The Walking Dead Recap: Something They Need
By Emily Offshack (@CanadianEmily)
Even when Rick points guns at innocent people and steals their things, he’s not like Negan. He doesn’t kill unnecessarily, he shakes their hands, and he’s fighting for the greater good. This penultimate episode of season 7 of The Walking Dead showed us the similarities and differences between the leadership styles of Rick, Negan, Gregory, Maggie and Natania. We can expect some of these leaders to fall from power in the season finale.
And Eugene, definitely not a leader, continues to be lame.
Seaweed and dynamite
Walkers that live in and around the water are the coolest looking walkers. Seaweed dripping off them. Random stuff growing out of their heads. Flesh rotted and falling off. Gross, but cool. Kudos to the makeup department for this episode. These waterlogged walkers hang out around Oceanside, where our survivors are headed after Tara decided to tell Rick about their stash of guns.
It’s clear that the Alexandrians don’t want to fight Oceanside, but they really want—need—the guns. We get a sense of how everyone is feeling as they make their way to the seaside community. Rick tells Tara not to feel bad if things go south, but she seems to already feel bad. Enid asks Carl if he ever thinks about who he killed. Rick asks Michonne if she’s good while she climbs a tree to be the designated sniper, and she replies that she’s “good enough.” Jesus is regretting not trying to stop Sasha and Rosita, while Daryl tries to be optimistic and hopes they’re already back from The Sanctuary, since Sasha is such a good shot and Rosita can take care of herself. Daryl knows the alternative, where “a whole lot of people” will die. Eric, who has joined Aaron on the mission this time, says to him, “Being with you, well, it makes abject terror tolerable.” Everyone who has joined Rick and Tara on this journey to Oceanside is dedicated to the cause, even though none of them are enjoying it. They are soldiers preparing for war.
The Alexandrians take their positions, Jesus and Daryl set dynamite, and Tara goes in.
A narrow definition of monster
Sasha is at The Sanctuary, alive, and in the same room Daryl and Dwight were recently locked up. A Savior named David checks on her (or should I say, checks her out) with the purpose of proving he’s way more creepy than Negan. Less lethal, but more creepy. Sasha asks him for some water, and David proceeds to grope her and ask if she remembers him from the night before. We find out that she was quickly caught, and tied up by David, after breaking in. David attempts to rip off Sasha’s shirt before she head-butts him, and then Negan shows up.
At the sight of Negan, David turns into a fearful child, because he knows that what he was about to do to Sasha is against Negan’s rules. “I wouldn’t want to be somewhere where the leader let that fly,” Negan says as though he’s a morally grounded leader. Though David is panicking and apologizing, it doesn’t matter. Negan pulls out a gigantic knife and jabs it through David’s neck. Lucille must be reserved for special occasions. Sasha watches on, relatively unphased, and Negan asks someone to get her a new shirt.
Negan now recognizes Sasha from his brutal killings of Glenn and Abraham. He immediately questions whether Rick sent her, and she separates herself from Rick by calling him, using a less polite word, Negan’s minion. Despite the fact that it’s obvious Sasha broke in to get revenge, and that she’s brave, Negan immediately gives her the pitch of why she should join the Saviors. He gives her a knife to do whatever she wants with: kill the David walker that will soon emerge in her cell, kill herself, or do nothing and get eaten. He essentially tells her to get over his murders, and says to her as he leaves, “I just want you to understand. We’re not monsters.”
I have a hard time believing Negan actually thinks of himself as an okay guy. His rules at The Sanctuary are, primarily, to benefit himself. There are very few benefits to being an ordinary Savior. Sure, there is food and protection from outside threats (at least until next week), but there is always the looming threat of Negan himself, which is worse than most outside threats. Cannibals might be worse. You can’t trust that you’ll be safe even if you follow the rules, because maybe someone like Dwight will frame you. Negan bashes people’s heads in, throws them into fires, and, for minor offences, takes an iron to their faces. He makes other people kill, he takes wives as property in exchange for basic necessities, he forces people to do the jobs he wants them to do, and he intimidates everyone at every chance he gets. So, yes, Negan, despite your charisma, you are a monster. And so is David, zombie or not.
