Wow! Months later and Abe, who was sweating Sasha for a chance to get to know her, is now sweating the sheets with Rosita. The bedroom scene comes just after we see Abe and Sasha coming back from patrol together. Did the two of them have a change of heart about getting together? The looks they’re giving each other say there is still something between them. Is Rosita aware something has changed, but is playing coy? Sasha even drops the bomb that she won’t be going out on patrol with Abe, any more. Eugene is taking her place. Abe and Sasha are lost, for now. Even still, there is something endearing about Abe’s relationship with Rosita, too. She made him a necklace from the cracked tail light of the fuel truck he drove home with Sasha and Daryl, having no idea how many memories that necklace will trigger for him.
You will be happy to know that Jesus still has his head, but just barely as Carl pulls a gun on him – wanting to know why this stranger is in his home. Jesus breaks the #Richonne news to Carl by telling him that he was just waiting for his mom and dad to get dressed. Luckily they are almost fully dressed (thank you, shirtless Rick) as Glenn, Maggie, Abe, and Daryl rush in, armed, looking for Jesus. It turns out that he easily escaped a poorly guarded cell, a cell with one guard and two entrances.
Jesus has scoped out the armory, their provisions, and pretty much knows how many residents there are. His community is similar to Alexandria. His job is to find other communities and set up trade agreements. His group has a lot to offer as the scavenge, grows crops and raise livestock. Like them, his people are also on the side of the living and look for others who are, as well. While we may find Daryl’s hard scrabble look amazingly hot, Jesus is not under the spell. He thought Rick and Daryl looked like trouble, which is why he took the truck without a second thought. The Alexandrians are shocked to hear that there are others like them out there. Jesus promises them that their world is about to get a lot bigger. Denise loads the team with healthy food, against Daryl’s wishes, as he loads up for the trip. Rick and Carl look bashfully at one another as Rick explains just how new the relationship with Michonne is, but Carl is cool with it.
Times have truly changed, Rick was planning to leave Judith with Father G, before Carl declined to go, citing his “messed up face” as a bad first impression. (Hugs, kid!) Rick, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, Abe, Jesus and Daryl hit the road. Abe, watching Glenn hold Maggie’s belly, wants to know if Glenn was “trying to make pancakes” while “pouring the bisquik.” He can’t believe anyone would do it, but Glenn reminds him that they are trying to build something, all of them, so yeah, he and Maggie talked about having children. Abe’s plan is to “wear galoshes” if he sees rain coming. He plans to “double up.” The man is a soldier, but needs euphemisms for sex? Is that scary or endearing?
Before long there is an accident. There is a car on the side the road that belongs to Jesus’ people. Rick and gang worry that they are being led into a trap and refuse to give their, now handcuffed, captive a gun. They plan to search a nearby building to see if there are survivors and end up rescuing four people. One of the rescued is a doctor named Harlan Carson, a former OB/GYN. He is saved by Glenn and feels that he now owes the pregnant couple. Another rescued member, Freddie, was badly wounded and nearly mistaken for a walker. He recounts seeing his wife flash before his eyes when he thought he was going to be killed by Abe.
Suddenly the RV is then stuck in the mud, but Jesus lets them know not to worry, they are at The Hilltop. It, too, is a walled community. Their armed guards have spears – since the community ran out of ammo a long time ago. Jesus, despite the protests of the guards, lets the Alexandrians keep their guns – something he notes is a sign of trust and wants the same in return. Inside the gates is one large plantation style home, once designated as a museum, and grouping of FEMA trailers. The home is beautiful, inside. Most of the house is used as living space. The Hilltop is planning to expand, since babies are being born and the house has been converted into as much living space as possible.
The self-identified“boss,” Gregory, gives off the same vibe as The Governor, demanding, against their objections, that the Alexandrians go wash up, He likes to keep the place clean. The community is old world, with wash boards, a blacksmith’s shop used to sharpen spears, a rain barrel to collect water, etc. Back inside, Abe continues living out his high school glory days as he queries Daryl about how long Rick and Michonne have been “bumping uglies.” Downstairs, Gregory insults Maggie by calling her by the wrong name and states “close enough” when she corrects him. She tells him it’s not. He likes her spunk, having no idea Rick sent her to break the ice since he wouldn’t be able to given Gregory’s pompous behavior. This guy is hard to take. He tries to pull information from her but she holds the cards close to the vest. She is tough and smacks him down for his sexualized references and bad attitude, but he decides to pull a dick move and call her “Natalie” before dismissing her.
Jesus knows that the offer to have the Alexandrians work for them is useless. He talks Rick into giving him a day or so to work things out. Just then there is a commotion surrounding a group of returning scouts. We hear the name “Negan” being used by a returning Hilltopper named Nathan. Apparently Negan was not happy with the trade but Gregory swears it wasn’t a light load. Rick takes down Nathan after Nathan guts Gregory as a message from Negan. Daryl saves Abe from another of Nathan’s friends who is choking him until he hears ringing in his ears, and Sasha’s voice. As Nathan pins a distracted Rick to the ground and holds a knife to his throat, Michonne tells him to drop the knife. Now that Nathan is distracted, Rick grabs his blade and opens Nathan’s neck. On his feet, a bloodied Rick wants to know what everyone is staring at.
A woman, who seems to be Nathan’s wife, then attacks Rick, with Michonne slamming her to the ground. As the fight threatens to grow larger, Jesus shuts it down. Nathan’s attack was an attempt to save his brother, Craig, still being held by Negan, but Jesus reminds everyone it was still cowardice on his part, the fight is over and the Alexandrians saved them from more harm. Doc Carson tries saving Gregory, but I care more about Abe, who is still on the ground smiling oddly. He tells Daryl that he is better than alright and gets up laughing. Sasha? Rosita? I get the feeling this guy is now ready for love and marriage…and babies.
Gregory will survive. Rick wants to know about this “Negan,” and recalls Daryl’s run in with him. Negan apparently beat a 16-year-old Hilltopper to death in front of the community to show them that they will deal with him, on his terms. Now they turn over ½ of their resources to Negan’s gang to ensure their survival. Daryl is not afraid of, nor impressed by, Negan’s men and offers to get Craig back for a cow, food, and future trades.
Jesus takes the offer to Gregory, who will speak only to Maggie. Rick tells her that Deanna was right about her, which is the thought I have been having all night. P.S. Why is Maggie’s accent so thick now? Cowardly Gregory says that he doesn’t know if Craig is worth the return, given his brother’s actions. He smirks and gloats about having the leverage (food) to get what he wanted all along, the Alexandrians working for him. She makes the deal to take care of Negan, for ½ of their supplies. That erases the smirk. She reminds him that the HillToppers are vulnerable without ammo and people and, like him, she has leverage too. He takes the deal and wants to know if she would like one of his kidneys too. She declines the offer.
Rick and the gang load up their supplies and take the coward who returned with Nathan, too. He knows where to find Negan. Jesus also rides along. Before they go, Harlan (Doc Carson) shows Glenn and Maggie an ultrasound image of their baby, giving them a photo. The image is passed around the RV and brings a huge grin to everyone’s face, most especially Abe’s face.
Next week, no one will be grinning. Rick convinces them that it is time to take it to the Negan and the Saviors. Prepare for battle, people.