I give this episode a 63 on Robin's Scale. As mentioned in the previous episode, it's been released and marketed pretty heavily that Rick will be leaving in one more episode and that this is also Laura Cohan's last Season. I will only reference this to measure this episode's impact.
I like the ideas being introduced by Jesus about justice having a shelf life (as far as a response to a crime). The time for Maggie to have taken out Negan was over a year ago. I agree with Rick's assessment of taking him out now will just make him appear to be a martyr.
As you will read, I did not like Jadis' storyline; too vague. Why do the thing with the walker to Gabriel? One minute you sleep with the guy, the next you have a zombies jaws snapping inches from his face. That's what dragged down my score.
Story Run down:
A visual montage shows time passes and Michonne keeps her edge by killing walkers occasionally.
She flips between, mother, leader, wife, warrior and lawyer.
She comes across a lynched black walker and realizes racism isn't over. She nearly gets killed by a walker and has to defend herself with a bat that reminds her of Negan's way.
Maggie comforts Hershel at Hilltop and she looks over the Hilltop grounds. She puts a crowbar in a knapsack and tells Jesus she will read Georgie's latest letter later. He confronts her about leaving the camp with a crowbar and she tells him she's leaving to take out Negan. He confides that he thought Rick not taking out Negan when he did was wrong and he just wants to make sure Maggie doesn't make the same mistake (ie taking Negan out a the wrong time.) She doesn't care.
Rick is concerned about river currents sweeping away the bridge. Eugene thinks long term the bridge will not hold. There are two herds they are tracking that show no signs of merging, however he says if they do then that poses a huge threat.
Carol is taking her people back to the Kingdom and leaving the Sanctuary people to fend for themselves. Rick is not in love with this idea but he accepts it. He says he has hope the most in Carol for figuring things out and she says she is trying like everyone else.
Jerry tells Rick that Maggie is on her way to Alexandria (to kill Negan). Rick tries to relay Alexandria to detain Maggie at the gate until he gets there. He asks Maggie to talk to him if she's listening. The radio dispatcher is from Oceanside and she doesn't relay the message to Alexandria and instead says off the radio out loud that Maggie is done talking. (Clearly there's a shift in the leadership being followed by groups of people. Rick is basically down to his own group at Alexandria. Oceanside and Hilltop side with Maggie. Sanctuary is on it's own and the Kingdom sort of is on Rick's side.)
Daryl offers to give Rick a ride to Alexandria because they will get there quicker.
Nora tells Michonne that 25% of their tomato crops are being lost to the crows and Negan hasn't been eating the past couple of days. Michonne says she will take care of it.
Daryl misses the turn off to Alexandria and Rick asks him to pull over. Daryl tells him his message didn't go through and this time Negan was going to die. They struggle and end up falling into a huge hole that happens to be nearby.
Michonne visits Negan and insists he eat. He refuses unless she stays and talks to him. She gives him 20 minutes and demands he eats.
Rick and Daryl try getting out of the hole reaching for the roots. They go back and forth about killing Negan. Daryl thinks keeping him alive only gives his supporters hope that things will go back to the way they were. Rick says Michonne spoke with Maggie and she's coming around to their line of thinking and Daryl said she went back and reveals to Rick that Oceanside is responsible for killing the Sanctuary members. Rick asks him if he could live with what they have done to the Sanctuary folks and Daryl does confide that it has started to get to him. Rick thinks killing Negan will turn him into a Martyr and that the whole war was for nothing. (The killings also become endless. Think of gang killings in our real world; the revenge is never ending.) Daryl mentions that Rick wants them to have faith all the other people outside of their original group, however he doesn't have faith in his old group (the writers are forgetting that Rick's old group is in the middle of deceiving him to take out Negan, so if anything if Rick truly doesn't trust them then it's justifiable.)
The most powerful part of Daryl and Rick's interaction was tying Rick's ideology to Carl. Daryl says those are Carl's ideas and they just won't work and Rick has to learn to let them and Carl go.
