This week, on The Walking Dead’s midseason finale Rick returns to Alexandria to find Negan waiting for him, we catch up with Morgan and Carol at the Kingdom, and there are changes afoot at the Hilltop.

At Hilltop, Maggie is keeping watch, first at Glenn’s grave and then, atop the wall. Gregory sees her and warns her not to get too comfortable with all the love she’s getting from the Hilltop folk. Maggie astutely notes that this reaaaaally seems to bother Gregory. Then she asks him if he’s going to eat the apple he’s carrying. When Gregory replies that he is, another man who’s on watch at the wall says, “Dude, you know she’s pregnant.” And Gregory reluctantly surrenders the apple to a smiling Maggie. It’s delicious. Both the apple and the implication that there has been a major power shift.

Negan, meanwhile, is living it up in Alexandria. He’s thinking about maybe getting himself a vacation home there. Carl is not thrilled. Negan is cooking a spaghetti dinner in Rick’s kitchen (a scene so bizarrely homey that I can’t believe there wasn’t an “Easy Street” montage – sorry, it’s in your head again now, isn’t it?). He insists that they eat family style, and it’s jarringly grotesque considering Lucille has her own place setting at the table. I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat dinner with the murder weapon that killed two of your friends? #awkward

Remember when someone slipped Daryl that note with the key attached? He uses it to escape from his cell and – this is one of the many reasons I love him – one of the first things he does is slip into Dwight’s room and have some peanut butter. Because: snack first, escape later. Priorities! Also, he steals Dwight’s clothes. Good.

Rick and Aaron are at the walker-filled pond and trying to figure a way to get to the houseboat. There’s a rowboat on the shore, but it’s riddled with bullet holes. Rick decides to go for it and tells Aaron to wait for him. Aaron is like, “Shah, right.” He’s coming with. The trip across the pond is reminiscent of the scene in Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows when the Inferi come to life – gross dead things trying to pull the living into the water. The boat is taking on water and Aaron falls overboard. Rick calls desperately for Aaron, who thankfully surfaces and says he’s okay. I dig Aaron because he’s generally a compassionate, calming influence. He tells Rick he understands why they’re doing what they’re doing – scavenging for the Saviors. What matters at the end of the day is that their hearts are still beating, and the hearts of their loved ones are still beating.

In Alexandria, Spencer is busy practicing his shit-eating smile so he can go ingratiate himself to Negan. This is his chance to seize power, it seems. He warns Negan that Rick is a loose cannon who can never really be trusted to fall in line. Clearly implied in this speech is that Spencer cannot freaking wait to start kissing ass.

Carol is hanging out in her secluded cottage on the edge of the Kingdom. She hears a noise outside and opens the door to discover a bag of produce on her porch. She sees Morgan leaving and calls him over. Morgan is sheepish – he was trying to sneak away because Carol is all hermity now. Turns out Carol is all good for produce because Ezekiel has also been coming by with stuff for her. While Carol and Morgan are talking, Ezekiel’s right-hand guy, Richard, stops by. Man, she gets a lot of visitors for someone who just wants to be left alone. Richard tells them about the deal Ezekiel made with the Saviors and how he doesn’t think it’s going to work. He wants Carol to help him convince Ezekiel that they should attack the Saviors first and finish them.

Michonne is on the road with the female Savior she carjacked. She wants to know why the woman was alone, but her hostage refuses to answer. Eventually, they approach the Sanctuary and Michonne is stunned to see how many Saviors there are. Hundreds. She seems to deflate. Now, she understands why Rick took the deal. The Savior tells Michonne she still has a choice. She can turn the truck around and dispose of it. She also pointedly tells Michonne that there is a silencer in the glove compartment, by which we are to understand that she wants Michonne to kill her. My guess is she is sick of life in Neganville and had snuck off. She’d rather die than go back, and Michonne obliges her.

Daryl emerges from the building and runs into Fat Joey, who immediately puts his hands up. Daryl clobbers him with a pipe, and as he’s finishing him off, Jesus pops up. He is somewhat shocked by Daryl’s viciousness but quickly urges him to get on one of the motorcycles so they can get out of there. First, Daryl grabs Fat Joey’s gun, which if we remember correctly, is Rick’s Colt.

Rick and Aaron return to Alexandria with all sorts of weapons (no ammo) and goodies they retrieved from the houseboat. The owner, who seemed to be the taunting type, left a note saying “Congrats for winning but you still lose” and unfortunately, Rick and Aaron must have grabbed it up with the other stuff. The Savior unloading the goods finds it and is insulted. In retribution, the Saviors beat the holy crap out of Aaron while Rick watches, helpless and horrified.

Meanwhile, Spencer is busy trying to smarm his way into Negan’s good graces by shit-talking Rick. He forgets, however, that he’s talking to a psychopath and said psychopath actually loves the fact that Rick hates his guts but is still out there working for him because that’s what’s best for his group. In Negan’s book, that takes guts. He doesn’t think Spencer has any, though. So, what does he do? He slices him open. Looky! Spencer does have guts! Bye, Spencer.

It’s at that moment that Rosita pulls out her gun and fires at Negan. She misses and hits Lucille instead, which makes Negan bonkers. Arat, one of Negan’s lady thugs, pins Rosita to the ground and holds a knife to her face. Negan finds the shell casing and realizes the bullet was homemade. Rosita won’t talk, so Negan tells Arat to kill somebody. Arat whirls and shoots, killing Olivia.

Just then, Rick arrives. He tells Negan (who once again wants a thank you) that his shit is waiting for him and they should just go. But Negan isn’t leaving until the bullet maker speaks up. Tara tries to take credit, but a weeping Eugene confesses. Negan is delighted and decides he’ll keep Eugene for himself. Spencer starts coming alive as a walker and Rick stabs him. The only thing I like about this is that Spencer dies twice.

Later, Michonne tells Rick she knows now just how outnumbered they are. She still thinks they should fight, but they have to be together. She and Rick kiss and he tells her he knows that now. He gets it.

Maggie is still keeping watch on the wall. Suddenly, she grins. Rick, Michonne, Carl, Rosita and Tara are approaching! They hug Maggie, Sasha and Enid. Rick tells Maggie she was right. They have to fight. Just then, Daryl and Jesus walk out from behind a barn. Rick’s face in that moment! He and Daryl hug like they’re never going to let go, but eventually Daryl does. Then he hands Rick the gun he took off Fat Joey and you can see Rick coming back into himself. The group of them walk together to the mansion.

As Gabriel stands watch in Alexandria, we see that he’s being watched by someone.

That’s it until February 12th! See you when The Walking Dead returns.


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