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Recap / The Walking Dead S 08 E 11 Dead Or Alive Or

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Season 8, Episode 11

The Alexandrians weigh Dwight's fate during their exodus to Hilltop, while Gabriel and Carson contend with their faith during their own escape.


  • Action Survivor: Carson doesn’t seem to have much combat training, which makes sense since as a well trained doctor, he’s been kept away from the fighting. That said, he is able to kill several walkers, even if he’s not a fully combat proficient individual.
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  • All for Nothing: Gabriel got recaptured by the Saviors after everything he and Carson went through, and Carson ended up getting killed.
  • Benevolent Boss: Zigzagged with Eugene once he is given command of an outpost. On one hand, when one of his workers makes a request for food, he agrees and asks Frankie to take it. On the other hand, he’s being a complete jackass to Frankie in the process.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Carson, inspired by Gabriel’s luck seemingly coming from his faith, attempts to grab the gun off a Savior's hip while they're captured, bound, and in the back of a truck.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Alexandrians, as well as Rick and Michonne, have successfully made it to Hilltop. However, Carson is dead, depriving Maggie of an obstetrician, Gabriel is recaptured and forced to work at Eugene's outpost, Enid is devastated after learning of Carl's death, and Negan is preparing to use biological warfare against the AHK Resistance.
  • Call-Back:
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    • Negan is all too delighted to have Gabriel back in his clutches, after their encounter in "The Big Scary U".
    • Dwight unofficially joined Alexandria back in "How It's Gotta Be", when his status as The Mole was compromised by Laura.
    • Siddiq revealed he had some medical training in "Honor".
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • Discussed and Defied. Once Gabriel and Carson are captured Carson grabs a gun and tries to escape but is immediately shot and killed. One of the Saviors chews out the other for this since Carson was their only doctor, and expects to get an earful from Negan about it.
    • Dwight is fully aware and even accepting that this is the reason why the Daryl and the Alexandrians keep him around.
  • Character Death: Dr. Harlan Carson is shot during a last ditch effort to escape the Saviors.
  • The Comically Serious: Eugene’s rambling has gotten so bad that even Negan is getting tired of it.
  • Continuity Nod:
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    • Carson finds some much-needed antibiotics for Gabriel in the strewn about drugs taken by the dead survivor in the cabin. It's very similar to early Season 2's "Bloodletting", when T-Dog, suffering from an infection, was saved when Daryl produced Merle's old stash of drugs that contained antibiotics.
    • Tara tries to kill Dwight because of his murder of Denise back in Season 6's "Twice As Far". Additionally, Eugene is set up with an outpost based out of the shop he and Abraham found in that episode.
    • Henry asks who killed his older brother Benjamin in Season 7's "Bury Me Here". He is not told that Jared (who directly harasses him in this episode) was responsible, as Morgan claims Gavin personally killed him.
    • Negan refers to Gabriel as the "creepy preacher"; this stems from their first meeting back in Season 7's "Service" when Gabriel managed to unnerve him.
  • Creepy Child: Jared calls Henry this.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Carson gets more screentime and characterization in this episode than he’s ever had, and has an arc about faith versus agnosticism. Naturally, he’s dead by the end of the episode.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Eugene blames Harlan for Gabriel's escape. And after being recaptured, Gabriel blames Harlan, who has been recently killed, for his liberation, thus saving Eugene.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gabriel is devastated after all his efforts, Carson died, and the purpose he believed he had failed.
  • Eureka Moment: Eugene rambles to Negan about alternative weapons to use while he is making bullets, suggesting firing Walker parts at the enemy. Negan becomes interested once Eugene mentions the guts and gets the idea to smear their melee weapons in them, thereby using biological warfare.
  • Exact Words: Henry asks Carol and Morgan who killed Benjamin, directly after getting taunted by Jared, who committed the murder. Finally understanding that Henry's mental state is not well, Morgan tells him that Gavin killed him. This, as noted earlier in "Honor", is technically true, since Gavin did order the death of one of the Kingdom, so the buck ultimately stops with him, even when Jared was the one who actually decided to shoot Benjamin.
  • Foreshadowing: Subtly done with Harlan, Gabriel, and the bear traps, as it shows that Gabriel’s good fortune does not extend to Dr. Carson, who later gets shot and dies when he sees an opportunity to escape, and enthusiastically goes for it, thinking that it will go as well as everything else had.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Tara eventually loses her patience and tries to kill Dwight.
  • Kick the Dog: At the end of the episode, after learning Gabriel and Carson failed to escape, which ended with Carson dying, Eugene coldly puts a distraught Gabriel to work for him.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Somewhat discussed in universe, as Gabriel, after randomly discovering several useful things that they need, despite being mostly blinded by infection, tells Harlan that he won’t comment on whether his good fortune is simply due to luck, or some form of divine help.
  • The Mole: Dwight is back to being this, having learned that none of the Saviors have heard from Laura.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Eugene basically tells Frankie when she tries to be nice to him is that all she needs to worry about is taking his order for dinner.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The arrival of the citizens from Alexandria and the Kingdom have strained Hilltop's resources to the limit.
    • Gabriel and Carson have quite a difficult time getting to Hilltop for a number of reasons. One, Gabriel has never been to Hilltop (as far as we know), so he doesn’t know the way. Two, Carson isn’t much of a fighter and Gabriel is ill, so their chances of surviving walkers or Saviors is limited. Three, they don’t have the intel that Dwight has, so they end up being caught by a Savior patrol whereas Dwight was able to advise the Alexandrians on their likely safest best to evade detection.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Once he's given command of the bullet factory, Eugene begins acting like quite the jerk towards Frankie and even Gabriel.
  • Villainous Friendship: The Savior scouting party who Dwight encounters are genuinely happy to see him, and quickly begin to joke around with him, unaware of his defection.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Dwight asks about Laura (the only Savior who knows of his defection) but he's told that she hasn't been seen yet.
  • Written-In Absence: Jesus is mentioned to be out looking for sorely needed supplies.
  • You Are in Command Now: Downplayed, as Negan gives Eugene command of his own Savior outpost.

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