“You might even see him next episode,” Gimple tells TheWrap
(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven’t seen this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead”)
After the arrival of Jesus (Tom Payne) last week, needless to say the residents of Alexandria had plenty of questions.
Jesus tells them that he comes from a similar settlement not far from Alexandria and that they are raising crops and livestock that they would be willing to trade.
With their own food stores running low, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) decides to lead a group back to this settlement to see if Jesus is telling the truth.
On the way, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) finds himself at a crossroads. While he has been with Rosita (Christian Serratos) since the apocalypse began, he now finds himself drawn to Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). He seeks advice from Glenn (Steven Yeun), but still seems unsure.
After a pitstop to help some of Jesus’ friends who were injured in a car wreck, the group arrives at the Hilltop Colony, a walled settlement built around an 18th century home that used to function as a museum. Series showrunner Scott Gimple compared and contrasted Alexandria and Hilltop in an interview with TheWrap.
“Alexandria was, in many ways, a housing community of the future: solar panels, cisterns, eco-based sewage filtration,” Gimple said.
“The Hilltop was the opposite,” he continued. “It was a place of the past, an old plantation house and farm, basically kept in amber by the state as a piece of living history. In many ways, the people of the past were more equipped for the apocalypse.”
While Hilltop lacks firepower, they have successfully raised several kind of livestock as well as crops. They meet with Gregory (Xander Berkeley), the leader of Hilltop. He certainly takes a liking to Maggie (Lauren Cohan), but is unwilling to consider trading with Alexandria as they have nothing to offer.
Suddenly, a small group returns to Hilltop. They say that Negan accused them of holding out on him and his group. They go on to say that Negan killed one of them and is holding another hostage until they deliver a message to Gregory.
Gregory asks what the message is and one man in the group stabs him in the stomach. Rick and the others from Alexandria jump in and a fight ensues.
The man who stabbed Gregory gets Rick on the ground with a knife to his throat. But when he gets distracted, Rick stabs him in the throat. Covered in blood, he stands up and looks at the horrified Hilltop residents and says, “What?”
Jesus explains that Negan is the leader of a group called The Saviors. They have been extorting Hilltop for some time now, taking half of all Hilltop produces in exchange for not attacking and killing them.
Rick tells Jesus that he and his group can find and kill Negan for them in exchange for establishing trade. The episode ends as the group heads back to Alexandria. And while many have stated that Negan won’t appear until the season finale, Gimple said that this season’s villain may pop up a little earlier.
“There have been articles pinpointing exactly when Negan shows up, and that’s a bit disappointing, because they may not be entirely true,” he said. “There’s kind of a build up. But you might even see him next episode. Absolutely. Well, sort of. Well, definitely. Well, maybe. Maybe not. But possibly.”
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the group was going to Negan’s compound at the end of the episode. TheWrap apologizes for the error.