Warning: This recap for the “Say Yes” episode of The Walking Dead contains storyline and character spoilers.
The Ricktatorship is officially over. To be fair, it’s gotten Rick Grimes and his crew this far. But in his newly hopeful state since deciding to build an army to fight Negan and the Saviors, Rick has fully embraced the idea of the group’s survival being a group effort. And though he plans to continue playing a leadership role in that effort, he doesn’t want to do it alone: He wants Michonne beside him, as his partner in re-ordering the new world post-Negan, and as his love. That all played out in one of the most romantic episodes of The Walking Dead, and one that brings that war against the Saviors much closer… if a certain pair of vengeance-seeking women don’t blow the whole plan up first.
Sex Stuff and Thangs
On a road trip to find guns that will seal their partnership with Jadis and the Heapsters, Rick and Michonne at first have little luck. They’re going through abandoned houses, finding little more than some dented cans of beans, old clothes, and a couple of guns, but nowhere near the quantity of supplies or weapons they need to fortify themselves and their friends at the Hilltop and the Heap for battle against the Saviors.
It’s not all bad news, though; Rick and Michonne seem to be enjoying their adventure outside Alexandria, and in some ways — namely getting time alone as a couple and the hot sex they’re having in the back of their van — it’s probably as close to anything resembling a honeymoon they’re likely to get. When Rick asks Michonne why she has such a big smile on her face, she tells him it’s because they’re fighting the fight against the Saviors, but they both know it’s also about this couple time they’re spending together, and that hot sex in the back of the van.
In one of their roadside stops, the duo stumble upon a pair of Saviors hitting golf balls into a field. We know they’re Saviors because they’re talking about Fat Joey, and how they wish everyone would quit acting like he’s a big loss to their community. He was really just “dead weight,” one of them tells the other, while Richonne is busy raiding their pick-up truck for pretzels and batteries. Batteries that are used to operate the Saviors walkie-talkie Jesus stole, the walkie-talkie that provides Team Alexandria with some intel on what the Saviors are up to.
Afterwards, Michonne says they should head back to home base for a bit, but Rick convinces her they should continue their supply run a day or so longer. Though they’re both happy being on the road together, Rick has an extra reason for delaying his return to Alexandria and what comes next.
Rosita vs. the World
Rosita has been and continues to be angry at everyone, from Tara for insisting they should all trust they’ll find enough guns to get the Heapsters to fight with them and defeat Negan, to Father Gabriel, who she says talked her out of killing Negan, and therefore cost the lives of Spencer and Olivia and the kidnapping of Eugene. She was willing to die to take Negan out, she says. Gabriel tells her he won’t apologize. He’s happy she’s still alive, and he tells her the group needs her if they are going to be able to overthrow the Saviors. “Anything is possible until your heart stops beating,” Gabriel says, advising her to find a way forward with a purpose.
She goes off on a solo scouting mission that leads her to a trailer, a very tall and bloated walker that sprays her with walker innards when she hacks it, and a gun… which turns out to be a toy that only adds to her anger and dejected ‘tude.
Tara and the Oceanside
When Tara tries to convince Rosita they can pool the necessities for war against the Saviors, Rosita asks her how. “Do you know where we could find that many guns today? This week? This year?”
We know that, as a matter of fact, Tara knows exactly where a sufficient cache of guns is waiting, but she continues to be tormented about whether or not she should tell her friends about the Oceanside camp. On the one hand, both their supplies and the size of their population — a population that hates Negan as passionately as the Alexandrians do after the Saviors killed all the Oceanside group’s adult and young men — make the Oceansiders perfect allies for the Alexandrians. Or rather, perfect potential allies, as Tara reasons while doing a verbal pro/cons list in front of a rapt audience: baby Judith.
On the downside, Tara knows that once she tells Rick about the shed full of guns at the Oceanside, there’s no way he’s not charging straight there, and there’s no way he’s leaving without the weaponry. She also knows the Oceanside women are likely to start shooting at first sight, rather than allowing Rick to even start a conversation with them, which could end in a lot of casualties, and even more diminished anti-Negan army, so she remains torn about how to proceed.
