The juxtaposition of Carol’s quiet suffering and Rick’s heightened bloodlust call his judgment into question. Is Rick justified in initiating a preemptive attack on Negan and the Saviors?
On the eve of battle, Carol, Walking Dead warrior woman turned Alexandria mother-figure, distracts herself from her violent past by baking beet and chestnut cookies.
The blood of 18 people on her hands is far from forgotten. Restless, she tallies the lives lost at her hands in a journal. Are she and Morgan more alike than they are different?
She is simultaneously reluctant and resigned to execute Rick’s plan– kill all of the Saviors. Carol seems to understand Morgan, seen at the end of the episode weeping for what’s to come as he appears to construct a prison cell.
Are Morgan and Carol in the same metaphorical prison, trapped between humanity and fear?
Andy, Hilltop resident, watches Rick in horror as he disfigures a dismembered head in an effort to pass it off as Greggory’s remains– proof that Andy did Negan’s bidding.
Andy tells Rick that Negan has nothing on Rick’s brutality, which recasts Rick from hero to antagonist. Sure, Walking Dead readers know the evil of Negan and his crew, but as of yet, Rick’s group has no cause for initiating a massacre.
Subtle hints in the episode nod to Rick’s growing ruthlessness. As he rationalizes to the group about their pending assault, “this is how we eat,” echoes of Gareth ring… ” man’s gotta eat” (Season 5 Episode 2).
Tara confesses to Gabriel that she’s “done this before,” but she didn’t like it. Naturally, she engaged in such brutal combat under The Governor’s tutelage.
Is there much of a difference between Rick and the Governor or Rick and Gareth at this point? Rick isn’t a cannibal, but slaughtering sleeping men in an effort to nourish his own community isn’t exactly noble or just.
As we watch Glenn slip into the darkness–stabbing sleeping men in the skull, crying as he does so, it’s clear Rick has compromised all that gives his group life. Glenn spared Heath the grief of killing a man, but is that enough to keep Glenn in a relative state of grace? Is it still fair to call Glenn the group’s moral compass?
Up to this point, there’s been a clear distinction between living and surviving; the group compromised life in the interest of survival. Father Gabriel, still adorning his clergy collar, shooting a wounded man reiterates the dark descent of Rick’s group.
The episode closes with the capture of Carol and Maggie. Carol stayed behind with Maggie, upset that Maggie was participating in the mission at all. Carol questions Maggie and laments that Maggs “is supposed to be someone else.” Will this be Carol’s turning point? Will we see her adopt Morgan’s no-kill philosophy?
Will this be Carol’s turning point? Will we see her adopt Morgan’s no-kill philosophy? The toll all the killing takes on the group seems to add merit to Morgan’s paradigm.
Perhaps Carol’s penance foreshadows her sacrifice, suggesting that she dies at the hands of Negan to protect Maggie and her unborn child.
Now that all members of Rick’s group have acted with such malice, it’s difficult to predict who will die at the hands of Negan. In the words of Jesus, “This is the new world.”
Who do you think will die at the hands of Negan? Is Rick to blame for any ill that befalls the group at Negan’s hands? You can share your insight, predictions, and questions in the comment section.