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The Walking Dead - What It Always Is & Bonds - Review

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This review will catch up the last two episodes of The Walking Dead. “What It Always Is” was written by Eli Jorné and was directed by Laura Belsey. Jorné  is new to the show and his other credits include Son of Zorn and Wilfrid. “Bonds” was written by Kevin Deiboldt and was directed by Dan Liu. Deiboldt is also new to the show and a new writer whose only other credits include Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Copper, and Borgia. Both of these episodes are Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) centered, and Morgan delivers two terrific performances. And brace yourself, because it looks like we're going to be losing a few long time characters...

“What It Always Is” follows essentially two people in the woods. Kelly (Angel Theory) gets separated from the hunting party she’s out with, and her hearing continues to deteriorate. She ends up running away from walkers, not watching where she’s going, and falling down a hill. The last we see of her in the opening scene, she has a head wound and is about to be grabbed by a walker. It’s never explained how she escapes being killed. It’s really a huge plot hole. This is definitely NOT a Whisperer because the flesh on the arm is missing and the eyes are definitely walker eyes.

Meanwhile Negan stops to get some water out of a muddy river. He’s clearly not happy to have had to flee from Alexandria. It looks like Brandon (Blaine Kern III) has caught him, but he’s really there as a fanboy of Negan to help him and join him. It’s clear from Negan’s face that this wasn’t planned.

At Hilltop, Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) seems to have settled into the leadership role. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) has a plan to make use of all of the fallen tree, but Alden (Callan McAuliffe) wants to use some of the wood to make defensive weapons – like a catapult! Yumiko thinks it’s a good idea, but half the Kingdom is still living in tents, so they have to make more shelter a priority. Earl (John Finn) is outspoken about their need to strike back at the Whisperers. He’s sure that they used the tree to take out the wall and that it’s the Whisperers behind sending walker waves at them too. He’s clearly not wrong. On top of everything else, supplies are going missing.

Yumiko goes to talk to Magna (Nadia Hilker) who was on watch when the supplies went missing. Hilker is doing a great job of making me hate Magna – she’s sitting reading and listening to country music while everyone else is busy working. Yumiko tells her a crate of fish has gone missing – the third theft this week. She tries to get her to go back to work, and Magna just turns the music up. The best thing about this scene is the easter egg in it. The music Magna is listening to is a song – “The Turtle and the Monkey” written by Emily Kinney – Beth! And the working theory is that the man singing it is Ryan Hurst – Beta! And that possibly, Beta was a famous personality in the time before.

Daryl (Norman Reedus) arrives with Siddiq (Avi Nash) and Dog and are greeted by Ezekiel (Khary Payton). They tell him that they’ve had no luck finding Negan, and he asks for help in the infirmary. Siddiq agrees to help until they leave again in the morning. Daryl asks Ezekiel if he wants to ask about Carol (Melissa McBride), and it almost seems like a challenge. Ezekiel looks sad as he says no and walks away. Daryl doesn’t try to force it.

When Connie (Lauren Ridloff) asks the hunting party about Kelly, they tell her that she went off tracking something, and they’re surprised she’s not already back. Daryl watches the exchange. Naturally, he goes with her to look for Kelly.

Brandon is annoying, but he’s all that Negan’s got. Negan won’t tell him how he got out, but he does tell him that he’s looking for somewhere safe. It seems that Brandon is the son of Saviors and has bought into a lot of rumors. When he tells Negan that he heard that he made Rick cut off Carl’s hand and then shot Carl, Negan is furious. I love how much we learn about Negan in this episode. He has a golden opportunity here to start another group – Brandon will clearly do anything he asks. But he’s furious when Brandon brings up Carl. He tells Brandon that he would never kill a kid. But he almost says that Carl was special – it’s clear that Carl still means a great deal to him.

The two come across what is a Whisperer boundary, and Brandon asks if they cross – the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Negan doesn’t really consider it and says no. A little more bad writing as a walker launches itself seemingly out of nowhere onto Negan. The woods aren’t that dense! Brandon doesn’t help and Negan is almost in trouble. He gets the walker off, and takes some clear pleasure in using the barbed wire to rip its head off. He turns to Brandon to ask why he didn’t help, and Brandon tells him that he was busy wrapping Negan’s gift – a new barbwire-wrapped bat. He also has Negan’s jacket. Negan doesn’t want it and tells Brandon he doesn’t want to be recognized.

Aaron (Ross Marquand) is patrolling the boundary on the bridge when he sees Gamma (Thora Birch) killing and gutting walkers – and then pushing them into the water. At least, I assume that he saw all this. And why hasn’t he told anyone? It’s clearly the cause of the sickness ripping through Alexandria in the next episode… but I’m getting ahead of myself. This really just wasn’t the most tightly written episode of the series.

Negan comes to the rescue of a woman – Amelia (Virgina Newcomb) – and her son – Milo (Roman Spink) – who are being attacked in a bus. Brandon basically hangs back as Negan has to take one of the walkers out with the bus door because the knife Brandon gave him breaks off in the first walker he kills. Brandon acts like he’s just watching a movie, declaring “classic Negan!” Negan just looks at him in disgust.

Connie blames herself for letting Kelly go without her. Daryl’s sign-reading skills are clearly getting better – or he’s really able to rely on his people-reading skills. He tells her it’s not her fault. He then tells her a story about Merle taking him fishing – in a stolen boat of course! And on private property. When Merle falls in, drunk, Daryl has to save him and swim him to shore. Merle is furious and makes Daryl swim back out for the beer! It does the job of cheering Connie up. She takes his hand, and he tells her it’s going to be alright. I love these two together!

Dog takes them to the boar that Kelly killed and had to abandon to walkers. There the two are joined by Magna.

Back at Hilltop, Yumiko is trying to go about her duties. Alden reassures her that if he was lost in the woods, Daryl, Connie and Magna would be who he’d want looking for him – in other words, Yumiko is needed at Hilltop and Kelly is in good hands. Alden and Earl discuss the Whisperers – neither are happy about maintaining a status quo, but Earl is even more unhappy about it.

Siddiq looks after the patients in the infirmary with Ezekiel’s help – and we find out the cause of that little cough he’s developed – and the real reason behind his trendy new fashion accessory scarf. Siddiq thinks it’s possibly smoke inhalation from the fire, and Ezekiel initially slaps his hands away when he goes to examine his neck. Ezekiel then reveals the huge tumor on his neck. Ezekiel tells him it’s been a month – it’s grown quickly. Just an fyi that this isn’t how Ezekiel dies in the comic, but it’s a nice reminder that just because there is a zombie apocalypse, all the other diseases don’t just go away.

Siddiq tries to be comforting and suggest that it could be a number of things, but Ezekiel knows that it is thyroid cancer. He’d seen it beaten by his grandmother – but with modern medicine, not herbs and witchcraft. Siddiq wants to at least manage it, but Ezekiel is clearly resigned. This is a death sentence in a zombie apocalypse. He’s not wrong that thyroid cancer has a 90% survival rate today. Siddiq is frustrated and shares his own struggle with dealing with what happened at the barn. He tells Ezekiel that they can at least seeks some comfort in talking about it.

Amelia tells Negan and Brandon a familiar story of being with a group and then being attacked and ending up just her and her son, surviving. It’s clearly a cycle they’ve been living since it all began. Brandon seems sympathetic, saying he’s been there – but he hasn’t! He was a kid with the Saviors and since then has lived safely in Alexandria. He has no idea and Negan know it. As soon as Amelia leaves with Milo, Brandon asks Negan if they follow them and take their stash.

Negan tries to impress on Brandon that people are a resource. Negan sees them as recruits. Brandon picks up a tire iron and is going to go after them anyway. Negan tells Brandon that things are only going to get more dangerous, and Brandon should go home and let Negan go on alone. Brandon points out that they’ll want to know where he’s been – he’s never been a great liar… And then Negan’s had enough, he leans in close and tells Brandon to do whatever he likes, but he never wants to see Brandon’s face again. Brandon declares him like all the others, takes his pack, and appears to leave. Would the former Negan have been more tolerant? I doubt it. Brandon is clearly a psycho and a loose cannon – but then so were some of Negan’s former lieutenants….

