"There ain't nothing like regret, to remind you you're alive."
This episode begins with a rather catchy song accompanying the Tao of Carol - baking cookies! From foraging for acorns (and killing an annoying walker who had the audacity to interrupt her acorn hunt) to searching for the just right ingredient to sweeten the batch (beets! yes, beets) , Carol is in the zone!
In true Suzy Homemaker fashion she passes out Tupperware containers of the sweet treats to her happy neighbors, until she comes upon Tobin. Sassy flirting ensues, and visions of Carol/Daryl seem to be in her rear view mirror. Say it ain't so!
Carol is a wondrous character: she has gone from battered wife to action hero, almost single handedly saving everyone's bacon in Terminus and Alexandria. She is a masterful chameleon and a pragmatist to boot - always instinctively knowing what is needed to help the group survive, even if the actions aren't popular (killing the virus infected at the prison), or unimaginable (putting Lizzie down to prevent her from killing others). Carol seems to have adjusted to the new normal better than anyone, without the baggage. Or so we thought.
When Rick's crew returns from the Hilltop he tells Carol that food and meds are in the offing, but an ominous fight is on the horizon. Her sunny day just became cloudy and dark. Enter Morgan, who is guilt ridden over his actions involving the release of the Wolf prisoner. He tries to work things out with Carol, but she isn't having it. What's past is past in her mind, move on. They part one another status quo - and Carol leaves her last cookie on the grave of Sam, the boy she terrorized.
We are in the church now, with Rick on the pulpit preaching 'preemptive strike' as the only means of survival for the group. They need food to survive, and taking out The Saviors and Negan for the Hilltoppers is the only way in his mind to do it. Tara has seen this movie before when she was with the Governor, and Rick's speech is eerily similar to the Gov's. Morgan is of course the only dissenting voice, and he's summarily ignored. So the idea of killing, not just in self defense, is on the table. I realize that it's the apocalypse, and survival is paramount, but this a road that the crew hasn't been down before. Add to that the fact that they barely know anything about either group and this is a dark path indeed. Tomorrow they journey to the Savior outpost to get some killing done.
It's the middle of the night and Carol is awake, clearly in emotional distress. She takes out a pad and paper and writes a list of the humans she's killed - 18. We now know that Carol carries the heavy burden that everyone else does, she's just better at hiding it. But being the pragmatist she is, she knows that the betterment of the group supersedes her guilt and regret.
Since she can't sleep Carol takes a moonlight stroll, smoking a cigarette, and comes upon, you guessed it, Tobin. He's on his porch looking mournful. They strike up a conversation, and Tobin basically confesses his feelings for Carol. He's devastated that she's going out on the rampage tomorrow, afraid she won't make it back. She leans in and says, "It's not tomorrow yet" and they kiss. Is this the beginning of 'Carobin'? Maaaybe.
The next scene is hard to take. Abraham is quickly packing his bag for the fight tomorrow, but Rosita senses something else is afoot. She calls him out and he blurts out that he's leaving her. She is understandably angry, and he pushes back hard. "When we met I thought you were the last woman on earth. You're not." COOOOLD. So after that all-star douche move Abe storms out and leaves Rosie a sobbing mess. Way to go Abe!
The first half of the ep suffers from too much talk - which unfortunately is a common problem with TWD. I get that it's a huge step, and that this fleshes out the characters, but it drags the narrative down in my opinion.
Now that we've talked out all out 'feelings', let's get it on!
With the help of the Hilltoppers Rick has devised a plan to infiltrate the Savior outpost, and it involves a clever bit of trickeration. The Saviors said they wanted Gregory's head in exchange for the prisoner they hold. So Rick and the crew look high and wide for a walker that looks like Greg. They find three possibles.
The middle head is the winner BTW. One problem - the nose isn't quite right. No problem! What follows is a welcome addition to the show frankly - absurd comedic breaks, which we've seen more of recently. Rick picks up the severed walker head and repeatedly punches it until the nose is squashed mess! Hilarious. Problem solved!
Back to more talking! Glenn and Heath talk about how difficult this will be, and Glenn agrees, since he's never taken a human life before. But greater good and all, so on we go.
Night at the Savior outpost - an abandoned facility with huge satellite dishes on the roof. Andy the Hilltopper delivers the fake Greg head to the front door in an effort to gain entry.
As the guards look upon the head the brutality starts - Daryl shockingly comes up behind a guard and slits his throat! Both guards get dispatched and our crew's own version of 'Raid on Entebbe' begins.
The crew quickly and efficiently make their way down the myriad of dimly lit corridors.
Director Greg Nicotero deserves major kudos for delivering a tense, pulse pounding 25 minutes of assault on the compound. We expect a nasty around every corner.
Now comes the disturbing part for me. The crew stealthily makes their way into the sleeping quarters of the Saviors, where they find sleeping strangers. Glenn and Heath find two sleeping Saviors, and discover Polaroids of smashed skulls and mutilated victims on the walls. This is to remind us that these are really bad guys. But what follows next is very hard to stomach. Glenn takes out his knife and slides the blade through the eye and into the skull of his victim. Glenn has now murdered his first human being. Heath is about to do the same, but is clearly struggling with it. Glenn tells Heath that he will take the burden and kills the second man. The weight and regret and guilt of his actions clearly stuns Glenn, but he has reconciled it as necessary for the survival of Maggie and the group.
Outside at the perimeter Carol and Maggie watch intently. Carol feels strongly that Maggie should NOT be on the mission, endangering her life and the life of the baby inside her. Maggie pushes back, saying that she is the one who made the deal and that she should be there.
It was only a matter of time in the compound that some of the Saviors would awaken. One pulls the fire alarm, and a dizzying firefight breaks out! What follows is equally exhilarating and terrifying - will our heroes make it out? Heath and Glenn flee down endless hallways, dodging automatic weapons fire, until they find the weapons cache. They take up arms and fire hundreds of rounds through the door until all is quiet. They open the door to find the hallway littered with bodies riddled with bullets.
The captive Hilltopper is freed, and Tara drives him away. Father Gabriel follows an escaping Savior to a field and does his best Jules from Pulp Fiction, quoting scripture before blowing his brains out.
Daylight now. Rick and the crew emerge, unscathed, feeling pretty good about themselves. A Savior peals out of a door on Daryl's bike, and is shot and wounded by Rosie.
While Daryl pummels the man, demanding to know where he got Daryl's bike, a walkie talkie crackles to life. A female voice says that they have Maggie and Carol and it's time to talk!
I said this last week about Abe and now I'll say it about Carol - I'm worried. For the first time Carol shows regret and remorse, and now she's in mortal danger. You know what that usually means on this show. Look out, Carol! Which leads us to the poll: