AMC’s The Walking Dead season eight episode 12 picks up with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) smiling as he considers his plan to use walker blood to infect Rick’s group. He then pays a visit to Dwight (Austin Amelio), welcoming him back. He calls Dwight one of his top guys, and Dwight explains what happened to him in the woods. Negan assures him there’s work to do.
The Saviors go about collecting the blood and guts of walkers, dipping hammers, axes, and other weapons in the disgusting bloody mess. Simon (Steven Ogg) smiles as Negan explains his plan, but then quickly changes his expression to one of anger when Negan walks away.
The Saviors load up their trucks with buckets of walker blood. Simon tells the group not to kill the Hilltoppers and instead just wound them. The Saviors will use blood-soaked arrows and knives to carry out their attack.
As the group’s driving away, Negan gets into his own car and places Lucille into a bucket of guts. “You are beautiful, baby,” he says with a smile.
Over at Hilltop, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are welcomed by Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Rick reunites with Judith and then meets with Daryl (Norman Reedus). Daryl confesses he often thinks about the people who are gone, and then apologizes for taking matters into his own hands at the Sanctuary. He says he just wanted the fight to be done. Rick understands and confirms he’s ready to fight now. He thinks he and Daryl should split up to cover more ground, and then reiterates that he’s okay. (He isn’t.)
Before splitting up, Rick thanks Daryl for getting the group to Hilltop.
Maggie and Rosita (Christian Serratos) have a heart-to-heart, and Rosita says they need to just keep going. Rosita thinks when the war is over, it will be harder because it will be quiet and people will have time to think about what happened. Maggie actually doesn’t agree, and really neither does Rosita.
Dozens of Saviors make the trek to Hilltop, and Simon and Dwight share a truck. Simon wants to know what Dwight really thinks about Negan’s plans. Simon’s tired of letting Rick’s group live and just firing warning shots. He wants to kill them all and doesn’t think Negan’s plan of infecting some of them is the best way to go.
Simon knows Rick’s people don’t scare and just keep fighting. Dwight just listens and doesn’t respond.
The Hilltop receives a letter saying some unknown person is willing to exchange food or records for a key to their future. Michonne thinks it’s from someone who really wants to help, but Maggie believes it’s a trap.
Michonne volunteers to go; she wants to take a chance even though Rick won’t understand why she left the safety of Hilltop. Maggie, Enid (Katelyn Nacon), and Rosita decide to go with Michonne, in case the letter writer’s offer is real.
Rick spots the Saviors’ convoy, with Negan in the last car. Instead of warning the Hilltop by honking his horn, he takes off after the group. (Another dumb, rash decision by Rick.)
Rick broadsides Negan’s car and then chases it down a street away from the group. The Saviors are forced to halt their convoy and look for Negan. Simon tries to get the group to stay put while he and Dwight go search for Negan. He wants them to block off both ends of the road, create a parameter, and stay frosty.
Simon and Dwight head out to look for Negan.
Negan’s car is rolled on its side and the bucket of walkers’ blood spills and drips all over him. Walkers approach as Rick fires indiscriminately into Negan’s car. (Rick’s out of control, wasting bullets, and not even close to hitting Negan.)
Negan makes a run for it while Rick reloads. They run into a building, followed by walkers. Rick’s out of bullets and when Negan realizes it, he taunts him. Rick tosses an axe and Negan falls, hanging from a second story balcony. Rather than allow Rick to chop off his fingers, Negan lets go and drops through the floor.
Michonne, Maggie, and Enid meet with the mysterious people who left the note. Georgie, Hilda, and Midge introduce themselves. Georgie will offer help for food and music, and while they’re talking Rosita gets the drop on Georgie’s two companions. She takes their weapons and then Georgie reveals she doesn’t have items to trade, she has knowledge to trade. It’s an act of benevolence.
Rosita looks through their van and then asks how many communities Georgie has found. Georgie admits not many, and that the worst have outpaced the best. She hopes people can believe in others again, saying it’s an exercise in trust. Georgie thinks the Hilltoppers are a fine group and Michonne wants to make the deal. However, Maggie says no – she wants to bring these people back to Hilltop.
Rick searches the area where Negan fell. It’s dark and they can barely see, and Negan can’t find Lucille. He doesn’t seem to be hurt despite the fall, and Rick wonders where the rest of his people are. Rick tells Negan this is where he dies…in the dark, all alone. Negan asks what Rick’s problem is, claiming he wants to save him. Negan claims he’s good at it, and Rick needs to stop this desire for revenge.