In the Whisperer camp, Alpha (Samantha Morton) teaches a recruit (Ross Crain) how to skin the face of a walker. Gamma comes back for another guardian to put in the creek. Beta (Ryan Hurst) is not happy about losing guardians. Alpha points out that shifts in strategy take time – and it’s clear that Earl is right – it is all part of a master plan. Which… d’uh. The recruit stupidly shares his opinion to send the herd in full force. Nobody else agrees, and Alpha points out that that’s democracy! But of course, it isn’t – this is a dictatorship. Alpha starts it by strategic cuts to prevent him from fighting back, but Beta delivers the killing blow – and now Gamma has what she needs without taking a guardian.

Negan finds Milo playing with a toy airplane. There’s a nice little easter egg to one of The Walking Dead shorts about the plane crash – and it’s integration into Fear the Walking Dead – as Negan comes up declaring that the plane is going to crash. Negan asks Milo how he’s doing, telling him that Brandon’s gone off to look for supplies – and then he tells the truth – he sent Brandon away because he’s not a good co-pilot, which then sends Negan on a tangent. Here’s another example of how this world is so different than the one we live in. Milo has never been on a plane – and never will be. Negan describes taking off to Milo – and flying like voodoo magic. When he describes the horrible food, he’s proud of the fact that his Lucille wouldn’t even touch it.

Negan then goes on to describe “nut-tapping” – and is this really a thing? Anyway, he describes it as a way to catch the other guy off guard and get even for some kind of slight. Morgan is terrific in every scene with kids and this is no exception. It’s a nice foreshadowing to the major nut-tapping that Negan is about to take from Brandon. Negan has no intention of taking Amelia and Milo with him into further danger. He’s planning on taking them to Alexandria – and no little risk to himself.

Gamma arrives at the creek with her new meat sack. She seems a bit upset – does she have enough humanity left to feel sorry for this guy who just made a suggestion (although, let’s face it, if he hadn’t figured Alpha out yet, he was too stupid to live)? But as soon as she drives the knife into his skull, she loses it, stabbing him repeatedly as she thinks of her sister and Alpha. And I completely missed it at the time, but her sister was trying to kill Alpha when Gamma pulled her off and left her sister for the walkers. In her fury, Gamma cuts her own palm – and then Aaron is there, offering her a bandage!

Aaron introduces himself, trying to creat a connection. He recognizes that they don’t do names anymore, so he tries to make a connection based on where he’s from. He tells her that he’s from Vermont! Did we know this? He’s a long way from home!

Dog helps the others to find Kelly. Magna tells them they have to get her back to Hilltop, but Daryl wants to get her somewhere closer. She’s hurt – but she should be dead…. Kelly clearly knows Magna’s secret and tells her to tell them. Magna has been stealing and stashing supplies, including medical supplies. And then Magna really seals her fate as someone I hate, by signing – and then telling Daryl that she doesn’t trust him! Who’s the lying thief here again?

Daryl asks what her problem is, pointing out that Hilltop has sick people and hungry kids and she’s stealing from them! He tells her that all she’s good for is talking shit. And Daryl is right again. Connie says that they’ll say they found it. She’s still protecting her group. And Daryl does it for her.

Negan comes back from gathering wood to find that Brandon has killed Amelia and Milo. He thinks it’s been a test. Negan is furious and picks up a rock and bashes Brandon’s head in – cutting him off as he triumphantly says “I am Negaaaa.” Negan then picks up the bat and his leather coat and walks away. Has he killed the former Negan or has he accepted that he can’t get away from that Negan?

Yumiko greets the group as they arrive. Connie supports Kelly, and Magna and Daryl carry back the supplies. Connie tells Yumiko that she’ll explain what happened later. Daryl sees that Connie is still very much a part of this group.

Siddiq checks in with Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) and asks after Rosita (Christian Serratos). He tells her that she’s got a bit of a bug. Siddiq tells him that he’ll leave for home that night. He then asks if Carol is around and puts Ezekiel on the radio. He is clearly nervous about talking to her. He’s holding the tiger that Henry made him – and he turns off the radio before she can answer.

