‘The Walking Dead’: What could go wrong?

The Walking Dead
“Not Tomorrow Yet”
March 6, 2016

Two episodes have passed with no sign of Carol after she indirectly helped cause the horrific deaths of Sam and his mother, so what’s she been up to? As it turns out, Carol has been passing the time by baking acorn and beet cookies and flirting with some Alexandrian named Tobin.

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Scariest image of the episode? Maybe! (Gene Page/AMC)

Team Rick returns from Hilltop and announces to Alexandria they will have a community meeting in the church in an hour, and Carol is like, “???” so Rick explains that they are going to have to fight.

Carol then continues on her cookie delivery, only to be confronted by Morgan who wonders why she, or Tara, Dr. Mullet or Rosita haven’t told Rick about his Wolfie house guest. Carol explains that she instructed them to keep quiet about it, they all just to move on and forget it happened. Morgan suggests that the real reason she hasn’t tattled is because she wants to share in his guilt. But Carol is like, “HEY WHY DON’T YOU SHUT UP?” before leaving an acorn-beet cookie on Sam’s grave.

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Meeting time! Rick frames himself in front of the church’s stained glass windows where he explains the plan to the community: “So, the Hilltoppers have agreed to give us food if we kill those Savior guys who gave Daryl, Abraham and Sasha trouble last month. Who’s in?” Morgan raises his hand and is asks, “Do you think you can do it?” And Rick is like, “Have you met us?” So Morgan is all, “Well, before you just go kill a bunch of strangers that haven’t actually done anything to us but be a little snotty, have you thought about trying to sit down and talk things out with them first?” And Rick is like, “Yeah, no. That’s not going to happen.” Aaron is then all, “What happened with the Wolves and the horde is not going to happen again and by the way, have you heard my impersonation of Matthew McConaughey?”

Rick’s announces, “It’s settled then: we’re going to go murder a bunch of people, and if someone isn’t cool with it, Morgan, they can go live someplace else.”

That night, in the second most unbelievable moment of the episode, pregnant Maggie announces to Glenn that she needs to go on Rick’s raid, and in the most unbelievable moment of the episode, Glenn is like, “Sure, OK, I get it.”

Over at Carol’s house, she can’t sleep, so she makes a list of all the people she’s killed, like you do. Carol then goes out for a late night cigarette break, where she runs into Tobin who warns her that “those things will kill you,” before asking for one. Instead, she shares, and he tells her he’s scared for tomorrow because she’s going on the raid. He then tells her how impressed he is that she’s capable of doing things that terrify him, and it’s because she’s a mother. DARN TOOTIN’, AND DON’T YOU MEN FORGET IT.

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And then all the Caryl shippers die inside when Carol and this Tobin character kiss. Sorry, only one ship allowed at a time, guys.

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Meanwhile, over at Abraham and Rosita’s place, Abraham begins packing a suitcase. Rosita is like, “Dude, it’s just an overnight raid, I don’t think you need to pack all of your underwear.” But Abraham explains that he’s moving out, it’s over between them before comparing the situation to dingleberries in the way only Abraham can (would) do. He then adds that when he first met her, he thought she was the only woman on Earth, but now he knows she’s not. OOF. And with that, he leaves her there with only a cookie-eating Dr. Mullet to keep her company.

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As for Tara, she tells Dr. Denise she loves her before inviting her along on the two-week-long supply run she and Heath are going to make after the raid, but Dr. Denise is like, “I’m the only doctor, I’m not going anywhere, duh.” Duh.

Team Rick questions their Hilltop guest on the layout of the Saviors’ compound, and determines there must be an armory on the premises, an armory that they need to get to for this raid to be successful. The Hilltopper points out that there’s only one entry point, so there’s no sneaking past the guards. But Rick explains that the Saviors are going to open the doors and let them in: they want Gregory’s head, Team Rick will give them Gregory’s head.

The next day, Team Rick loads up the RV and a bunch of other vehicles and drive out to the woods where they stop and blare their horns and get out and pad the hour with a little pointless conversation. Rick asks Father Worthless why he’s still wearing the collar, and Father Worthless is like, “Look, it’s my schtick.”

Meanwhile, Rosita confronts Carol about not saying anything when Morgan tried to talk them out of going on the raid, and Carol reminds her that not wanting to kill people may not be the worst thing in the world.

And Heath and Glenn go deeper into the woods to kill some walkers and bond over the fact that neither of them have actually killed a living person before. Murder virgins!

Rick gives the team instructions: they will go check out the building, if they don’t like what they see, they leave. Otherwise they enter the compound while the Saviors are sleeping and murderize everyone. Carol decides that now is the time to complain to Rick about Maggie being along for this ride, and Rick is all, “maybe you should have said something before we got into the car? She wants to stand guard, it’s her choice.” Carol announces that she is going to stay with Maggie over Rick’s protests that he needs her help inside, but eventually Rick is like, “FINE. WHATEVER.”

Rick then stomps over to where Jesus and Other Hilltop Guy have lined up some walker heads, so as to decide which looks the most like Gregory. When they decide that the middle head looks the most like him, but for the nose, Rick picks up the head and begins punching it in the face so as to break the nose. Other Hilltop Guy is impressed. And scared. Mostly scared.

