AMC’s The Walking Dead season nine episode six, the first episode after the exit of Andrew Lincoln, finds Michonne (Danai Gurira) confessing nothing has gotten any easier even with time continuing to move forward. She has a one-sided conversation with the deceased love of her life, telling Rick she’s trying to look ahead to a brighter future but the path ahead has only gotten darker. It’s been about six years since Rick blew up the bridge, and his friends and family obviously still miss him.
Life does still go on for the rest of the survivors. Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) are a confirmed couple (and Carol has long hair!). Daryl (Norman Reedus) fishes and kills walkers.
Michonne continues her inner monologue, admitting there are occasional flashes of light. There are still reasons to keep going. During her voice-over we see Carol spotting a flower growing in a crack and Daryl finding a bird’s nest filled with baby birds.
Michonne confirms she keeps dreaming every second of every day and won’t give up. She promises she never will.
Aaron (Ross Marquand), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) frantically call out for Judith in the woods. They find her and she’s with the party she rescued at the end of season nine episode five. Rosita warns her they don’t bring in new people, but this group is obviously in need of help. Luke (Dan Fogler) immediately offers to make a fancy meal out of the dead deer Eugene’s carrying, but Eugene turns him down. “Stew. We make stew,” says Eugene, sternly. “More mileage for the masses.”
The new group can’t believe there are more people besides this group of Judith’s friends. As they’re talking walkers approach and Eugene appears to have honed his killing skills as he’s the first to take them on.
Judith (Cailey Fleming) wants to bring the newcomers back, refusing to return to Alexandria without them. With no other choice, Aaron invites them to come along.
Over at The Kingdom, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) assures Carol things will grow back. He addresses her as “My Queen,” and Carol rebuffs the title. He reminds her that she’s the Queen since she married the King and is the mother to the Prince. Their talk’s interrupted by noise from the pipes. Henry, who has definitely grown up during the time jump, works on bringing the pressure back down. He manages to but warns his dad they need better tools. They could also use someone who actually knows how to fix things.
A short while later, Carol and Ezekiel have a talk. She agrees with Henry. Ezekiel wants to makes sure Henry stays safe and doesn’t want him to go out into the world. They discuss how everything is aging and falling apart.
As they return to Alexandria, Eugene reminds Rosita and the rest that bringing these strangers to their home is against the rules. The strangers are leery of entering, but Judith promises them they’ll be safe. She takes Magna (Nadia Hilker) by the hand and leads them in, and the group is stunned by what they see. Crops are thriving and there’s a working windmill, plus everything is so clean and calm.
The Alexandrians approach the group and Siddiq (Avi Nash) immediately springs into action to help the group’s injured member. Before the introductions can be made, Michonne rides in on horseback. She demands to know what happened and is told they are five “unknowns,” and they’re all clean. Eugene assures her they submitted their weapons willingly, and Aaron says it was his call to bring them back.
Judith steps up and confesses she made the decision. A short discussion’s held and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) thinks it would be best to bring them in front of the council the following day since it’s almost dark. Michonne agrees, but they must stay in holding.
Back at The Kingdom, Ezekiel agrees to let Henry go to Hilltop for training. He tells him to be respectful, responsible, kind, and safe. Carol’s going with Henry, and they plan on returning before the upcoming fair begins. Ezekiel reminds Carol that Henry’s a dreamer, and she believes she knows where he gets that from.
The next day arrives and the council meeting’s crowded. Gabriel wants to know who’s the group’s leader, but they don’t seem to have one. Luke tries to explain who met who first, but he gets emotional recalling the ones they’ve lost to walkers.
Aaron wants to know who they were prior to the apocalypse and Luke says he was a music teacher. Magna waited tables and Connie (Lauren Ridloff), who’s deaf, was a journalist who exposed crooked politicians. Kelly (Angel Theory), who interprets for Connie, says she was in high school stressing about stupid stuff.
