“The Walking Dead” returned with Alexandrians on the run in Season 8, Episode 11. Personal grudges and ideological clashes make the road to Hilltop Colony fraught with danger for all our survivors. With the Saviors in hot pursuit, not everyone will make it to their destination. Read our recap below to see who makes it toHilltop in one piece in “Dead or Alive Or.”
The Road Less Traveled – Daryl (Norman Reedus) leads the Alexandrians through the woods to Hilltop, desperately avoiding Savior search parties along the way. Dwight (Austin Amelio) suggests taking a route through a swampland, since it’s the one area The Saviors have not mapped and are less likely to search there. Tara (Alanna Masterson) is distrustful towards Dwight and clearly can’t wait to kill him, but Dwight reminds everyone that the Savior Laura saw him double cross the group. The swamp path is begrudgingly accepted, but Tara stays behind to watch over the group as others forge ahead to clear the path of zombies.
Tara’s Vengeance – When walkers stumble into the area, Tara tosses Dwight a knife and orders him to dispatch the creatures. She has her gun trained on him while he works and berates him for trying to erase the past by “switching sides.” Ironic considering her past allegiance to The Governor. Dwight apologizes for killing Denise, enraging Tara to the point of no return. “Killing me like this. What will it accomplish?” Dwight asks. “It’ll make me feel a whole lot better” barks Tara. She fires at him, the bullet narrowly misses, and a mad chase through the woods ensues. Tara ultimately corners him, but before she can pull the trigger a group of Saviors approach. The two scramble into the underbrush for cover. When the Saviors draw near to their hiding spot, Dwight jumps out to offer himself to them. But when he learns that Laura hasn’t been seen since the attack, he pretends to help the search and leads them away from the swamp.
The Blind Prophet – Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Dr. Carson (R. Keith Harris) are lost trying to find Hilltop, and Gabe’s deteriorating vision isn’t helping navigation. Suddenly the priest hears a sound “almost like a bell” and darts into the forest after it. They discover an abandoned cabin, the “bell” sound coming from a metal sign clanking against a radio tower. The former cabin owner’s zombified corpse is locked in the bedroom, having committed suicide by swallowing pills and suffocating himself. But Gabe is in luck because the pills are antibiotics. They are able to break his fever, but his vision loss remains. Carson is fearful of his friend’s oncoming blindness, but Gabe trusts that God is leading him down his intended path. That faith is reaffirmed when he accidentally knocks over a piggy bank, revealing car keys and a map inside.
“Believe It” – On the way to the car, Gabe finally makes out the words on the clanging sign: “Danger. Traps Ahead.” He calls out to Carson, but it’s too late. The doctor’s foot plunges into a bear trap and his screams of pain draw nearby walkers. Carson frantically shoots the undead, but one falls on top of him. Gabriel is able to find a gun and aims towards the monster, but the zombie and Carson are just one blur to him. He shuts his eyes, aims straight ahead, and somehow pulls off a headshot to save the doctor. Talk about letting Jesus take the wheel. The victory is short lived, as once they get seated in the car a Savior search party appears behind them. Now captives in the back of a pickup truck, Gabe reassures Carson “He’s still leading the way. Believe it and you’ll see.” Carson replies that “I think I do see” before grabbing for a Savior’s gun. The man turns around and reflexively shoots the doctor. The Saviors toss his corpse out of the truck and drive away. Gabriel sobs in the back, his mission a failure.
The Bullet Maker – Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) places Eugene (Josh McDermitt) in charge of an outpost so that the science nerd can make bullets for The Saviors. Eugene is drunk with power, acting like an entitled mini version of Negan as he orders works around in the machine shop. Negan arrives with Gabriel in tow and tasks the priest with sorting bullet casings. Eugene could use the help since he informs Negan that they are still several days away from fully replenishing the bullet supply. In order to keep his leader’s anger at bay, Eugene suggests using catapults to launch zombie body parts over the walls of Hilltop as a intimidation tactic.
Hilltop – Hilltop is fortifying walls and preparing for a Savior encounter, but the community is facing a drastic decline in food and supplies. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) pleads with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to grant the prisoners time outside of the pen for good behavior. Maggie won’t hear it though, and instead informs them that prisoner’s rations will be cut for the time being. Rations may be cut even further since the Alexandrians arrive soon after, expanding the Hilltop population. This is the first time many characters learn about the Alexandria attack and Carl’s death. While that revelation leaves the likes of Enid shattered, hope comes in the form of Siddiq (Avi Nash) who volunteers his medical services to the group. Gregory can’t muster the same hope, telling Maggie they should evacuate the colony. “How can we win?” he mutters. “Look around” says Maggie as she surveys her community. “How can we lose?”
Somewhere In Between – Negan has taken Eugene’s zombie ammunition idea in a new and twisted direction. With his people at The Sanctuary gathered before him (Dwight included), he plunges Lucille into a walker’s body. The baseball bat becomes covered in blood and guts as Negan notes that his weapon is now deadlier than ever. All that would be needed is one small scratch to infect the enemy and doom them to join the undead ranks. Is the show getting ready to introduce infectious weaponry for the final battle of All Out War? As Negan says, Hilltop “will be dead, alive, or somewhere in between.”