An Apocalyptic Carnival
Michonne’s driving the van while Rick takes a nap. When she pulls off the road to make a hot beverage, she spots a deer. Rick wakes up in time to try to help her track it — he tells her he owes her one to replace the one she had to hand over to Negan back in “Service” — and though they spook the deer away, their walk in the woods leads them to an old high school. It’s surrounded by chain link fence that’s covered with tattered tarps, and when Rick rattles the fence, a walker lumbers into view. He is, or was, a soldier, still in uniform, with a gun still strapped to his back.
“Guns like that, that’s why we’re out here,” Rick says, and after they put the walker down, Michonne takes the gun as Rick investigates a pile of spent gun casings.
“Something serious happened here, a long time ago,” Michonne concludes, and Rick says that means there could be a “serious” supply of guns still sitting about, too.
They climb on top of the school roof, which is covered in a pool of water, to get a better view of the surrounding area, and they see the remains of a carnival. A ferris wheel, a giant slide, ticket booths, game booths, and stuffed animal prizes make for a colorful, throwback backdrop for zombified civilians and soldiers, most still carrying weapons.
“I think this is it,” Rick says, and Michonne recognizes, too, that they’ve found the goods that will satisfy Jadis’s demands and set their big picture plans into action.
Then the soggy roof proves to be another boon: It gives way and drops them down into the high school cafeteria, which is filled with pallets of giant cans of food and ready to eat meal packs. Rick and Michonne are fine, and laugh about what they say is a sign: They’ve landed in one-stop shopping for everything they need. To celebrate, they have a little picnic with candles and tuck into several canned goodies and packs of chili mac and cheese.
As they fill their bellies, Michonne wants to talk about what happens next. Not in a relationshippy way, but with the war against the Saviors. They have guns, they’ll team with the Heapsters, they’ll kill Negan — that’s all a foregone conclusion, according to Michonne. But what about rebooting the world after Negan’s tyranny is wiped out? She says they’ll need to set a new way of the world, uniting all the communities, and Rick is the one who can and should do that.
He says no. He doesn’t want to do it… not alone, anyway. “But the two of us, you and me, reordering things together… I want that. If it’s something you wanted,” he tells Michonne.
They kiss, and Rick again mentions he’s in no rush to get home. Later, while Michonne is sleeping, Rick sits on the edge of the bed, head in hands, troubled about something.
The next day, the power couple moves on clearing the yards around the school of walkers, so they can comb the area for weapons and remove the ones still attached to soldiers. It’s a playful back and forth adventure between the two, as Michonne teases him about expecting her to kill several walkers on her own while he moves a car to block an opening in a fence, but of course takes pride in the fact that he knows she’s got the skills to easily do so. Meanwhile, Rick has to pull a walker soldier — in several pieces — from the car’s windshield, but then has his plan to use the car as a barricade go askew when he finds out it has no brakes. He and Michonne end up trapped in the car surrounded by a flock of walkers as a result, and while that would spell doom for most other survivors, they’re quick-thinking and sure-footed enough to pop up through the sunroof and hop off the car and into an adjacent fenced-in carnival ride pit.
The integrity of that fence is quickly being stressed by the advancing pack, though, so Richonne races through the rest of the carnival, knocking down a strength test bell to block the walkers, and turning the playland into a Rube Goldberg-like maze of zombie management. They decide to divide them up to dispense of them more efficiently, so Rick leads half to the ferris wheel and locks himself into that fenced corral, while Michonne leads the rest to the giant slide enclosure. The walkers are falling in quick succession, until Rick spots a deer — the same deer from earlier? — on the other side of the ferris wheel area. He climbs onto the wheel to get in position to take a shot at the animal, for Michonne, but part of the ride breaks off, and Rick falls to the ground outside the fence, where a group of walkers zooms in on him and the deer.
Michonne sees him fall and takes off running towards him, but by the time she gets to the area, all she sees is the walkers hunched over something, gnawing on it and scattering its guts around. She stops, panicked and devastated, assuming she’s lost Rick. She drops her katana to the ground, and remains frozen as the walkers spot her and start moving in her direction.
Just then, Rick jumps out of a hidden spot, body checks a walker, yells for Michonne, and tosses her katana to her. She recovers quickly enough to start swinging, and in a bloody, but motivated round, she and Rick clear the entire carnival. She runs into his arms, crying, and he tells her, “I tried, but I still owe you one,” about the deer the walkers ravaged.
