Season 7 of ‘The Walking Dead’ resumes exactly where we left off, with Rick desperately trying to convince other communities to join him in a war against Negan. Plus, the murderous villain finally discovers that his hostage, Daryl, has disappeared.
We return to Alexandria in the dead of night, with no one but Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) on watch of the dark little town. With nothing happening out in the woods the priest pulls out what we can only assume is a bible, reads a short passage and then closes the book before leaving his post and heading into town. Can I just say right now that that is probably not a smart move on his part? But anyway, moving on.
The next thing we see is Gabriel entering Olivia’s house (RIP), and walking into the back where the food is kept. The camera doesn’t follow him, but there’s a loud crash that leaves you immediately wondering if he’s run into trouble. The answer? No. Instead we see him piling cans of food into a storage container and wiping shelves clean. He briefly stops to look inside his book, a notebook, then moves into the armory where Alexandria keeps what’s left of it’s weapons. He takes a bunch of hatchets and knives, and soon enough we learn he’s packing up a car full of supplies. The last thing we watch him take is a can of gas as he fills up the car, and we are forced to watch as Gabriel drives away from Alexandria… and someone sits up in the passenger seat beside him. Whoa! Who could THAT be?
Next we pick up exactly where we left off, at The Hilltop, with Rick and the group trying to convince Gregory they need to bring down Negan. In fact Gregory not only says no, he tells Rick and his people that they aren’t friends and as far as he’s concerned they’ve never even met. Everyone gets involved in trying to convince him from Maggie to Jesus to Tara, but Gregory is just a big coward who refuses to break. The good news? It turns out they don’t need him.
After their failed meeting with Gregory, Enid meets them and brings them outside to meet a large group of Hilltop-ers who are curious what they are up to. Maggie tells them that she thinks they can win, and the Hilltop-ers say they are in and want to help. It’s a touching moment that proves they don’t need a fearful leader like Gregory to build an army.
Even with their growing numbers Rick reveals his concerns about beating Negan, and is also worried that they will be looking for Daryl soon. That’s when Jesus reveals that he has one of their walkies, a souvenir he took from the compound, so he will be able to hear if any of Negan’s men are coming for them. Instead of heading back to Alexandria, Jesus says it’s time for them to meet King Ezekiel, which means they are headed to the Kingdom!
Rick & Ezekiel Come Face-To-Face
Rick is skeptical of Ezekiel and the Kingdom before they even arrive, but he’s literally shocked when two men wearing “armor” (including Richard) come riding out on horses to greet them. Jesus introduces them and asks to speak with the King, but they aren’t welcomed inside until they hand over their weapons. As Richard brings them inside he tells Jesus they need to start “dealing” with the Saviors, which amuses Jesus because that’s exactly what they are there to do.
Before they get to see King Ezekiel they spot Morgan, and everyone, including Rick, is instantly relieved to see that he’s still alive. They haven’t seen Morgan since before Negan killed Abraham and Glenn, and both Rick and Daryl are immediately concerned about Carol. Where is she? Is she okay? Morgan tells them she’s fine, but that she left because she wasn’t happy being followed around. Morgan then tells them that the people of the Kingdom saved Carol after she was shot by a Savior, and reveals that he did what he needed to do to the guy — he killed him. For Carol. Daryl seems devastated to know that Carol is gone again, but either way they are obviously happy to know at least two more of their friends are still alive.
Once they finally get to the auditorium where King Ezekiel greets Jesus, the group keeps their distance in the back once they see the tiger. It’s actually a really funny moment when Jesus realizes he forgot to tell them about Shiva, the tiger. Once they see it’s safe they come down towards the stage to meet Ezekiel formally. When Jesus turns the floor over to Rick he shares their story and how they managed to take out an entire outpost thinking they had killed Negan, but that was before they knew what they now know about him and the Saviors.
Michonne chimes in to share that “several” of their people were killed, which is when Morgan asks who. Again, he wasn’t there when Negan killed Abraham and Glenn, so he finds out as Rosita lists of their names as well as Olivia, Spencer and mentions that Eugene has been taken. Morgan looks horrified by this information, as he should be. Rick then tells Ezekiel that although his people are strong they don’t have nearly enough numbers or weapons to take on Negan and the Saviors. Without hesitating Richard then tells them that they have plenty of people and weapons, and that if they “strike first” without warning they could absolutely win. The King stays quiet, taking all of this information in, but it’s clear that he’s not completely thrown off by the idea. It’s written all over his face that he thinks there is a chance, and Richard speaks to that.
Out of everyone in the room King Ezekiel turns to Morgan and asks his opinion and, of course, he asks if there is another way. He suggests trying to capture just Negan, but it doesn’t go over very well. Instead King Ezekiel announces that it’s getting late and invites Rick and the group to stay. In return Rick tells the King a story his mother told him as a little boy, about a little girl whose life was ruined by a rock in the road. The little girl decided she didn’t want anyone else’s life to suffer because of the rock so she dug at it for hours until she got it out, and that’s when she found a bag of gold left there by a King. The King in the story felt whoever removed that rock deserved to be rewarded for saving so many people, and so he did. Ezekiel tells Rick he’ll have an answer in the morning, and that’s the end of their first meeting.
Later we watch as Benjamin runs into Carol in the woods outside of Alexandria. He reveals that he went out there to check on her for King Ezekiel to check on her, and that the King will continue doing so just to know that she’s okay because he cares about her. Carol offers him some sound advice on how to move in the woods without being heard, then sends him packing back to the Kingdom.
