(Spoilers ahead for the Oct. 29 episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” obviously, since this is a recap.)
A bunch of members of the Saviors are at an outpost cleaning weapons in a courtyard-like area. Their leader, a woman, finds it unusually quiet and tries calling other Saviors on the radio. After trying three different people, she hits up a fourth, who answers. She tells him to “lock the stairwell, every floor.” She knows the war is about to hit home.
And it does, seconds later, when a team of Kingdommers, Alexandrians and Hilltoppers roll up in their tactically armored cars with sheet metal on one side and, surrounding the courtyard opening, start shooting. Looks like Aaron (Ross Marquand) is leading this crew.
After the credits, we see a different team, with Morgan (Lennie James), Jesus (Tom Payne) and Tara (Alanna Masterson), outside some kind of remote facility with a pair of very large satellite dishes. They discuss their approach, with Jesus noting that if they want to make it in, they’ll have to do so without anyone on either side firing a gun. Morgan doesn’t think it’ll be an issue.
A couple of Morgan’s buddies ask if he wants them to cover him, as he does whatever he’s about to do. He scoffs at the offer, repeating a sentiment he’s often expressed before: “I don’t die.”
Meanwhile, Carol (Melissa McBride), Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and their team of Kingdom folks are in some kind of fine mess, surrounded by walkers and smoke. They take care of them, no problem. Carol offers the first words after the skirmish ends: “Did anyone see where he went? He saw us. If he tells them we’re here, it’s over before it started.” They’re chasing someone, but who it is remains unknown.
Ezekiel is his usual confident self, assuring her they’re gonna handle it. “Trust the king,” he says with a wry grin. One of the team members notes that “the compound” is nearby in the woods, so they head off that way with Ezekiel noting that’s definitely where whoever they’re chasing is going. Carol makes a Carol face about that whole interaction.
Aaron’s crew keeps shooting with a Saviors’ outpost, seemingly content to stay where they are, boxing the bad guys in rather than actually taking the outpost.
Aaaaaaaaand that’s because Rick and Daryl are bringing a team in the back door — we can hear shooting in this bit so I assume it’s the same place, anyway. Then Rick mentions that they need to “find the guns,” so yeah. Rick has come to take the Savior’s gun like the liberal that he is.
Back at the satellite place, we see that they have a sort of “zombie moat” set up — two rows of fencing, with walkers in between, surrounding the place. Morgan walks up to the fence and shakes it, drawing the walkers to him and also drawing the attention of the guards, who can’t see him because of the walkers. The guys shoot the distracted guards with arrows, and they’re in.
Tara and Jesus kill a few guards in the lobby, and the group movies into the building, remaining silent like some kind of badass special ops team (I guess that’s what they are!). Tara notices a room where someone has written “Tommy says ‘Kill the bitches'” on the door and wall outside. Everyone continues deeper into the facility.
Morgan and the guys who wanted to cover him earlier find their destination. One of the guys seems pretty scared and is shaking.
Back to Rick, who pulls out a piece of paper with notes scribbled on it — looks like one of Dwight’s messages — that identifies the building with the courtyard as Shepherd Office Plaza. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are looking for 50 cal Brownings — aka big ole machine guns. The guns aren’t on the ground floor, so they head up.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Saviors in the courtyard thinks the attackers are just being cowardly, thinks they can push them back. As the Saviors move, Aaron yells about keeping them contained.
Back at the satellite facility, everybody’s got a door, and they’re gonna break in simultaneously. Jesus drops his fist, and everybody does their thing — except Morgan’s trio, all of whom get shot. Whoops. Is Morgan dead? I guess we’ll probably find out soon.
Since the stairwells are locked, Daryl and Rick climb up through an elevator shaft. Neat. They’re on the top floor now, and Rick notes the urgency of the plan — they need to make sure those guns aren’t used to clear out the walkers that have swamped Sanctuary. They split up to cover more ground.
Tara and Jesus find a Savior named Dean hiding in a closet, having peed his pants. Tara wants to kill him but Jesus does not. They’ll have to deal with that later, though, because the baddies who shot Morgan’s group is now coming after everyone else.
The closet guy says he’s just a worker and tells ‘em a sob story. Jesus and Tara argue more.
