Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead Episode 9, "Rock in the Road."
Rick Grimes arrived back on our screens last night with his gun at his side and confidence restored, a new man all around. And what an episode for The Walking Dead to return on, with Episode 9 "Rock in the Road" being one of the most action packed episodes we've seen all season, covering several communities, a zombie-filled highway as well as other mysterious and interesting events.
#TheWalkingDead had a bit to work on after the first half of Season 7, following complaints from fans about slow and dull episodes, and Episode 9 did its best to hook fans back in with a mix of important alliances and introductions being made, as well as that straight up awesome zombie kill scene on the highway. Not to mention the total mystery of what the hell happened to Gabriel and the whole matter of another brand new community?!
But, between Rosita revealing her explosives-handling skills and Enid and Carl wearing adorably matching outfits, there was a lot of stuff going down throughout "Rock in the Road," and plenty that might have passed you by. So, let's launch back into the five thing you might have missed in The Walking Dead Episode 9, "Rock in the Road."
1. Gabriel was totally forced into stealing those supplies
Episode 9 picked up with Father Gabriel watching over a still and calm Alexandria. But bizarrely, the priest quickly went from quietly reading his bible to straight up breaking one of the ten commandments when he took all of the food supplies, packed up a car and made a break for it. The move seemed a little out of character from Gabriel, who really seemed to be becoming an important member of the group, and if you paid close attention you'll know that it was totally out of character because he was 100% forced into taking those action.
The first scene of the mid-season premiere picks up exactly where the post-credits scene of the mid-season finale finished. In that scene you'll remember that in that scene the mysterious "Boots" character had found his way back to Alexandria and was surveying the area. Then, if you were paying close attention to the scene in Episode 9 right before the opening credits — when Gabriel fled the community — you may have noticed that Gabriel wasn't alone in that car.
Later we learned that Gabriel had left the hidden message "BOAT" in the weapons ledger, which Rick and Aaron immediately knew meant the boat from which they had recently recovered all the supplies (a.k.a the first place we saw Boots). However, while the discovery of the message eventually lead the Alexandrians to find the new community of people, we never got to see what happened to Gabriel — is the priest still alive, or was he killed after Boots got a lift back to his community with the supplies?
2. Bertie has a comic book counterpart
Though we actually met her way back in Season 6, it wasn't until this week that we got to properly meet the character of Bertie. Bertie first appeared on screen in Season 6 when she was among the group of survivors that were saved when Jesus brought Rick back to the Hilltop for the first time. The group had been out scavenging when their car crashed, and they were forced to hide inside until being rescued. Obviously this gave Bertie complete trust in Rick (not to mention her trust in Maggie after her quick actions saved the community in Season 7b) and following the groups unfruitful meeting with Gregory, Bertie and a few other survivors offered their support in the fight against Negan.
But as well as being an awesome member of the community, there's something else cool about Bertie — she's the TV counterpart of the comic book character Brianna.
Briana is a character introduced in the comics shortly after Maggie's arrival at Hilltop. She quickly becomes one of Maggie's closest friends and best supports when Maggie challenges Gregory's leadership. Despite the difference in how Bertie was introduced to the show versus Brianna (Brianna first meets Maggie while she's mourning at Glenn's grave), it looks like we can expect Bertie to pick up on some of Brianna's storylines in the future.
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3. Morgan possibly foreshadowed what will happen to Negan
If there's anyone opposed to fighting in the Walking Dead universe, it's Morgan, and it should have surprised no one when he floated the idea of capturing Negan instead of going to war with him.
While the idea of capturing Negan was quickly dismissed by Rick shaking his head, it's still definitely something to keep in the back of your mind for the future, especially considering what we saw Morgan build last season.
Way back to Season 6, Episode 12, you'll remember that Morgan began construction on a jail cell in the basement of one of the houses at Alexandria. When questioned by Rick about the cell, he told him it was constructed so it would give Rick "some choices next time." Since the cell was completed it hasn't actually housed any prisoners, but at some point there's gotta be a first — why not Negan?
4. That highway walker trap was the work of Fat Joey!
It was a great day back in Episode 3 when we were introduced to the delightful Savior known as "Fat Joey." As it turns out, Joey was more than just fat shaming fodder for Negan, and in fact he was actually somewhat of a tech genius, rigging explosives to draw a large herd of walkers away from the base. While sadly Fat Joseph wasn't long for this world — ultimately being killed by Daryl as he escaped the Saviors base — this week we got to see a little of his handy work in that tense high way scene.
That's right, Fat Joey was the mastermind behind that awesome highway set up which not only resulted in Rick and Co gaining some awesome new weapons, but also a pretty cool explosion. But the best bit about the group's new haul is that the Saviors will have absolutely no idea that the Alexandrians now have weapons, thanks to the damaged explosives decimating all evidence of their presence (shout out to my girl Rosita for knowing which explosives to keep and which to leave behind). Despite being a loyal Savior it looks like Fat Joey may have just given Rick's group one hell of an advantage.
5. Ezekiel was reciting Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech to Henry
As Benjamin returned from his solo mission into the woods, he arrived to hear Ezekiel reciting the end of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, to his younger brother:
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Although, obviously the speech famously called for an end to racism, the last paragraph in particular does also seem to apply to the current situation with Negan in The Walking Dead universe. It's almost a cruel twist then, that despite Ezekiel reciting the speech, he then went on to refuse Rick's offer to form an alliance against Negan. Unfortunately, it seems improbable that the peace between the Saviors and the Kingdom will last long term, and given Ezekiel's close relationship with Benjamin and his brother, if I were to hazard a guess I'd say that it could be Benjamin's death that finally spurs Ezekiel (or even Morgan?) into action.
Bonus: Why are they not eating and breeding ducks?!
Look I don't want to pick holes too much, but I couldn't help but wonder why Alexandria haven't started eating either duck or duck eggs yet?! We know that the community is in dire straits in terms of food, so why not keep a flock of ducks? They even have a pond inside the gates of Alexandria that would work perfectly for them! Here's hoping someone finds a few duck decoys soon and lures these little guys into Alexandria.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Episode 10 on February 19