‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: Of Cowardly Liars and Changing Alliances

Warning: This recap for the “Something They Need” episode of The Walking Dead contains spoilers.

Rick Grimes and most of his associates have been hustling to solidify their plan of attack for taking on Negan and the Saviors, and in this penultimate episode of Season 7, they made another giant leap toward that goal, securing the entire arsenal of weaponry from the Oceanside community. But checking that off the list still leaves a lot of unanswered questions as Rick and crew head into the season finale. Like, which side is Eugene really on? Which side is Dwight really on? Will Sasha remain committed to her suicide mission if she doesn’t get the chance to kill Negan first? And cowardly Gregory … Maggie’s leadership has him frightened about his future at the Hilltop, but will his planned trip to the Sanctuary be more disastrous for him, or for Rick and his people?

At Oceanside

Tara tells Rick about the Oceansiders and their well-stocked armory of guns. He wants to know why she didn’t share the info earlier, but then goes right into planning mode for just how he and the rest of the group can get their hands on those weapons — and persuade the Oceanside community to join their fight against Negan — as quickly as possible.

With Michonne perched up in a tree in sniper position outside the Oceanside camp, and Daryl and Jesus having placed dynamite sticks in another outside the Oceanside community, Rick, Carl, Aaron, Enid, Father Gabriel, Eric, Tobin, Scott, and other Alexandrians wait outside the camp. Tara surprises Natania, the Oceanside group’s leader, and holds a gun on her as she explains why she broke her promise and not only returned to the camp, but also told her people about Oceanside’s guns. Tara tries to convince Natania that the Alexandrians will use the guns, and their alliances with other communities, to form an army that will stop Negan and the Saviors from terrorizing them. Natania’s granddaughter, Cindy, who had previously befriended Tara, comes in, and Tara tries to persuade her to join in with Rick and company, but Cindy and Natania turn the tables and get Tara’s gun from her — which turned out to be unloaded — and they lead her outside to let Rick know they want nothing to do with his plans.

In the meantime, the Alexandrians have set off the dynamite, leading to chaos among the Oceansiders. Daryl, Jesus, and the others round them up, and Rick finally comes face-to-face with Natania. He tells her they’re taking Oceanside’s guns, no matter what, but he doesn’t want to hurt them; he wants them to join his fight against the Saviors, instead of hiding in the woods from their foes. Some of the Oceanside women suggest they try to fight, but Natania is adamant that they can’t defeat them. She reminds her people that they’ve already lost so much to the Saviors, but as she’s about to kill Tara to prove to Rick and her own people how serious she is, Cindy punches her, and Michonne shouts out a warning: A huge pack of walkers is approaching through the woods. Earlier, we had seen the barnacle-covered zombies streaming onto the beach from a wrecked ship that had crashed nearby. The sound of the dynamite may have drawn them to the exact spot where the Alexandrians and Oceansiders are meeting, but everyone rallies — and Rick frees the subdued Oceansiders’ bound hands — so they can fight the threat together. As a team, they quickly and easily kill dozens of waterlogged walkers, but while that should be some proof to Natania of how capable her people are, she remains resolute that they won’t fight. Rick and the others raid the armory and pack up every single weapon, while Tara promises Cindy they’ll return them once they defeat Negan.

At the Hilltop

Gregory’s still clinging desperately to his position as leader of the community, but it has become clear that the Hilltop residents are looking to Maggie for their way forward. As she tells Eduardo how they need to put a tarp over some of the plants to help them survive, he listens and then affectionately calls her “boss lady.” Gregory is nearby, eavesdropping, pretending to do something productive himself. Maggie tells Eduardo she’s going outside the fences to dig up a blueberry plant and replant it inside. It’ll produce fruit for 40 years if it’s a good one, Maggie tells Eduardo, adding, “Gotta start acting like we’ll be around that long.”

Outside the fences, Maggie’s working on the blueberry plant when Gregory joins her. He asks where her friends are, and she tells him they’re out “looking for something they need” (which is an interesting code for “suicide mission to kill Negan”). Gregory, who’s as subtle as he is brave, asks why Maggie is still at the Hilltop, especially now that Dr. Carson is gone. She says she thought he was going to get Carson back. “Is that not true?” she coyly asks. “Just something you said?”

