While the current super-sized episode is titled, “Service,” it could have been called “the Reckoning.” We are back in Alexandria, where everyone is in the middle of some really bad “feels.” Michonne can’t sleep and quietly leaves Rick in bed to retrieve a high-powered rifle, hidden inside their fireplace. We are reminded of the nails above the fireplace that used to hold the sword she once thought she would never have to use again, until Reg’s murder. So much for dreams of a better life. Speaking of dreams, Rick was probably awake the whole time. He watches her quietly leave the house carrying the bag full of artillery. While Rick tends to Judith, Michonne sits on top of a burned out car in tall grass, just waiting.
Back at Alexandria, everyone else is a little on edge, too. Rosita snarks at Eugene who would rather keep fixing a radio the Saviors may want, rather than go out with her and Spencer to search for things they think might save the community. Before they can leave, Negan shows up, early, with Lucille. His men are hiding along the walls of the compound, testing the group to see if they will let Negan in. They have Daryl in tow, dressed in his prison-like garb. As Rick arrives, Negan takes delight in banging in the head of a walker as it approaches the gates. He jokes about how great he is to kill a walker that might have done them in instead of bashing in “some ginger’s head” after Spencer failed to immediately let him in and even dared asked him who he was. As the invading horde descends, Negan refuses to let anyone communicate with Daryl, or they’ll have to chop something off of him. I think back to the pigs eating rotted meat before being slaughtered for Negan’s men and wonder if he has the equivalent of “mad cow’s disease” (mad pig’s disease?). Was he this bat-shit insane before the fall?
Rick offers half of their supplies, which Negan refuses to accept, telling Rick that he will decide what they take – sending his goons to search the houses. Dwight, whose soul is also dead, takes Rosita and Spencer’s weapons and ammo before sending them to collect Daryl’s bike. He proves his power over them by also making them watch him pour out their water before they leave. Back in the field, Michonne takes aim at a walker, wasting ammo as she fires wildly but misses the kill shot. She has to rely on her sword to take down the walker. On the way home through the woods, she seems hit hard to find a deer, hit by one of the stray bullets, lying dead before her. As sad as it is, all I can think is that if she doesn’t take it back, the walkers will end up eating it. If she takes it home, Negan and his men will take it. Negan will win out since she doesn’t know his group has invaded. They will be at the compound for a while. Negan’s men are taking everything they can get their hands on (furniture, beds, books, decorations). This is yet another attempt at breaking Rick, forcing him to watch and participate in his humiliation. Negan forces him to follow along and watch the thievery, with Rick carrying Lucille for him. One of Negan’s men finds Deanna’s video recorder, which still holds Rick’s interview. Negan finds it amusing. He tells Rick that he would have been afraid of THAT man, the one with the man-bush on his face, not the man Rick is today.
Negan crosses, yet, another line by asking about the “sick girl” who seemed to be having such a bad night, the one married to “number two.” Fr. Gabriel, whom Negan describes as “creepy as shit with that collar and creepy ass smile” shows up out of nowhere to ask if he would like to pay his respects. An admittedly jumpy Negan thinks that the death of “the girl’s” husband was probably hard on her and led to her own death. As if he is absolving himself of a triple murder, he tells them that number one (Abraham) was on him, but number two (Glenn) was Daryl’s fault. Hold your dinner down for this one: he found Maggie attractive and was going to ask her to come back with him. He knows that they are asking themselves why she would even considered it after he killed her husband. He assures them that they would be surprised by how many are willing to give him what he wants, no matter what. I wanted Rick to be the one to put Negan down. Now I realize that I don’t care who does it, as long as it is one of the pre-Alexandrian survivors, and that I want Negan to suffer. Extra points to Fr. Gabriel for thinking quickly and adding a fake grave to make others think Maggie really was dead.
Just then they hear a gunshot. It’s Carl, defending the family’s medical supplies. It is a reminder of how recent his wounds are and that he is still healing and will need the meds more than most. He is young and impulsive, so he is completely unafraid of Negan, telling him to go before he finds out how dangerous they all are. Rick wants him to stop, Negan tells Rick to be quiet, and taunts Carl about having giant man-sized balls. He asks if Carl would like to see how serious he is, leading Carl to surrender. The showdown prompts Negan to comment on how many guns the small community has, including the guns they took from him when they slaughtered his people. He wants them all, now. He wants Rick to be thankful that he isn’t taking any food, since the group doesn’t have much. He wonders why they let a fat lady, Olivia, control the food. He doesn’t want them to starve since he needs them to work for him. There is more needling of Rick before Negan tells him that all of his guns had better be there. Foolishly, Olivia tells them about her ledger, where she keeps track of every gun. GEEZ!