Negan tries to attack Michonne's efforts at rebuilding the world and she pushes back and attacks him for who he became after his wife passed on from cancer. They talk about Carl and Negan probes Michonne to find a weakness and tries to find one with her lost son Andre but she knows better and just says he's gone. Then Negan tries to tell her that the two of them were built to take on more than they are and that he could do more if he wasn't behind the bars and that if Andre had made it all it would have done was make her weak. She leaves him.
Jadis tries to kill Gabriel with a walker and can't so she covers his mouth with a rag. Not sure if this kills him or knocks him out. (SEE the Bad.)
The Saviors come back to the bridge campsite; armed looking for the Oceansiders to exact revenge for killing the Saviors that went missing. Jed tries to take keys off of Carol and is thrown off balance by Carol.
Gunshots erupt and we cut back to Rick and Daryl in the pit who are worried the gunshots will draw walkers. They struggle to get out of the pit.
Michonne continues to draft a charter but keeps looking at her sword (which means part of what Negan says is true.) She needs to be true to herself. She goes back and visits him and then gives him food. She asks him why he cares about what she thinks? He says they are the same and she says they aren't. She's trying to get people together and he's trying to pull them apart. Negan tries an angle that she's scared she will end up like him; not that they are the same. She asks him to eat and he takes a single bite. He asks her about Lucille and Michonne says no. They don't have his bat and that it's still out there. He was visibly upset beating his head against the wall as she left.
Walkers start falling into the pit Daryl and Rick fell into. They kill them at first and then they both use their efforts to climb out of there before the walker herd fills it and overwhelms them. Rick eventually pulls himself out and then pulls out Daryl. Rick tells Daryl he will lead the walkers away from the camp by horseback.
Gabriel wakes up in a trucking container in the junkyard with a note that says Jadis/Anne's gone off by herself. (We leave him crying with an above pull away shot from a crane.)
Michonne reads a story to Judith and gets to a bat in the book and quickly finishes the story without proceeding further (Negan has got to her.)
Maggie and her riding companion happen upon dead walkers and are not sure what to make of it.
Rick leads the walkers to an intersection with the other walker herd. Rick's horse rears up and throws him off. He lies pinned to a concrete piling skewered by rebar at the intersection of two roads where the two walker herds Eugene spoke about are about to merge. Its not looking good for Rick. The next episode we are told also is his final episode.
* Daryl's dialoging is actually pretty good. He confides to Rick that the Oceansiders killed the members of the Sanctuary and that he has had a hard time dealing with it so it's clear that he has mixed emotions about whether it's right or wrong to kill those who take lives from you. Also the timing of when you kill them...matters. So perhaps he believes killing Negan would make him into a martyr by his former people. They would then move to exact revenge for his execution so he would live on through them.
* I hate convenient plot twist props or set objects. It causes stories sometimes to go tropic; rather than use writing to get out of the situation. The huge man made hole I think was too convenient for turning around the life or death struggle between Daryl and Rick. If is man made, why is it even there? If it was supposed to be natural it didn't look naturally made. It's just functioning as way to reset Rick and Daryl and using the fist fight to troll the audience in a way (since Rick's last episode is the next one.)
* I thought Jadis' price of admission was just bringing a Type A person to the helicopter people? Suspense over sense doesn't make sense. Wouldn't the helicopter people need living people? Then why is Jadis trying to kill Gabriel? If she needs a walker why did she bother abducting Gabriel? If she needed Gabriel as price of admission, how did she get into the Helicopter group without him? Was there another option where she just took off on her own and she's not with the Helicopter group now? Hard to say what is going on with this story-line. It's too vague and thus not impactful as it should be.
* Who made the giant hole Rick and Daryl fell in?
* What happened to Heath?
* Who owns the helicopter? Who was Jadis trading with? The fact that she wants to trade so she can go with those new people says a lot about what they may have as a society.
* Why couldn't Jadis tell everyone else about these new people?
* Was Jadis trying to torture Gabriel?
* Are there other groups out there?
* Where is Sherry?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?
* How are they going to wrap up Rick's story line in two more episodes?
* Who will provide the system of charter enforcement once Michonne is done drafting it?
* Will Michonne become pregnant with Rick's baby before he departs in two episodes or will not having the chance provide yet another tragedy for Rick?