The war continues on The Walking Dead.  Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is still healing from the loss of his son and is more determined to kill Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to end the war.  Negan may have his hands full with his own people though. Dwight (Austin Amelio) had to return to the Saviors to keep Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the Alexandrians from being discovered in the swamps.  And Simon (Steven Ogg) went against Negan’s instructions and killed all of the Scavengers, except Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). Negan doesn’t know about any of the treachery yet.  He’s been busy trying to find a way to strike back at the Hilltop after Maggie (Lauren Cohan) sent one of his people back in a box. His new plan is to use walker blood to infect the Hilltop and win the war.

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In “The Key” Rick takes an opportunity to deal with Negan once and for all.  Maggie must find a way to get more food for the Hilltop.

The Saviors Are Coming

Dwight is back at the Sanctuary.  He explains to Negan what happened to him at Alexandria. Negan seems to be suspicious, but instead tells Dwight to get ready to work.  They are headed to the Hilltop. The Saviors have their orders and a new strategy. Negan instructs everyone to dip their weapons in walker blood.  He tells his people not to kill anyone, but to injure them enough to get infected.

At the Hilltop, Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are reunited with everyone.  Rick visits Glenn’s grave and Daryl talks to him about why he went against Rick’s wishes and attacked the Sanctuary.  Daryl says he didn’t want to give the Saviors another chance and he didn’t care that innocent people would be killed.  Rick tells Daryl that he was right. They should only worry about their people. Rick says he’s ready to continue fighting. They assume the Saviors will come to the Hilltop. Rick will join the lookouts for any sign of the Saviors. Daryl offers to go, but Rick wants to split up to cover more ground.  

Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Maggie watch Rick drive off.  Maggie wonders if Rick can come back from losing Carl. Rosita asks if Maggie has come back yet.  Either way, they have to keep going. Rosita says it will be harder when it’s all over. They both agree that life will be easier when Negan is dead.  Maggie sees something strange out in front of the Hilltop gates.

Dwight and Simon ride together to the Hilltop.  Both of Negan’s “top guys” visibly do not like Negan’s plan, but they do as they are told.  Along the ride, Simon asks Dwight’s opinion about their road trip. Dwight says it’s an opportunity to end it.  Simon wants to talk real talk with Dwight. He says no matter what they do, Rick, the Widow, and the King don’t scare easy. They keep fighting back.

Elsewhere, Rick is listening to Savior Radio when he hears them talking about a plan.  He looks through is binoculars and sees a caravan of Saviors headed his way. In the back of the caravan is Negan and he’s alone.  Instead of warning his people, Rick jumps in his car and chases the caravan.

The caravan drives through a town.  Simon and Dwight are driving in front of Negan. Simon sees Rick coming down an adjacent alley toward them.  He doesn’t say anything though. Instead, he let’s Rick ram into Negan’s car and he keeps driving until someone else says something about the crash.  Simon orders everyone to stay off the radio and stop the caravan so they can find Negan. Once they get out of the cars, they have to assume that more of Rick’s people are out there. Simon tells everyone to stay where they are. He and Dwight will search for Negan alone.

Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) in The Walking Dead, “The Key” Photo by Gene Page/AMC

The Key

Rosita investigates the package in front of the Hilltop. It’s a crate with a note attached that asks for food and records in exchange for the key to the future and there are coordinates to meet. Michonne and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) join Maggie and Rosita to discuss the note. They all agree the note is not from the Saviors. Michonne suggests it could be someone who actually wants to help.  Maggie and Enid are suspicious. They think it’s better to be safe than dead. However, they are starving.  Maggie thinks it might be okay to check it out and they all go to the meeting.

Maggie, Michonne and Enid meet Georgie (Jayne Atkinson),  Hilda (Kim Ormiston) and Mitch (Misty Ormiston).   Rosita comes from behind the van to surround the new people.  Georgie offers Maggie knowledge in exchange for food and the records.  Georgie says they haven’t come across any communities for a while. She thinks Maggie’s community has potential. That’s why she is making an offer. Enid doesn’t believe her. She is surprised they haven’t been killed yet.  Michonne tells Maggie to take the deal. Instead Maggie says she is taking them and their van, filled with food, back to the Hilltop.

Georgie and her friends wait for Maggie’s decision.  Michonne tries to reason with Maggie saying they should take the deal and let Georgie go before the Saviors arrive.  Maggie doesn’t want to let them go. They have a van full of food. Enid agrees with Maggie. She says if they don’t take it someone else will.  Enid says they need to take their stuff and stop pretending that things just work out. Michonne reminds her that Carl helped Siddiq and now they have a friend and a doctor. She says Carl was brave.   Enid thinks that being brave and helping other is why Carl is dead. Michonne tells her to leave.

Maggie says things don’t always work out. Michonne says that Carl knew that, but he didn’t give up on who Rick wanted him to be.  And they can’t give up on who Carl wanted them to be. Maggie looks at Judith and Gracie and realizes Carl’s message.

Maggie comes out of her house with a crate of records. Georgie is happy to see the crate, but says she’s changing the deal.  She will take the one crate of records in exchange for the key and food. Georgie says they need the food more than she does.  She says she will be back, but not for a while. She expect to see progress when she comes back. Georgie hands Maggie a book called “The Key to a Future.”  In this book, Maggie will find plans to create windmills, aqueducts, and other devices from medieval achievements to build a future from their past.  Maggie thanks her and Georgie leaves the Hilltop.