The presence of the Saviors is testing the character of the group. Some are standing up in their own way, others are folding. Spencer and Rosita find Daryl’s bike. Spencer yammers on about what their lives are, now, and that Rick is responsible. While he whines, Rosita spots something in the bushes. It will have to wait, we are back at the compound and Negan stops Daryl from putting guns in the van to test one, shooting through the window of a house – not caring if someone was on the other side of the bullet. Just then, Olivia is dragged out by one of Negan’s goons. The inventory shows that two handguns are missing. Negan holds her responsible for not doing her job. Rick is given the chance to get the guns back by addressing the community. Blood-stained Lucille is on the table, as he presses the group about how urgent it is to give the guns back. There are comments about whether the guns could protect them from what’s outside the gates. Questions about how to get out of the mess. Rick tells them he is no longer in charge, Negan is. They realize that not everyone is at the meeting, could one of the missing members have the guns? In the woods Rosita takes down a small herd of Negan’s men who were killed before they were all captured. She retrieves the gun from one of them, cluing a nervous Spencer in that the Saviors took their guns on the way out because they plan to take all of their guns. He looks uncomfortable with her plan, causing her to ask if he plans to tell them what she’s done. He doesn’t answer. She stands firm and counters his earlier comments with a response. “This is not our life,” she tells him.
Rick is desperately searching for the missing guns at Spencer’s as Fr. Gabriel sneak-creeps in to tell Rick that he has faith in the group, and especially in Rick. He calls Rick his friend and reminds him that it wasn’t always that way. Aaron also comes in to tell Rick that they searched Rosita’s and couldn’t find anything. While the two men move on to continue searching, Rick finds a creaking floorboard. He pulls the HVAC register and finds Spencer’s food and alcohol stash, as well as the two missing handguns. Michonne’s gun was never logged in, so he doesn’t worry about it being on the list. Negan, who doesn’t stop his men from harassing and being sexually inappropriate with poor Enid, is anxious to know who had the guns, warning Rick he’d better get his people in order. Michonne, deer in hand, returns. She is stunned / disgusted at the sight of Rick holding the bat. Negan is uncharacteristically lenient in giving Rick time to speak with her – noticing her hiding in the ruins of a house near the Alexandrian gates.
As they talk, Rick pleads with her to give him the gun to turn over. He can’t take losing anyone else, not her, not Carl, not anyone. She reluctantly agrees. Negan applauds Rick for turning the rifle over. Rick pushes his luck to ask if Daryl can stay, now that it’s clear they will play by the rules. The answer is no, but then Negan allows Daryl to plead his case. Nope, he refuses to give Negan the satisfaction of speaking. Negan tells them that they will be back, soon, and if the group doesn’t have something interesting for them – someone will die. He even takes the deer Michonne carried through the gates. Dwight takes Daryl’s bike, telling him he could have it if he asks for it. Silence from Daryl, so he takes off. I suspect that we will soon learn why it is so important for Dwight to gain Daryl’s trust and it most likely has nothing to do with loyalty to Negan. Negan will leave if Rick says those two magic words, so he does. “Thank you,” however, isn’t enough for Negan. He wants to show off his form by killing another approaching walker with a candlestick, Lucille is still in Rick’s hand and he is dying to hit Negan with that bat. The writers are breaking us, the viewers, by making us watch a broken, helpless Rick. The light has gone from Rick’s eyes. He is a shell, for now. Negan drops the candlestick, telling Rick to clean it up for next time he visits, taking Lucille on the way out. His parting words are that he just slipped his dick down Rick’s throat, and Rick thanked him for it. As hard as it was to watch the episode, seeing Daryl in the back of the truck, treated as a prisoner of war, was even harder.
Spencer, who was clearly the weakest link in his family’s line, whines about Rick going into his house, even after knowing Olivia’s life was at risk. Rick calls him small and weak, and says he was lucky with the walls and with Rick and his group. Spencer throws Glenn and Abraham in Rick’s face and is lucky to only get a warning about what will happen if he says anything like that again. Rosita is angry that Spencer lied about the guns, knowing what she did to get just one. He tells her that this doesn’t have to be their life, before driving off. Any bets on how long it takes him to run off to join the Saviors? Minus their mattresses, Rick is at home making the floor where the bed once was. Michonne rages about them giving up everything they fought so hard for. It prompts Rick to tell her about Shane and Lori, and that he knows that Judith isn’t his biological daughter (mystery solved). He has had to accept lots of things to keep everyone going. He tells her that she has to accept lots of things to keep going too, or things won’t work. They finish making the “bed,” together. She tells him she’ll try. The next time Carl wankers on about his father not being a man, I am going to think about this moment.
We end with Rosita taking a bullet casing Negan left from the test shot earlier. She wants Eugene to make a bullet for her. This could be really good, or incredibly tragic. I guess we’ll find out, soon enough.
I’m an exasperated soap fan who keeps hanging on – waiting for the daytime I once loved to return to its former glory! Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have a dream. I learned to love soaps thanks to my wonderful mother and grandmother. I’ll always have fond memories of daytime, most especially of ‘Another World’, my first stoap love. The ever great, but sadly defunct, daytime shows like Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, The Doctors, Loving, and many others keep a special place in my heart, as well.