The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 8 Recap: Hearts Still Beating

Gene Page/AMC
One of the biggest complaints about this season of The Walking Dead is that the Lord of the Rings-style breaking of the fellowship that followed Glenn and Abraham's deaths at the hands of Negan. Due to the way the writers structured this seasons' seventeen different storylines (that's a guess, but it's probably not far off), we've had at least a few episodes that haven't done a ton to advance the narrative and get the show back on the rails. Well, with tonight's episode, that all changed. Because Rick Grimes got his groove back. But first, let's deal with some of the loose threads that have hanging around for the last couple of episodes. Maggie and crew are still at the Hilltop. Their leader is still a dick. But the people of the Hilltop understand that she and Sasha saved them. They show their appreciation with apple pies and food. Then it's off to the Kingdom, where Carol gets a visit from Morgan, who brings her fruit and vegetables. It's tense, and only gets more tense when Richard, one of the Kingdom's knights, arrives to tell them about King Ezekiel's deal with Negan and the Saviors. He believes they should prepare for a betrayal by Negan and form a fighting force. Morgan doesn't want to kill, and Carol just wants to be left alone. He storms off, followed by Morgan, leaving Carol alone. Meanwhile, Michonne's mystery mission is revealed: She's kidnapped a female Savior and has her drive her to Negan, pointing a gun to her head the whole time. They get close enough to see Negan's base. Michonne caps the woman and drives away, back in the other direction.
Unbeknownst to Michonne, Daryl is making his escape from the compound. He's found some peanut butter, new clothes (what was up with that Scarlet Letter deal?) and a way out to the motorcycles. As he's about to take off, he's spotted by Fat Joey, who's clearly intimidated. Daryl bashes his head in with a pipe and takes his gun, the same kind used by Rick. And it's a Christmas miracle, because as he does, Jesus shows up to help him get out. But back to Alexandria. Negan shaves in Rick's mirror. He makes spaghetti for Carl. And he gets a gentleman caller in the form of Spencer, who's aiming to betray Rick. He brings Negan scotch and tells him the location of a pool table in a garage. Negan has his guys setup the table in the street (a nice touch) as he and Spencer bond over a game and discuss his plot to replace Rick. A crowd gathers to watch them play, including Eugene and Rosita. Carl and Olivia watch them from the porch of the house. Negan sees through Spencer's machinations and in a surprise move, guts him with his knife in front of the onlookers. Rosita snaps and pulls her gun, firing at Negan. But back to Rick. After scavenging with Aaron in a walker-filled lake (which gave us one of the best action beats of the season, as the pair fight off walkers with makeshift paddles in a sinking canoe), the pair return to Alexandria in time to hear the gunshot. They run to the bloody scene to find that Rosita missed Negan, instead hitting his bat, Lucille. Not great. Negan freaks out, as he's wont to do, and checks out the shell casing bullet, discovering that it looks homemade. He's impressed and wants to know who made it. When one of the Saviors puts a knife to her throat, Rosita insists it was her. But in a heroic moment, Eugene steps up and admits that he made the bullet. Which is about when Rick and Aaron roll up. And as Negan explains to Rick that he brought Carl back and helped him out by killing the traitorous Spencer, he still insists that someone has to die. So one of the Saviors randomly shoots Olivia. Negan leaves, taking Eugene with him. Rick takes out the now-turned Spencer. Later, Michonne gives Rick a pep talk, telling him about her journey, quoting him from an earlier talk he gave her when they arrived at Alexandria: "We're the ones who live." Back on the Hilltop, Maggie keeps lookout. And she sees something she likes. Rick, Michonne, Carl, Rosita, and Tara enter the gates. "You were right from the start," Rick says to Maggie. "You told us to get ready to fight. I didn't listen. I couldn't. I can now." And surprise, surprise. Daryl and Jesus appear behind her. There are many hugs as the group is reunited, including Sasha and Enid. Daryl hands Rick the gun. Rick holsters it. After many meaningful shots of everyone staring at each other, they all head toward the house. One lingering question: Who is the boot spy who tracks Rick and Aaron? Any guesses, let us know.

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