We are finally reunited with Tara on the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead,’ where she discovers a new group of survivors. Unfortunately, one of our own goes missing in the process.
The November 27 episode of The Walking Dead opens with two very unfamiliar faces: a young girl named Rachel, and an unidentified woman accompanying her. They are on a beach when they discover a walker in the sand, and the young girl eagerly kills it with the large stick that she is carrying around. When she spots a second walker she bolts towards it, upsetting the woman she’s with. Right as the girl is about to plunge the stick into it’s head the woman stops her, then leans down and brushes the hair off of none other than Tara’s (Alanna Masterson) face. She’s knocked out cold, but appears alive, and the woman has to convince the young girl, Rachel, that they do not need to kill her. Um, who are these people?
We haven’t seen Tara or Heath (Corey Hawkins) since season six, after they helped Rick raid Negan’s compound and then went off on a two-week scavenge. After credits we roll back an unknown amount of time to find Heath and Tara inside their camper. Heath seems to have lost all hope after revealing they have found absolutely nothing in their two weeks on the road, but Tara is still an optimist. This is not enough to convince Heath that they should keep going. Tara refuses to go home empty handed with so many people counting on them, but Heath reveals he’s still reeling from their killing spree. It has completely broken his spirit, and he shares that now he knows that “no one is in this together” anymore. Heath tells Tara this is their last day scavenging, and then they are going home — not leaving her much of a choice in the matter.
Next we return to present time, and the woman who found Tara has hidden her body on the beach in hopes she will wake up. By the time she returns to check on Tara she’s still knocked out, hidden behind an uprooted tree where she was left. The girl leaves two bottles of water, a small item wrapped in fabric, and the stick she carries around which has a sharp blade at the edge. After she leaves Tara slowly opens her eyes and turns to see if she’s gone, revealing she’s been awake for who knows how long. Tara watches the woman as she takes a seat not too far away and appears to be crying. Since her back is turned, Tara opens a bottle of water and chugs it, then reaches for the fabric-covered item which is, unfortunately, a raw fish. A nice gesture, sure, but how the heck is Tara supposed to eat that?
We watch as Tara follows the woman through the woods besides the beach, even through a small crawl space under a large bush, and into what appears to be her community. It’s a small area of beat up buildings hidden in the middle of the woods, and Tara hides carefully as two women walk nearby and into one of the buildings. The more she searches the more people she finds, putting herself at greater risk with every step. It’s also worth noting that the place seems to be filled with only women and children. Hmm.
Tara Gets Taken Hostage
Just as Tara thinks she’s slinking through unnoticed, a group of women quietly rush over to a large armory, arm themselves, and then go looking for something — or someone. It turns out to be Tara, and one of the women misses shooting her in the head by mere inches. She makes a run for it and eventually outsmarts one of the women, knocking her down and taking her gun. Unfortunately Tara makes one wrong turn and comes face-to-face with Rachel, the little girl that nearly killed her on the beach. Rachel is pointing a handgun at Tara’s head, so she drops the large gun she stole and puts her hands up. Rachel’s response? “It doesn’t matter, we’re supposed to.” Just before she pulls the trigger the woman who saved Tara does it again, stepping in front of the gun and asking Rachel to put it down. A moment later and they are surrounded, and an older, seemingly more in charge woman tells Cindy, the woman, to move away from Tara. Cornered with nowhere to go, Tara tries to talk her way out of the situation but has no such luck.
In normal we-like-to-torture-our-viewers format, when the show returns we go back in time to Tara and Heath’s “last day” of scavenging. They come across what appears to be an old camp site, but unfortunately there is no one in site. It looks abandoned, and after checking it out they fall for one of the greatest walker “traps” the show has ever put together: a sand pile filled with walkers. When Tara tries to pull a large, heavy bag out from under the sand pile she breaks it open, allowing the sand pile to pour down over her and Heath. Inside the sand are about a half dozen walkers who have been trapped for who knows how long, and now they are trying to crawl their way out to attack. Tara uses her handgun to save Heath, allowing him to make a run for it while she gets trapped by another walker. She calls out to Heath for help but after staring back for a moment too long, he disappears and leaves her behind. Wow.
Back at the camp where Tara is now being held hostage, Natanya, the older woman, introduces herself. She shares that they usually shoot strangers on sight, and that they have been very fortunate in staying hidden. She gives Tara a chance to explain herself, and Tara is pretty honest by telling them that she was on a bridge where she was attacked by walkers — which is what we just witnessed — and after falling off she washed up on their inlet nearby. Maybe without realizing it she outs Cindy by sharing that the girl brought her food and water, and that’s how she found her way back to their camp. She asks them to bring her back to the bridge where she last saw Heath, but Natanya feels that she has an advantage over them now that she knows where they are.
