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– by Anthony Esteves

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

“We are not monsters.”

We hear the voices of Tara and Rick talking to each other. On the screen, we see a group of Alexandrians, locked and loaded, moving out. They are marching to a location with their guns drawn. As the conversation continues and the squad moves along, it is apparent what is occurring.

Tara is informing Rick of Oceanside: the all female community she spent time at earlier in the season.

While the Alexandrians prepare to meet Oceanside, Maggie is dealing with life back at Hilltop. She instructs members on gardening techniques while doing some planting of her own, all of which is being closely watched by Gregory. Later on, Gregory meets up with her while she’s gardening, making small talk and saying he’ll keep an eye out for walkers. With his knife in his hand and standing slightly behind a crouched Maggie, it seems Gregory is considering putting a stop to what he believes is a threat to his rule at Hilltop. He steps toward her, then stops, turns away, hesitates and finally decides not to go through with it, just as a walker steps out. 

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

It’s here that we learn that Gregory has never once killed a walker. He goes toward it, then hesitates, then asks Maggie to do it, only to be pounced by another walker. Maggie, being well trained, handles both walkers quite easily. Gregory, now with blood on his face and clothes, thanks Maggie and returns to his office.

At Savior Headquarters, we learn that Sasha has been captured. She sits in her cell tied up only to be greeted by Dave, the man who captured her. He attempts to sexually assault her, only to receive a head butt to the face by her. When he goes for a second attempt, Negan interrupts. He informs Dave that he’s broken a rule and punishes him by plunging a knife into his neck. Negan is impressed by Sasha’s attempt on kill him, so he decides to leave the knife in the room, along with Dave’s body, and gives Sahsa options on what to do next. She could attempt to kill Negan, which would lead to her being beaten to death by Lucile. She could take her own life, which he believes would be a shame. Her third and final choice would be to plunge the knife into Dave’s head when he turns and join the Saviors.

Before making her choice, Eugene visits Sasha later in her cell. He explains to her that he lost all bravery when he saw Abraham killed. He admits to being a coward because he never wants to see that happen again and feels that aligning with the Saviors and going along with them will keep him away from ever seeing that again. After asking him to leave, Sasha eventually makes her choice, stabbing Walker Dave through the head. Negan returns and informs Sasha that he will be using her to get to Rick, something Sasha is not prepared to do.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Everyday life at Oceanside is altered when Natania is greeted in her room by Tara, holding her at gunpoint. Cyndie walks in only to be held up as well. Tara explains that her people are here and need their guns. She states that they also want the women of Oceanside to join them in the fight. While Cyndie agrees, Natania vehemently wants no part of their war. Not only is this not the answer Tara wanted, but it came too late. 

The Alexandrians, led by Rick, move in under decoy explosions and take the people at gunpoint. Rick explains that they only want their firearms and nothing else. Rick is then greeted by Tara, who has been disarmed and is now held at gunpoint by Natania. Tara tries to talk her down and also drum up support from the women of Oceanside to join them. While the number of women agreeing to join Rick’s squad grows, Natania stays firm in saying no. Not even being disarmed herself by Cyndie and witnessing how well of an alliance Alexandria and Oceanside made while fighting off a surprise walker attack are enough to change Natania’s mind. Oceanside agrees to give up their firearms, but even with the majority wanting to fight Negan, they are not permitted to join Alexandria.

As Rick’s crew returns to Alexandria, they are greeted at the gate by Rosita. When asked where she’s been, she tells them to follow her to one of the buildings. Inside, sectioned off in a make shift cell, is none other than Dwight. Rick holds back a rage-filled Daryl as he asks what Dwight wants. Dwight says he wants to help them and has information that will help them. Rick agrees to hear him out, but before he does, he pulls out his revolver, points it at Dwight and makes one demand. A demand that echoes back to the end of last season and the events that transpired. You can feel the anger in Rick’s voice as he utters these memorable words to Dwight…

“On your knees…”