Whoops again. Turns out that closet guy was lying. He manages to grab Jesus’ gun and put him in a hostage hold, with the gun to Jesus’ head. He makes a joke about how it’s hard to pee your pants on purpose because “it’s like your dick knows you’re wearing pants.”
This standoff goes on for a minute, and eventually the guy tries to shoot Tara and misses. Jesus takes him down and knocks him out. Tara is totally mad because she really, really wanted to murder this guy. The war is personal for her. But Jesus knows this war is for civilization and they have to legit be good guys, so he ties up the closet guy.
The rest of the Saviors in the satellite facility appear to be retreating. Jesus and Tara and Diane go after them.
Surprise! Morgan isn’t dead. I guess that’s why he wears the body armor. The other two guys are very dead, however. Morgan stands up, goes on the prowl.
After the break, we head back to the courtyard shootout, which is continuing the same way it has been the whole episode — until the next stage of the plan kicks in. That stage being they boxed in the Saviors and then shot a bunch of them, and those dead ones came back as walkers to (hopefully) finish the job. The Saviors’ leader there goes down to one of the zombies.
Ezekiel and Carol and those folks are now wandering through the woods toward the previously mentioned compound. Carol is wondering if the guy they’re chasing made it there and warned the other bad guys. Ezekiel says it doesn’t matter and then says what I’m thinking: “Do I feel this supreme confidence, or is my lot, my job to simply project such certainty? No, and yes. Yes and no. And then finally yes to both.” I think that means he actually is legit confident.
Daryl’s search for guns leads him to what looks like a cell of some kind with handcuffs hanging off a pipe and half a sandwich on the floor. Daryl stares at this scene for a bit, probably getting that “Easy Street” song stuck in his head again.
Rick is also wandering around, and he’s encountering what looks like domestic scenes, with a bedroom with a bed that’s fully made and everything. Rick appears to find this unsettling, but fortunately he doesn’t have to think about it for long because a Savior came out of nowhere and attacked him.
They have a protracted battle in an old office that ends with Rick smashing the guy onto a piece of metal sticking out of the wall that had been holding up shelving.
Morgan is on the hunt, killing bad guys as he tries to find Jesus, Tara and the others.
Speaking of which: Jesus, Tara and the others outsmart the Saviors and cut them off. Tara is psyched to shoot them, but they surrender. Morgan eventually catches up to them after rampaging through the building like a slasher villain. He’s been seeing flashes of an old conversation with Rick, back when Rick was trying to convince Morgan to return to his formerly murderous ways.
“We have to come for them, before they come for us,” Rick said. “We can’t leave them alive.”
“Where there’s life, there’s possibility,” Morgan countered.
Back in the present, Morgan steps out into the sunlight and sees the assembled surrendered Saviors. And that’s when Morgan spots a familiar face: the Savior who killed the boy from the Kingdom that Morgan was training back in Season 7. Morgan wants to shoot him. “That’s not what we do,” Jesus says.
“Then what do we do?” Morgan comes back.
Rick’s encounters with domesticity in the Saviors outpost continue, as he finds a baby in a crib with the name Gracie painted on the wall nearby.
Carol and Ezekiel and the rest are still in the woods and are nearing the outpost, and finally we see the source of Ezekiel’s confidence — his tiger, Shiva, who’s eating a patrolling Savior. Pretty good, pretty good.
Meanwhile, the shootout in the courtyard is still happening. It’s probably about to wrap up, though, because Aaron’s buddy Eric got shot, and they head out.
Ezekiel and co. take the radio of the guy who Shiva ate and hear a notice about how the Saviors at the compound are “taking active measures” — they know the Kingdommers are coming. But Ezekiel doesn’t care. “This journey will not end in retreat.” That, however, is not a battle we’re gonna see this week.
Rick continues his search for guns, coming upon yet another dwelling where he finds a family photo that he takes a particular interest in. You probably think it’s just Rick having an existential crisis (which is definitely happening right now), but actually it’s because he knows the people in the photo.
And I know that because of what happens next:
A man sneaks up behind Rick and pulls a gun on him. Says he’s called in Saviors from elsewhere. This is a man not only that Rick knows, but we know him too: that’s Morales, from Season 1, and that photo was of his family. Rick makes a Rick face, as they stand there.
Then we get close-up shots of a bunch of different characters’ faces, before a cut back to Rick and Morales. Morales cocks his pistol, and the episode ends. Whew.