‘The Walking Dead’ Midseason Finale Recap: Spencer Makes A Bold Move & Not Everyone Is Left Standing!

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The new world is about humiliation at every turn. Gregory is at hilltop telling Maggie not to let all of the positive talk about her and Sasha saving their community go to her head. She realizes the talk is going to his head and causing him a bit of discomfort.  One of his men shames him into giving Maggie an apple, knowing she is hungry and pregnant, but still on watch at their wall.  Tara is giving up the lemonade Denise loved so that Olivia can make it for Negan.  

Carl is forced to watch Negan act as if he still has human traits and qualities. Negan shaves in Rick’s bathroom and makes a homemade dinner of sphaghetti in Rick’s kitchen.  I feel sick for all of them, being forced to bow to what’s left of a man. The only person I feel slightly happy for is Daryl, who despite his humiliation at Negan’s hand is about to break free.  I can only imagine that the person who set Daryl free did it knowing there were plans for Negan’s end.  Why set him free? It would only mean the deaths of the Alexandrians when Negan came back looking for him – unless that was the goal. While Negan is at Rick’s house shaving, making dinner and playing house, Rick and Aaron are risking their lives, plotting how to cross the walker moat we saw last week.  At Alexandria, Spencer is praised for working hard by one of Negan’s crew while another one flirts and offers to take him home with her and buy him a sandwhich.  Spencer is too stupid to know that it should fill him with shame to be accepted by them, so he thanks her for the offer and suggests he might take her up on it. She is offended when she catches Eugene staring at her and Spencer, asking if he likes to watch.  Of course, he says “Yes”… the first feel good moment of the evening, just before she sends Eugene packing. Old times, Eugene, old times.

We only briefly check in on Carol and Morgan, long enough for her to call to him, invite him in and let him know that she really wants to be left alone.  Morgan reminds her that he only left food on her porch and was leaving when she called him in. He accuses of her going soft, but Carol claims she only wanted to know how he was doing. She shows him the food King E left for her, earlier, and now another visitor shows up at the door. It’s Richard, KingE’s right hand man, and it’s clear he’s troubled.


Meanwhile, back at the scavenge site, Aaron and Rick fight to cross the moat using a boat rigged to sink until they can reach a safely functional canoe in the middle of the lake, but they have to move fast. Aaron doesn’t make it, at first, falling in the lake, but he eventually swims to the safety of the canoe. From there they make it to the houseboat. How is it possible that the man clever enough to design such an intricate safety scheme didn’t make it (according to the sign he left behind)… or did he? As they get the houseboat back to shore to load the truck, Rick tells Aaron that he understands if he disagrees with the decision to work for the Saviors.  Aaron remembers “that night,” and says that the choices are clear.  Either your heart is beating or it’s not.  The hearts of your loved ones are beating or they’re not. He understands what Spencer, in his abject cowardice, is unable to understand.  The writers are not to be underestimated.  Someone (the owner of the boat?) is watching Rick and Aaron as they finish up and drive away. Game changer? We only know it is a mysterious figure, hiding in the shadows, on the other side of the lake.  Who could this be?  At camp hell, Daryl is taking his time about escaping.  He hides out in an unfamiliar room, eating a jar of peanut butter, and changing his clothes waiting for Negan’s people finish working, nearby.

Still riding with her captive, hoping to find Negan’s home, Michonne can’t get her hostage to answer her questions about Negan, so she breaks out in a soliloquy about her plans to one day kill him and change things for herself, for her group… uh, ok. At Hilltop, Maggie has developed pregnant mom superpowers, smelling the gift of an apple pie Sasha is bringing her before it can even be uncovered.  The man who baked it for them wants Maggie to run for President of Hilltop. Enid is amused.  Maggie is hoping Jesus will pick up pens and pencils for the kids on his next run, finding out that he left earlier that morning, Maggie decides to go get milk.  When she leaves, Enid confronts Sasha on her lie, letting her know that she already heard that he left yesterday.  Enid has superpowers of her own and concludes that a plot to kill Negan is underway.  She wants to help.  At Carol’s place just outside The Kingdom, Richard talks about being like Carol and Morgan, he came from a place where people lost everything, including families, and he nearly lost his faith in mankind.  He is worried that KingE is too trusting of his deal with The Saviors – he knows that they cannot be trusted and that KingE must attack and destroy them.  Lordy did he bark up the wrong tree… a pacifist and a war-weary runaway.  Good luck with that, pal.

At Alexandria, Rosita expresses comfort with the thought of dying as long as Negan goes first. Fr. Gabriel, sitting with her in the chapel, agrees that he has to die (what a change!) but wants to know why she has to die. Ultimately the answer is that she is alone, everyone else has someone.  He wants her to know that she wasn’t supposed to take Abe or Glenn’s place.  He believes they will win in the end, together, and she’s a part of that “together.” He tells her that they all need her. At Carol’s Richard thinks poor Carol has not seen much fighting, but Morgan sets him straight.  Both refuse to fight, infuriating Richard who tells them that things will get bad enough to fight one day, why wait until someone they care about is lost?  Morgan refuses to end the peace, but Richard says it will end anyway and that any blood that is lost will be on their hands. He thinks they must already be used to that.  Not only does Carol not want to fight, she doesn’t want anyone they know ever coming to her house. What a change from the woman who thought the Alexandrians were weak to think they could hide from the realities of what the world had become, living their unrealistically peaceful lives. While Spencer is in Alexandria practicing in the mirror on how to introduce himself to Negan, Richard enters a camper hidden in the woods (one that probably belonged to the family he mentioned losing, given his familiarity with it. He breaks down and cries). Back in Alexandria, Rosita stop Spencer, who was on his way to launch a diplomatic link with Negan (idiot).  She agrees to have dinner with him, no strings. What is she up to?  The stench of his cowardice and stupidity should make any mean difficult to digest.

