‘The Walking Dead’ mid-season finale recap: ‘Hearts Still Beating’ leaves a trail of blood in its wake

With the threat of the Saviors reaching a fever pitch, the mid-season finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” left a trail of blood in its wake. “Hearts Still Beating” dropped the narrow focus of the past few episodes and touched base with nearly all the apocalyptic players. So if previous episodes did not give you your proper Carol (Melissa McBride) fix, this episode was for you. Sadly, not every character would survive this 90-minute send off. Let’s take a look at the best moments from “The Walking Dead” Season 7, Episode 8 before the show returns to AMC on February 12, 2017.

Zombie Lake – Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) attempt to cross a zombie-filled lake in a bullet-riddled boat to reach an abandoned weapons cache. The plan is about as terrible as it sounds, and though the two men ably fight off the bloated undead, Aaron is eventually dragged overboard by one of the hideous creatures. Though Rick fears that his friend is drowned, Aaron resurfaces unharmed and the two collect a massive amount of weapons to deliver to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

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Daryl’s escape – Taking a cue from the mysterious note shoved under his cell door, Daryl (Norman Reedus) decides to escape the Sanctuary. While sneaking through the halls, he is able to scrounge some food and clothing. He is about to hot-wire a motorcycle and drive home when “Fat Joey” walks around the corner and spots him. Joey begs for his life, saying, “I’m just trying to get by.” But something seems to have broken inside Daryl, who raises the metal pipe in his hand and bashes in Joey’s skull in a Negan-esque manner. Jesus (Tom Payne) shows up just in time to see the body and escort Daryl back to Hilltop.

Guts – With Rick gone, Spencer (Austin Nichols) decides it’s the perfect time to cozy up to Negan. Spencer pitches the murderous psychopath why Rick should be removed from power and he put in charge of Alexandria. “If you wanna take over,” Negan asks, “why not just kill Rick yourself? It’s because you’ve got no guts.” Negan swiftly sinks his knife into Spencer’s belly and opens him up like a fish, his entrails spilling onto the pavement. Thus ends the Monroe family line.

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Bullet for bullet – Upon seeing Spencer’s murder, Rosita (Christian Serratos) finds herself unable to hold back and shoots at Negan using the one bullet Eugene (Josh McDermitt) made her. The bullet happens to strike Negan’s baseball bat Lucille instead. Rosita claims that she crafted the bullet, but Negan doesn’t believe her. He commands Arat, the Savior holding Rosita down, to kill someone. Arat spins around and shoots Olivia (Ann Mahoney) in the face, killing her instantly. After doing her best to protect Judith despite sexual harassment from Negan, Olivia is officially the worst-treated character in “Walking Dead” history.

Ready to fight – Michonne (Danai Gurira) returns to Alexandria with the knowledge of the location of the Sanctuary. She apologizes for striking out on her own and quotes Rick’s speech to the Alexandrians to inspire him to take up arms against the Saviors. “We’re the ones who get things done. You said that. We’re the ones who live.” A newly emboldened Rick agrees and the core Alexandria group heads to Hilltop to unite with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who is essentially running that community. Rick, Maggie, Daryl, Michonne, Jesus, Rosita, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) head inside to formulate a plan of attack.

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