A mother’s love can be a powerful thing on The Walking Dead. In “Guardians,” Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are faced with obstacles that threaten the well being of their daughters. They have to make tough decisions to keep their families safe. And at the same time, their judgment is brought into question. Are they being too safe?
We start out with the Whisperers as Alpha questions Lydia (Cassady McClincy) about what happened to her while in captive at the Hilltop. Lydia basically says that she pretended to need help to get information about the community. She tells Alpha about their crops and that they don’t have many weapons. Alpha doesn’t really ask about Lydia’s well being. In fact, she doesn’t even like the intel that Lydia collected.
Henry (Matt Linz) isn’t far behind the Whisperer herd. But he’s not inconspicuous about it either. A man called Beta (Ryan Hurst) catches Henry spying on the group. He takes the boy directly to Alpha. Alpha wants to know who he is, but Henry doesn’t talk at first. Beta grabs him so he can break his arm, forcing Henry to talk. Henry says where he’s from and that he’s there for Lydia. Lydia calls him stupid and punches him in the face. Alpha says they will take Henry with them, but the group has to be on the lookout for more strangers.
Henry the Avenger
Alpha asks Lydia about who Henry is to her. She explains that he was in the cell next to her and she only knows his name. She says he’s dumber than she thought by coming after her. Alpha says it’s okay that Lydia had to lie. Words are just air.
They take Henry to their camp in the woods. Lydia told him there only about six to ten people in their group, there are actually a few dozen in the camp. Alpha tells Beta to get Lydia a new skin. Henry gets to see Beta deface a walker for Lydia. Alpha explains that they walk with the dead because civilization is dead. The strong survive, but the weak die.
Two Whisperers approach Alpha to challenge her, saying she broke her own rules and put their group at risk. The Hilltop group has already killed a lot of their people. She exposed them for her child, but wouldn’t do the same for anyone else. They leave the lost behind. Alpha says they know where they are and what they have. Going back for Lydia was beneficial and worth it. Alpha asserts herself by killing the Whisperers who question her judgment.
Lydia packs up some supplies and shows Henry a necklace. It’s a sign that she really does care about him. At the same time, Alpha cleans herself up. She tells Beta about a time when Lydia got caught up in plastic and almost suffocated herself. Alpha saved her, then hit her hard so she would remember never to do that again. She says they have to protect the people they love, even from themselves.
Guardians of the Whispers
Beta says they need to protect themselves when the other groups come for Henry. Alpha thinks Henry gives them an advantage. Beta says they need to find out if Lydia feels anything for Henry. First, she has her people move the dead bodies out in the open.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) are tracking Henry. Connie is pretty good at tracking people. They discover that Henry has caught up to the group. They see the Whisperers set out the dead bodies for the walkers to feed on. Daryl watches as the Whisperers go back into the woods. He and Connie move closer.
Alexandria has changed. They have chosen to keep their community safe, by not taking unnecessary trips outside of the gates. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) broke the rules by attempting to set up a relay communication antenna on a water tower. Michonne confronts her council about that trip and Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) escape. She pretty much blames Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) for all of it. If he didn’t feel the need to find people on the outside, Rosita and Eugene wouldn’t have encountered the Whisperers, and Jesus would be alive right now. Maybe. Aaron (Ross Marquand) agrees with Michonne. Of course, he was there when Jesus was killed, so he knows what they are up against if they go out too far from their community gates.
Siddiq (Avi Nash) and the rest of the council want to vote again to go the fair. Siddiq says he talked to Carol (Melissa McBride). The Kingdom isn’t doing well and needs the trade route between communities to open up. He says Carol wouldn’t ask twice if things were okay. Michonne basically has the final, and only say about if they can go or not. And the council knows if they vote again, she can veto that vote. Michonne is all for opening their doors to the residents of the Kingdom if they need to leave. But Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) made it clear that he isn’t willing to give up the Kingdom. If the Kingdom falls, Alexandria has to survive.
Michonne visits Negan next to find out why he came back to Alexandria. Negan doesn’t admit it at first, but they both know he came back because the world had changed too much. Negan says he’s changed too. And if she’s not going to kill him, she can learn something from him.
Negan says she has a good thing at Alexandria but it’s slipping through her fingers. He can hear her council meetings through the window. Negan wants to help her keep her people in line. Michonne declines his offer, saying he hasn’t changed a bit. She tells the guard to tie him so they can fortify his cell door. She also tells the guard to close the windows so he can’t hear their business. When she looks at the window, Michonne sees Judith (Cailey Fleming) listening in on their conversation and then run away.
Guardians of the Safe Zone
Michonne confronts Judith about eavesdropping on her conversation with Negan. Judith admits to talking to Negan because she feels sorry for him. And he listens to her. Michonne tells her to stay away from Negan. There’s a reason he’s locked up. Michonne calls him a monster. Judith says Negan is a human begin. Michonne explains that Negan killed people that she and Rick loved. And if Negan ever got out, it would start all over again. Judith says Negan isn’t like that anymore. Michonne says people don’t change, but Judith says Michonne changed. Michonne sends Judith to her room to give her a moment to think.
Later, Michonne goes to Aaron to let him know that she changed her mind. She is going to allow the council to vote on sending a delegation to the Kingdom fair and take supplies. When they wrote their charter, the point was to allow the people to have a voice. Aaron isn’t so sure because of the Whisperers. Michonne says they have to weigh the risk and decide if the trip is worth it. Later, the residents of Alexandria pack up food, animals, and supplies to take the Kingdom. The fair is in two days. Michonne sits alone in the council chambers thinking.
Rosita told Gabriel about the baby. She offers to him a way out of the situation saying it was before they started their relationship and it’s not his responsibility. But Eugene thinks it is. He is so obsessed, that he presents a chart to prove to Gabriel why it’s his and Siddiq’s duty to take care of Rosita and her baby. All nonsense aside, Eugene tells Gabriel not to let Rosita go. Gabriel thinks its best for Rosita and Siddiq to raise the child. Eugene argues that Rosita loves Gabriel; not Siddiq or even Eugene. It’s her choice and Gabriel needs to figure out how to make it work. Gabriel hears Eugene and meets up with Rosita and Siddiq to talk about their situation.
Later that night, Beta grabs Henry and stands him in front of Alpha. Alpha drops a knife and tells Lydia to pick it up and kill Henry. She says Lydia was gone long enough to forget which side she’s on. Lydia starts crying and Alpha tells her not to be weak like her father. She says to kill Henry or Beta will kill them both.
Walkers infiltrate their camp, eating people left and right. The Whisperers put on their “skins and walk away from the dead. While things are chaotic, Henry tells Lydia that they need to leave. Someone grabs Henry and says its time to go. It’s Daryl in a walker mask. Connie is with him, dressed like the dead as well. Henry says he won’t leave without Lydia. At first, Daryl says Lydia has to stay, but Henry grabs Lydia when Daryl starts to run.
This was an interesting look at the tough decisions mothers have to make to protect their kids. On one hand, Alpha uses tough love to teach Lydia about the dangers of the world. And on the other, Michonne tries to shield Judith from all dangers. Both of the girls have learned how to deal with the dead and the dangerous notions of the living. Lydia is skittish though, where Judith is brave and ready to face anything head on. Lydia has never had a sheltered life. And she’s never had anyone fight for her. Maybe that’s why she left with Henry.
They all know that taking Lydia to the Hilltop will start a war. Their only advantage is that Alpha doesn’t have any of their people this time. But they know where they live and they can do some damage. The Hilltop only know that these people walk around in masks of the dead. They don’t know how many there are or what they are capable of.
This is all going to end badly.
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