Once again, Daryl is nearly caught on the way out. He is stopped by Fat Joey, who pleads for his life. Too late. Daryl swings a piece of iron he picked up for protection like Negan swings Lucille. Daryl is sickened by Fat Joey’s comment that he was just trying to get by. He knows that it’s not about getting by, it’s about trying to get it all. He is stopped by Jesus. Daryl then takes Fat Joey’s gun (Rick’s gun) and tells Jesus to come with him, he has the keys to one of the bikes. At Alexandria, gift  in hand, Spencer stops to see a well-guarded Negan. Elsewhere, Michonne finally arrives at  Negan’s compound and is awestruck by the sheer size of it.  Her captive instructs her to use the silencer in the glove compartment and to burn or dump the car — they both know that Negan can’t know what happened and that Michonne can’t let her live and expect to live, too. From the looks of things, death would be a welcomed relief for Negan’s crewmember. At Alexandria, Negan’s men harasses a returning Rick instead of simply letting him make his way home, where Negan is on his porch, drinking whiskey with an all too compliant Spencer and joking about opening a vacation home in Alexandria (to which douchey Spencer toasts).  Earlier, Negan said that Lucille was thirsty… just putting that out there.  


While Spencer is browning his nose on Negan’s butt, Aaron is being beaten up over a note found in the haul from the houseboat.  Spencer is playing pool with Negan, telling him that Rick can’t be trusted (irony).  Rosita, Eric, and the others watch on in horror.  Spencer plays his tiny violin and talks about how his family ran things, until Rick came along, and then they all died.  He is too stupid to realize that Negan is both mocking him, and seeing him for the snake he is. Rick refuses to leave and waits until the attack on Aaron is over and helps him home. Negan tells Spencer he finds it odd that while Rick hates him, he has swallowed his pride and is out there working to make sure no one in Alexandria gets hurt. He is “getting shit done.” Spencer, on the other hand, waited until Rick left and then asked him to do his dirty work. He wants to know why Spencer didn’t just kill Rick, himself, if he wanted to take over. Geez, as much as I hate Negan, I love that he dislikes Spencer. He openly states that Rick has guts but Spencer doesn’t. He disembowels him in front of everyone and says it’s embarrassing since Spencer did have guts, they were just on the inside.  Spencer lives long enough to try to push his intestines back in, as if it will save him.  He calls from one of the Alexandrians to clean up the mess. Rosita has lost a second person, thanks to Negan. His snide call for someone to finish Spencer’s game with him, since he was winning, is too much for her. She pulls a gun and shoots – missing him and hitting Lucille.  He realizes the bullet is homemade. He demands to know who made the bullet. She lies and says she did. He knows it’s a lie and has her face cut and then orders someone killed. Olivia is the victim. If only Carol and Morgan knew what was happening. Would this be enough to move them to fight the Saviors?

Rick learns about Carl’s exploits, Spencer’s betrayal, and Rosita’s attempt to kill Negan. Rick tells Negan to go but he refuses to go until learning who made the bullet.  Tara tries to take responsibility but Eugene speaks up and admits what he’s done. Negan believes him and orders Eugene to be taken away. He leaves, telling Rick that after today, no matter what he’s brought, it isn’t enough and that his people have put him in a serious hole. Rick’s only satisfaction is killing walker-Spencer. Michonne returns to find Rick in the cell Morgan built.  He clings to her.  She tells him that she wanted to go with him and Aaron but had to go her way.  She realized that she wanted it to be their way, not just hers.  She realizes how many Saviors there are and that it doesn’t change how she feels. They have lived through so much they shouldn’t have been able to survive, and are still standing. How will they make it mean something?  She reminds him that he said that they are the ones who get things done, and that they are the ones who live.  She tells him that it is why they  have to fight, for Judith and for Carl, for Alexandria, the Hilltop, for all of them.  She knows they can find a way to beat them… I can tell you that I’m ready to join them!!! Ok, not really, this is more of a spectator sport, people.  Rick knows she is right.  He’s come to the same conclusion.  He knows they have to defeat them.  If we ended on their loving kiss and embrace, it would be enough, but we end at Hilltop, with an elated Maggie on the watch-wall.  Her survivor family has come to see her.  She calls to Sasha and Enid.  Old times.

Rick, Michonne, Carl, Tara, and Rosita are together.  Rick tells her that she was right, it is time to fight.  Daryl and Jesus come out into the courtyard as well.  Rick embraces his spiritual brother, Daryl.   Sasha and Rosita give each other knowing glances. All are embracing,   Daryl hands Rick back his gun.   They head to Gregory the coward’s home.  By the way, the watcher in the woods, outside the houseboat, has made his /her way into Alexandria in the dead of night.  This should be good. The fight begins, in February.  We will see Alexandria, The Hilltop, and The Kingdom come together.  The war is on! My parting thought?  Good-bye, Negan, you dirty rotten bastard. Dwight? Good-bye.  Dirty rotten cowardly Saviors? Your time has passed.  Good-bye.  It is time to rebuild the world, with all the danger that entails.


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