When Gabriel asks who they are now, Magna says she’s a fighter and Connie claims she’s Kelly’s guardian angel. Luke says he’s still a music teacher and that education never ends. They did what they had to to survive, never giving up. Luke admits he doesn’t know what he did to deserve still being alive. He thinks it was probably because he met the right people. The only thing they had in common was they’re breathing, but now they depend on each other.
Aaron wants to take a vote, but Michonne (the head of security) has a question. She assures the strangers they want to be kind and charitable, but decisions can come with a heavy price. She asks for Magna’s left hand and examines it. Magna has a prison tattoo and it’s evident she did hard time. Magna claims she has nothing to hide, but Michonne isn’t fooled. She knows the woman’s belt buckle is a knife. “I remember and I know that you do, too, so go ahead and take your vote,” says Michonne to the gathering of Alexandrians.
Michonne leaves before the vote’s taken. Magna yells after her but Michonne is done.
After the meeting breaks up, Gabriel sits down in front of what looks like a pretty decent radio set-up. As he’s about to key down the mic, Rosita arrives. He told her he gave up on calling out, but now he admits he thinks there might still be people out there. He believes the newcomers are good people, and they talk about how Michonne got the crowed riled up on purpose. For now, the strangers will stay in Alexandria until their injured friend is well enough to travel. Hopefully, Michonne will change her mind before then.
Gabriel explains that Eugene thinks they can go further out and set up an amplifier to find more people. They realize Michonne’s against the idea, but Gabriel’s optimistic they can find people. Rosita says she’ll take Eugene and set up the station. They kiss – we have a new couple! – and Gabriel calls her amazing.
Back at Michonne’s place, Judith creeps down the hallway listening to Michonne talk to herself. Judith turns around to give Michonne privacy but the floor squeaks and gives away her presence. Michonne reminds her it’s time for her lesson and Judith heads off.
Carol and Henry are taking a side trip on their way to Hilltop when they hear a woman screaming for help. Henry takes off running without thinking, and Carol’s forced to grab some weapons and follow him down an alley. Of course it’s a trap and the woman immediately turns a weapon on Henry. Carol arrives, bow ready to shoot and demands the woman drop her weapon.
Unfortunately, Carol and Henry are vastly outnumbered and now they’re surrounded by walls on two sides and enemies on the other two. The group holding Carol and Henry are the Saviors we last saw in a gun battle at the bridge camp. Jed (Rhys Coiro) is their leader and he seems pretty pleased to have captured Carol and her son.
Eugene and Rosita are on the road to set up a remote station when Eugene brings up Rosita’s relationship with Gabriel. Eugene’s sure Rosita really likes Gabriel, but he makes the case for her switching her affection to him. He points out she has other viable choices and Rosita smiles.
They stop talking as they notice fresh tracks on the ground. Fortunately, the 100+ walkers are heading the opposite direction of where they want to set up a remote outpost.
Back in Alexandria, Siddiq tells Magna and Luke their friend should be well enough to travel in a day or so. Luke wonders how long Siddiq’s been with the group and he admits he was a stranger they took in. However, things changed. He won’t elaborate on what happened.
The Saviors reveal they’ve been watching Henry and Carol for about a mile. Jed explains that since the Sanctuary went bust, they’ve been on the road. They’re now using walkers to pull their wagon because they ate their horses. Carol asks why they didn’t join one of the other communities, and Jed says it’s not his bag.
Jed then makes Carol an offer. Because she spared him during the altercation at camp, he’s willing to allow them to keep their wagon and horses as well as their weapons. He’ll take their supplies and her wedding ring, and that will make them square.
The idea of Carol giving up her wedding ring prompts Henry to take action. He uses Carol’s stick against Jed and momentarily gets the best of him. However, there are too many Saviors and Henry’s soon on the ground. Carol covers him and then hands over her ring.
In Alexandria, Judith does her math outside the prison. She reads word problems out loud and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who looks much better, isn’t much help. He can’t help her with her math problems, but he’ll answer any real-world problems. She tells him about the strangers that arrived, and Negan knows Judith is the one who wants to help them.
