Home sweet home.
This week’s 90-minute installment of “The Walking Dead” returned to Alexandria, where life under the rule of the Saviors was coming along quite well.
And by well, I mean they lived under the iron fist of a dictator the likes of which they haven’t seen in a very long time.
Negan [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] has brought Alexandria and its survivors to its knees, and in this episode “Service,” we see what happens when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
“Little pig, little pig, let me in!”
Negan arrived at Alexandria ahead of schedule to collect tribute from Rick [Andrew Lincoln] and the other survivors.
While Rick noted Negan is early, he reaffirmed he calls the shots with his new “business partner” and proceeded to kill a walker outside of Alexandria to remind him what happens if he disagrees.
He then handed Lucille over to Rick to hold while he insisted on being given a tour of their community – while several Saviors began taking what supplies they deemed theirs.
Rick objected to this, saying Negan promised to only take half of what they owned.
“You don’t decide what we take, I do,” he retorted to his newest acquisition.
Their tour brought them to Alexandria’s graves, which were just recently filled by the remains of Glenn [Steven Yeun] and Abraham [Michael Cudlitz].
Negan also asked Rick if Maggie [Lauren Cohan], Glenn’s widow, was still alive. Father Gabriel [Seth Gilliam] thought on the spot to imply Maggie had passed, asking if Negan wanted to pay his respects.
“I was going to ask her to come back with me. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: ‘How could I ever shop a guy who just bashed her husband’s head in?’ You’d be surprised,” Negan rudely admitted.
Negan was already as charismatic and villainous as ever, treating every person in Alexandria he came across with malice and disrespect.
On top of that, making Rick constantly hold the weapon that killed two of his closest friends was the ultimate mind game.
Not only did Rick have the means to kill him in the palm of his hand, but Negan knew that Rick didn’t have the guts to do anything about it.
While the Saviors took more than their fair share of supplies, Rick’s son Carl [Chandler Riggs] was having none of it.
“You should all just leave,” he mouthed off to Negan, “before you learn just how dangerous we are.”
Negan oddly respected Carl’s opinion, before ultimately deciding Alexandria had too many guns and insisted the Saviors take whatever they had in storage.
They checked inventory at Alexandria’s armory, although two weapons came up missing, leaving Rick to address his people.
“Most of you weren’t there, you didn’t have to watch,” Rick reluctantly said to his fellow Alexandrians, noting the direness of their situation. “We give them what we want and we live in peace.”
This episode did an excellent job showing a weaker Rick Grimes, something that hasn’t been seen since the first season of this show.
Hats off to Andrew Lincoln, whose hopeless expressions throughout this season have made audiences feel like Rick and the others are no longer in control of their own destinies.
Rick, in his haste, found the two missing guns in Spencer’s [Austin Nichols] home, noting how much food and alcohol he was hiding as well, seeing in his eyes how weak he was.
Giving the rest of Alexandria’s weapons to the Saviors, Negan finally left the town, telling Rick things will work out well for everyone as long as they obey.
You saw the blood boiling in Rick’s eyes as he held Lucille one last time before they parted ways, ever so tempted to avenge his own fallen comrades.
He held off, knowing he’ll have his chance to take out Negan, but he needed to remain strong for everyone in Alexandria.
While the episode came to a close, Rick confided in Michonne [Danai Gurira] how they have to live now, especially with what they have to do to survive.
“I know Judith isn’t mine, I know it. I love her, she’s my daughter, but she isn’t mine,” Rick confessed to Michonne about Judith’s true father, his old partner Shane [Jon Bernthal]. “I’ll die long before she does and I hope that’s a long time from now…”
It seems in this season Rick is coming terms to with his family and with his life in the apocalypse, both with Carl being his only true family left and the Saviors having him beat.
Rick then confronted Spencer about the weapons, before Spencer took jabs of his own, reminding him that he got him into that situation, that he cost Glenn and Abraham their lives.
Showing the old Rick was still in there somewhere, he threatened to break Spencer’s jaw if he ever mentioned them again.
Where do we go from here?
The Saviors will only return again, and Maggie is still hidden away presumably at the Hilltop Colony.
Time will only tell, and Negan is only going to come knocking again.
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