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In This Episode...
Storm’s coming. A massive blizzard is moving in. And the Kingdom has fallen. The pipes that have been a problem all season have finally burst. The houses are rotting away. It’s all bad, so the entire community has no choice but to evacuate -- hopefully before the blizzard hits. They hit the road to Hilltop, but the storm comes in fast. Michonne leads the way to the Sanctuary. Long since abandoned, it is a shithole, but it is secure and gets them out of the storm.
It soon becomes apparent that the blizzard won’t pass for a few days, and it could dump enough snow to make the roads impassable for weeks. It is now or never to make it to Hilltop. But that brings up the question of how to get there. The safe way would add days to their trip. The bridge that Rick had been building would have helped immensely. Carol points out that the river is frozen -- they can walk across. This would also mean that they would have to walk through Whisperer’s territory. Michonne is willing to risk it: “They imposed those borders. We didn’t agree to them.” This path works out for them; they make it to Hilltop safely.
Meanwhile, the heat has gone out at Alexandria. Everyone splits up between the houses with the biggest fireplaces. But then the realization comes that they can’t leave Negan in the jail -- he will freeze to death. Rosita isn’t happy about it, but she agrees to move Negan -- in chains -- into the house with her, Siddiq, Gabriel, Eugene, Judith, RJ, and a few others. The chimney is clogged and a minor explosion forces them out into the white-out conditions of the blizzard in order to get to another house with a working fireplace. They all get in line, holding rope so they don’t get lost. Judith has been worried about Dog, who has been lost in the snow. While moving through the snow, Judith hears Dog barking, and runs off to find him. Negan, in turn, runs after Judith. Negan is injured by flying debris; Judith is just this side of hypothermic, but Dog is found and the three of them make it back inside.
When Carol, Daryl, Michonne, Lydia, and a few others make it to Alexandria after the storm, there is a picturesque reunion scene with a snowball fight and lots of hugs and smiles. Michonne goes to see Negan in the clinic, thanking him for rescuing Judith. “She’s a special girl, and you’ve been through enough,” he tells her.
I have never been in snow, so I don’t really know how the science of it works. But as our Kingdom group moves through the snow, they encounter zombies frozen solid, standing in mid-attack. The group shatters their heads and moves on. But then, as they prepare to cross the frozen river, an army of zombies come up from under the snow, ravenous and unrelenting. Why would some zombies freeze where they stand while others are buried in the snow, but can still attack? I guess maybe the frozen ones hadn’t eaten in a while. Whatever; it was some cool visuals, and it gave Daryl the kill o’ the week: He stabbed a zombie through its eye socket with an icicle.
In a throwaway line, Maggie is mentioned. As in “Has anyone heard from Maggie?” The whole Maggie thing has been mostly ignored, which is weird. I imagine her and Hershel locked in a bedroom, filthy and feral.
Carol and Ezekiel
There is an interesting moment where Ezekiel pulls Daryl aside and asks him not to stay at Hilltop too long. At first, I wonder if he is jealous -- he did see Carol and Daryl speaking closely earlier in the episode. He wants to “get back what they lost.” Carol later tells Daryl that Ezekiel blames him for Henry’s death, but only because Ezekiel can’t bring himself to blame Carol for his death. Daryl offers to take Lydia away from all the communities and protect her himself. He leaves the decision to Carol, who doesn’t answer, but by episode’s end it seems pretty clear.
Lydia sneaks away from the group, trying to kill herself, but she doesn’t have the strength. Instead, Carol finds her and Lydia begs her to do it. Carol cannot, and instead takes her by the hand and leads her back to the group. But ultimately, once they make it to Hilltop, Carol informs Ezekiel she is going to join the others at Alexandria. She gives him back his ring, which seems to be the new legal definition of a divorce. I don’t really understand this idea of parents, in the face of tragedy, unable to comfort one another. Previously, Carol said she was afraid she was losing herself again. Wouldn’t that make her want to cling to Ezekiel even more?