Keeping the Alexandrians fed requires a showdown with the Saviors — unsurprisingly, things turn bloody

By Jonathon Dornbush
March 07, 2016 at 02:13 PM EST
Gene Page/AMC
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The Alexandrians take their first bloody steps into battle with the Saviors, and while the group thinks they’ve taken control of this next world with relative ease in “Not Tomorrow Yet,” the episode ends on a major setback that reveals the fight has barely begun.

Rick and the crew who visited the Hilltop return to Alexandria with plenty of supplies in tow, as well as the makings of a plan to take on Negan and his militia. “We’re going to have to fight,” Rick solemnly tells Carol as he returns, the latter having stayed to keep up some sense of normalcy in town.

But even Carol’s beet-and-acorn cookies (AMC is surely publishing a cookbook soon, right?) can’t wash away the bad taste of battle that’s about to come the Alexandrians’ way.

Rick hosts a town hall meeting in the church to tell everyone the deal they’ve agreed to with the Hilltop and to receive everyone’s input on how to proceed. He believes they have to take the fight to Negan while they still have the element of surprise. This assault will be how they feed their people, and the blood shed in the midst of it all is a price worth paying.

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Naturally it’s only Morgan who has any real objection to the plan. He suggests giving Negan and his people a choice, a way out of their deaths. There’s possibility wherever there is life, he argues, and to rob them of their choice would be to rob them of that possibility — and likely haunt the Alexandrians.

Rick disagrees because he believes announcing their presence guarantees that more lives are put at risk. Best to take this group out now rather than wonder what striking up some palaver might do.

No one unsurprisingly takes Morgan’s side in the debate (and even before it began, he angered Carol by positing someone could think she could be just as complicit in what he did with the Wolf as he was because she decided to keep it a secret). And so without another “nay,” Rick goes off to confirm with everyone not in attendance about this course of action. He’s fine if people don’t want to kill, but they have to accept that there are those among them willing to do so.

Yet while the town all decides to follow Rick’s lead on this, the calm before the storm is anything but calm in Alexandria. Maggie explains to Glenn that she has to be willing to go into the fray. Even if it means staying on the perimeter of the Saviors’ compound, she’s the one who made this deal, and so she has to take some responsibility for the lives being endangered.

Life is more personally messy for a few other romantic pairings around town ahead of the presumably big fight. Abraham is packing up to leave…not for the battle but to leave Rosita. With the devastating line that when he met her, he thought she was the only woman left on Earth but now she isn’t, he flees with his things, leaving Rosita to cry in the company of a predictably awkward Eugene before shutting the door in his face.

An unexpected pairing comes when Carol, unable to sleep for the night and frustratingly writing in her notebook, decides to go out for a walk and a smoke. She stops by Tobin’s porch, where he sits also deprived of a good night’s sleep. Carol brought Tobin some of her Alexandria-famous cookies earlier, and the fleeting moment between the two was not merely a moment. As Tobin describes how he’s terrified of Carol because of what she does, he also knows why she acts in such a way. It’s because she was a mother and continues to be one for just about everyone in town.

Except for Tobin, that is, because that would make the kiss following this little late-night talk very problematic.

NEXT: The night before 

Yes, while the two share a moment that proves Carol is not a motherly figure to Tobin, another couple just houses away also makes an important step. Denise finds Tara in the kitchen, where the latter says those three all-important words: I love you.

She quickly follows that up ny saying Denise doesn’t have to tell her that back just yet, but Denise is willing to…when Tara returns from the strike. Unfortunately, the wait will be a long one because Tara is then going on a supply run with Heath for two weeks, prolonging the love for just a little while longer.

Of course, two weeks could practically be an eternity in The Walking Dead universe (especially when the show focused primarily on a couple of days for most of a half-season), and there will almost certainly be casualties in that time.

As the group has Hilltopper Andy draw maps and spell out whatever intel he has on Negan’s compound, Rick begins to form a plan he hopes will prevent as many losses on their side as possible. They’ll head in at night, dealing with as few awake guards as possible, and give them exactly what they want — Gregory’s head on a platter.

How are they going to do that? By finding a walker lookalike, of course.

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Rick takes a scouting crew out to do a little hunting. There, Rosita confronts Carol about Morgan’s behavior in the church, Carol questions Rick about allowing Maggie to be along for this whole ride as a soon-to-be mother, and Rick…well, his biggest question is why Gabriel is still wearing his religious garb. (Answer: He’s still who he was…and it’s harder to see him in the dark.)