Richonne Are A Walker-Killing Dream Team
When he returns he finds King Ezekiel telling a story to his little brother, Henry, and thanks him for tucking the boy in. He tells the King he saw Carol and that she’s well, and then shares that he thinks they should help Rick. Benjamin mentions that he saw in their eyes they are going “risk everything” whether or not they get help, and he would rather they stood with their new allies instead of letting them fight alone. Does this sway the King? Nope.
The next morning he tells Rick and the group that he’s passing on their offer to go to war. He believes it’s too risky and too many people will be lost. Instead, he offers Daryl “asylum” so that he has a safe place to hide once the Saviors go looking for him. Daryl doesn’t accept. but Rick forces him to stay when he leaves. He knows it’s the best chance they have to keep Daryl alive, and he’s also hopeful Daryl can convince Ezekiel to change his mind. Richard, on the other hand, is ready to fight and lets Rick know that he’s willing to join them.
As Rick and the group make their way back to Alexandria, they come upon a major road block. Someone, likely the Saviors, put a dozen or so cars across the road to keep people from going down the road. Carl notices that he can see the compound in the distance, so Rick suggests they move the cars and then put them back so they don’t suspect anyone was there. While they are in the process of moving the cars Michonne spots a boobie trap filled with explosives. Rosita then discovers that under a grate is an even bigger bomb, and she immediately tries to disable it. It turns out that she knows a thing or two about explosives, manages to pull the battery pack out of the man-made bomb and instructs the group how to take the rest of the dynamite apart. They desperately need the explosives in their war against the Saviors, so taking them is their best bet. Unfortunately as they are doing this Negan announces on the walkie that Daryl is missing, and he sends a search party to Alexandria to find him. Yikes.
As they are doing this, the herd of walkers the boobie trap was set up for starts to come down the road. Rick sends Carl, Tara and Rosita to put their cars back on the road so that the herd will stay put, and he sends Sasha and Jesus back to the Hilltop on foot. The walkers get too close, too fast and they have no choice but to give up on the explosives. Carl, Tara and Rosita have to jump back in the truck and make a run for it, but they get swarmed.
In a desperate attempt to get back to the group and make an escape, Rick and Michonne start the two remaining cars that the explosives were attached to and use the metal rod to clothes line the hundreds of walkers headed their way. It is hands down one of the coolest moments in The Walking Dead history.
Obviously Rick and Michonne survive the ride, make it inside the truck, and everyone gets away happily ever after (for now). As they drive away, some of the explosives they left behind go off and kill the remaining walkers still roaming around. BBQ, anyone?
There is another sweet Richonne moment in the back of the truck, too. As Rick and Michonne catch their breath, he admits that he might have “pushed it” back there with the dynamite. Michonne isn’t here for his Debbie Downer-ness and instead tells him that he can smile because they are still here. Then she leans in and whispers right into his ear that they are the ones who will live.
The Saviors Come Looking For Daryl
Upon their arrival in Alexandria Tobin (Jason Douglas) meets Rick and the group at the gate. They’ve hidden the truck full of explosives “somewhere safe”, according to Rick, who also tries to warn Tobin that the Saviors are coming. It’s too late, because as he says the words the calvary comes down the ride and right into the little safe haven. They don’t even stop to say hi and instead wait for Rick to approach, which is when the guy in charge reveals they are looking for Daryl. Rick does a good job of playing stupid, but the leader tells them they are going to help the Saviors look for him because if he is, in fact, inside Alexandria they want the people to watch as they kill him. Yikes.
The Saviors search everything. Every room, cabinet, shelf and closet they can find… and of course they don’t do it carefully. We watch as they destroy even more of Alexandria’s belongings, including a bunch of medical supplies inside the infirmary where Denise worked. It’s while they are searching that they discover the food pantry has been completely cleared out. Shock is written all over Rick’s face, but with Aaron’s help he plays it off as if they are just struggling to “adjust” to life serving Negan. But the good news is that they don’t find Daryl, obviously, and the Saviors eventually leave empty handed.
As soon as they are gone Rick asks Aaron about the pantry but he doesn’t have an answer. He does, however, know that Father Gabriel is gone. Both he and Tobin figured out that he was missing, then noticed the pantry was empty, and last but not least that a car was gone. Rosita immediately flips out about it, but Rick and Michonne admit they don’t believe that Gabriel would do this to them. Could he really be up to something else other than just bailing for his own survival? Hmm.
Inside the armory Rick discovers that Gabriel left his bible behind. It’s face down on the floor, and even Rick suggests that he wouldn’t leave it behind. Rosita continues to say that he left them and doesn’t want to be found, but that’s when Rick finds a page in the armory notebook that just reads “boat.” Aaron asks how he could possibly know that they were there, but Rick doesn’t have an answer for him.
Rick and the group head out to the boathouse to find Gabriel… but instead they end up surrounded by another group of survivors we haven’t seen before. Although Rick, Michonne, Tara and the rest of the group immediately surrender, the new group (who I have to say look like they live in the trees or something), closes in on them with weapons. Rick’s response to this? To smile — wide, with teeth — because now he has people. Lots of people. And even better? They have weapons.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — What did YOU think about the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead? Do YOU think the new people are a threat, or can Rick convince them to help take on the Saviors? And what are your thoughts on Father Gabriel? Comment below!