They go through the yard picking up every weapon they can find, separately, and Rick watches as Michonne walks around silently, clearly still devastated about what almost happened, about what she briefly thought had happened.
With the guns and food they found loaded into the van, the drive towards home, with a still silent Michonne slumping in the passenger seat, staring out the window. Rick pulls over and turns the engine off. He tells Michonne he hasn’t been sleeping. He’s been thinking about everyone they lost, about Glenn. “Glenn saved me right at the start … I couldn’t save him,” he says. He tells Michonne he knows it’s normal to feel this way, to be stuck on it, and that even making a plan to fight back doesn’t cure that.
She moves closer and tries to comfort him as he continues: “We’re going to fight them. That’s what happens next. And we’re going to lose people, maybe even a lot of them, maybe even each other…” Michonne pulls back, and looks like she’s about to cry. “… but even then, it’ll be worth it.”
Michonne: “When I thought that… I can’t lose you.”
Rick: “You asked me what kind of life we had just surrendering. It wasn’t a life. What we did back there, what we’re doing now, making a future for Judith, and Glenn and Maggie’s baby, fighting the fight, that’s living. You showed me that. You can lose me…”
Rick: “Yes, you can. I can lose you. We can lose our friends, people we love. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about a future. And if it’s me who doesn’t make it, you’re gonna have to lead the others forward. Because you’re the one who can.”
“But, how do you know?” Michonne asks.
Rick: “Because you led me here.”
Let’s Go to the Heap
Rick, Michonne, Tara, Gabriel, and Rosita deliver the newly acquired guns to Jadis, who has some concerns. She wonders if they’re all operational, and Rick says they are as far as he knows. There are 63 guns total, and even with her assuming she and the Heapsters get to keep them all, Jadis says she needs more. Nearly twice as many.
This fuels Rosita’s anger even more, and she suggests they pack up the guns and leave. Jadis says no; the deal is still on, so they’ll keep these guns and expect the delivery of another similarly-sized batch. Rick interjects that the Heapsters can’t keep them all. He’ll be taking 10 to help his group go out and find more.
Jadis: “Nine… and the cat back.”
Rick: “20. I keep the cat, we get you the guns, we fight together. Say ‘yes.’”
Jadis: “Yes. More soon, we’ll fight.”
With that issue squared away, for now, Michonne tries to give Rick a little room to breathe, a little more calm before the next phase. “You get a few more days before what happens next,” she says. “We’ll find more, figure it out. Soon. In a few more days.”
Rosita and Sasha
Back in Alexandria, Rick runs into Tara when he’s looking for Rosita. Tara tells him Rosita probably went off to look for more guns. She also nervously says there’s something she has to tell him. So… guess she’s made a decision about the Oceanside group.
As for Rosita, she’s not off looking for guns. She’s got one, a big one, a giant rifle with a scope, and she’s taken it to the Hilltop, where she asks for Sasha’s help.
“One condition,” Sasha says when Rosita finds her at Abraham’s grave. “I get to take the shot.”
They agree that, using a map of the Sanctuary that Jesus drew for Sasha and the descriptions of Negan’s lair Rosita heard Daryl and Carl give to Rick, they’re teaming up to take Negan down.
“I’m ready to take him down,” Sasha tells Rosita. “But I need to be sure you know what this means.”
“Do you?” Rosita asks.
“They can’t catch us alive,” Sasha says. “If they do, we give them something.”
Rosita: “It’s a one-way ticket for both of us. If it is both of us.”
Sasha: “It is.”
* Wonder why Rick is looking for Rosita? Did he maybe find out she’d taken that giant rifle she gave to Sasha and wonder what plans she has for it?
* The high school Rick and Michonne find: Chilton. Is someone in The Walking Dead writers’ room a Gilmore Girls fan?
* Among Richonne shippers, didn’t Rick asking Michonne to lead with him after what they assume will be a successful war against the Saviors feel sorta kinda like his equivalent of a marriage proposal?
* Didja notice that shiny silver chain around Sasha’s neck? Is that the necklace Rosita made for Abraham? And if yes, has Rosita noticed Sasha is wearing it?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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