speech that the goal was to really kill one man (everyone else is just a casualty of war, really) and that he would be the one to kill him. As everyone went in different directions, Rick was focused on Negan. They had brought along the RV and Rick let it roll into the lot before triggering an explosive. Negan, who appeared to be hurt, stumbled out and hid behind some metal scraps. Rick shot at Negan and HE HAD HIM CORNERED.
Gabriel jumped out and grabbed Rick pleading that they had to go. Rick kinda shrugged him off and kept aiming at the metal. So, Gabriel tells him that Negan isn’t going anywhere and they have to go. And then Gabriel reminds Rick that it isn’t about him. They both leave.
……………………………………….He was RIGHT THERE!!!!!
Rick goes in his car and pulls out his polaroid and snaps a picture of Negan behind the metal thing and leaves. I’m assuming this picture will serve as proof that Negan was brought down to a cowering shadow behind a metal box. I don’t know if this will be to encourage the resistance or if it will help Rick convince saviors that Negan is easily defeated. Either way, these are my guesses on the polaroid.
In the funniest turn of events, Father Gabriel gets into his car and sees Gregory walking out of the headquarters that is now swarming with walkers. Gabriel’s conscience forces him out of the car shooting at the walkers to shield Gregory, who ducks for cover. As they hide, there are bullets ricocheting from every corner as everyone is shooting at the horde. Gabriel tells Gregory that he will tell him when it is clear for him to run. But Gregory is in full panic mode and risks it all running to Gabriel’s car. Gregory burns rubber in the only getaway car that is left in the lot. Just when we started liking the priest, he gets done dirty by the biggest worm on the show.
Rick notices that Gabriel didn’t follow and he makes it known to Darryl that he will be going after Gabriel when he has the chance. Gabriel is the one that pulled him from killing Negan and for some reason, this is supposed to be a good thing.
For now, Carol and the King’s group are on another mission. They charge into another part of Negan’s headquarters and shoot at a savior who throws what looks like a smoke bomb at them. They get lost in the haze but hopefully, they don’t end up walking into
Negan’s base is swamped with walkers and Gabriel ends up finding a trailer that he can sneak into to hide out. In the biggest twist this entire episode, Negan just happens to be hiding out in the very same trailer. He tells Gabriel he hopes he brought his shitting pants cause he’s going to make him shit his pants. (duh) It looks like there’s going to be some torture, fortunately, there’s no way to get out because the horde is in full effect and has the trailer completely surrounded.
Carl went back to the gas station and left some cans of food with a note that said: Sorry. He felt bad for the guy that Rick had shot at earlier. The guy is seen watching Carl from the bushes. Rumor has it that this character is Siddiq from the comic book series. Now that he knows Carl has food, I’m sure we will find out his identity very soon.
Nursing Home Rick
Throughout the episode, there are these instances that show a close up of Rick looking really sick with red-rimmed eyes. He seems to conk out into a vision of himself looking super duper old. White beard. Cane. All that. At first, it seems like deja vu from season one, when he’s lying in the hospital bed a year after the apocalypse had started. But then he gets up and you realize he’s with Michonne in a better living situation. Michonne, however, doesn’t look like she’s aged a bit. The last piece of this vision shows Judith at the age of about 7 or 8. She tells her dad to come out to the festival. When Rick steps outside the house, people are farming and arranging flowers in what looks like a wonderful town.
It is unclear if this is a flash forward or a vision. But the Rick that is having these visions is not the present day rick. Present day Rick seems to be in better health than the Rick that is seeing this safe haven. What does this all mean? No idea. You tell me in the comments.
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