Eugene, Eugene, Eugene. What can I say? He’s lame. He’s sent to bring Sasha bedding and water, and he goes on about the allergenic qualities of the pillow. Really? Sasha, understandably, asks him what they’ve done to him. Eugene says, “They’re keeping me safe,” which confirms that this is his only concern. He asks Sasha to accept Negan’s offer, and explains that while being brave in the RV for 37 minutes was awesome, he can’t do it and doesn’t need to anymore. He implies his bravery was brought on by Abraham, who is gone. Mentioning Abraham again, he begs Sasha, “Please say yes. He would want you to—he wouldn’t—I do.” The bravest thing Eugene has done in a while is to admit that.
Eugene leaves and the David walker wakes up. Sasha is still deciding where she goes from here.
Plants and zombies
Have I mentioned lately how awesome Maggie is? She’s just hanging out at The Hilltop, teaching people how to garden and retrieving new plants from outside the walls. Her gradual and effortless takeover of The Hilltop bothers Gregory so much that he ventures outside the walls to talk to her. I’m fairly sure he hasn’t been outside the walls since they were built. But Maggie is out there digging up a particularly stubborn plant, all alone, so now is his chance to bombard her with ridiculous questions.
In particular, Gregory wants to know why Maggie is still at The Hilltop now that her friends are “gone” (on a mission with Rick) and Dr. Carson is gone, too. Maggie points out that Gregory said he’d get the doctor back, and her friends are only gone for a while. Gregory huffs and puffs and eventually agrees to try to work together for the sake of the community, right before he thinks about stabbing Maggie while she’s working on the plant. He doesn’t do that, probably because it’s too messy. More messiness shows up: a walker, still far away. Maggie offers to get it, but that’s offensive to him; he doesn’t need a pregnant lady to protect him. Yeah. With Gregory being this sexist, I can guess why Jesus never felt like he belonged. But Gregory chickens out, and Maggie has to get that walker and the one that attacks Gregory in the meantime. I don’t think there’s any way that the walker wouldn’t have immediately killed Gregory, but that wouldn’t make for good storytelling.
Gregory admits he never killed a walker before. Some other people from The Hilltop walk by, having witnessed the walker situation, and Maggie relays to them that Gregory is still learning because he hadn’t killed one before. “That’s not what he told us,” one of them says, sounding outwardly critical of Gregory right in front of him. Poor Gregory. Nobody likes him.
What you have is what we need
Natania enters her Oceanside house and is surprised by Tara, who has somehow managed to sneak in without being noticed and is now pointing a gun at Natania’s face. For Natania, this immediately validates her philosophy to kill all outsiders on sight. Then Cyndie walks in, and the conversation goes like this:
Tara: Hey, Cyndie.
Cyndie: You promised.
Tara: Yeah, I did. Put your hands on your head.
Tara frantically explains the situation: that they’re there to take their guns and fight the Saviors with or without their cooperation. She relays the additional horrible things that the Saviors have done: killing her friends and girlfriend. If Oceanside joined their group of communities, they would have an army to fight for the greater good. She begs them to talk to Rick, but Natania will have none of it. Cyndie wants to talk with them, but she can’t convince Natania in time. Tara only had a little time to try to convince them, and now the dynamite is going off.
Outside, Michonne is firing shots in front of people as they run, luring them all to a central location. Daryl yells orders for people to get on the ground and put their hands on their head, which Jesus follows up with, “Please.” See, the Alexandrians are polite. Well, Negan might say “please” in a very sarcastic tone. Jesus was genuine.
Natania and Cyndie manage to overpower Tara, who reveals that her gun isn’t even loaded. Again, she tells them to just talk to Rick. Natania puts a (loaded) gun to her head and drags her out, as a hostage, to confront the group.
