‘The Walking Dead’ episode 15 recap: Negan cleans house in ‘Worth’

In the penultimate episode of Season 8, “The Walking Dead” focused on their main villain. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is back at The Sanctuary with a few scores to settle, and his actions during this episode will having a lasting impact on The Saviors. Before we get to what promises to be a bloody and brutal season finale, let’s dive in to the game changing action in “Worth.”

Dear Dad – Rick (Andrew Lincoln) finally musters the strength to read Carl’s letter. In the note, Carl reminisces over the cherished memory of a childhood birthday party. Those memories of the world before the outbreak are the types of experiences he wanted Rick to bring back into the world. “You have to find peace” with The Saviors he says, “find a way forward somehow.” Given Rick’s recent violent streak, it’s hard to envision him returning the world to a carefree place with birthday parties and strolls through the park. Meanwhile, a restless Michonne (Danai Gurira) pulls Carl’s letter to Negan out of Rick’s dresser drawer.

Gregory Lives On – I guess Gregory (Xander Berkeley) made it to The Sanctuary on foot without any problems, since he’s now angling to get back into Simon’s (Steven Ogg) good graces. Simon reminds Gregory that he made him “look like an ass” the last time he took him in. With Negan gone, Simon simply can’t have the bad optics of keeping Gregory nearby. Gregory tries to plead his case which only results in Simon slamming him to the ground to shut him up. Instead of killing him, Simon decides to take him on as a gopher. The weasel lives to see another day.

Taking Eugene – At the bullet factory, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is pushing his team to complete Simon’s request for ammo on time. He berates Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) after discovering that the priest created a bullet which would cause a gun to backfire. After this infraction, and a coughing fit that could spread sickness, Eugene removes Gabe from the assembly line.

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When Eugene steps outside to test rounds for imperfections, his bodyguards are quickly executed by Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Daryl (Norman Reedus). Now a hostage, the Eugene can’t keep his mouth shut trying to gain sympathy from his former friends. Ultimately, his insufferable blabbering causes Rosita to explode, blaming him for every death since the Saviors escaped The Sanctuary. “We’re going to put you in the darkest hole we can find” she threatens. “The only time you’ll see the light of day is when we need you to teach us how to do something. We’re going to make you do something useful with your pathetic life.” I’ve never loved Rosita more.

Negan’s Men – Negan reveals himself to his lieutenants, much to their chagrin. He first interrogates Dwight (Austin Amelio) as to why they didn’t search for him while he was trapped. Dwight feigns innocence, but Negan clearly knows more than he lets on. A council meeting later in the day marks Simon’s chance to apologize. Negan orders his right hand man on his knees and for a moment it looks like Simon is about to be Lucille’d. Negan asks Simon if he’s going to “make a move,” but Simon is resigned: “no move to make.” That reply is enough for Negan to forgive Simon’s sins, at least for now. Instead of bashing in heads, Negan unveils a map detailing his new plan for the Hilltop. Instead of sieging the community, they will set up several outposts to encircle it and pick off anyone who leaves.

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Goodbye Simon – Dwight makes a copy of Negan’s map so he can alert Rick to the battle plan. But Simon almost catches him in the act when he barges into the room with a plan of his own: murdering Negan. They meet later in the courtyard with a group of Savior conspirators and Simon takes charge of the coup. As he offers Dwight the opportunity to make the kill, Negan himself rounds the corner. Hidden gunmen quickly snipe the conspirators, leaving only Simon alive. Dwight had informed Negan of the entire plot. But Negan offers to give Simon the chance to lead. The two face off in a grudge match, surrounded by everyone in The Sanctuary. Fists fly in a knockout brawl. Negan eventually knocks Simon to the ground and begins to strangle him. As Simon struggles, Negan laments that because of his actions at Hilltop, those people can no longer be controlled. “So now I have to kill them all, just like I have to kill you” he shouts, before crushing Simon’s throat.

Mole Exposed – During the fight, Dwight passes his map to Gregory and instructs him to get the plans to Rick. Later that day, Negan congratulates Dwight on becoming the “new #2” in Simon’s wake. As Dwight takes this in, he opens the door to his quarters to find Laura (Lindsley Register). She was the person Negan found on the roadside last episode, so he has known of Dwight’s double agent status since returning to The Sanctuary. The map Dwight made a copy of was a fake plan, since Negan counted on Dwight passing along the information. Instead of being one step ahead, Rick and his people will walk right into an ambush. Strangely, Negan chooses to keep Dwight alive because he has “plans” for the mole.

Oceanside – Aaron (Ross Marquand) is still hanging out in the woods by Oceanside. He kills a walker that’s stalking Cyndie (Sydney Park) and her group and collapses on the ground from the effort. They leave him without offering aid, noting that “he made his choice.” Intent on winning them over, he continues to stay in the woods, barely surviving off of rainwater. Walkers surround him one night during a storm, and he barely survives a scuffle with them due to his weakened state. When he awakens from the fight, the Oceanside women stand over him. He begs them to join the war, noting that the Saviors will “keep hurting you” unless you fight back, before passing out once again.

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Eugene Escapes – Walkers have gathered near Daryl’s car, so he works to eliminate them before they drive Eugene back to Hilltop. Sensing his only chance of escape, Eugene shoves his fingers down his throat and forces himself to vomit all over Rosita. With her distracted, he makes a run for it past a group of zombies. She fires at him and gives chase, but Eugene manages to evade capture by hiding in a pile of ash and burned bodies. When he makes it back to the outpost, he is informed of Negan’s return and gets to work on completing his bullets by tomorrow. Demanding they work overtime, he echoes Rosita’s line to him, saying: “It’s time to do something with our pathetic lives.”

Dear Negan – As Negan watches Simon’s zombified corpse begin chained to The Sanctuary fence, Michonne radios for him. She reads Carl’s letter to him to complete the boy’s dying wish. The letter centers around a similar sentiment found in Rick’s version. “The way out is together” Michonne reads. “I hope my Dad offers you peace. I hope you take it. I hope everything can change.” Negan isn’t moved, replying that there is no way out and no surrender. “Winning isn’t just beating you, it’s killing all of you. No more talk.” With that, he crushes the walkie and sets the stage for a huge battle in next week’s season finale.

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