War is coming on The Walking Dead. In “Morning Star,” Alpha (Samantha Morton) makes her move on Hilltop. Can the small community survive a night of terror? And…in case you forgot, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) made contact with someone on the outside who was apprehensive about telling him anything about herself. He continues his conversations with hopes of one day meeting the mystery woman.
Alpha shredded her last bit of humanity last week when Lydia (Cassady McClincy) rejected her for Daryl (Norman Reedus). Now she and the Whisperers are out for blood. Beta (Ryan Hurst) prepares for battle by draining the trees of some kind of liquid. And Alpha introduces Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to her switch. I guess it’s a form of self inflicted reprimand. She has Negan whip her with a stick…on her arm and then insists that she whip his arm. I guess this means they’re a thing now?
The Whisperers begin their journey out of the woods with some of the walker horde. They whisper their mantra as they walk. “We are the end of the world. We are the end of the world…you get the idea.” Alpha leads the next phrase, saying “We take them all.” Negan is walking next to her, but he is not chanting with the rest of them.
SING ME A SONG
Eugene has been talking to his girl called Stephanie for a few days…weeks…something like that. He finds out that she saw the satellite that fell in episode one of the current season. That means she’s close. And the satellite is helping their airwaves to reach one another. Eugene tells her he’s in Virginia. He wants to meet her, but her people are very cautious. He tells her to pick a place and time. If she gets there and doesn’t like what she sees, then she can leave, no questions asked. Stephanie says she will talk to her people, but asks Eugene to remain quiet about their communication.
The Alexandria caravan arrives in Hilltop. Earl (John Finn) and Alden (Callan McAuliffe) are immediately suspicious of Mary (Thora Birch). Aaron (Ross Marquand) is up front about Mary being from Alpha’s camp and that she’s Adam’s aunt. Earl gets upset, refusing to let Mary see the baby and Alden backs him up.
When Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Kelly (Angel Theory) returned to Hilltop, they informed everyone about what happened in the cave. Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) immediately went looking for Carol (Melissa McBride) and found her at Daryl’s camp in the woods. He asks her to return with him or he will stay out there with her.
THOSE NOT WITH US
Kelly prepares to leave to dig out Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Magna (Nadia Hilker), but Luke (Dan Fogler) tries to talk her out of it. Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) is no help because she thinks they might be dead already. None of that matters because Daryl arrives with Lydia with bad news. The Whisperers are coming to Hilltop.
Rosita (Christian Serratos) goes looking for Eugene just as Stephanie reaches out to ask questions about the satellite. Rosita answers the call, scaring off Stephanie, and Eugene is livid. He tells Rosita to go away before he says something he’ll regret.
Meanwhile, Negan tries to reason with Alpha. He says he’s all for a massacre, but this one doesn’t feel right. He suggests that they make Hilltop surrender and bend a knee to Alpha. Negan thinks they can make the community join them. Alpha is willing to listen to his suggestion.
Yumiko sends out two people to watch for signs of the Whisperers or the horde. She joins the rest of the leaders as they discuss what they should do. Some of the Hilltop residents want to say and fight. But the majority want to evacuate because there are too many kids and not enough fighters. Daryl orders the kids to evacuate first. Everyone else should pack up and they will regroup at Oceanside.
Daryl loads up the kids and Judith (Cailey Fleming) tells him that she wants to fight. Of course she does. Daryl puts her in the wagon and sees Carol arrive with Ezekiel. He turns away to avoid talking to her, but Carol saw him. Daryl leads the wagon of kids, but they hit a roadblock. A large tree was cut down to block the road and the lookouts are hanging from nearby trees. Daryl has seen this before. He says Negan did it. Negan is with Alpha now.
Daryl informs everyone that Alpha closed all the roads. They are trapped. People start getting scared. Alexandria and Oceanside can’t get there in time. Earl speaks up, saying they have the arsenal. He points out that the militia has been practicing for weeks. They need to focus because this is going to be the fight of their lives.
Ezekiel goes to his room and gets Henry’s armor. Carol walks in and they share a moment where she discovers his cancer. You’d think that Carol would be upset, but not really. Instead they have sex. Afterward, Ezekiel asks if they would have hooked up if they didn’t think they were going to die that night. Carol jokes about dying, making Ezkiel laugh.
Mary goes into the main house and immediately spots Adam. Alden stops her from seeing the baby and Aaron steps in to calm him down. Alden backs up Earl because the Whisperers killed Enid. So of course he blames former Whisperer Mary. Also, Earl is a great father and everything they are building is for Adam. He takes the baby and leaves.
Rosita finds Eugene to chat. She didn’t know about the girl on the radio and asks if he likes her. He answers by saying he’s not worthy of stephanie. From what Rosita has seen, they’ve been talking a lot. She thinks Stephanie likes him. To prove that Eugene likes Stephanie, Rosita asks Eugene to kiss her. That’s something he’s wanted for a long time, but when he goes in for the kiss, he can’t do it. He wants to kiss Stephanie more than Rosita. Rosita encourages him to go get her.
