“Service:” Webster’s Dictionary defines service as the occupation or function of serving. It is supposed to be an act of sacrifice; one that truly helps a situation. Yet, here in this episode, it is the antithesis of sacrifice from Negan. To start, we see Michonne arm herself with her Katana and a rifle. What is very interesting and a little out of place in this scene, however, is in the hallway as she passes, there is an extra large poster on the wall of the Morse Code. It may be for decoration only, but as we saw in seasons past, Michonne also saw a picture of Mary in a house that the Claimers took over. We of course met Mary in Terminous. Could this poster be a similar clue of things to come?
Michonne goes out to an open field where she finds a walker. It sets the mood for the entire episode, because although Rick hasn’t done anything about Negan yet, Michonne is not going to be unprepared when he does. She is not a sharp-shooter like Sasha– she is more personal and hands-on than that. But now she realizes that with Negan, she has to change her game a bit to be prepared for anything.
The Alexandrians try to regain some normalcy. They are running out of food so runs are necessary. As Rosita and Spencer set out they are interrupted by the “Big Bad Wolf” at the gate. Negan begins to hum Beethoven’s, “Dum Dum Dum Dum” which gives the scene an eerie feeling, and is usually associated with something horrific coming. He yells, “Little Pigs, little pigs, let me in!” Spencer tries to resist at first, but eventually he has to let him in– step one into Negan’s mind game for the Alexandrians begins. Not only has he shown up to collect half of their stuff, but as he walks through Alexandria, he tells Rick to hold Lucille. Obviously this is a very painful and humbling thing for Rick to have to do, but they have yet to physically and mentally regroup from the horrors that they just went through, so he obeys.
As Negan’s group enters the gates, Daryl jumps out in his dirty sweat pants suit. It still bears the “scarlet A” (in this case it is actually orange) that reminds him of his crime. Rick wants to say something to him, but Negan says absolutely not. He threatens him with what he does best– death, if he does. Rick tells him that they have already laid out half of their stuff, but it’s not good enough for Negan. He will decide what he takes.
A long cause and effect chain happens in this episode that should be pointed out. First, Carl is angry at Negan’s men for taking their stuff and just like many of us would want to do, he shoots at them out of resistance. This angers Negan and he confiscated ALL of the Alexandrian’s guns. That proves difficult because they are missing two guns– although Olivia is sure that her count is correct. She doesn’t know how the books are wrong. Negan threatens to kill Olivia if they are not found. Eventually they are found in Spencer’s floorboards along with food and booze that he has hidden as well. Yay, Olivia is saved.
A second thread that was left dangling for us to unravel was Father Gabriel. Maggie went to the Hilltop to take care of Glenn and talk to Gregory, but Gabriel had a plan that no one knew about. Rick alluded to Negan that Maggie had died from the events that transpired. Apparently, Negan wanted to offer to marry her, but Gabriel comes up to him and asks if he wants to pay his respects. They walk over to the cemetery and he shows Negan a freshly dug grave. He cautiously wipes his hand on his pants so Negan doesn’t see the dirt on them. The question is, what did he bury? Did he, by chance, cook the gun logs and hide some guns in a grave and when Negan asked about Maggie, it opened up an opportunity to show them in plain sight? Or did he just turn up some dirt to help mask the fact that Maggie was still alive, giving her an element of surprise? Hopefully we will get our answer.
Michonne finally comes back with a deer that she shot, not on purpose, but on accident– she was target practicing with the walker. It is a somber kill, because although they need the food, she realizes that there are unintentional consequences for their actions. It also brought back memories of when Carl was accidentally shot by Otis who was trying to kill a deer. Rick insists that they give Negan that gun as well, even though it is not on the gun count, much to Michonne’s resistance.
Negan’s group gets ready to leave. They even take the mattresses as a final “screw you” to the group. Rick asks if Daryl can stay and just like every other time, Negan gives a choice: it’s a test. He offers Daryl a chance to talk him into letting him stay. Smartly, he turns him down and they go back. However, here is something very interesting to note. Daryl blinks. A lot. Rick also taps Lucielle on the pavement. Is it possible that they were trying to communicate through Morse Code? It would be a very interesting way to communicate without anyone suspecting anything. Right before Negan leaves he tells Rick to thank him for the “service” he provides for them. Sadly, Rick knows he must obey, so he thanks him.
The final and most interesting reveal of the night came after Negan’s group left and Rick was trying to put the blankets on the ground where the mattresses were. Michonne doesn’t understand why he is taking this from Negan. He explains to her about Lori and Shane, and finally reveals that he knows Judith is not his daughter, but he is determined to raise her as if she is. He wants her and Carl to be able to grow up and live their lives. Michonne understands his reasoning, but she still can’t accept defeat. She goes out again to the field where she was target practicing. There, in the distance, she sees smoke billowing up in the air. When she goes to investigate, she sees what it is. The mattresses! It’s on now!