Enid and Michonne watch her go.  Enid admits to killing Natania. She doesn’t understand how they are supposed to stop fighting. Michonne says Carl didn’t want them to stop fighting for their future. He was saying to get to the future it’s going to take more than just fighting.  Yes, the Saviors are coming and they are going to fight; but there has got to be something after.

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Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in The Walking Dead, “The Key” Photo by Gene Page/AMC

Battle of Lucille

Negan’s car is overturned with walker guts all over the place.  Rick stops his car and start shooting at Negan. Negan gets out of the car and runs into a building.  Rick runs in after him, and almost gets clocked by Lucille. Negan and Rick fight. Rick tries to shoot, but runs out of bullets.  Negan runs up on a balcony and tells Rick to come get him. Rick throws his ax at Negan, causing him to fall off the balcony. Negan is barely hanging on the edge. Rick runs up to the balcony to retrieve his ax.  He swings the ax down towards Negan’s hands and Negan falls.

Rick yells for Negan to see if he’s still alive. Negan answers that he’s like a cat. (LOL)  They go back and forth about who’s way is better. Negan says he’s just trying to save them. He says people stopped dying when he took over.  People started dying when Rick showed up. Everyone is better off without Rick Grimes.

Rick just wants to kill Negan.  He walks around looking for a weapon. He sees a boarded up door that says “Eaters” indicating it’s a room of walkers.  Negan continues to tell Rick what kind of failure he is as he looks for Lucille. He offers Rick a one time deal. Rick can keep Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom.  Negan will only twenty percent of their supplies. And he wants Rick to work for him, starting with janitorial duties.

Rick asks if that’s the same deal he made with the Scavengers before killing them. Negan is silent.  He had no idea that Simon killed the Scavengers. Rick turns the tables on Negan saying it’s times like this when you realize who your real friends are.  Negan realizes that no one is coming for him. At that moment, Rick finds Lucille.   He says sooner or later Negan was bound to meet someone like him. Someone he couldn’t save.  And it’s not because Rick defiant, it’s because of the way Negan uses people. He doesn’t care about people. They serve him, feed him, protect him and that comes to an end now.  

The only thing Negan cares about is Lucille and he can’t even save that. He says he will let Negan kiss her goodbye. Rick lights Lucille on fire and starts breaking down the Eaters door. Negan runs at Rick and they break through the door.  Walkers surround them and Rick starts bashing them with Lucille, lighting the walkers on fire.  They fight each other and the walkers. Rick drops the bat, so Negan grabs Lucille and runs out of the building. Rick fights his way through the walkers to chase Negan. When he gets outside, Negan is gone.

Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Simon (Steven Ogg) in The Walking Dead, “The Key” Photo by Gene Page/AMC

Simon Says

Dwight and Simon look for Negan…slowly.  Simon takes the opportunity to continue their talk and asks if Dwight ever thought about killing Negan.  Dwight doesn’t directly answer, but mentions that he lost his wife, his face is burnt. Simon commends Dwight for putting the Saviors first instead of killing Negan.  He asks Dwight what they should do now. Dwight says they should move on.

They find Negan’s wrecked car. They see blood and wonder if it’s Negans.  Simon says just because he’s not in the car doesn’t mean Negan is still alive.  They can continue looking or walk away and make things better for their people. Simon says it’s a pivotal moment in their history.  Dwight lights a cigarette, takes a drag, then throws it at Negan’s car. Simon and Dwight walk away from the burning car.

They return to their group and report that they didn’t find Negan.  The group’s mood is somber until Simon works everyone up. He says they are still Negan. They don’t know if he’s gone and he could come back. They still have to carry out Negan’s plan.  However, Hilltop won’t listen. They have to accept that. The only thing the can do is erase the Hilltop and move on. For Negan. 

Negan wakes up in a moving car and a gun to his head. He looks over and smiles.  Jadis is driving the car.

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I will sum up my thoughts with my live tweets from tonight’s episode:

  • Simon and Dwight Need to Talk!  – and they did. They are both feeling disgruntled and worked together to find away to move on from Negan without disturbing the foundation of their community.  Simon is smart! And that’s scary!
  • Get Him Rick!  – This is the Rick that I’ve been waiting to see.  The first half of the season, Rick was so wishy-washy and it was kind of annoying. This Rick…yeah, he still talked too much, but he was on a mission and was relentless about completing that mission.  Go Rick Go!
  • Simon is SOOOOO concerned – I loved the little smirks that Simon expressed when Negan was hit.  Simon is hoping Rick will do them all a favor and kill Negan. This is Simon’s chance to take control of their people.  Of course he’s going to be happy about Negan disappearing
  • Who dis? – Georgie! How serendipitous of Georgie to show up when Maggie was losing hope.  Maggie needed to find a way to make her community thrive so they would never have to worry about food. They have all three communities, plus 38 Saviors to feed.  Apparently no one has been farming since the war started.
  • OH MAN! Rick has Lucille! – Negan treats that bat like its Judith.  Rick has touched Lucille before and Negan did not like it. He goes from 0 to 100 in less than a second if anyone touches Lucille without his permission. So yeah…I got really excited when Rick found Lucille before Negan did. And then he lit the bat on fire!!  SAVAGE!
  • Michonne = Moral Compass  STOP IT! – Everyone knows that the moral compass of the group always dies.  Although she is passing along Carl’s message and Carl is already dead. Let’s hope that tiny loophole will keep Michonne alive.
  • Oh Em Gee! I knew she’d be back! – Jadis has a score to settle.  She believes Negan sent Simon to kill her people. So will she be the one to end Negan? Or is she going to work with him? Negan is crafty. He will find a way out of his predicament





Noetta Harjo
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