Yumiko confronts Magna – who doesn’t tell the truth. Magna accuses Yumiko of always thinking of her as a criminal – since the day they met 13 years ago. But his is totally Magna having a huge chip on her shoulder. Yumiko tells her that what she thought when she saw Magna is here is someone who is innocent and who has been locked up for a crime that they didn’t commit. Who can’t trust anyone because no one has ever trusted her. But 13 years of trust means nothing to Magna. And then Magna admits that she did commit the crime she was jailed for – and Yumiko is stunned. Magna sees no difference in killing before or after the apocalypse. The man who killed her cousin was a monster too. Yumiko tells her to find another place to sleep.

Gamma shows Alpha the bandage and tells her that the man with the metal arm gave it to her. Alpha immediately thinks of a way to use this to their advantage. She tells Gamma that they can wear different masks – it’s a kind of sacrifice, like her sister. Gamma tells her that Alpha’s sacrifice was much greater. What will Gamma think of Alpha’s sacrifice when she sees that Lydia is still alive? It seems like Alpha will be sending in her own Trojan horse – or at least letting Gamma cozy up to Aaron…

Back at Hilltop, Daryl is preparing to take Siddiq back and is joined by Connie. She apologizes for Kelly and Magna and his having to lie for them. He tells her that he gets it, signing “family.” He’s clearly done it for her. And she knows it – she tells him that he’s family now too. Daryl is clearly, shyly pleased, but Siddiq is there and ready to leave, so the scene doesn’t go further. Connie looks thoughtful as he leaves.

In the final scene, it seems that Negan has either gleefully retaken his old self back down as he blasts off walker heads with his new bat – or he’s taking Brandon’s advice to become the friend of his enemy’s enemy. But then his last words to Beta are “let’s do this.” What is this? Is he trying to defeat Beta? Or commit suicide? Or just join up?

“Bonds” picks up the story of Negan’s attempt to join the Whisperers. But it begins with a montage of Carol waking up, getting dressed, having coffee, which must be some form of chicory or something by now, packing her bag, considering the gun, and setting off. But Daryl and Dog watch from his porch as Carol also picks up some fresh bread. Daryl catches up with her as she’s about to leave. She tells him that she’s feeling better and doing a sweep for Negan. He asks if she minds company – and it’s clear by her face that she does! But this is Daryl!

The two – who definitely share a strong bond echoing the title – walk and talk. They wonder if Negan crossed the border – they can’t follow if he did, Carol points out – and they can’t imagine him staying quiet long enough or being willing to put on a mask to join the Whisperers – both very good points!

Carol finds their “spot” for the day where they can sit and watch and see what they can see. Daryl points out that Negan isn’t stupid enough to just be wandering around in the open during the day – and Carol isn’t stupid enough to think he will. Daryl has to press, but Carol finally reveals that what they are really there for is to find Alpha’s hoard so that they can destroy it.

Dante deals with an apparent flu outbreak or stomach bug. It’s now up to 7, but Dante and Siddiq agree that the best they can do is keep people hydrated and ride it out. Siddiq is on Coco duty, and Dante urges him to enjoy the time with the baby while he can as they grow up so quickly. We hear that Rosita is about the same as the others. Of course, we know it’s not just a stomach bug – these people have drank walker guts. The curious thing is why isn’t everyone sick? And brace yourselves – I’m betting that we are losing Rosita, particularly because it was just announced that Christian Serratos has a new series…

I’m on the fence about Dante. I’m not sure whether it’s the actor or the character or the writers who are trying too hard. Siddiq tries to impress boundaries on Dante, but flirting and teasing seems to be how he gets along in the world. It is grating, but the question is whether it’s supposed to just be amusing or a turn off…

Back in the woods, Carol updates Daryl on what she’s been up to and what she’s learned. Daryl adds to what she’s figured out, pointing out that the only spots he knows of that are big enough to contain the herd are well within enemy territory. If they go in, they will stir up shit. Carol insists that once she knows the location, they’ll go straight to the Council with the information. Daryl asks why she wasn’t straight with him to begin with. She tells him that with what happened at the border and with Alpha, she didn’t want him to worry and she apologizes. Daryl gets it. Daryl says he’ll stick around because if she sees something, she’ll need him to track it. She laughs and says she’s picked up some tricks over the years.