Tara Tries Striking A Deal With Natanya
Later that night a woman comes to get Tara from where she is being held by handcuffs, then brings her to another building where a table is set for dinner. Natanya puts a big pot of stew on the table and finally introduces Tara to Cindy, which allows our survivor to express her gratitude. During dinner Natanya tries to convince Tara to stay with them, because she’s led them to believe that she’s been “on the move” for years and doesn’t have somewhere like Alexandria waiting for her. They offer her a home and even offer to help her find Heath and let him come live there, too. This finally opens the door for Tara to ask where all of the men are, and Natanya reveals that they were all killed in a fight with another group — as well as some women, including Cindy’s mom, and even children.
Natanya also calls out Tara for lying about her life “before,” which she did by telling them she worked on a fishing boat. She allows Tara a chance to explain herself, so Tara hesitates for a moment before revealing the truth about where she’s from. She doesn’t tell them where it is or how to get there, but explains that she comes from a community where everyone takes care of each other. Tara also tries to convince Natanya that their communities could work together, but the woman isn’t having it. After a little more poking and prodding she finally agrees to send Beatrice, the woman Tara knocked out while they were chasing her, along as a “guide” to help her find Heath and go back to Alexandria to “check it out.”
Something is off about the trip back to Alexandria the second Tara hits the woods with Beatrice and another woman, and she knows it. Once given the chance to make a run for it she does, and she evades at least one woman before encountering Beatrice again. The two brawl for a bit before a gun is pointed at Tara again and she begs for her life, reminding Beatrice that she spared her life once before. Beatrice then reveals a major shocker: that she knows who was at the outpost they killed, and that if what she told them is true than her people back home are already dead. Tara puts two-and-two together and realizes they must be the ones who killed all of the mean, and Beatrice shares that it was not only every man, but every boy over the age of 10, too. They lined them all up and shot them in the back of the head one-by-one, then left the women to fend for themselves. Just as it seems Beatrice is going to pull the trigger, Cindy appears out of nowhere and knocks her down which gives Tara another chance to run.
Tara Desperately Searches For Heath
When Tara stops to catch her breath Cindy catches up with her and demands that she “swear” she will never return or tell anyone, including her own people, about their camp. Tara does so, and then Cindy hands her a backpack full of food and water as well as another one of those sharp-ended sticks for a weapon. Last but not least Cindy offers to bring Tara to the bridge, which was the original deal Natanya offered her and lied about. When they get there there is no sign of Heath, but Tara wants to get through the obstacle course and check the other side. Cindy refuses to leave without knowing she’s safe, so they agree to work together to get to the other side.
Cindy shoots out walkers until she’s out of ammo, and Tara goes by foot using her stick to fight them off. Once she gets to the other side we flashback to when she was attacked and find out that Heath did NOT abandon her, but instead he helped by shooting the walker that grabbed her. This caused him to be swarmed by the sand-covered walkers, and Tara fought hard to get back to him even though he told her to just go. That’s when a walker crashed into her and forced her off the edge of the bridge, leaving Heath to fend for himself. Tara searches the bridge for any sign of him before spotting dreads that look just like his, only to find that it’s a woman walker. Phew.
Once she makes it to the clear she watches as Cindy is dragged off by Beatrice and Cathy back to their settlement, giving her a chance to catch her breath. Before leaving the scene she sees what look like Heath’s glasses broken on the pavement, right next to a pair of tire tracks that drudged through the mud near the road. She picks up a plastic card that reads “PPP” and then follows the tracks, saying out loud that she hopes it’s him.
Somehow, Tara finds her way back to Alexandria after spending the night in a bizarre little gift shop where she picks up a doctor bobblehead for Denise. When she arrives she is greeted by Eugene, who immediately starts crying the second he sees her. The next thing we see is Tara playing with the bobble head on the floor of the doctor’s office where Denise worked, and it’s clear she’s been made aware of everything she missed while she was gone. With her is Rosita, who is begging her for any information about any other community where there could be weapons. Tara hesitates, hearing out Rosita’s cry for revenge, but the sea shell bracelet on her wrist (a gift from Cindy discovered in the backpack earlier on) reminds her of the promise she made. She tells Rosita that she found nothing out there on the road, letting down her friend but keeping her word to the woman who saved her.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Do YOU think that Heath is on his way home, or do you think he’s been kidnapped? Comment below.