‘The Walking Dead’ Season 9 Episode 4 Recap: “The Obliged”

The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 4 Recap
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9 episode 4 (Photo by Gene Page/AMC)

AMC’s The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln’s final episode will be season nine episode five. Rick Grimes’ farewell episode is titled “What Comes After” and with four episodes of the ninth season having aired, AMC still hasn’t announced what will come after Andrew Lincoln’s exit. Will there be a 10th season of the zombie apocalypse series or has it run its course with season nine?

In addition to Lincoln’s final episodes, season nine will also see the departure of Maggie, played by Lauren Cohan. However, unlike Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan may return either in a guest star capacity or series regular role in season 10. Cohan has committed to ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier, but if it doesn’t move forward or gets cancelled, Cohan could be free to return in multiple episodes of The Walking Dead season 10 – if it exists.

Season nine episode four provided one emotional scene after another as the show advances toward Rick’s ultimate end. The episode begins with Michonne (Danai Gurira) waking up, kissing Rick, cooking with Judith, moderating a fight, and then calling it a day. That night she takes out a few walkers to work off some excess energy. The days and nights repeat themselves as she also works on putting together the charter. Only chopping up walkers seems to help her sleep.

It’s on one such nightly excursion that she finds a black walker, noose around his neck and strung up in a tree. She’s so upset by the sight that she almost loses a fight to a single walker. Her katana falls and she picks up a bat to finish the job. She tosses the bat, now dripping blood, repulsed by the weapon.

Over at Hilltop, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) cradles Hershel, giving his neck little kisses as the day begins. She looks out over the community, and then prepares a backpack full of supplies.

Jesus (Tom Payne) catches up with Maggie and hands her a letter from Georgie which she claims she’ll read later since she’s ready to head out. Jesus is suspicious of her activities (he noticed she packed a crowbar) and she swears she’s going to make things right.

Jesus believes Rick was wrong and Negan should’ve died, but he’s worried Maggie isn’t making the right call now. Their talk is interrupted by Dianne (Kerry Cahill) who’s got the horses ready for the trip to Alexandria. Maggie assures Jesus she’ll be back when it’s done.

The bridge’s progress has stopped after a bad storm blew through and halted their work. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) delivers the bad news to Rick who’s obsessed with making the bridge functional again. Fortunately, there’s also a little good news to counter the bad. Two nearby herds of walkers, which Eugene’s dubbed Tybalt and Cordelia after Shakespeare’s characters, aren’t going to merge into one gigantic herd.

Eugene apologizes for not being able to do more about the bridge, and Rick assures him no apology is necessary.

Rick stops in to chat with Carol (Melissa McBride) in her tent and finds her packing up, preparing to take her people back to the Kingdom. She’s done taking care of the Sanctuary and believes they need to take care of themselves at this point. She put Alden in charge of leading the Saviors back to the Sanctuary, basically washing her hands of that group.

Rick’s concerned they won’t be able to fend for themselves, but Carol reminds him the Sanctuary doesn’t want to deal with Rick or the rest of them anyway. They also don’t seem to want Negan back…or at least most of them don’t.

Rick’s not sure this is the right path to take, but he tells Carol she gives him hope about the way things can turn out. (Eugene was teary-eyed during their talk and now Rick and Carol are both emotional and near tears. The emotions are raw, obviously in response to Andrew Lincoln finishing up nine years with his The Walking Dead co-stars.)

Jerry arrives with a message from Jesus that Maggie’s heading to Alexandria. Rick radios a relay station to pass on the news that Maggie should be delayed when she tries to enter town. He wants the relay to also make sure someone informs Michonne that Maggie’s on her way. The relay of the message doesn’t go through; the girl who received it knows Maggie’s done talking.

Rick also reaches out to Maggie over the radio, in case she’s listening. He lets her know he wants to talk.

The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 4
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9 episode 4 (Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Daryl’s been sitting nearby and asks Rick what’s up. He admits Maggie’s going to do something she’ll regret, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) volunteers to take Rick to Alexandria on his bike because it’s quicker than by horse.

Back at Alexandria, Nora reports in to Michonne about the crops. She also reports Negan has stopped eating. Michonne volunteers to handle that issue herself.

They’re on the road when Rick becomes concerned because Daryl’s deliberately taken a wrong turn. Daryl informs Rick that Michonne won’t be receiving his message about Maggie. Rick’s ready to use the radio again when Daryl knocks it away. They tussle and then tumble down into a huge hole which just happens to be in this random place right where they decided to argue.

Back in Alexandria, Michonne checks in on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). She’s brought his lunch and demands he end his hunger strike. He claims he’s just not in the mood to eat, but Michonne doesn’t care. She gives him an hour to finish it and she’ll be back for the plate.

Negan wants her to stay and talk. He looks in rough shape, and promises he’ll eat if she does linger a while. She agrees and pulls up a chair outside the cell. (Michonne’s a smart woman who’s just made an uncharacteristically foolish decision.)

Meanwhile in the hole, Rick and Daryl are in a jam. They argue as they look for ways to climb out. Rick understands why Maggie’s angry and ready to take matters into her own hands, but that doesn’t make it right. Daryl reminds him it’s all because of Glenn that he found Laurie, Carl, and the rest of group. Glenn kept Rick alive, and Rick admits he thinks about that every day. Rick also admits he hates what he took from Maggie.

