'The Walking Dead' recap ('Dead or Alive or'): season 8, episode 11

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Posted Sunday, March 11, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

This mildly compelling episode features multiple story lines that is leading to what will likely be a final confrontation between the Saviors and Rick's crew at the Hilltop at some point in the near future. The war appears to have exhausted everybody involved - including the viewers. Let's end this -- and soon!

At this point, the escaped Alexandrians are seeking refuge at the Hilltop, led by Daryl, Rosita, Tara and Dwight. Dwight provides some intel: use the swamp because it's the least likely spot the Saviors will use to get there.

Tara is skeptical but Daryl decides to accept the info.

"I'm here to help you take down Negan," Dwight explains. "After that, I know how it ends." (He is well aware that Daryl and Tara want his head once he's no longer useful.)

Tara would rather kill Dwight sooner than later  for killing her lover Denise. He apologizes to her because he had meant to kill Daryl - not Denise - but she doesn't care. She is all about vengeance - even if he's helping them. But part of her is clearly not wanting to go full-on Charles Bronson. She points a gun at him but does not pull the trigger immediately. It's just as well. They hear Saviors seeking Harlan and Gabriel.

Dwight jumps in front of his former Savior buddies, expecting to be shot on sight. But the three Saviors have no idea he had gone Benedict Arnold and the one woman who knows about his betrayal has not been seen. (Where is she?) Dwight directs them away from the swamp, clearly still helping out Daryl & Co.

When Tara and Rosita (who had trailed Tara) return to the swamp, Daryl is upset Tara let Dwight get away. He is worried Dwight might tell Negan everything. "He isn't," Tara says. "He won't. They were coming right for us and he saved us."

Over at the Hilltop, Maggie cuts rations completely for the POWs. She is being harsh.

When the Alexandrians finally arrive, Daryl has to break the bad news about Carl. Enid is stricken. And when Siddiq - the man Carl saved - offers to set up an infirmary, Maggie's feelings soften. She decides to give the POWs rations after all, plus some time outside the pen.

In a side story, Morgan tells Henry a white lie, that Gavin killed Benjamin, when in fact it was Jared. This way, Henry can feel closure because he was the one who killed Gavin and he doesn't have to keep staring at the POWs.


"We are on the right path even if we're on the wrong road." - Gabriel, with Harlan, trying to get back to the Hilltop

Poor Gabriel. The often annoying preacher has been such an overt optimist lately. But the God in "The Walking Dead" sure doesn't like to reward anyone for optimism.

He and Dr. Harlan Carson escape the Sanctuary, courtesy of Eugene, seeking the Hilltop like the Alexandrians. But Gabriel's vision has been impaired by his illness and he's still feverish. He tries to throw his God lines on Harlan but Harlan isn't taking it too well.

They find a home where a radio operator had given up trying to get help and is now a walker. But at said home, Harlan finds antibiotics and a car key with a map showing where it is. God's miracle!

They walk toward the destination but Harlan gets caught in a leg-hold trap. A bunch of walkers approach him. He shoots one while others get caught in other leg-hold traps. One walker causes Harlan to lose his gun. As he tries to fight off the walker, Gabriel finds the gun, shoots blindly and gets the walker, not Harlan. God's miracle again!

But wait. This has no happy ending. The Saviors soon find them. "They must have heard the gunfire," Harlan says.

"He's still leading the way," Gabriel says. Why? The Saviors needs the doctor alive.

But Harlan stupidly grabs the gun from one of the Saviors and another one shoots him dead. No more miracles here.


Negan suspects Eugene had something to do with Gabriel and Harlan's escape.

"Alexandria, what went down there?" Eugene asks, changing the subject.

"Do you care?" Negan asks, implying he shouldn't. "After they tried to blow you off the face of this earth?"

Then Negan gives Eugene a new job: "You are going to be in charge of your very own outpost. I need my very own bulletmaker to make his own bullets. You get honors to provide the bang bang to settle this situation with Rick for good."

While Eugene is working and treats one of Negan's wives in the most sexist way, Negan sends Gabriel over to the munitions factory to help out Eugene.  For a moment, Eugene believes he's about to be found out. But no. Gabriel does not take Eugene down. He just blames Harlan, now dead. (Eugene is saved again!)

Gabriel is now assigned to help out with the bullet sorting. That's his punishment for optimism.

In the meantime, Eugene gives Negan some ideas to take down the Hilltop - using the walkers against them and get them to learn their lessons - dead or alive.