With just three more episode left in Season 8, “The Walking Dead” upped the action quotient for Episode 13, titled “Do Not Send Us Astray.” As The Saviors descend on Hilltop Colony, some characters give their life defending it, while The Widow proves she’s the biggest badass of the apocalypse.
Hilltop Prepares – Hilltop enters battle mode as the troops take their positions. Survivors of The Kingdom have arrived, and Carol (Melissa McBride) is busy convincing Henry to stay out of harm’s way. Siddiq (Avi Nash) sets up shop in the infirmary but is interrogated by a female doctor who isn’t impressed with his lack of experience. I don’t know where this medical expert has been hiding all season, but Siddiq ultimately wins her over by standing his ground. Morgan (Lennie James) is in the woods on lookout duty. He sounds his car horn as rumbling noises grow near, commencing a chain of honks that alert others to the incoming enemies. Night falls and the Savior convoy approaches Hilltop. The battleground is set.
The Widow – The first Savior trucks come to a halt as they drive over spike traps, which deflate their tires and prevent the vehicles from being used as battering rams. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) radios an aggravated Simon (Steven Ogg): “I want to speak to Negan.” This episode mostly belongs to Maggie, with Cohan displaying a simmering rage and determination that stems from this moment. Not content with speaking to a lackey, Maggie tells Simon to stand down or she will personally murder the 38 Savior prisoners. Simon scoffs that those men are damaged goods and orders his army to take out everyone inside Hilltop.
Wounded – Daryl (Norman Reedus) takes the Saviors by surprise, performing a drive by shooting on his motorcycle. Simon follows behind in his car as Daryl makes his way to the now open gates, but it’s all part of Maggie’s plan. The Saviors barely make it inside before the car collides with a school bus acting as a blockade. The battle begins, with the Hilltop army firing upon the pinned invaders. Tobin (Jason Douglas) ducks out from cover to get off a shot, only to be stabbed in the stomach by an assailant. Elsewhere, Simon and Dwight (Austin Amelio) sneak up on a distracted Tara (Alanna Masterson). Daryl calls out to warn her but is confronted with an attacker of his own. Just before Simon can toss his hatchet into Tara’s back, Dwight quickly releases an arrow into her shoulder. It’s a tactical move by Dwight to continue playing both sides, but one has to wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to just kill Simon.
Rick Arrives – The lights go out and quiet descends on the Hilltop. Believing he has the upper-hand, Simon leads the Saviors in their traditional whistling as they march towards the central house (do they seriously think scare tactic still works after the 100th time?). The lights turn back on, blinding the Saviors as bullets rain down on them from the second story windows. They retreat, only to be confronted by Rick (Andrew Lincoln) who cuts through countless men with savage precision. Rick and Maggie chase after fleeing Saviors who are driving away in a truck, but their bullets do nothing to prevent the escape. “I wanted them dead” Maggie growls, “all of them.”
A Good Leader – After the fight, Maggie releases Alden (Callan McAuliffe), the blonde Savior who has advocated for coexistence, so he can bury his people. “They’re not mine” he replies, “But I’m glad you see them that way. As people.” Dianne (Kerry Cahill) remarks that Maggie is a good leader for having a plan that saved the gates, the community, and numerous lives. Maggie surveys the fresh graves and notes that she sent Negan the body in the box to anger him and lure the villain to her, no matter the cost. “I wanted my husband’s grave to be the last thing he saw…I don’t know if that makes me a good leader, but I do know that the only regret I have is that Negan is not in that pile of bodies.” It’s safe to say most viewers are anticipating the final showdown to be Rick vs. Negan, but I’m now firmly rooting for The Widow to get her kill.
Aftermath – Tara is alive after taking Dwight’s arrow, but she and Daryl quarrel over whether or not they can still trust the double agent. Tobin is alive too, and Carol apologizes for the way she left him. When he asks if she will leave again after this is over, she offers some hope. “I think I might just accept it. Some of us are lucky to fight. Winning just means we get tomorrow.” It’s unclear what kind of “tomorrow” Tobin has however, since viewers know that the Saviors coated their melee weapons with walker guts. We also see Maggie conversing with a survivor who was stitched up by Siddiq. This man lays down with the other Hilltop newcomers in the halls of the main house. The wounded are about to become a bigger threat than The Saviors.
Infected – Tobin lies in the infirmary but suddenly dies during his sleep. He lurches out of bed, a zombie rattle emanating from his throat, as he sinks his teeth into a guard. The female doctor who berated Siddiq soon returns to her post, but she too has her flesh ripped open by zombie Tobin. These new walkers make their way towards the house and descend upon the sleeping survivors. Chaos erupts as people are bitten in their sleep. Rick and others work to clear the house of the undead, but not before many casualties. Carol wrests a walker away from another woman only to realize it’s Tobin. She looks into her lover’s eyes one last time before plunging her knife into his skull. Noting that Tobin was not bitten, the group is able to piece together Negan’s ploy to use infected weaponry. Since they don’t know which weapons were tainted, they believe Tara may be affected as well.
Henry – Apparently Henry didn’t believe Morgan’s confession that Gavin killed his brother Benjamin, because Henry steals a rifle and heads towards the prisoner’s pen. The boy asks Gregory (Xander Berkeley) which of the prisoners killed his brother, but the ousted leader just tries to placate Henry to get his gun. When screams break out from inside the house, Henry opens the pen’s gate to confront a Savior who smiles at the sound of suffering. Aldan tries to calm down Henry before the boy starts firing into the group. But a wounded prisoner suddenly reanimates as a walker and lunges at another Savior. Henry is knocked over in the distraction, his rifle stolen, as The Saviors and Gregory escape their prison.
Missing – Maggie later discovers Siddiq fending off walkers outside. He is almost overcome but is saved by Aldan. Maggie draws her gun on her prisoner, demanding to know how he escaped. He tells her about Henry, but notes that he has no loyalty to the Saviors any longer. In fact, several other prisoners stayed behind to defend the Hilltop and help close the gates so no other zombies shambled inside. Maggie reluctantly accepts the help of Aldan and his men, but most concerning, Gregory and Henry are nowhere to be found.