Heath and Glenn, while out in the fields searching for Gregory’s lost walker brother, both have one thing on their minds — killing. They’ve both killed walkers sure, but killing a still-living person, and doing so by surprise no less, is unlike the walker bodies they’re used to chopping up and shooting through. These are going to be people they’re killing, and that makes for a life-changing proposition.

It’s a bridge they eventually have to cross but not before an appropriated head to fool the Saviors. They find one close enough, but they notice the nose isn’t quite right. So Rick gives it one final bit of plastic surgery by repeatedly punching the decapitated head in the nose a few times to indicate it’s been broken. And to Andy, Rick’s behavior makes him scarier than what he’s about to face.

And what Andy deals with later that night, in the wee hours before dawn, is the Saviors’ compound. He approaches the building by car and steps out with a bag. Two gun-toting guards come out to greet him, demanding to see the head. They inspect it, and, assuredly thanks to Rick’s expert punching skills, it passes muster. One guard goes inside to fetch Andy’s kidnapped friend, and while he’s gone, Daryl comes up behind the other guard and kills him.

With the body hidden, the other guard comes out to meet a similar deadly fate, freeing Andy’s fellow Hilltopper in the process. Andy grabs his friend and runs back for the car while the rest of the small army, led by Rick, heads inside for a silent, bloody night.

NEXT: An unexpected complication 

Splitting up, the group makes their way through the compound door by door, hoping to hold down the weapons cache and kill just about everyone in sight. At first, things go well. A swift knife to the neck of a sleeping man in one room, another murder next door. But the killing proves to be more difficult for Glenn and Heath. The two are paired up and find a room with one man to kill apiece.

Glenn deals with his man, fighting back tears after doing so, and in that life-changing moment, he comes to realize something. As he sees Heath struggling to kill his man, he doesn’t want to put Heath through what he just endured, so he kills the second man for him, hoping to prevent him from ever having to commit such an action.

Unfortunately, the two are forced into combat when the fire alarm goes off and wakes the entire building. Abraham and Sasha run into a Savior who happens to be awake, and before they can subdue him, he triggers the alarm.

The whole compound is sent into a frenzy, and even those outside are pulled into the fight. Tara, Gabriel, Jesus, and the other two Hilltoppers are outside in the car, with Tara discussing her guilt over covering up a secret by telling Denise she loved her, when the siren pulls them into action.

Andy and his friend ride away in the car to ensure their deal with Gregory remains intact while everyone else (yes, even Gabriel, who, with a little bit of prayer, is able to pull the trigger and kill one of the Saviors) enters the firefight. Carol, however, does her best to keep Maggie away from it all, even as the sirens blare in the distance. The two are out on the perimeter, which would seem like a safe place considering the carnage inside.

Bullets fly, blood sprays, and mayhem ensues in every corner of the building. Glenn and Heath, hoping to escape, flee as a pack of Saviors chase them until they’re able to dive through a doorway and into the armory. The door shut behind them, they open fire through the flimsy door, hoping to stop their attackers.

And they seemingly do. Silence follows as they await returning fire, inching toward the door until they crack it open. They find bodies strewn about, puddles of blood below them and spatters of it on the wall. One of the Saviors shows a last flickering flame of life, only to see it extinguished by Jesus, who is also standing in the hall.

So with seemingly the entire compound taken care of, the Alexandrians head out into the daylight to reap the spoils of their victory…and find a ride back home. (All the while, Morgan is at home hard at work, attempting to distract himself from the bloodshed he can only imagine occurring.)

The morning is much quieter than their night, giving them a chance to consider the fight. Michonne wonders which man they killed happened to be Negan because, as far as they know, this compound was the Saviors.

And so the appearance of one last Savior riding a motorcycle out of the building is perhaps a warning sign of what’s to come. They gun the man down, and Daryl tackles him because that is no ordinary bike, after all.

The group’s focus shifts, however, when the man’s radio crackles. A woman’s voice emits from it, telling them all to lower their weapons. She’s not willing to come out from wherever she’s hiding, but she will talk. And she expects they’ll want to talk back, as this mystery person reveals they have Carol and Maggie.

Guess those weren’t the only Saviors in town.

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AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.
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