Gene Page/AMC

Find out what the 'Old Man Rick' vision means

February 25, 2018 at 10:23 PM EST

The result is a lot of heart-to-hearts. Carl calls a weeping Michonne his “best friend”; he tells Judith that while he wasn’t able to survive this world like their mother promised, she will; and Daryl, ever the stoic griever, gives Carl props for saving their people. Rosita, Daryl, Tara, Dwight and the others plan to regroup at the Hilltop to once again unite their people under one colony. Rick and Michonne, meanwhile, are staying behind with Carl until his last breath.

Back at The Kingdom, Morgan bumps into Carol, who suggests they avoid the Saviors as long as they can to save Ezekiel. But there’s one problem with that: Morgan saw Henry sneak back in. So, as Carol says, “If we need to take them, we take them.” One by one, they take the Saviors.

Morgan’s staff was once a symbol of a repentant monk. Now it’s a symbol of a sadist. Morgan doesn’t kill Saviors swiftly with a gun, as Carol does; he makes them suffer. When Carol offers to take out the Saviors for the both of them, he repeatedly says no as he then takes a moment to watch his victim drown on his own blood. When Carol tells them to bypass another troop of Saviors, Morgan says no again. But this time he’s slipping. As he cuts down two of the men, a third comes up from the side and nearly guns him down before Carol intervenes.

Meanwhile, Ezekiel is getting inside Gavin’s head. “You are the author of this night, Gavin. Its close will be fashioned by your star,” the king says. Soon, the Savior general realizes his numbers are dwindling, and when he hears gunfire in the distance, he and his remaining men rush Ezekiel into the theater.

Gavin has always been one of the nicer Saviors, but when he gets backed into a corner (or a theater), he becomes vicious. While making empty threats about Ezekiel’s demise, an explosion blasts open the door, and Carol and Morgan sneak up from behind through the stage. A skirmish of bullets ensues that ends with Morgan plunging his hand inside a man’s wound and ripping out his intestines. Carol and Ezekiel look on in silent horror, but Gavin puts their shared disgust into words: “Jesus!”

The rest of the rescue turns into a horror story for Gavin. He desperately runs through hallways lit by flame as Morgan slowly stalks him. All that’s missing is the “ch ch ch ah ah ah.” Flames also lick across the roofs of Alexandria. With the Saviors gone and their comrades already heading to Hilltop, Rick and Michonne carry Carl out into the open. These scenes cut back and forth between Gavin quivering at the sight of Morgan’s shadow and Carl being laid to rest inside a church.

Morgan and Rick, again, find themselves intertwined. While Morgan finds his prey and readies to kill again, Rick listens to Carl recalling the child he killed backed at the prison and commenting how easy it was to take a life. While Gavin lies stunned at Morgan slaughtering the Saviors over “the kid” (i.e. the death of Benjamin), Rick admits he’s done everything for his own kid. As Morgan continues to use the word “no” as a threat to Gavin, who’s begging for things to go back to the way they were, Rick uses “no” to comfort his son.

Then, before Carl reveals his hopeful dream for the future, Morgan goes to kill Gavin. “I have to,” he tells Carol and Ezekiel. But before he can, Henry pops up behind Gavin and pushes his own staff through the Savior’s throat. Morgan trembles as his sickness has spread to the child he once mentored. “I had to,” the boy tells Ezekiel afterwards — mimicking Morgan’s own words. Carl had thanked Rick for shaping him into the man he became, and Morgan is now living with the boy he shaped Henry to be.

As Ezekiel comforts Henry, Carl gives his final request to Rick and Michonne: to take his own life. Morning breaks and the pair weep on the steps of the church, the sound of a single gunshot signaling Carl’s departure from this life.

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