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So, the raid. Other Hilltop Guy drives up alone and announces himself to the guards, claiming that he has what they wanted. Hands raised, he approaches the two guards with the bag containing “Gregory’s” head, and they demand he pull it out so they can get a look at it. After inspecting the head’s face for a bit, Guard One is satisfied and heads inside the compound to retrieve the Hilltopper, Craig, whom they’ve taken hostage.

While he’s inside, Daryl sneaks up behind Guard Two and slits his throat. The rest of Team Rick comes running out of the shadows, give Other Hilltop Guy a gun, pick up Guard Two like a sack of potatoes and scurry him away into the night. When Guard One returns with feckless Craig, Team Rick kills Guard One and sends Other Hilltop Guy and Craig back to a car before storming — very quietly — the building.

Running quietly through the building, running quietly through the building, running quietly through the building. Rick tests one of the closed doors, finds it open, slips inside and silently stabs a sleeping Savior. Because that’s how it’s gonna be.

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Heath and Glenn follow his example, but once inside the weight of what they are being asked to do overcomes both of them. Glenn, sobbing, stabs his Savior, and when Heath hesitates, Glenn kills Heath’s Savior, too. UGH. I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

And that’s when Glenn notices all the Polaroids of people whose heads have been smashed in, pinned over the Savior’s bed, because The Walking Dead writers are never going to stop foreshadowing. Fortunately, the internet fixed it:

While all of this is going on inside, out in one of the cars, Tara confesses to Father Dumdum that she told Dr. Denise that she loved her as a way to avoid talking about her feelings about this raid. But Jesus and Father Gabriel are like, “Well, do you love her?” When Tara admits she does, Father Gabriel and Jesus tell her it’s cool. And when a priest and Jesus both absolve you of a sin, you’re good.

Back inside, Abraham and Sasha find a locked door. As they struggle to open it, a Savior happens to come out of his room to brush his teeth. Savior manages to set off an alarm before being killed by Sasha.

Out in the woods, Maggie hears the alarm. Her brain breaks and Dummy decides she needs to go into the compound to help, but Carol is like, “NO MA’AM. I DON’T THINK SO.”

At the sound of the alarm, Jesus, Tara and Father Inept get out of their car, order Other Hilltop Guy to drive Craig back to hilltop, and head inside to help Team Rick.

Inside: shooting at the Saviors, shooting at the Saviors, shooting at the Saviors. Glenn and Heath manage to shoot their way into the armory, rearm themselves and shoot through the door, killing a solid dozen Saviors, with an assist from Jesus.

Outside: Father Cowardly Lion finds a half-alive Savior in the grass, and recites some scripture at him before killing him. So that’s a change … for the better? The worse? I don’t even know anymore.

Finally, Team Rick heads out into the daylight, having survived the raid intact. As Heath and Tara drive off on their scouting run and put all of this behind them, the rest of the Team breathes a sigh of relief … although Michonne does worry they never figured out which one was Negan.

And that’s when a Savior comes riding out on Daryl’s motorcycle, which if he had any sense of self-preservation he would have known better than to do. Daryl tackles him, just as a woman’s voice comes over the walkie-talkie the Savior had on his person, demanding that Team Rick lowers their weapons. Rick counter-demands that the woman come out and talk. She replies that they won’t come out, but they will talk: they have a Carol and a Maggie, so they have lots to chat about.

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Oh, and back in Alexandria, Morgan is welding something, crying.

So THIS episode. I am a pretty strong-stomached woman. I love the horror genre in general (it might well be my favorite), and it takes a lot to shock or upset me. That said, this was the first Walking Dead episode that gave me actual nightmares. I can handle zombies and gore and even favorite characters dying and being eaten, but it upset me on a deeper, psychological level to see our “heroes” cross a significant moral line, enough that I dreamt about it all night.

And to the show’s credit, they did not take this development lightly. Choosing to have Glenn, the only member of the original group who had up to this episode not killed a living person, commit murder is not just a deviation from the comic, but it also signaled that this is a significant turn for Team Rick. It’s one thing to have Rick go in and kill a group of sleeping people who have done nothing to him personally —  Rick Grimes is a dangerous man who will do anything to protect his people. But having morally incorrupt Glenn become a murderer forces the audience for maybe the very first time to really question if our protagonists have gone too far in the name of survival.

Whether or you think this is a step too far or a completely rational decision based on their particular set of circumstances, we do have to accept that this preemptive strike by Rick will come at some sort of cost — a point that Michonne pointed out to Rick in the previous episode. We’re not going to get through this season without losing someone we care about, so brace yourselves.

There’s a great piece over on Uproxx.com about how the TV writers have used the fact that the comic book material is out there in the universe to amp up tension in this particular episode and this back half of the season in general. It’s a great point: unless you have been living under a rock, even if you haven’t read the comics, you know that Negan was probably not killed in Rick’s raid (the character has been cast, and the actor in question was certainly not in the episode), and that Negan will be a dangerous enemy who will probably want revenge — and Rick just gave him a very good reason to seek it. The TV writers know we know all of that, and they are now playing with us, making us question who is going to be the sacrificial victim and how it’s going to play out.

Which means, I, for one, will be a mess of worry for the next four weeks and probably dealing with a few more nightmares.

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The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sunday at 8/9 p.m.

This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.

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