‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 Episode 8 Recap: How It’s Gotta Be

The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 8 Recap
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes in ‘The Walking Dead’ season 8 episode 8 (Photo Credit: Gene Page / AMC)

AMC’s The Walking Dead season eight episode seven ended with Rick making a deal with Jadis and then leading her people, the Scavengers, over to Negan’s Sanctuary. Once there, Rick couldn’t raise the snipers on his walkie-talkie and discovered the large hole in the building made by Daryl’s truck. Season eight episode eight – the fall finale – begins with Rick completely confused by the scene that laid out in front of him.

A flashback shows Rick (Andrew Lincoln) chasing down Carl (Chandler Riggs) after they abandon the stranger at the gas station. Carl’s upset Rick could just leave the man behind to fend for himself. Carl reminds his dad they’re fighting for a new future, not just to kill people, and they need to find a way forward into peace.

Rick, Jadis, and the Scavengers approach the Sanctuary, guns drawn. It’s a mess on the outside with walkers in piles all over the place. Rick and his new allies quickly discover they’ve walked right into an ambush, and Carol (Melissa McBride) and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) arrive to save Rick from the Saviors’ attack after the Scavengers flee. Carol believes the snipers got away, but Rick doesn’t think so.

Rick and Carol realize the plan’s ruined.

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) smiles as he drives away from the Sanctuary unharmed.

Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) chat while driving, but overall they’re very solemn. Aaron remembers taking road trips like this with Eric, and he’s determined to make sure Eric died for a reason. Enid wonders if Oceanside will actually talk to them and Aaron acknowledges it’s a risk. Aaron realizes it will be difficult to convince them.

Enid takes over driving and makes a pit stop at a distillery.

Back at Alexandria, Michonne (Danai Gurira) promises Judith she’ll be back soon. She’s happy Daryl (Norman Reedus) has returned and apologizes for not helping him ram the truck into the building.

Carl writes a note for his dad, shedding a few tears as he’s lost in his memories.

Tara (Alanna Masterson) tells Rosita (Christian Serratos) they opened up the Sanctuary for the walkers to invade. Rosita confirms all she was able to scrape up weapons-wise were some grenades and air horns. Tara thinks they can redirect the herd with it after the Saviors surrender.

Enid and Aaron pull over for the night to rest after grabbing a truck from the distillery. They notice someone walking quietly up to the truck, and Enid shoots Natania, the leader of Oceanside, as she’s about to spear Aaron.

It’s still night when Michonne finds Carl to tell him it’s time. Just then, Negan and the Saviors arrive outside Alexandria’s gates. Negan uses a PA to tell them he’s knocked out the lookouts. He wants everyone inside Alexandria to apologize, giving them three minutes to open the gates. No matter what, he’s going to kill Rick in front of everyone.

Rick, Carol, and Jerry drive separate cars toward Alexandria. Out of the blue, Jerry’s car is broadsided.

Over at The Kingdom, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is still alone and depressed. He hears loud bangs outside and hides just as Saviors enter his building.

Jesus (Tom Payne) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are also on the road, and Maggie thinks eventually the Saviors will surrender. As they’re driving, they notice a tree across the road. Maggie immediately realizes it’s a trap and alerts the cars behind her to turn around. It’s too late though as the Saviors are right on their tail.

Maggie and Jesus’ Hilltop convoy is surrounded by the Saviors, and Jerry’s tossed out of the back of the lead truck. He kneels as a large wooden crate is placed against Maggie’s car.

Back at Alexandria, Carl’s giving orders for people to escape as Negan continues to taunt them from outside the gates. Carl believes they need to survive this night so that they can fight another day. They’re down to one minute left when Carl orders everyone to leave.

Gavin addresses The Kingdom and tells them they all belong to Negan now. Apparently, the Saviors have enough people to capture all the communities at the same time. All The Kingdom survivors will be put to work with minimum rations. And, the Saviors will move into The Kingdom since the Sanctuary is destroyed.

Back on the road, Simon tells Maggie’s people they need to give up their guns. Simon will have his men shoot Jerry if anyone tries anything. The Hilltoppers, still seated in their cars, begin handing over their weapons.

Negan is still outside when Carl appears at the top of the wall. Negan laughs and says Carl’s answering the door like a big boy. Carl tells Negan there are kids and families inside, but Negan says there were also kids at the Sanctuary. Negan reminds Carl nothing about this is fair. Carl still believes they can stop this, but Negan knows Rick would have killed him – no matter what.

Carl offers himself up to Negan. “What did you say?” asks Negan. Carl replies that he’s serious and Negan should kill him and let the families live. He doesn’t want to die but will sacrifice himself, if it helps. He asks Negan if this is who he wanted to be.

As Carl talks, the trucks inside exit the back, running over the Saviors’ cars as they go. Dwight (Austin Amelio) and his team follow the escaping Alexandrians.

Negan can’t believe Carl was just a distraction and orders the Saviors to begin firing into Alexandria. Explosions are heard and flames leap up inside the walls.

Carl falls off the wall as everything inside explodes. He tosses smoke bombs behind him as he makes his way through the community. He’s limping as he watches the church go up in flames. He’s then knocked down when a car explodes.

