As the Whisperers commanded by Alpha (Samantha Morton) march on Hilltop to wage war against the survivors, residents Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) remain trapped in the cave where the Whisperers hid their walker horde. Daryl (Norman Reedus) returned to the cave's entrance to mount a rescue, only to be drawn into a vicious fight with Alpha that ended with Alpha's missing daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy) showing herself and picking a side: refusing to kill her mother and take her place, Lydia chose Daryl and his people. Swearing she's "stronger than ever," Alpha has finally unleashed her walker army to butcher and consume the allied Alexandria, Oceanside, and Hilltop communities.
In 1011, "Morning Star," Luke (Dan Fogler) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Magna's girlfriend, want an injured Kelly (Angel Theory) to hang back at Hilltop, but she's not having it: "I'm not leaving my sister out there. I'm going with you guys."
When Yumiko asks the last thing Magna said to Kelly, she says it doesn't matter because "we're getting them back." Always pragmatic, Yumiko responds, "What if we don't? We're never gonna know if that damn ceiling caved in."
"If you think that they're dead," a pissed Kelly says, "why are you coming with us?" Yumiko doesn't get to answer. Lydia and a beat-up Daryl reach Hilltop without their friends.
"Any sign of them?" Yumiko asks, knowing the answer. Not accepting Daryl's reply they "didn't get that far," Luke tells him, "D, I'm sorry. We gotta find our people, man."
They're stopped by Lydia, who warns they can't go out there. "My mother's coming."
Inside Barrington House, Yumiko instructs two Hilltop scouts to keep an eye out and radio back if they spot signs of the horde or Whisperer movement. Daryl, Rosita (Christian Serratos), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Hilltop residents Jerry (Cooper Andrews), Earl (John Finn) and Alden (Callan McAuliffe) are among those assembled to decide whether to run or make a stand and fight.
"Even if you took out half the horde in that cave, she's got thousands left," Lydia says of the horde Carol has made repeat attempts to destroy. "You can't stay here."
Earl posits Alpha will march on Alexandria or go around Hilltop, but Lydia says he's wrong: "She doesn't need to go around you. She'll just run through you."
Jerry refuses to run — they already lost the Kingdom — but Dianne (Kerry Cahill) suggests bailing and rebuilding somewhere else. Aaron admits Earl is right when he says there's nowhere else like Hilltop, but staying means putting multiple children in danger, including Aaron's daughter Gracie (Anabelle Holloway). Yumiko argues the Hilltop has a few dozen able-bodied fighters, at best, but Earl counters, "We're going to have to fight. And if we die, we die fighting for a place that means something."
Daryl calls it: they'll get the kids out first and regroup at Oceanside. Daryl leads a wagon full of evacuees through the woods, but their path to Oceanside is blocked off by a felled tree.
"All the roads are gonna be like this now. We ain't gettin' through," Daryl says. He's seen this tactic before. "It's Negan. He's with her now."
Back at Hilltop, the wagon is emptied and the kids are ushered into Barrington House. The Whisperers blocked all the roads in and out of Hilltop, and "they're closing in on us," Daryl says, rattling nerves. "We had a window to get out, we just missed it."
Kelly and Luke are shaken. "We can call Alexandria, right? Call Alexandria, they’ll get fresh fighters here, right? It’s not just gonna be us," Luke says, desperate for an answer. "It's not gonna be just us, right?"
"Oceanside can't get here. Alexandria either. Not in time. Not after what happened," Dianne says of Whisperer Beta's (Ryan Hurst) rampage that claimed a half-dozen lives a day earlier. "We're on our own." Earl says they're enough. Catapults on the walls and a damn good militia give them a fighting chance. Hilltop must go to war.
Whether they're buried alive or dead, Connie and Magna remain out of reach for now to accommodate Ridloff's absence from the show.0comments
"I think emotionally, for our characters, just the question of whether they're alive or dead really has a lot of impact on them going forward. We will eventually find out the fate of Magna and Connie," showrunner Angela Kang said in a recent interview. "But in the meantime, there's a lot of our characters such as Carol, who are living with the guilt, or people who are activated to try to find them, or just deal with the emotional fallout from it."