Negan recalls as a child he would bring home stray dogs against his mom’s wishes. One day a stray dog he brought home killed the other strays and chewed off his mom’s ear. After that, he never brought home another dog.
Eugene climbs up a water tower and sets up the signal enhancer. As he’s about to climb down, he sees a herd approaching. Rosita yells for him to come down immediately and in his hurry, he drops his bag. The bag lands with a thud that scares away their horses.
Eugene continues climbing down when he accidentally knocks away the ladder. He falls the remainder of the way and messes up his knee. Rosita races to find him a make-shift crutch and then helps him hobble away in front of the herd.
Carol and Henry stop for the night, setting up camp. He’s upset she didn’t try and keep her wedding ring and instead just let them have it. He thinks she’s changed, and she admits she has because of him. Henry goes to bed mad as Carol rubs the empty place on her finger.
Over at Alexandria, the group of strangers isn’t happy with Magna. They know it’s her fault they’re being expelled from the community before they ever had a chance to fit in. Magna doesn’t think they should just leave since they won’t last long on their own. Luke reminds her they really don’t have a choice.
Magna believes they should fight, but Connie tells her to leave Michonne alone. Magna doesn’t want to give up but Luke sides with Connie. If Magna wants to debate Michonne, that’s one thing. He doesn’t think they should physically fight anyone in town.
And in a twist that should shock even diehard The Walking Dead fans, Carol sneaks back over to the Saviors’ camp. She tells Jed she could accept the loss of her wedding ring, but the supplies the group had in their wagon belonged to her friends. She thinks they killed those people to get supplies, and she can’t let that go. She lights a match and sets the Saviors ablaze. Carol calmly walks away as they scream.
Nighttime in Alexandria reveals Magna’s got another knife and is just about to break into Michonne’s home when she sees Michonne with a young boy. Apparently Michonne gave birth to Rick’s son following his “death,” and their child is named R.J.
Instead of breaking in and attacking, Magna knocks on the door and hands over the knife. She admits Michonne missed it and that’s she’s right about her. Magna also admits to having done terrible things, and in Michonne’s shoes she wouldn’t trust her either. As she walks away Michonne says, “We’ve all done things or else we wouldn’t be here.”
Michonne closes the front door to find Judith sitting on the stairs holding Rick’s gun. They talk about what Rick would have wanted, and Michonne confirms both Rick and Carl would have been proud of Judith helping strangers. When Judith asks why Michonne won’t help them, Michonne tells her she’ll understand someday.
Judith admits she’s beginning to forget Rick and Carl’s voices. She hopes Michonne can still hear them.
Meanwhile, Rosita and Eugene run for their lives. Eugene finally has pushed himself as hard as he can and can’t continue. He volunteers to distract the walkers so she can escape because he’s just holding her back. Rosita refuses to allow him to stay behind.
Henry and Carol are back on the road and Henry apologizes for what he said. They’re still not heading toward Hilltop and Henry’s confused. It turns out Carol’s side trip is to check in on Daryl. Daryl’s no longer a part of any community and is now completely on his own. They smile at each other and she offers Daryl a ride.
Michonne changes her clothes, exposing a large X scar on her lower back. She takes out one of Rick’s shirts and holds it to her chest before putting it on. She breathes in Rick’s smell.
Magna’s group prepares to leave now that their companion is healthy enough for the road. Luke thanks Siddiq and Judith for their hospitality, and Gabriel leads the way to the gate. As they’re walking, Michonne rides up and says there’s been a change of plans. She’s going to take the group to Hilltop because the leader there will let them stay.
Eugene and Rosita slide down a small embankment by the river and cover themselves with mud to hide their smell. The walkers approach and as they walk by we hear the first instances of talking walkers. Walker one asks where they are and walker two replies they must be close. A third walker says, “Don’t let them get away.”
More on The Walking Dead:
- Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 1 Recap
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 2 Recap
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 3 Recap
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 4 Recap
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 5 Recap
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 7 “Stradivarius” Recap
- Season 9 Photos and Plot Description
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Cast Interview