At The Kingdom, Gavin informs the survivors Ezekiel must answer for all of this. He doesn’t think the people will give him up, but asks them to cooperate anyway. He continues, saying Ezekiel broke the rules. If they don’t give him up, this standoff will move into “something traumatic.” He doesn’t want the kids to see what’s coming next. Still, no one speaks.

Finally, he warns them they have five minutes. After that, it’s Negan’s way.

Simon reveals to Maggie that The Kingdom is currently being taken over by the Saviors. The same thing’s happening in Alexandria. Hilltop’s been chosen to keep producing, calling it her lucky day. He hopes Maggie will make things right.

Music begins playing and Simon explains, gleefully, that’s Eugene leading the walkers away. Simon says Maggie has a few choices. One, Jerry can be killed and Maggie can be put in the box leaning against her car. She’ll then be taken to Hilltop and killed. After that, she’ll go on a spike in front of HQ at Sanctuary. His people will then lead the walkers to Hilltop to kill them all. Or, she can turn around and go home. That will save everyone a lot of trouble if the Hilltoppers just get back to work. Of course, that means they’ll have to kill one of her people. He kills Neil, who’s seated in the backseat, and then demands she tell him what to do next. She wants the box to use to bury Neil in.

Eugene gets out of bed at midnight and pours himself a drink. He lies back down and flips back off the light. After taking a deep breath, he flips the light back on and begins crying.

The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 8 Recap
Danai Gurira and Norman Reedus in ‘The Walking Dead’ season 8 episode 8 (Photo Credit: Gene Page / AMC)

Carl comes to as more explosions are heard. He tries to catch his breath, and houses continue to explode all around him. The town appears to be completely up in flames.

Tara, Rosita, Daryl, and Michonne take the blame for what’s happening as they lurk in the woods. They hear vehicles approaching and Dwight doesn’t stop the cars, fully aware he’s leading them into a trap. He turns on his own people and fires. One woman realizes Dwight’s been the mole this whole time and shoots him in the arm.

Negan finally busts down the gate into Alexandria. He thinks Carl is still there and wants him tied up but not killed. Negan heads off to Rick’s house to “make spaghetti.” He wants Carl as soon as they find him.

Carl limps toward the edge of town and manages to disappear when he’s spotted by slipping into the sewer.

Eugene (Josh McDermitt) uses a headlamp to check on Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). He’s going to let the doctor go and Father Gabriel, explaining they can go out a specific gate because he made sure that guard is having massive diarrhea right now. When Father Gabriel asks why, he says it’s because he plans on sleeping tonight.

Father Gabriel invites him to come with them, but Eugene declines. He drops a key to a vehicle they’ll find by the gate.

Ezekiel spreads fuel and then lights it on fire, causing a big explosion. Gavin sends his men over to put out the fire as Ezekiel arrives in a bus. The Saviors chase after Ezekiel as Carol arrives. Ezekiel locks the gate, leaving himself inside with the Saviors while his people escape. He says, “Save them like you saved me.”

Jesus drives Maggie back to the Hilltop, followed by the rest of the convoy. She points out Dean, one of the caged Saviors, and asks for Kal’s gun. She reminds Jesus this one tried to kill him and then she shoots Dean in the face. She leaves the rest locked up. She tells them the Saviors killed one on the road, so she killed theirs. She warns Jesus they have to be ready since all the communities are under attack. She believes it will be up to Hilltop to make the last stand.

Dwight survives and yells out that it’s over. He reminds them he played his part, making sure they could get out the back. He then drove the convoy right up to the attack point.

Daryl asks how the Saviors got out and Dwight says Eugene saved them all. Dwight can still be helpful and he wants Negan to die. He tells them they can settle up afterward.

Maggie puts the dead Savior in the box and writes on it: “We have 38 more. Stand down.” She tells two of the Hilltop people to leave the box where the Saviors will find it.

Gavin talks to Ezekiel while Morgan listens in from a hiding place. The Saviors are gathered behind Gavin as he warns Ezekiel will be placed in front of the Sanctuary, dead. Morgan just listens.

Daryl and the group watch Alexandria explode from a distance. They enter the sewers as Dwight apologizes to Michonne. Michonne doesn’t follow the group into the sewers and instead closes it and walks away.

Rick runs the woods and arrives back at his home in Alexandria. Negan surprises him and attacks, telling Rick he’s going to cut him into little pieces and feed those pieces to the dead. He’ll do this in front of everyone. He then tells him Carl volunteered to die. Negan thinks in a few years Carl will be one of his top guys.

Rick fights back, gets in a few good licks and then finally grabs his gun and runs away after crashing through a window. He’s injured but alive.

Michonne walks through Alexandria and is in the middle of killing a Savior when Rick finds her. He asks about his family and friends and Michonne leads him into the sewer where everyone is safe, including Judith.

A weird montage of eye closeups and Rick in slow-mo walking toward Judith plays out. Carol, Ezekiel, and Morgan closeups lead to another shot of Rick approaching Judith before moving on to Carl. Carl tells his dad he brought them all here to save them. And then we learn the devastating news… Carl lifts his shirt and a bandage on his stomach and shows his dad a bite mark. Rick is speechless as he bends over Carl.

* * * * *

During Talking Dead, Scott M. Gimple confirmed Carl’s bite will play out like bites normally play out in the show. The next episode will be very important to Carl’s story and the whole overall story. “That is a one-way ticket but I’d like to think the things that we see in the next episode are so important to his life and the other characters’ lives,” said Gimple.

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