“I know what the Saviors are and I know what they do. They cannot be trusted,” says Richard (Karl Makinen) to Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride) as he tries to talk them into convincing Ezekiel they need to launch a surprise attack against the Saviors in the season seven winter finale of AMC’s horror/drama series, The Walking Dead.
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) decides to shave off his beard while sitting with Carl (Chandler Riggs) and little Judith in Rick’s kitchen. He’s obviously still enjoying relaxing in Alexandria while waiting for Rick to return with supplies.
Meanwhile, back at Negan’s headquarters, Daryl (Norman Reedus) uses the key that was slid under his door and slowly and carefully makes his way through the place. He finally ditches the sack he’s been forced to wear and puts on real clothes. Daryl finds a small room with a few supplies and eats a jar of peanut butter. Appetite satisfied, he continues on until he makes his way outside and heads to the motorcycles. Along comes Fat Joey who sees Daryl and, afraid, tells him, “It’s cool, just go please.” But Daryl is not about to just slink away after all the abuse he has been put through, so he kills Fat Joey with a metal pipe and takes Joey’s pistol, which was originally Rick’s. Jesus (Tom Payne) comes running up and tells Daryl they need to leave now. Daryl tells Jesus he’s got the motorcycle’s key and it’s time to go.
Out on the road, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are using a barely afloat boat with bullet holes in it to across the lake full of floating walkers to get to the houseboat, which they believe is deserted and hopefully will have supplies. Aaron almost gets bitten by walkers when he falls out of the boat, but he dives underwater to get away from the walkers. Once at the boathouse, they find some supplies plus a machine gun with no ammo. They also find a note from the owner that says, “Congratulations, you made it but you still lose.” Rick and Aaron talk about the deal they made with Negan while loading up the supplies, and Aaron says he understands it’s all about the survival of those they care about.
On the outskirts of The Kingdom, Morgan is dropping off some fruit and vegetables for Carol when she stops him and tells him he doesn’t have to do that. She points to a large assortment of vegetables and fruit in her kitchen. She tells him she just wants to be left alone and he says he was trying when she made him come inside. He starts to leave and Richard is on Carol’s doorstep saying he needs to talk to them. Richard tries to convince both Morgan and Carol they need to convince the King to attack the Saviors. Carol doesn’t want any part of it and Morgan doesn’t want to be the one to end the negotiated peace they have. Richard gets upset and tells them that when it goes bad, the blood of the people at The Kingdom will be on their hands. As he goes to leave, he turns and says to them that maybe they are used to that already.
Back in Alexandria, Spencer (Austin Nichols) tries to get along with the Saviors who are impressed with the load of supplies he brought, and one of them even shakes his hand while a female Savior flirts with him. Later, Spencer is heading over to try to make a good impression on Negan himself when Rosita (Christian Serratos) calls to him and they have a short talk about their one night stand. “Why did you end it? Why did you even start it?” asks Spencer. “I was trying to forget. You’re tall and cute, I used you. I’m sorry,” says Rosita. Spencer, knowing the truth, still asks her about getting dinner later with no strings attached and Rosita says yes.
Rick and Aaron arrive at Alexandria with their truck full of supplies and are met at the gate by Saviors. The Saviors begin going through the supplies and find the note from the houseboat owner. Thinking it’s Aaron’s way of telling them to go [email protected]#* themselves, they beat him badly while holding back Rick who has to watch helplessly as Aaron is repeatedly hit and kicked.
Spencer’s meet-up with Negan is going well, and Negan says that Spencer might just be his new best friend with the alcohol he’s brought him and telling him about a pool table that they’re now playing on outside Rick’s house. Spencer uses the opportunity to trash Rick and basically tell Negan it would be in his interest to remove Rick as Alexandria’s leader and put him in charge. Negan tells Spencer that Rick is “swallowing his hate and getting sh#@ done. That takes guts.” He asks Spencer why he hasn’t tried to take Rick out and before Spencer can answer, Negan says he thinks it’s because he doesn’t have any guts. He stabs Spencer, ripping open his stomach and leaving him with his guts hanging out which horrifies members of Alexandria gathered in the street. Negan starts laughing saying he was so wrong, Spencer did have guts. He then says someone needs to step up and clean up this mess, referring to Spencer’s now lifeless body. He beings taunting the crowd asking who wants to finish the game of pool, and Rosita pulls out her hidden revolver and shoots at Negan…hitting Lucille. (Unluckiest shot ever!)
Negan is both shocked and furious at being shot at, and Rosita is immediately tackled by a female Savior who holds a knife to her throat. Negan realizes the bullet was homemade and asks who did it. Rosita says she did but he doesn’t believe her. Negan tells his female Savior friend to kill somebody as punishment for Rosita’s actions. She turns and shoots poor Olivia in the head. Rick and Aaron finally arrive and hear the yelling and gunshots, and Negan quickly brings him up to speed about what happened. He tells Rick no matter how many supplies he brought back, it’s not enough with all this hostile behavior from his people. Rick tells Negan that his sh%t is waiting for him at the gate and to leave. Negan tells Rick he needs to know who made the bullet first and Tara (Alanna Masterson) says she did to stop him from hurting anyone else. This is when Eugene shows he’s not a coward and confesses he did it. Negan stands right next to him and Eugene starts to rattle off how he did it. “Okay, shut up. I believe you,” says Negan. He warns Rick he’ll be taking the bullet maker back to his headquarters and leaves.
Back on the road, Michonne (Danai Gurira) asks the Savior she took hostage how long she’s been with them but the woman won’t talk. They drive up and stop far enough away so Michonne can get a real idea of just how big and spread out Negan’s place is. The Savior tells Michonne she should kill her and make the car disappear. She goes as far as to tell her there’s a silencer in the glove compartment. It’s almost as though Michonne would be doing her a favor.
Michonne does as the Savior suggested, shooting her and returning to Alexandria. She finds Rick and they have a heart-to-heart, telling him they need to stand together and fight. She realizes the numbers are against, but they have to fight for Carl, Judith, and the rest of their people. They must fight because it’s what has gotten them this far. “It’s what we do,” says Michonne. Rick tells her he knows that now and agrees. (FINALLY! Geez, took long enough).
The final scene is with Rick, Carl, Michonne, Rosita, and Tara arriving at the Hilltop. They’re greeted by Maggie, Sasha, and Enid, and Rick gives Maggie a huge hug and tell her she was right and they are now ready to fight. After the hug, Rick sees Daryl and Jesus nearby and now it’s time for a Daryl and Rick reunion. They hold onto each other as if they’re never going to let go, but finally do and the group walks up toward the main Hilltop house.
The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 8 Review:
Overlong and with a story that drags out, episode eight titled “Hearts Still Beating” is redeemed by its uplifting ending that sets up the unification of Alexandria, The Hilltop, and The Kingdom to take on The Saviors in an all-out war. The episode did have a few surprises including Spencer’s well-deserved death at the hands of Negan and the less deserved death of Olivia.
The winter finale also had some very touching moments. Especially effective was the final scene where some members of Rick’s original group are reunited and are incredibly happy to see each other. Maggie’s huge smile that lit up her face when she saw Rick, Carl and her other companions speaks volumes to just how much a family they have become to each other. The scene where Rick sees that Daryl is free from Negan and the two men hug is also very moving.
With Rick finally on board to take Negan on at a time when some members of The Hilltop and The Kingdom are ready to fight back, here’s hoping it doesn’t take too long to organize and come up with a strategy to take Negan and his Saviors out.