Negan finds a metal pole, angry it’s not Lucille. He keeps taunting Rick, telling him he failed Carl and failed his people. He’s just wasting his potential. Negan offers a one-time deal in Carl’s memory. If Rick can get the Hilltop, Alexandria and the Kingdom to fall in line, things can go back to how they were. And, he’ll even lower his percent to 25. But, Rick will have to come work with Negan.
Rick wonders how he can trust Negan after he wiped out all of Jadis’ people. Rick asks if that’s how Negan saves people and doesn’t believe anything Negan says. He also wonders why no one has come yet for Negan. Negan is shocked to hear about what happened to Jadis’ people, realizing Simon disobeyed orders.
Rick finds Lucille and smiles.
Simon and Dwight walk the streets, casually looking for Negan. Simon asks if Dwight thought about killing Negan and Dwight replies, “You mean when he took my wife or burned my face? No, never thought about that.” Simon confesses that if it was his call, they’d leave the area and make new relationships. He hopes Dwight agrees with this plan. Dwight asks, “Just move on?” Simon responds, “Just move on.”
Finally, Simon and Dwight stumble upon Negan’s wrecked car. They don’t know what building Negan’s in, and Simon thinks if they find him he might be more dead than alive. He suggests they just walk away and leave Negan. They can return to their people and make things better.
Dwight pulls out his pack of cigarettes, lights up, and considers what to do. He flicks the cigarette at the car and it explodes.
“Good answer,” says Simon. They walk back the way they came.
Georgie and her friends are taken to Hilltop. Michonne wants Maggie to make the deal before the Saviors get there, but Maggie wants to take the food they have in their van. Enid agrees, calling it a miracle Georgie is still alive. Enid’s upset and since the Saviors are on the way, she believes they should just take the stuff and help their people from Hilltop. Michonne reminds her Carl was brave and because he made a new friend, they now have a doctor. He wanted them to do – and be – better.
After Enid leaves, Michonne reminds Maggie that Carl never gave up on who Rick wanted him to be. Michonne says now they can’t give up on who Carl wanted them to be.
Rick is now the one taunting Negan in the dark building. Rick tells Negan he can’t save him and calls Negan a user. He only cares about Lucille and that’s all. Rick tells him he’ll make him a deal. “I’ll let you kiss her goodbye.” Negan screams, “Don’t you touch her!” and comes charging as Rick lights Lucille on fire and beats down a door labeled “Eaters.” Rick and Negan both fall through the door.
Rick picks up Lucille while the bat’s still on fire and keeps swinging at Negan. Walkers are all over the place, and Negan calls Rick a psychopath. They return to fighting and Negan gets Lucille back. Rick and Negan fight off the walkers, and finally Rick makes a break for it out a window. (All of that and Rick accomplished absolutely nothing other than almost getting himself killed.)
Maggie brings Georgie crates of records, and Georgie changes the terms. She tells them they can have a sizeable portion of her food. She’ll do it in exchange for records and good faith. It’s a barter and she’ll be back sometime when she wants to make a new deal. She hands Maggie A Key to a Future, a book filled with diagrams of windmills, watermills, silos, guides to refining grain, and aqueducts. It’s a book of medieval achievement “so that we may have a future from our past,” explains Georgie.
Maggie thanks her and Georgie says to build the place up and make a future for her people. Georgie, Midge, and Hilda drive away. (This is all thanks to Michonne.)
Enid finally asks Michonne how they’re supposed to have a peaceful world after all this. Michonne tells her Carl wanted them to know that to get to their future it will take more than just fighting. “There’s got to be something after,” says Michonne.
Simon and Dwight make it back to the Saviors without Negan. Simon tells the group Negan is gone and they only found blood. Simon reminds them they’re all Negan and it doesn’t matter if the “big man” is gone. He wants them to remember their plan was to go to Hilltop and put the fear of God in them. But now, since Negan’s dead, they need to take more brutal action. “We must expunge them. We must redact them. They are a mistake that we shall now erase,” says Simon. “We are moving on.”
Dwight looks concerned and angry.
The group cheers, “For Negan!”
The final scene of the episode finds Negan in the passenger seat of a car being driven by Jadis. She’s holding a gun to his head and when he talks, she knocks him out.
More on The Walking Dead:
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 2
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 3
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 4
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 5
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 6
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 7
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 8
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 9
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 10
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 11
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 13
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 14
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 15
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 16