This week, the Saviors pay an unexpected visit to the Hilltop where Gregory tries to secure his position as weasel-in-chief and Sasha and Rosita are off on a Negan-killing mission.
Poignant music plays as we move through a series of scenes – the first word of spoken dialogue doesn’t happen in this episode until six minutes in: Maggie teaching Enid to throw knives; Sasha leading the Hilltoppers in oddly balletic moves as she teaches them hand to hand knife combat; Maggie toiling away at plans at the table in Jesus’ trailer while Enid sets a plate of food beside her; Jesus handing Sasha a hand-drawn map of the Saviors’ compound while Maggie sleeps; Maggie bringing dinner to Daryl, who sits alone in the dark, head down, outside the trailer. Briefly, she lays a hand on her shoulder. He doesn’t look up, but after she turns to go, he sees her pause, wipe her eyes, and then square her shoulders before re-entering the trailer. These powerful moments tell us everything we need to know about where we are in the story.
Sasha is tending to Glenn and Abraham’s graves when she sees a figure approaching. It’s Rosita, who says she has come to ask for Sasha’s help.
I enjoyed this episode even though it was more of a table-setting for the action that is coming because it provided us with some interesting insight into a couple of secondary characters. Specifically, Jesus and Rosita. Previous to this, all I knew about Jesus was that he was kind of a bearded ninja and Rosita…well, she was getting on my last nerve with her poutiness.
We learn that Jesus grew up in a group home and that attaching to people has been hard for him. He feels differently now that he’s gotten to know Maggie and company. Also, and I only mention this because I am an unapologetic Jesus/Aaron shipper, he makes reference to past boyfriends. *waves shipper flag*
In Jesus’ trailer, Sasha is holding a hollowed out book filled with bullets. She takes a couple and pockets them, then is flustered when Jesus and Enid enter. Jesus knows exactly what she’s doing and he says she’s welcome to the bullets. He just didn’t think she had a gun. Sasha says she does now, and her meaning is clear. Jesus tries to talk her out of what he knows will be a suicide mission, but Sasha says Rosita will be going with or without her and she intends to do this. She asks Enid to take care of Maggie – Maggie is the future of Hilltop. Enid is tearful but then resolved. She informs Sasha that in two minutes she’s going to tell Maggie what’s going on. Maggie gets it – Enid has already begun to honor her request.
An alarm sounds – the Saviors are coming! Sasha runs off to find Rosita and they escape through a tunnel Sasha dug after Maggie insisted they might need a quick way out. That Maggie – what a planner! Enid runs to fetch Daryl; they both know they have to find and hide Maggie. Enid leads them to a cellar, telling them she’ll keep the Saviors away. It’s clear that protecting Maggie has become the priority and that Enid is stepping into an almost daughter-like role.
Gregory, meanwhile, is smarming it up with the Saviors. He cannot kiss enough ass. He offers Simon a drink of gin, having remembered that from the last visit, but Simon in a weirdly aggressive move, tells Gregory he’s now into tequila. Everything is a pissing contest with this guy. Gregory eagerly makes a mental note. Simon then informs him that they’ve come for someone. Dun-dun-DUNNNNN!
Sasha and Rosita look for a car to hotwire and Sasha tries vainly to engage Rosita in conversation. Rosita continues to be sullen. She is not here to make friends. Also, she notices that Sasha is wearing the tail light necklace she made for Abraham. “Like it? I made it.” Ouch. Okay then. Business it is. Sasha suggests they pick a spot outside the Sanctuary and shoot Negan from there – keep it clean, maybe get away alive. Rosita is not having it. She wants to be SURE they get Negan, so that means they have to go in. It seems like she has a death wish. She wants to kill Negan, but she also doesn’t plan on coming back. At this point, I’m fine with it, because come on.
A Savior approaches the cellar door where Maggie and Daryl are hiding, and Enid comes scurrying up with a basket of veggies. The Savior condescendingly tells Enid those are not veggies, they’re vegetables. She can say the whole word. See how evil the Saviors are? They aren’t just homicidal bullies, they are mansplainers. Bastards. Enid is unsuccessful in her distraction and Roy, the Savior, goes down into the cellar. Maggie notes that he now has Enid’s knife. It looks like Daryl is going to jump him, but Maggie stops him. After Roy leaves, Maggie pleads with Daryl to just look at her. He hasn’t been able to do that since he got to the Hilltop. Daryl looks, tears running down his face. He tells Maggie he’s sorry. He blames himself for Glenn’s death. Maggie gently tells him that is wasn’t his fault. Daryl won’t accept this, but Maggie insists. “You’re one of the good things in this world,” she tells him. Glenn thought so, and he was one of the good things, too. It’s a touching moment, but also an important one, because Maggie is refocusing Daryl. She wanted to kill that guy, too. She wants to kill all the Saviors. But what they need is to win. She is all about the big picture.
Turns out the person Simon is there to fetch is Dr. Carson, who is the brother of the other Dr. Carson – the one at the Sanctuary who ended up getting barbecued by Negan. Hilltop Dr. Carson is concerned about his patients, telling Gregory he has to find someone to continue their care. Gregory promises, but mainly he’s worried about cementing his leadership. He tells Simon that if anything happens to him, the next leader might not be as cooperative, and Simon agrees to provide help if Gregory faces any challenges. He’s still taking the doctor, but he’s not heartless – he leaves them with a crate of aspirin.
Outside the Sanctuary, Rosita sets a car on fire to distract the walkers and then hotwires a car. Sasha notes that Rosita knows how to do everything. They hole up in a building overlooking the Sanctuary and while they wait for Negan, Sasha asks Rosita to teach her how to tie some knots. Rosita reluctantly gives in. And then, since there’s nothing to do but wait, she ends up telling Sasha how she learned to do all the stuff that she knows how to do. Short answer: men. There was always a man who wanted to protect her and in the beginning, she needed protection. But she was determined to learn how to take care of herself and she picked up all kinds of skills from her boyfriends. Abraham was different, though. He really saw her. Rosita says she wasted a lot of time and that she wishes she’d been able to tell Abraham she was happy that he was happy. And here go the writers, trying to make me empathize with an irritating character. It’s kind of working. Dammit.
At the Hilltop, Gregory meets with Jesus and suggests that they find new living quarters for Maggie and the other Alexandrians. Jesus astutely realizes that Gregory must feel threatened because he’s trying to split everyone up. Gregory insinuates that it could go badly for Jesus if he talks back to Gregory. He’s cocky (even cockier?) now that he knows Simon will back him up. Jesus does not take well to being threatened.
Meanwhile, Rosita and Sasha have realized that Eugene is in the Sanctuary and that he apparently is in some kind of position of authority. They decide to abandon their outpost – they’ll go in and break him out. Except Eugene (who is now Negan, as he keeps telling everyone) refuses to go with them. At the last moment, Sasha slips through the fence and then locks Rosita out. She tells her that the group needs her and that it’s not her time. Rosita is PISSED. This was not her plan, but there’s nothing she can do. She runs, sobbing in anger.
Will Sasha succeed in killing Negan? Is Eugene really a turncoat? Am I going to have to like Rosita now? We’ll find out next week.