He tells her it would be good if they could present a united front, and she counters that it would be best if they were a united front. He agrees, and says he knows he could be better at working with people. Maggie agrees to come talk about things with him later, if he’s being sincere. He starts to go back inside the fences when she asks if he could be a lookout for just a few minutes, while she finishes digging up the plant. He says yes, and takes a knife off his belt. He’s standing behind Maggie, knife in hand, and for just a second, seems to be edging toward her. He turns around quickly, and shakes his head, as if surprised himself at just what a tool he is, at what he was considering doing to his leadership rival. But he’s about to prove to himself and others just what a coward he is when he spots a walker nearby and points it out to Maggie. She says she’ll go kill it after seeing his reaction, but he says he’s there to protect the pregnant lady, not have the pregnant lady protect him. She asks if he’s ever killed one before. “I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t,” he says, and slowly approaches the walker. But when he gets within a few feet, he freaks out, turns around, and tells the pregnant lady, “Fine, do it.”

Maggie does, but another walker sneaks up and grabs Gregory, knocking him to the ground. Instead of stabbing it, he starts yelling for Maggie to help him. She does, saving his life, just as a small group of Hilltop residents return from a supply run. Gregory is on his feet, but he’s doubled over. Maggie sympathetically explains to the Hilltoppers that he’s just shaken because he had never killed a walker before. “He’s learning,” she says, to which one of the residents replies, “That’s not what he told us.” Maggie pats his arm, and he thanks her for helping him.

Later, inside his office, a humiliated Gregory continues to stew about the lack of respect his people have for him and about Maggie’s ever-strengthening position. In between glasses of liquor, he pulls a road map of Virginia out of his desk, after pulling a slip of paper out of his suit jacket, and calls Kal into the room. He tells Kal to pack a bag. He needs him to drive him somewhere, which almost certainly means Gregory’s using that address Simon gave him to make a visit to the Sanctuary.

At the Sanctuary

One of the dark, windowless cells at the Saviors’ homestead opens, and Sasha is lying on the floor. She sits up as Savior David comes inside. She asks for water, and David goes into creepiness overdrive, telling her he’s not supposed to give her water, but he will, if she’ll do something for him. Seconds later, her shirt is torn, and even after she lands a solid headbutt on him, he makes it clear he’s going to rape her. Just then, Negan arrives at the door, with Lucille and a giant hunting knife — the one he used to gut Spencer — in tow. Negan busts David, telling him he knows what he was going to do, and it is one of the major no-nos of the Sanctuary.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

“This is some unacceptable behavior. Rape is against the rules here,” Negan tells a shaking David. “I wouldn’t wanna be somewhere where it wasn’t … someone in charge who let something like that fly … phew. David, you really crossed a line here.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” David stammers, just before Negan puts the hunting knife under his neck and jams it up into his jaw. “I do not accept your apology,” he says to the dying man.

Negan orders another of his men to get Sasha a new T-shirt, and he unties her hands. He tells her she caused “one hell of a fracas” the previous night, and then remembers that she was present when he killed Glenn and Abraham (though he doesn’t know the exact extent of her connection to Abe). He commends her “beach-ball-sized lady nuts” for embarking on a kamikaze mission, and then asks if Rick put her up to it.

“Rick? Your bitch?” Sasha asks, trying to ensure no one else from the group takes any blame for what she did the previous night. “No.”

Negan says she must have assumed it was a suicide mission, then, to come in alone like that, and he tells her it doesn’t have to be like that. He tells her this could be a beginning for her instead. He sets the hunting knife, his most recent murder weapon, down in front of her, and tells her it’s hers now. She can try to kill him with it, he says, though that’s probably not her best option since he’s standing over her with a baseball bat.

She could kill herself with it — “you’re obviously not on the shiny side of the street given recent events,” he says — but that would be a shame, Negan tells her. She could do nothing, or she could use it to stop “Rapey Davey from becoming Dead Alive Rapey Davey,” saving herself and then joining “the cause.” Negan offers her a spot at the Sanctuary, telling her he wants to “harness the heat” coming off her beach-ball-sized lady nuts. He thinks she can help him run the place eventually. “All of us together, following the rules, working on the same side of things … that’s all this was ever about,” he says. “And it still can be for you.

“I know it’s hard to picture considering what I did, but Sasha, we all got s*** to get over,” Negan tells her. “I just want you to understand: We are not monsters.”

Negan leaves her in the cell, with the knife and not-yet-reanimated Rapey Davey, and soon Eugene comes to visit, bringing her some “creature comforts”: water, a lantern, a blanket, and a pillow (which, he apologizes, isn’t hypoallergenic). She asks him what “they” did to him. “They’re keeping me safe,” Eugene tells her. He says Negan told her about the offer he made to her, and that he thinks she should accept it. “Taking up with the management here was indeed the correct select.”