Carol and Lydia sit down for a chat. Carol thinks Lydia should hate her, but Carol hates herself enough. She lets Lydia know that she plans on killing Alpha and if that will make her hate Carol more. Lydia won’t be thinking about Carol. At least she’s honest, which Lydia points out that no one is honest with each other anymore. They both start crying, thinking about Henry and the life Carol used to have.
The community pulls together to build a defense system. Yumiko apologizes to Kelly for thinking Connie and Magna were dead. They see a bunch of field mice running out of the woods. The horde is coming.
Eugene gets on the radio and starts singing “When the Wild Wind Blows” by Iron Maiden. The community spends these moments with those they love. Jerry’s kids help him prepare to fight. Earl and Alden spend time with Adam. Rosita practices her moves. Ezekiel gives Henry’s armor to Lydia. Aaron gives Mary a weapon. Judith tries to reach Michonne on the radio. And Daryl watches them all leave the mansion to go fight.
Eugene stops singing and Stephanie continues the song on the other side. She apologizes for disappearing and asks who the girl is, sounding a little jealous. Eugene says it was his BFF Rosita. And he hopes Stephanie gets to meet her one day.
Someone knocks at the door. It’s time for Eugene to leave. He says the last few days have been incredible. Stephanie blurts out that she’s in Charleston, West Virginia. She tells him where to meet her in one week. He promises to be there and says goodbye. Rosita retrieves him and he tells her he has a date.
Daryl catches up with Ezekiel and sees his bump. Ezekiel says he has cancer and Daryl feels bad for him. He tells Ezekiel that he’s one of the strongest people in the community and everyone knows they are lucky to have him. He asks for Ezekiel’s help. The battle could get bad and Daryl is really worried about the kids. If one of them, Daryl or Ezekiel, should fall, the other needs to get the kids out. Ezekiel agrees.
Judith is in the room and tells Daryl that she wants to fight. He knows and she says she’s not scared. Daryl admits he is. Judith says if she was scared it would be because she could lose her family. Daryl understands and says there’s no shame in being scared.
Judith gives him a present. A new vests with angel wings painted on the back. He puts the vest on and then looks at her seriously. Daryl makes Judith promise him that if Ezekiel comes looking for her, that she will go with him, no matter where Daryl is. She agrees and hugs Uncle Daryl. We know those Grimes kids don’t like to sit in the house!
Carol is also in the house. She stares at Glenn’s painting and goes outside to find Daryl. He’s at Glenn’s grave. She approaches Daryl and asks him not to hate her. He turns to look at her and says he will never hate her. Daryl walks away and Carol breathes a sigh of relief.
FACING THE HORDE
The time has come. Daryl walks to the gates of Hilltop and walks out. Everyone is assembled with armor and weapons. Daryl walks to the front of the line. Kelly bends down to feel the ground. The horde is almost there.
In the mist, walkers start emerging from the woods. Jerry cracks his neck, ready to fight. Aaron yells for everyone to get in formation. The walkers run into an electric fence that Eugene set up, but there are too many walkers and the fence shorts out the batteries. The walkers hit the next fence and the last line of defense for Hilltop.
Aaron splits up the fighters and they start killing walkers at the fence. The weight of the walkers is too much and the fence begins to fall. Beta walks out of the woods and his team uses a slingshot to throw the bags of sap at the residents of Hilltop. Everyone is hit with the liquid that Jerry says smells like a christmas tree. A fire lights up nearby and someone screams as they burn. The liquid is like gasoline and Alpha is shooting fire arrows towards Hilltop.
Negan goes to Alpha and says he thought she wanted them to join the Whisperers. She says they will join them…as part of her horde. Negan is shocked and calls her a badass.
Aaron calls for a retreat, but Alpha’s people shoot arrows of fire at the gates, blocking the Hilltop army from getting in. They are trapped between the fire and the walker horde.
Wow!!! This is the type of battle I expected on The Walking Dead in the war with Negan. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the writing is so much better. Perhaps the best it’s ever been. Michael E. Satrazemis directed this episode and he’s been one of the better directors lately. With good writing and good direction comes an intense and more than compelling story.
Norman Reedus is killing it this season. Daryl has come a long way. This character has grown the most in the ten years of The Walking Dead. He is proving that Daryl earned his leadership position. He watched Rick struggle with so many emotions any time the group faced danger. While Daryl’s reaction was erratic some times, Rick always kept everyone in line. Now it’s Daryls time to keep everyone safe, calm, and focused. I wonder what Daryl would say to Rick now after having to be the leader of four communities.
I’m seriously scared for the TWD Family. We haven’t had a major character die in a while. I’m not so afraid for Daryl and Carol, but definitely scared for everyone else. They tore at my heart strings with the kids. If Jerry or Aaron or even Earl dies, I’m going to be so sad. It’s my hope that Michonne will arrive in time to save Hilltop. But even if she does, the community will be in shambles. They will have to move. And that will be two communities lost on The Walking Dead.
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