Rick reminds Daryl that he spared Dwight even after what he did with Denise, so Daryl throws everything Negan did back in Rick’s face. They have diametrically opposed positions on Negan’s continued survival. Daryl’s sure allowing Negan to live gives hope to the Saviors that things will go back to how they were, while Rick thinks Negan remaining alive is the best deterrent.

Daryl tells Rick that Maggie can’t tolerate Negan being alive anymore. Daryl also reveals Oceanside killed the Saviors and he believes the Saviors got what they deserved. Rick gets emotional, sure that killing Negan will make him a martyr which means everyone who died – including Carl – died for nothing.

Daryl confesses they don’t believe Rick has faith in them, even though he continuously asks them to have faith in other people. Daryl doesn’t believe Rick’s dreams of a future are realistic. He acknowledges he’d die for Rick, and he would have died for Carl, but this can’t go on. “You’re chasing something for him that ain’t meant to be, man. You’ve just got to let him go,” says Daryl.

Rick never asked anyone to follow him, and Daryl recognizes that’s true. But, Daryl says, maybe Rick should have. (These must have been incredibly difficult scenes to film as Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln approach the end of Rick Grimes and the end of their years of working together.)

Continuing her discussion with Negan, Michonne explains how she spends her days. Negan insults her every day life and wonders what the warrior in her really wants to be doing. She takes offense, proud they’re rebuilding society and writing laws. Negan claims Michonne is like him and needs to free her inner warrior.

Negan changes the subject, admitting he’s happy his wife isn’t around. She was an angel who deserved better and died from cancer. He thinks Michonne’s lucky to have had a kid like Carl. Michonne admits she feels as though Carl’s still there every day.

Catching up with the weirdness that is Jadis/Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), she bends down and give Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) a kiss. He’s bound to a dolly and lying flat on his back. There’s a walker tied up with a bucket over its head near his feet and although Gabriel tries to talk her out of it, Anne is committed to following orders. She needs to turn Gabriel as he’s the price of her entry into the other community.

Gabriel believes he’s a better person because of her, but Anne doesn’t care. He takes the blame for Anne’s actions as she lowers the walker toward his face. The walker’s about a foot above him when Gabriel says he forgives her. When the walker’s about 6” above him, Anne pulls it away. She then picks up a rag and holds it over Gabriel’s mouth and nose until he’s unconscious.

The bridge camp is being packed up when the Saviors return. Carol and her group all have guns, but now Jed also has one and it’s pointed at Carol. (He took it from Alden.) Jed’s not the only one armed and he refuses to drop the gun as the Saviors advance toward Carol. He’s figured out Oceanside’s behind the killings and is determined they’ll get what’s coming to them.

Only a few feet separate Carol and Jed as they take aim and are ready to shoot. Jed demands she step aside, and Carol lowers her weapon and does so. He takes her keys and as he’s walking by, Carol takes out his legs. A fight ensues, and Rick and Daryl hear gunshots.

Rick realizes the noise will draw the herds, and Daryl gives Rick a boost to get out of the hole. Rick’s finally able to grab a root and begins to make his way up the side of the hole.

In Alexandria, Michonne’s talk with Negan has left her agitated. She glances at her katana while working on the charter, and then returns to Negan with food and to finish their discussion. He continues to attempt to convince her they’re the same, that they both are attracted to the dead, and they’re both trapped. She denies it, saying that while he gets a kick out of being in power and being ruthless, what she does is bring people together peacefully.

She wants a better world for the next generation.

He takes a bite at her command and as she’s about to leave, Negan has a question. He wants to/needs to see Lucille. Michonne tells him they don’t have it and that it was left behind. Negan becomes emotional and after Michonne leaves he says, “I am going to see my Lucille.” He then pounds his head into the wall. (Maggie might not have to kill Negan after all.)

Once more to the hole we go, and walkers have begun tumbling in. Daryl knifes a few in the head and then begins making a pile of their bodies. He uses them to climb up the wall, but then he and Rick are forced to dodge falling walkers as they cling to vines and attempt to find finger holds.

Rick finally emerges from the hole and doesn’t spot any walkers nearby. He grabs a branch and holds it as he reaches for Daryl’s hand. Rick tries to encourage his friend to keep coming, saying, “Brother, take my hand.”

Rick uses his strength to pull Daryl the last few feet out of the hole. More walkers arrive just as they make it back to the road where they left Daryl’s bike. Rather than ride away with Daryl, Rick decides he’s going to stay behind to distract the herd away from the camp. He refuses to sacrifice the bridge. Daryl argues with Rick as the walkers advance, and then Rick jumps on his horse which has trotted over from the camp in advance of the herd.

They tell each other to be safe as they part.

Gabriel calls out for Anne as he emerges from a storage container. Anne’s gone but she left a note behind which reads: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I need to go fast.”

Gabriel cries as he reads the note and then clutches it to his chest before sinking to his knees.

The final scene of the episode finds Rick riding his horse slowly in front of one herd. At an intersection, the other massive herd appears and spooks Rick’s horse. He’s thrown and lands on top of a concrete slab. Rebar pierces his side and he lets out a scream as both herds close in.

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