Negan’s banter is hilarious, but when he gets to asking if they go commando, Beta has had more than enough – it’s not a surprise, but Hurst and Morgan are both great in this episode. Anyone who has been bothered by a noisy neighbor can totally relate to Beta’s annoyance at Negan’s constant noise! Negan takes the opportunity – of having Beta’s knives against his throat – to introduce himself – he even offers his hand to shake. Beta is completely flummoxed. However, when Negan tells him that he’s been locked up in Alexandria for 8 years (and boy! Have our characters all aged well, right?) by their enemy and that if Beta takes him to his leader, he’ll spill every secret he knows, Beta knows he can’t kill him, but he changes his blindfold to a gag!

At Hilltop, Eugene continues to be busy. He’s now working on re-launching the radio with upgrades from the satellite. There’s a cute scene with Nabila (Nadine Marissa) who has been helping him and who is happy to be a member of the Hilltop AV Club! Eugene has also relocated the antennae to the top of the roof, so it will get a much longer range. He invites Nabila to test out the new system with him, but she’s got to get back to the kids. It’s clear that Eugene is lonely.

Eugene turns the radio on and Rosita is calling from Alexandria. And she’s looking for him. She tells him that she’s sick – but it’s just a bug and she’ll be fine. Eugene tells her what he’s been up to. She asks him if he’s coming back anytime soon. It’s clear that the two really do miss each other – maybe the time away will allow Eugene to get comfortable with the friendzone. When a solder lets go, Eugene has to sign off to fix it, but the two agree to talk again later that afternoon. Anybody else think that this is the last conversation they will have? I wonder if we’ll get a frantic Eugene rushing back to Alexandria only to be too late to see her. And how will her death affect Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) – who we learn is out looking for Negan? And yes. I’m going to look like an idiot if she doesn’t die!

Back in the woods, we get a classic Daryl/Carol scene as the two sit waiting and trying to hit a can with acorns. Carol trash talks Daryl’s aim and refuses to count it when he hits the can because the aim is to knock it off. He declares her a sore loser, and she points out that she’d have lose to be a sore loser. It’s a nice little mirror of the contest she’s currently having with Alpha – Carol IS a sore loser, and Alpha had better watch out. Carol finds a double-capper, which is good luck, and gives it to Daryl, who tucks it in his pocket to keep. And he’ll need that good luck….

Carol asks how Hilltop was, and Daryl says the King sends his best – even though Ezekiel said he didn’t have a message for her. It’s clear that he knows Carol was happy in the years that she spent with the King. And Carol watches out for Daryl too as she asks how Connie is. Daryl just smiles and laughs and denies it’s like that. Carol pushes why not. Daryl just shrugs. Carol insists that there aren’t that many people left to find and he can’t hide out and be alone forever. Daryl just looks thoughtful and knocks the can off.

He asks if she’s got food and goes to reach in her bag. She insists that she’ll get it and takes the bag from him, making him suspicious. And at that moment they see a Whisperer come into the clearing, herding walkers.

Beta brings Negan to camp. Alpha only looks at him from a distance. Beta insists that he can’t be trusted. Alpha insists that Beta test him, and if he’s worthy, she’ll hear him. If not, she’ll kill him then. Beta insists that it’s a mistake to show him their ways. Alpha points out that Beta questioning her judgment has become a regular occurrence. Beta insists that SHE is a threat – is he talking about Gamma or Lydia? Alpha asks if the threat is to her or him. He insists that he only thinks of their people. She tells him that it’s time for Beta to come to Alpha.

I loved how they played this scene. Morton’s and Hurst’s voices are barely above a whisper. Morton keeps a half smile playing on her lips and the two lock eyes throughout the scene – just like dogs who challenge each other. It’s the force of her gaze alone that brings Beta to his knee in front of her. And it’s even more powerful that he’s almost the same height as she is on his knees! Negan watches from afar and smiles, thinking he understands what’s going on.

Beta leads him off to begin testing, and Negan once again can’t hold his tongue, asking how long Beta and Alpha have been together – is this a beta-with-benefits situation? Morgan is terrific throughout this episode, and it’s hard not to love his delivery of Negan’s banter. Beta rounds on Negan, telling him he respects Alpha. Negan tells him the kneeling thing confused him – and then admits that he used to get off on people kneeling to him. He also points that he’s never done the kneeling. He then goes on to say that Alpha’s bald head is a real turn on. It’s hard to take your eyes off Morgan in these scenes and it’s hard to see Hurst’s face under the mask, but there’s a great shot of Beta rolling his eyes and getting increasingly angry as Negan babbles.

