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– by Anthony Esteves

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“If you’re asked to be a hero, be a hero.”

We open with Gabriel at his post, watching over the quiet town of Alexandria under the moonlight. He takes a quick look at a page from the good book, then resumes his watch. He notices something in the distance and leaves his post, walking into one of the homes. He makes his way down the home’s main hallway into the garage… and begins loading up as much food and supplies as he can. He fills a car with as much as gasoline as possible, locks the main gate behind him and leaves Alexandria.

Welcome back to Season Seven of The Walking Dead, everyone. Here we go!

Reunited and filled with the will to fight, Rick and his survivors along with Jesus argue with Gregory about making a stand against Negan and his Saviors; Gregory wants no part of it. Gregory won’t listen and will not have any part of it, telling the Survivors to go out the back and never return. As they start to leave, much to their surprise, Enid presents them with some of Gregory’s people willing to fight without his authority. While it helps, Rick and the crew know they need another group to join them, and Jesus has the answer.

King Ezekiel.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Jesus leads Rick, Daryl, Michonne and a few of the Survivors to the Kingdom, where they witness the population of the Kingdom and are reunited with Morgan. They meet with King Ezekiel and explain their offer: for Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom to unite and take out Negan’s Saviors. After Jesus and Rick make their points, and inform Morgan of the people they have lost at the hands of Negan, The King asks for Morgan’s opinion. Morgan, much to Rick’s disappointment, asks why they not try to find a way to simply capture Negan instead of going to war. As a result, the King asks everyone to stay the evening and that he will deliver his decision in the morning. In the evening, King Ezekiel speaks with Benjamin, one of his men, about the proposed stance against the Saviors. Benjamin tells him he believes they should align and fight.

Morning arrives and King Ezekiel shows the Survivors the daily routines of his people. Jogging, archery, and different forms of fighting and training. He goes on to tell Rick and his people of the many plights he and his people have gone through to create their kingdom, and this is why he cannot join the alliance against the Saviors. He offers to let Daryl seek asylum in the Kingdom in order to avoid detection by Negan. Although Daryl protests, Rick believes its a good idea. He tells Daryl to stay and try to change Ezekiel’s mind.

Before this moment, we see the rise of hope within the Survivors. They are all on the same page. They have had enough of Negan’s reign of terror and are willing to do what it takes to stop him. The hope stumbles slightly as we receive the response from King Ezekiel. What seemed like a definite yes disappears and our heroes are left to figure out a different way. It is after the meeting with the Kingdom where the tension arrives as the Survivors approach a specialized Savior roadblock. One that involves explosives and walkers in a very strategic way. One that is better seen than explained, so definitely watch this episode.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

As Rick and the crew arrive back at Alexandria, they are only seconds ahead of a surprise visit of the Saviors. Simon has arrived with his men in search of Daryl, demanding they be escortedthrough the town and allowed to search in every location. During their search, they come across an emptied pantry in a garage; the pantry that was emptied by Gabriel. After the Saviors’ departure, Rick is informed that Gabriel is missing. Rosita angrily claims that Gabriel stole everything and ran, but Rick does not believe it.

Looking for clues, Rick discovers that Gabriel left his Bible as well as a notebook. In one of the pages, he wrote the word “boat”. Both Rick and Aaron question on how Gabriel would know about the boat they discovered. Rick, Michonne, Aaron. Tara and Rosita make their way to the location of the boat looking for Gabriel. As they approach the area, they are suddenly surprised by dozens upon dozens of people with firearms and other weapons pointed at them. As the crowd surrounds the Survivors, the camera pans closely onto Rick’s face, who slowly smiles just before the scene cuts to black.