'The Obliged' was the best episode of the season yet, both fear, pain, and rejuvenation were prevalent. Broken relationships were mended, community hardships were somewhat resolved, and Negan's manipulation was at an all-time high. Episode 4 was a masterpiece, but what is a masterpiece without pain?
As the episode opened, it showed Michonne waking up and kissing Rick. Michone then tended for Judith and went to her leading duties. She discussed building plans, aided to angry crop growers and visited a sick person. She tossed and turned as night fell then proceeded to grab her katana and kill off some walkers. The next day she was picking tomatoes with Judith, and then Judith and Rick played in the garden. She studied then as night fell she snuck out again. She repeated that day after day. On this particular night, Michonne spotted a hanging walker high in the tree. Distracted, another "walker" (which I think was a whisperer) grabbed her and knocked the katana from her grasp. After a struggle, she killed it and another but not with her sword...with a baseball bat. She threw it to the ground and walked away.
When commercials ended, it showed Maggie and Hershal looking out over The Hilltop. Maggie pointed out a goat and people before his babysitter came and took him. Maggie went down in the blacksmith's tent when Jesus came to inform her of another Georgie letter. Jesus asks her what she's doing back, and she tells him that she is back for a few things. "Like a crowbar?" He asks. She walks away and tells him that she is finishing what they talked about. "Like the plan we talked about with Gregory only we didn't talk about that?" He asks. Her guard sees them and asks Maggie if she is ready to leave. She is. They ride out.
Rick is at the bridge sight and is looking out at the rushing river. Eugene tells him that the herds are approaching, but they have not combined yet. He admits to Rick that he wishes he could have done more to help with the bridge. Rick thanks him. Carol was waiting for Rick when he comes in. She tells him that she's taking her people home. She says that the Sanctuary needs to stand on their own and figure it out by themselves. Rick isn't sure about the Sanctuary going off on their own, but he tells her that he believes in her and her decision. She apologizes when she leaves from the tent. When he leaves, Jerry comes by and tells Rick that Jesus radioed about Maggie's sudden departure and heading to Alexandria and "he would know what that meant." Rick thanks Jerry and prepares to ride after radioing out to not let Maggie into Alexandria. Daryl popped up and asked what was going on. He told him and said that he'd take him to Alexandria. He hops on Daryl's bike, and they ride. They get to the point where they're supposed to turn, but Daryl doesn't turn. Rick is angry. He tells him to pull over. Daryl abides and throws down the bike as they get off. Rick asks what it was about and Daryl tells him the whole thing. As Rick went to radio, Daryl knocked the radio from Rick's hand and tackled him. They roll down an embankment and down into a hole.
Michonne was busy with community work when a woman by the name of Nora came by to inform Michonne that about a fourth of the tomatoes had been destroyed by crows. Then, she told her that Negan will not eat. Michonne said she would handle Negan. Later, Michonne brought Negan a plate of food and said to him that his hunger strike ended then and now. After sitting up, Negan told her that he wasn't on strike, he wasn't hungry. He said that he would eat if she stayed and talked. She gave him twenty minutes to speak.
Rick and Daryl try and find a way out. Rick asked if getting them stuck was part of the plan. He admits that he understands why she wants Negan dead and why she hung Gregory. Rick says he isn't blind to her reasoning, but Daryl says he's been acting that way. He says that he wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Glenn and he wouldn't have found Lori or Carl or anyone. Rick says he thinks about that all the time. He tells him that he's keeping Negan alive for the same reason he spared Dwight and others Daryl hadn't killed. He tells Daryl that if she kills Negan then every death during the war was meaningless... "Carl," he says weakly and teary. Daryl says that Rick's faith has faded in everyone, but Rick disagrees. Daryl tells Rick he would die for him and he would have for Carl. Daryl tells Rick that he has been chasing false hopes. Daryl then tells him very softly "let him go. You have to let him go." (Negan). Rick says he never asked anyone to follow him, but Daryl says its a good thing that they did.