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

He goes on to tell her why he’s made certain recent choices. He says he thought he could be brave, be a survivor, like Abraham. When he drove that RV around to distract the Saviors while his friends tried to get Maggie to the Hilltop, it was some of the best 37 minutes of his life, he says. “But I know now I was full-tilt delusional. I have never in my life been as scared as I was that night in the woods … fully believing my number was about to be called, and seeing it happen to someone brave, to a survivor, and then the pants-pissing terror of the rinse-and-repeat of the very same event … I couldn’t. Being here means I’ll never have to again.”

Eugene again encourages Sasha to “take up with the management,” and even says it’s what “he” would want her to do. She gives him a look, and he retracts it, saying he knows Abraham would not want that. “I do,” he tells her. “We are still here. Things have changed; we can change with them. We have to.”

“Go,” Sasha tells him. Eugene points out David is starting to turn.

Sasha: “Please. Go.”

Later, Negan visits Sasha again, and he opens the cell door to find Rapey Davey is totally dead. He takes the knife back from Sasha. She didn’t really think he was going to let her keep it, did she? He points out they still have a way to go before he can fully trust that she’s fully onboard with him and the Saviors. He does tell her she’s making a good start, though, the way she “surrendered” to him when he opened the door.

“Cards on the table,” Negan says. “A little birdie told me Rick and the rest of your people are up to no good. … That needs to change, and you’re gonna help me change it.” He says he’s going to give her a taste of what life as a Savior would offer her. “Spend the night enjoying it, because tomorrow is gonna be a big day!” Negan says.

Photo: AMC
Photo: AMC

Sasha is worried and frightened about how Negan plans to use her against her friends. Soon after, Eugene secretly visits her, chatting with her through the door. He tells her he heard she’s joining up with Negan, which he thinks means she has made the “correct select” too. Not so, says Sasha. She just can’t ally herself with the Saviors, not after what Negan did. Further, through tears and a shaky voice, Sasha begs Eugene to get her something — a gun, a knife, a razor blade, glass — to help her kill herself. Negan’s just going to find some way to use her against her friends, their friends, she tells Eugene, and she’d rather die than hurt them. “I knew if I didn’t kill him last night, it’d be over,” she says. “And I didn’t, so it is, it has to be.” She again begs Eugene for help. “Please, Eugene, don’t let them use me to hurt our people.”

Eugene says he’ll think about it, as the camera pans to Sasha. She’s not crying, nor is she looking for her suicide weapon. She’s looking for a murder weapon to take one more shot at Negan. Eugene leaves and returns to Sasha’s cell, whispering to her that he’s “decided to grant your request.” “I absolutely do not want you to go,” he tells her. “But it sounds to me like you happen to be already gone.”

Eugene slips a bag under the door, and Sasha’s relief turns to despair when she sees what’s inside. It’s a pill. Eugene explains it will bring about certain death in just 20-30 minutes … for her. She’s trapped with no murder weapon, and Negan’s looming deadline to use her to get to Rick less than a day away.

Photo: AMC
Photo: AMC

At Alexandria

Rick and his crew return to Alexandria after swiping the Oceanside community’s guns, and Rosita is there to open the gate for them. “There’s someone here,” she tells them, and takes them to the jail cell Morgan built.

She opens the cell door to reveal Dwight. Daryl goes crazy, charging at his “Easy Street” tormentor, but the others manage to hold him back.

“He wants to help us,” Rosita says.

“That true?” Rick asks. “You wanna help?”

Dwight: “I do.”

“OK,” Rick says, pointing his gun at Dwight. “Get on your knees.”

Zombie Bites:

• Sweetest moment of the episode goes to Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson), who is making a rare venture out into the battlegrounds as he accompanies Aaron and the others to the Oceanside. Eric tells Aaron he’s starting to understand what they have to do — that they have to take on Negan instead of hiding. Besides, he tells his boyfriend, being there with him … “it makes abject terror tolerable.”

• Michonne is a superhero is almost every way, but she is not Alexandria’s best shooter. Remember how it took her a couple of tries to hit the targets at the Chilton High School zombie carnival in “Say Yes”? She also took multiple shots to kill one of the ship walkers in the woods outside the Oceanside community. … Is this going to come back to bite the group someday soon?

• Who’s the “little birdie” who Negan says told him about Rick’s plans? Is it Eugene, the most obvious option? Or could it be Dwight? He’s with Rosita at Alexandria now, but did he maybe slip back into the Sanctuary and talk to Negan after he saw her outside the Sanctuary? Did he and Negan hatch a plot that involves Dwight pretending to be ready to switch to #TeamRick before he accompanied Rosita back home? Or did Gregory already make his way to the Sanctuary and spill his spineless guts to Simon and Negan about what Rick is up to?

‘The Walking Dead’ airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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