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Recap / The Walking Dead S 07 E 09 Rock In The Road

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Season 7, Episode 9

Rick begins working to build an organized resistance against the Saviors.

Gabriel is on watch, but when he hears a noise inside the town, he goes to investigate. Entering the pantry, Gabriel suddenly begins shoving Alexandria's critically low food reserves into a car and disappears into the night, leaving his Bible behind.

At the Hilltop, Gregory is shockingly against the idea of resisting the Saviors once again, but after his refusal, Rick decides he has enough in the form of Maggie, Sasha, and Jesus. Outside, Enid has gathered some denizens of the Hilltop who declare they're willing to train to help fight the Saviors. It's a start, and the group continues planning how to move forward. Tara points out that the Saviors have several prisoners at the Sanctuary who didn't ask to be there, and after showing them a long-range walkie-talkie he swiped, Jesus decides to bring the group to King Ezekiel.

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The group minus Maggie arrives on the outskirts of the Kingdom, and are met and vetted by Richard. Inside, the group reunites with Morgan, who tells Rick and Daryl that Carol fled the Kingdom after recovering from her wounds. The group is brought to Ezekiel, who is angry that Jesus has told Rick about the Kingdom's deal with the Saviors. Rick pleads for Ezekiel to join the rebellion, as Alexandria and Hilltop don't have enough weapons or men to mount even an assault on an outpost. During the conversation, Morgan is told of the deaths of Glenn, Abraham, Olivia, and Spencer. Rick tells Ezekiel a story his mother told him - that a rock in the road often damaged the wagons and horses of those who traveled on it. But when a girl worked hard to remove the rock to save others from more pain, she found a bag of gold inside the rock - a gift from the king to whoever had the heart to try to remove the rock. Ezekiel is quiet, not helped by Morgan's desire to simply capture and imprison Negan as opposed to killing him. Ezekiel ultimately allows the group to stay the night so he can deliver his verdict in the morning.

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In the woods, Benjamin has a standoff with Carol, initially believing her to be a Savior. Carol is annoyed by Benjamin's lack of proficiency at stealth and handling weapons, as well as his willingness to help others. Benjamin tells Carol that Ezekiel cares about her, and wants her to be safe. Back at the Kingdom, Benjamin finds Ezekiel tucking his little brother into bed with a speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., and speaks to him about the Alexandrians. Benjamin points out that the rebellion will fail without the Kingdom's manpower and weapons, and that even if it does succeed, the Kingdom will have done nothing to help the new peace. Moved, Ezekiel tells Benjamin he is proud of him, and so would his father.

The next morning, Ezekiel meets with the group and declines to join the rebellion to Richard and the group's dismay. However, knowing Daryl is a fugitive, he offers him asylum inside the Kingdom since the Saviors never set foot inside the walls. As the group heads out, Rick orders Daryl to stay behind with Morgan, knowing Ezekiel has a point.

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The group heads down a freeway and finds a barricade formed by steel cables, cars, and dynamite. Carl recognizes that this is a defense mechanism against herds of walkers, and Rick orders the group to loot the dynamite for future use. Rosita leads the efforts to carefully do so, only for Negan to speak up on the walkie-talkie and order Simon to visit Alexandria to search for the missing Daryl after news of Fat Joey's death goes public. Worse, a massive herd begins approaching from down the freeway. The group scrambles to replace the barricade of cars, Sasha and Jesus head back to Hilltop on foot, and Rick and Michonne hotwire the two cars holding the cables in place. They drive through a huge chunk of the herd, demolishing them and giving them a chance to escape with the others.

The group arrives in Alexandria moments before Simon's party arrives. The Alexandrians play dumb about Daryl's whereabouts and are as cooperative as possible with Simon's strip-search of Alexandria for Daryl, but are noticeably more mouthy than before, having been reinvigorated by their travels. Simon eventually leaves, but demands that Daryl be turned over to the Saviors to be killed should he ever return to Alexandria. Afterwards, the group discovers signs of Gabriel's flight, and while Rosita is enraged that Gabriel has apparently returned to his cowardly ways, Rick refuses to believe that Gabriel has turned on them, and notices he left his Bible behind. The group finds Gabriel scribbled, "BOAT" in the pantry log, and Rick and Aaron deduce it has to do with the boathouse they looted. Eric angrily begs Aaron not to go, annoyed that Rick is keeping them out of the loop about the rebellion, but Aaron goes anyway.

