We’re the Ones Who Live

The time has come where we, the fans of The Walking Dead, must part ways with our favorite show for what seems like an eternity.  Yes, it is that time of the year again – the dreaded midseason hiatus, but the midseason finale did not disappoint.

“Hearts Still Beating” has its focus centered on the Alexandria Safe Zone, and Negan is continuing to make himself comfortable.  Spaghetti dinner, anyone?  But as he settles in, he is completely unaware of the plots against his life taking place on not one, not two, but three different spectrums.  First there is Scott from The Kingdom, who seeks out Carol and Morgan and urges them to convince King Ezekiel to fight back against the Saviors before the Saviors turn against them.  Then there is Michonne, who has taken Isabelle hostage and forces her to drive them to The Sanctuary.  And finally there is Rosita, who has guilt on her shoulders and a freshly made bullet in her hand.  Negan is unaware of just how much danger he is truly in.

While some are making moves to take Negan down, Spencer has an entirely different idea.  He still doesn’t like the way that Rick has handled things, and after receiving praise from the Saviors for bringing back a good haul, he takes matters into his own hands.  He goes straight to the man himself and makes nice.  There’s some drinking and some pool, and then some very serious talk.  According to him, he should be leader of Alexandria and not Rick.  Rick’s ego is out of control and he’ll screw things up.  He proposes that Negan kill Rick and make Spencer the leader.  It sounds like a good idea until Negan points out how Rick is swallowing his hate and doing what it takes to keep his people alive.  After questioning if Spencer even has any guts, Negan finds out for himself by slashing his stomach with a knife.

The taunting that follows is what pushes Rosita over the edge, and she draws her gun and shoots, hitting Lucille instead of her target.  Negan doesn’t take too kindly to Lucille being injured, and he demands to know who made the bullet.  To prove how serious, he is, he has Arat shoot a person at random (RIP Olivia), and Eugene finally gives in and admits that he was the brain behind the recipe when Negan threatens to keep killing people.

The ordeal brings Rick to his senses, and it seems that for the first time since the premiere, he is considering fighting back.  But there is still hesitance, and that hesitance doesn’t give way until Michonne speaks to him.  She tells him that she found what she was looking for but realized that her way wasn’t the right way, that she couldn’t do this alone.  She wants it to be their way.  They’ve survived so much and they need to make that count.  “We’re the ones who get things done.  We’re the ones who live…That’s why we have to fight.  For Judith.  For Carl.”  By the end of the speech, Rick admits that he’s ready to fight back.

Rick, Michonne, Carl, Tara, and Rosita make the trek to The Hilltop, where Maggie has become a sort of hero, someone that the community trusts.  Jesus and Daryl are both there, too.  The group is back together, and they aren’t going to sit idly by and let Negan walk all over them; they are going to fight.

The episode ends on a note that has become familiar: a coda.  There is a person who has followed Rick and Aaron from the boathouse all the way back to Alexandria.  They are watching from the woods with binoculars, wearing boots that seem too big.  We are left with one lingering question to mull over for weeks: who is wearing those boots?


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