All of Oceanside is gathered, on the ground, overpowered by the Alexandrians. Looking in as an outsider, Rick seems pretty evil at the moment. But he’s not Negan. Rick insists nobody has to get hurt. “This is just about what you have. What we need.” See, Negan will take everything, regardless of whether it’s a need or a want, and it will always be for himself. Before Natania can shut her up, Cyndie tells her companions that the Alexandrians want them to fight the Saviors. She knows the message means more coming from her than from Rick. Natania still has a gun pointed at Tara’s head, and Michonne is still high in the tree, ready to shoot if needed, but Tara yells at her not to.
The noise has attracted walkers, and Michonne warns them of the incoming, which gives Cyndie a chance to clock Natania in the head and save Tara yet again. Rick releases the two whose hands are tied and gives one of them his knife. Everyone, together, fights off the walkers. When they’re done, Rick’s knife is voluntarily returned to him, and they shake hands. See? Completely civil. But Natania is like Eugene if he decided to be brave enough to create a survival plan for more than himself. She prefers the cowardly route. “We’re not fighting with you. So take your damn guns and go.”
There will be winners and losers
Negan visits Sasha and finds that she used the knife to kill the David walker. To him, that means Sasha is choosing to join the Saviors, and that makes her a winner. He tells her that she’ll stop Rick from carrying out whatever plan he has. It’s unclear who relayed Rick’s plan to Negan. Eugene wasn’t aware of an attack plan, though he could guess it. Or have we time shifted a bit again, and it’s Gregory who relayed this information to Simon?
Because Gregory is now in his office after his walker encounter, drinking and checking out his bloody face. He pulls out a map and tells his assistant (servant?) to pack a bag, because they’re going to drive somewhere. Somewhere, of course, is to meet Simon. Like Eugene, Gregory is assuming the Saviors will protect him, but he doesn’t even know what a threat looks like. My guess is Gregory and Simon will both lose next week.
Rick needs to win, so he takes every last gun from Oceanside. It’s a bit ridiculous to leave them with absolutely no protection. We can be pretty sure they’ll need guns for something next week. But Tara assures them they’ll get their guns back, and she thanks Cyndie for the three times she saved her life. Cyndie and some others want to join the fight, but it’s everybody or nobody at Oceanside. As they’re leaving, Tara admits that she doesn’t feel bad about taking the guns, and Carl tells Enid that he thinks about the people he didn’t kill, too. Everyone feels guilty that Negan is still alive.
At the Sanctuary, Eugene talks to Sasha through the door. She says she made the wrong decision to join Negan, and she just wants Eugene to get her a weapon to kill herself. She doesn’t want Negan to force her to put their friends in danger. When we see Sasha’s face, we know she’s conning Eugene into getting her a murder weapon even though he brought her pickles. But at this moment, I knew what Sasha would get: Eugene’s homemade suicide pills. Fail. I would love to see Sasha and Eugene redeem themselves next week.
Rosita meets the Alexandrians at the gate when they return home. Daryl and Jesus are happy to see her, but are worried for Sasha. Rosita brought a visitor home with her: Dwight. When the door to Dwight’s cell opens, Daryl goes ballistic and Rick has to stop him from attacking. Turns out Dwight wants to help take down Negan, but becoming buddies with this group after everything he’s done is going to be tough. When Dwight says he’s there to help, Rick pulls out a Negan attitude and replies with, “Okay. Get on your knees.”
Prepare for war next week
Sunday is the season finale, folks! It’s going to be epic. Alexandria, The Kingdom, The Hilltop, the Scavengers, and Oceanside’s guns are off to war. Will they get Negan? Who will die? Will there be a major cliffhanger that leaves us frantic for the entire summer? I hope not. Last year was rude.
What I want to see next week: Epicness. Carol’s awesome moves. Daryl and a crossbow. Michonne and her katana. Morgan joining the fight. Shiva biting someone. Jesus using ninja skills. Jadis talking weird. Negan losing. Rick winning.