Siddiq drops by to get a change of clothes for Coco and finds Rosita, essentially stuck on her couch. Siddiq insists that she has to go to the infirmary. When they get there, the infirmary is full to bursting. Siddiq is furious that Dante didn’t call for him. Siddiq gives orders to get herbs ready to try to get ahead of the illness.

Eugene tries to keep his date with Rosita and calls an unresponsive Alexandria. He thinks Rosita is just blowing him off, so Taterbug goes live over open channels. Finally, later that night, Eugene actually gets a response.

Back in the woods, Carol and Daryl keep watch. Carol worries that they’ll lose them once it gets dark. Daryl wants to know why she thinks they’re going anywhere, and like any good hunter, Carol is thinking like her prey. If they were Whisperers, they’d move them at night. Daryl knows that Carol wants to cross the border. She insists that it’s just to find the hoard – not go after Alpha. Daryl agrees to go, but they have to be smart. Carol insists that they keep paying whether they stay on their side of the border or not.

Daryl searches Carol’s bag when she goes to pee – and she knows it. Daryl asks her if she brought the gun. Carol insists that she doesn’t have ammo and didn’t bring it. When Daryl is still doubtful, she invites him to frisk her – and he just throws up his hands and says ok. Daryl agrees again to go, saying it should be them if it’s going to be done.

Beta takes Negan into a clearing and tells him to dig. Negan asks if they’re going for anything in particular – size? Width? And did anyone else think that Negan might be digging his own grave? Of course, they’d never actually kill him – they’d much more likely turn him into a guardian. However, then we get a montage set to an upbeat little tune with Negan skinning walkers alongside Beta – and pretty much sucking at it – Beta’s is bigger and has less meat left on it – better for drying. Then the two are dragging the skinned walkers – and Beta carries in two to Negan’s dragged one. We keep going back to Negan digging, and digging. They give Negan a little penknife and then send him in after a wounded wildhog to kill it. Turns out the hole was to roast the pig! No smoke – genius.

Carol and Daryl get right up to the border – and whether they were lucky with the weather or it’s CGI, it’s the perfect setting as dusk falls and the clearing fills with mist – very reminiscent of the graveyard when we lost Jesus. Carol tells Daryl, “watch, learn, leave.” That’s their deal. Daryl insists if things go sideways they get out and they meet back there if they get separated. Daryl tells her to meet him back there, and Carol tells him to be safe. It’s a nice touch when Daryl touches his chest pocket where he put the double-capper and says they have luck on their side.

Negan continues to babble, but now he’s surrounded by the other Whisperers – who he helped kill and cook the pig with. Beta tells him that he hasn’t earned the right to eat with them. Negan points out what he’s done, but Beta simply pushes him to the ground. It’s possible at that moment that Negan would have gone after Beta – but Negan sees Alpha watching. He’s clearly angry up until that moment, but he smiles and says whatever. He retreats to sit with the others – and another Whisperer hands him a piece of meat. It’s clear that they are falling prey to Negan’s charms. Beta watches and isn’t happy.

In the woods, Carol and Daryl observe the Whisperers moving the walkers. Daryl is ready to head back and signals to Carol to retreat. She’s having none of it – and then steps on a bunch of twigs. She’s just insisted that she’s learned a few things from Daryl over the years, so was this deliberate?! The walkers are attracted by the noise and Daryl is exposed. Reedus is great here as we see that Daryl is terrified. He can’t just defend himself without exposing all the communities to retribution. A Whisperer sees him and starts after him – or at least goes to investigate the noise.

Eugene is thrilled to make first contact. The voice (Margot Bingham) on the other end is a woman. Eugene asks a bunch of questions, but the woman shows caution by refusing to answer where she is or how many there are or how long they’ve been there. I mean, d’uh, Eugene! She suggests that they share their lives “before.” Eugene tells her that he’s from Dallas. She tells him that she’s from Strasbourg, Pennsylvania. We learn that Eugene was fascinated by trains as a kid. It turns out that they both remember the same ice cream shop – small world, right! She muses that they might have been there on the same day!