Rick, Aaron, Michonne, Rosita, and Tara follow tracks to the boathouse, and soon to a dilapidated area. They are suddenly surrounded by dozens of haggard looking survivors with weapons, and Rick's group surrenders, though Rick does with a smile at his captors.


  • Authority in Name Only: Both Rick's group and Richard rightfully consider Gregory a brainless coward, so they defer to Jesus (and Maggie and Sasha) as the leader(s) of Hilltop.
  • Badass Crew: Team Family is in full force in this episode, especially when they work together to deactivate the explosives from the highway.
  • Call-Back:
    • Morgan is brought up to speed on the deaths of Glenn and Abraham in the season premiere, and of Olivia and Spencer in "Hearts Still Beating".
    • Morgan became a resident of the Kingdom and Carol started living on the outskirts back in "The Well."
    • Richard expressed a desire to convince Ezekiel to fight back against the Saviors in "Hearts Still Beating."
    • Carl overheard talk of the Saviors' efforts to divert herds back in "Sing Me A Song". In his radio eulogy for Fat Joey, Negan references how they'd been talking about "oral sex with Lucille" from later in that episode.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Gregory is unwilling to entertain any further partnership with Alexandria after the satellite outpost attack in "Not Tomorrow Yet" failed to end the threat of Negan.
    • Rosita offers to train the Hilltop residents like she did with the Alexandrians in mid late Season 6.
    • Rosita coldly tells Sasha that they aren't friends because of Abraham dumping the former to get with the latter in late Season 6.
    • Rick tells Richard that he and Morgan go back to the beginning of the apocalypse, and the series for that matter.
    • Morgan retells Rick and Daryl of his and Carol's exploits during the sixth season finale.
    • Ezekiel reciting Dr. King's "I have a dream", having mentioned in "The Well" that he played him in community theater.
  • Cultured Badass: Ezekiel has already proven to be this, but his reciting Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech to Benjamin's brother as a bedtime story is one of the most understated, poignant moments of the episode, particularly in light of the recent political events in the United States.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As shitty as Gregory is, it's hard not to chuckle at how shitty he speaks to the group.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: Written all over Rick's face in the final shot, when he realizes that the dozens (at least) of armed people pointing guns at his group could be the army he needs.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: It's drawn out to its logical conclusion with Gregory. He certainly has a point that Rick was too overconfident in his attack on the satellite outpost, but he indulges in this excuse as to why he refuses to join the rebellion to the point of his usual stupidity even when the group is offering their services much better prepared this time.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Sasha talks to Rosita about her disappointment with King Ezekiel, but Rosita coldly tells her that they're not friends even though they both were with the same now-deceased man.
    • It wouldn't be a visit from the Saviors without it, as they happily trash Alexandria in their search for Daryl, ransacking even places where it would be physically impossible for him to be hiding in.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Richard's attempt to approach the group with a hammy, theatrical voice, only to stop short once he recognizes Jesus, is taken from issue #108 of the comic book, only it was a random Kingdom soldier.
    • Morgan proposes capturing Negan and imprisoning him as opposed to killing him, and that maybe the Saviors would surrender with their leader captured. While the group scoffs at the idea, in the comic it's ultimately indeed how Rick ended the war with the Saviors, by capturing Negan and forcing him to live his life in prison while the rest of the communities rebuild civilization without him.
    • When Eric tells Aaron that he wants both of them to live, in regards to Aaron's involvement in Rick's fight against the Saviors, it's a grim reminder of Eric's death in the comics, where he died by Boom, Headshot! when the Savior war started.
  • One Steve Limit: Adverted and discussed by Negan in regards to Fat Joey and Skinny Joey.
  • Red Herring: The opening of the episode would lead you to believe that Gabriel is abandoning Alexandria and stealing all of the supplies to save his own skin. However, his muttering "just checking" and a scuffle in the pantry hints all is not as it seems, and eagle-eyed viewers can see a second figure in the car he drives away in. By the end of the episode, the group has deduced that the survivor who owned the houseboat has kidnapped Gabriel in retaliation for looting their supplies and brought Gabriel as a captive back to his group.
  • The Team: Rick's main crew forms a very effective one.
  • The Voice: Negan does not physically appear in the episode, only heard over the walkie-talkie's.

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