When it came back, Michonne and Negan were talking. "Damn, that sounds more boring than my day." Negan teased. Negan smiles and says a warrior like her isn't meant to be planting kale just like he isn't meant to rot in a cell. She tells him they are rebuilding everything while he has nothing. Negan says he's grateful his wife isn't around to see him "this way." Michonne asked about her, and he told her the truth. He told her that she died of cancer and wanted a kid like Carl. He told her that she was an angel. He asks her if she had a kid before. He said he bet they had her eyes and she tells him she had a son named Andre. He apologizes for bringing it up, and she tells him that she has made her peace with it. Negan tells her that their dead loved ones are gone because they weren't meant for the world they live in. He says she should be grateful and she asks why. She is teary. He tells her that she is grateful that Andre is gone. She jumps up, dumps his food and leaves. Anne is tending for Gabriel in the next scene. He is bound and still knocked out. As he wakes, she has a walker. She tells him that there is one place left for her and the price of admission is him.
Father Gabriel doesn't plead. No, instead he tells her that what she is about to do is his fault (for not seeing the signs). He says he is sorry and says he should have helped her. Gabriel tells her that he forgives her for what she is about to do. She can't do it though. She pulls the walker away and makes him breathe something that knocks him out...again. When he wakes, he is inside of a container and walks out. He finds a note in his jacket from her; "You want to go fast, you go alone. You want to go far, you go together. I have to go fast."
Jed and his men are casing the camp as Carol and Jerry's pack thinks up. She tells him to finish as she interjects the ambush. He tells her to stand down, and she does. He takes her keys then when he is distracted, she kicks in his knee and back fists him. A gunshot is heard, and a white horse runs from the camp. Rick and Daryl hear the shot and work quick. Rick gets a root that holds his weight finally and starts to climb. Michonne was in the kitchen when she stopped and looked at her katana. After a moment, she is seen back down in the cell. She asks Negan why he said what he said and he tells her that his intent wasn't to piss her off. He admits that he was just happy someone came down to talk to him. Michonne tells him that they are nothing alike and he says he finally got it. "Oh, you aren't scared that you're like like me. You're scared that you are gonna end up like me with everyone you love gone? " She tells him that while he is breathing, 'it's' not nothing. She tells him to eat, and he does. As she leaves, Negan asks for one more thing; Lucille. She tells him they don't have her and that she's still "out there." After she leaves, he bangs his head on the concrete wall. Afterward, Michonne reads to Judith. She sees a baseball bat and immediately stops and thinks.
In the final scenes of the episode, walkers suddenly come falling down with Daryl still inside. Rick avoids them, and Daryl kills them from below. He asks if he can get to the root as Daryl is piling bodies up. He can. More walkers slide in, and the hole fills up quickly. Rick pulls himself out while Daryl struggles to get a hold. Rick takes a quick survey around and sees that nothing is near. Rick finds a strongest tree branch and pulls his weight to test the strength then as he leans down, he grabs Daryl's hand. Daryl is about fall when Rick calls to him. "Brother, brother take my hand." Daryl takes a chance and drops the root and lands successfully into Rick's hand. He pulls him up.
More walkers come, and they have each other back's. When they get back to the road, they see the herd approaching. Rick sees the horse and tells Daryl he is going to lead them away. Daryl disagrees, but Rick goes. Daryl tells Rick to be safe. Daryl rides out, and Rick rides the white steed away. When he gets to the Alexandria joint, the horse spooks when it sees another horde approaching. The horse knocks Rick off, and Rick is speared with rebar. He screams in pain and begins to fade as the hordes approach...
I honestly have absolutely no words for this episode. I'm still shaken. What did you guys think about this brutal episode? Tell me in the comments below!
I know one thing for sure; I am not ready for my fearless leader to die next week...
Author/Editor: Joeleen Gatlin