Daryl is almost killed by a walker, but breaks its neck and guts it, spreading the guts over his own face to disguise himself as the herd passes. Meanwhile, the Whisperers keep looking. Clearly, there are going to be consequences.

Siddiq tends to Cheryl (Rebecca Koon), who we saw with Dante earlier in the episode. She’s clearly much, much worse. In fact, she’s pretty sure that she’s dying. Siddiq apologizes to Dante. And Dante tells him no worries. He realizes his mistake. They’re stuck with pre-industrial medicine and small things can easily escalate. He assures Siddiq that they’ll figure it out. Dante manages to get Siddiq to laugh, but he goes to check on Rosita, who is also worse, and then comforts Coco. Will they lose the baby too?

Siddiq falls asleep and has another dream – but wakes up on top of the windmill with the baby in his arms!

Negan walks in the herd with Beta. He’s not covered in guts and he’s not wearing a mask and he’s anything but silent, so please explain to me why the walkers aren’t going for him? Regardless, he’s still trying to win over Beta. But Beta is having none of it, he tells Negan that he’ll never be one of them because he’s too loud, too weak, too full of ‘you.’ He tells him that he’s a waste. Negan responds, cool – cards on the table. He tells Beta he doesn’t give a shit about him, he’s there for Alpha and he’s not going anywhere. Negan gets right in Beta’s face as he says this. And Beta replies, “Finally. Something we can both agree on. You won’t be going anywhere” – and then he kills one of the Whisperers to stir up the walkers. Negan is surprised – he says, “Wait! You just made a goddamn joke?! I’d be impressed if I wasn’t so pissed.” And then Negan is in for the fight of his life as the penknife breaks off in the first walker that he kills.

Back at the meeting point, Carol is waiting with a captured Whisperer. Carol insists that he saw her, so she had to take him. It’s a good thing because they can take him back and question him. Daryl is furious and asks if she planned the whole thing. After all, she has him ziptied – and Daryl didn’t see that in her bag. She insists that he missed it, and that they should go.

Eugene and the voice are discussing roller rinks – and Eugene admits that injury combined with humiliation meant this was never his favorite pastime. Eugene has clearly enjoyed the conversation and wants to dip into real talk. But the voice is wary. Eugene offers to share specifics, and she points out that she could be a threat to him – people are dangerous. Eugene points out that he’s well aware, but he’s got a good feeling about her. He does know her. He tells her his real name and proposes continuing their conversations. She tells him that she wants to continue the conversation but wants to keep it just between them. If she hears anyone else she’ll know she can’t trust him. Eugene agrees.

Back at the Whisperer camp, Beta reports to Alpha that Negan was weak. She says she expected more, and the two are interrupted by Negan’s return. He’s carrying a gore crusted log and makes a typical grand entrance through the gathered Whisperers, declaring that he’s ready for his god-damned skin-suit! And it better be extra large for his gigantic balls. He marches past everyone and right up to Alpha. He tells her that he’s Negan and he knows who she is. I loved the way the log looked like Lucille and the red gore splashed all over his neck looked exactly like the red scarf he used to wear.

Alpha looks almost afraid as Negan walks right up to her. Beta is clearly not happy as he watches and the other Whisperers crowd closer to watch. Negan tells her that whether his reputation proceeds him or not, he’s all in – whatever she wants, whatever he’s got – it’s hers. And then he kneels and lays his log at her feet! Alpha leans in close and sniffs him like a dog, and then puts her finger to her lips as she tells him to “Shhhhh.” Apparently accepting him into the group!

I can’t help but think that we are on the verge of losing Rosita, Ezekiel, AND Michonne – as Danai Gurira’s departure is looming. Can the show really withstand losing three more major characters? What is Negan truly up to? Is he infiltrating to kill Alpha or learn all their secrets? What is Carol really up to and did she put Daryl in danger on purpose? It was foolish regardless as she came close to getting him killed. And is the voice on the other end of the radio really friendly? Will Eugene find long distance love and will we lose Josh McDermitt too? I am loving Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performances – and I’m not gonna lie, I’m totally shipping Connie and Daryl! What did you think of the two episodes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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