With Negan back at the Sanctuary on The Walking Dead, things are getting pretty interesting. His first order of business in this episode, titled “Worth,” is to weed out the traitors and punish them. Then, of course, he needs to continue with his plan to destroy Rick. Eugene struggles to keep up with the demand for bullets, and Aaron is still trying to convince Oceanside to join the fight. Meanwhile, Rick reads his letter to Carl, and Michonne tries to get Negan his letter.
Carl’s Letter to Rick
Rick finally reads Carl’s letter as he watches Judith. In it, Carl reminisces about life before the apocalypse. He tells Rick he wants him to feel safe, just as Rick made Carl feel safe as a child. He warns Rick that he doesn’t think Negan and the Saviors will surrender, so it’s up to Rick to end the war. He tells Rick that there are hard-working Saviors inside the Sanctuary, and they shouldn’t die.
The letter goes on to say that Carl believes there have to be more places out in the world and more people. He believes there’s an opportunity for a real life. He wants Rick to find peace with Negan and find a way to move forward so a similar war doesn’t happen again. Carl believes there can be a way for everyone to feel safe without killing and eventually go back to the way life was before.
Eugene seems to be having a grand ol’ time bossing people around as they make bullets, though he questions if he can fulfill Simon’s order now that Negan isn’t around. Then he yells at Gabriel when he finds out that Gabriel has been making the bullets wrong to protect his friends.
After he takes Gabriel off the bullet-making line, he heads outside to test some ammo and gets kidnapped by Daryl and Rosita. As the three make their way back to the Hilltop, Eugene just keeps talking and talking. He tries to defend his decision to stay with the Saviors and help them. Rosita blames all the recent deaths on Eugene, but he just says that’s on Rick. Rosita threatens him and tells him that the only reason they are keeping him alive is for his knowledge.
As walkers surround them, Eugene throws up on Rosita and makes his getaway. He hides in a pile of ashes and bones and finds his way back to his outpost. On arrival, he finds out that Negan is back and wants a full order of bullets by morning. Having a new respect for Negan, Eugene promises that he can deliver that order and gets to work.
Negan Makes the Rounds
After getting settled back at the Sanctuary, Negan goes to see Dwight outside. He asks Dwight if he remembers who he is, to which Dwight replies, “I am Negan.” Dwight then suggests that Negan talk to Simon, as he’s his number two. Negan warns Dwight to remember their talk when the time comes and to remember what they’ve done and what they can still do together.
Next, Negan summons Simon, who rambles on and on about his decision to attack the Hilltop. He says he’ll own that decision, but he wants Negan to give him a pass this time. Negan gets up and walks over to Simon, telling him about how in the beginning when they took over the Sanctuary he didn’t trust him. However, everything seems to have worked out with Simon up until this point. Negan orders Simon on his knees and asks if he’ll make a move. Simon says that there’s no move to make, and then Negan tells him that all is forgiven and they are good. Simon promises that he won’t let Negan down.
After Negan explains his new plan to create outposts and teams 24/7 around the Hilltop so that anyone who leaves will be killed, he clears the room and asks Dwight to stick around. He all but implies that he knows that Dwight is the traitor but urges him to keep staying loyal.
Simon Sticks to His Plan
Before finding out that Negan is back, Simon meets with Gregory. He informs Gregory that he’s in charge now, and when Gregory kisses up to Simon, Simon just tells him that he has to go. Gregory tries to convince him otherwise, so Simon informs him that he wants to kill him, not just shun him. He must have a change of heart, though, because he tells Gregory that he can start making amends by bringing him coffee.
After his meeting with Negan, Simon goes to see Dwight, who is readying a note with a map of the new Savior outposts for the Hilltop. Simon wants to continue with his takeover. He wants to gather like-minded Saviors who feel the same way about Negan’s “poor management” skills, and he wants Dwight to stick with him. He adds that the time has come for them to do what they need to do. He tells Dwight to meet them in the courtyard after rounds to figure out what their next move is.
Simon vs. Negan
During their courtyard meeting, Simon tells everyone who is out there that there are no take-backs. He says they should make the Negan kill quick, quiet, and respectful, as Negan has done a lot for them. Simon then tells Dwight that the kill is his if he wants it. After Negan’s death, Simon says they will destroy the Hilltop and its residents, and then they can get on with their lives.
While Simon thinks this is a great plan, Dwight heeds the warning from Negan and whistles him out from behind a dumpster. Negan counts down from three, and Saviors take out all of the Saviors outside with Simon. Some other Saviors disarm Simon, who asks Dwight why he betrayed him. Dwight just says that Negan would win. Negan then tells Simon he’ll give him one shot to kill him. Inside the Sanctuary, Negan and Simon have a fistfight, until Negan eventually strangles Simon with his bare hands in front of all of the Saviors.
Dwight’s Next Move
While the fight is going on, Dwight gives Gregory the map with Negan’s new plan on it and a set of car keys. He tells him to bring it to Rick, as it’s the only shot he’s got. He manages to make it to the Hilltop and deliver the message before Maggie locks him up again. Maggie shows Rick the map, and they figure out their next move.
Meanwhile, after Simon’s death, Negan offers Dwight the job of his new right-hand man. Dwight accepts the position and says he’ll help Negan win the war against Rick. Negan tells him he already has, as Dwight heads into his room and sees Laura and some other Saviors sitting in there. Apparently, Laura is the person Negan picked up on the side of the road. She informed Negan about how Dwight turned on him during the fight at Alexandria.
Negan tells Dwight that he knew he’d deliver any new plan he came up with to Rick, which is why he came up with a brilliant “fake plan,” which will lead Rick and company directly into the line of fire. He adds that killing a backstabber like Dwight is too dignified of a punishment for him and warns him that he has plans for him.
Carl’s Letter to Negan
As Negan admires his handiwork of a walker Simon on the Sanctuary fence, he gets a call on the walkie from Michonne, who wants to read the letter from Carl to Negan. In the letter, Carl asks Negan if this war is what he wanted. He tells Negan that the way out of the war is to work together and grant forgiveness. Carl tells Negan that he hopes that his father has offered him peace and that he hopes Negan will take that. He urges change and urges Negan to start over, as he believes he still can.
After she reads the letter, Negan tells her that there is no way they are getting out of the war now. He tells her that he wouldn’t accept a surrender now if they begged for one. Winning is beating them and killing every last one. He adds that to him, that is starting over and that the whole war is Rick’s fault. He tells Michonne that he’s done talking and destroys the walkie-talkie.
Join the Fight
In a real side story, we find out what Aaron has been doing since Enid left him outside Oceanside. And that’s just what he’s been doing — starving and trying to survive outside their camp, trying to convince them to join the fight against the Saviors.
At this point, either Rick or Negan needs to die. This back-and-forth and back-and-forth is getting old, and something needs to happen, something big to end the war.
I find it interesting that Negan killed Simon but basically tells Dwight that death is too light of a punishment for him. I’m curious as to what Negan has in store for Dwight. I’m also curious about why Dwight didn’t just run to the Hilltop himself. I had a feeling that the “plan” Negan presented to everyone was just a way for him to throw Rick off.
With just one episode left, I hope that this war ends. And I really hope that they do start building for a better world, as Carl has asked for. There can still be conflict, but at least things will start progressing.
Did you know that Negan knew Dwight was the traitor? Are you surprised that Dwight outed Simon to Negan? What plans do you think Negan has in store for Dwight? How do you think the war should end? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Walking Dead season 8 finale airs Sunday, April 15 at 9/8c on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)