It's all fun and games until someone loses an arm.
On The Walking Dead Season 9 episode 2, Alexandria, the Kingdom, Hilltop, and the Saviors joined forces to construct the bridge that will open up a trade route between the communities. However, the lingering animosity between the Saviors and the rest of the groups put the entire project in severe jeopardy.
And the tension ran so thick that you could have cut it with Michonne's katana.
While the construction of the bridge was moving along, Rick was losing workers at an alarming rate.
When Eugene initially mentioned the Saviors not showing up to work, I thought that they simply didn't want to work due to the noticeable hostility among the other groups. But as the episode went on, it became clear that the Saviors have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances.
At this point, it's unclear if someone is kidnapping them or murdering them, but recent evidence suggests the latter to be the case. Who could be behind the Savior disappearances?
Contrary to who the episode was trying to implicate, some characters are too obvious to consider being involved.
Suspect #1: Henry
After losing his brother, Benjamin, on The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 13, Henry was headed down a terribly dark path of revenge. He was in need of some serious guidance, and someone to steer him away from going to a place when it would be near impossible to return.
And while Ezekial and Carol have seemingly stepped into that role, it made me wonder if some remnants of that darkness still remain considering Henry's altercation with the Savior on the bridge,
So, could Henry be behind the Savior disappearances? Not likely.
Henry isn't capable of executing such a well thought out scheme.
Sure, he might have as good a motive as anyone for taking out the Saviors, but don't forget, this is the same child who inadvertently released all of the Saviors locked up at Hilltop a few episodes ago.
Suspect #2: Daryl
Daryl could easily be seen as another suspect. If there is anyone who has pent-up hatred and resentment towards the Saviors, it would be Daryl.
You can understand Daryl's anger toward Rick for not dishing out any punishment for Justin's actions. But at the same time, the construction of the bridge needed to remain a top priority, and at the rate in which he was losing workers, Rick needed all hands on deck.
However, as much as Daryl and Rick are at odds at the moment, I don't think Daryl would put everything they've built at risk just for the sake of picking off a few Saviors. Especially considering that he screwed up Rick's previous plan by going rogue and trying to "finish things" at the Sanctuary on The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 7.
Daryl wouldn't dare pull a stunt like that again. And while I'm sure as much as he would love to be the one taking out the Saviors, there's too much at stake.
Suspect #3: The Whisperers
We know that the Whisperers will be introduced at some point this season, but it's unlikely to happen this early on.
Not only are the Saviors being specifically targeted, but Justin recognized the assailant. So, it's highly doubtful that the Whisperers are the ones behind it.
Despite what the episode was trying to lead us to believe, the idea of Henry, Daryl or The Whisperers being behind the Savior attacks would be too obvious even to consider. It really could be anyone at this point, but whoever it is, it's highly unlikely that they're working alone.
If I had to take a guess, it's most likely a small rogue group from one of the communities. Could it even be a few members from each of the groups working together?
Did Justin intentionally not sound off the second siren to be spiteful from the earlier altercation or was his walkie legitimately dead?
Between the Savior disappearances, the supposed dead walkie and the Ethanol delivery from the Sanctuary that never made it to Hilltop, it's become obvious that someone is trying to sabotage the communities relationship with the Saviors.
Here's my big issue with the whole siren plan to divert the herd: Why the hell would you put one of the Saviors in charge of such a crucial task? It was ridiculous to assign a former enemy to complete a task that had so much riding on it, and it ended up being a huge mistake.
A mistake which proved costly in more than one way.
The walker attack at the work site caused more than just a setback with the bridge, as Aaron losing his arm came as a huge shock. While it's unfortunate that Aaron was forced to have his arm amputated, he did escape with his life thanks to Enid's quick thinking.
We're not just fighting to survive anymore. We're making a new beginning.Rick
Aaron easily could have been bitter about the whole situation, but instead, he expressed his gratitude to Rick. Aaron understands the bigger picture for what Rick's trying to accomplish.
It was good to see someone be appreciative as opposed to questioning Rick's leadership for once, even though that leadership did end up costing Aaron an appendage.
But hey, it's all for the greater good, right?
After Gregory's public execution, I had been wondering what type of punishment Maggie planned on dishing out to Earl. And I think she made the right call on keeping him locked up.
Though, Michonne did make a good argument about Hilltop's crops being hindered from keeping Earl imprisoned. Since Hilltop has been one of the more well-off communities, the other groups have been dependant on them.
At the same time, you can easily understand Maggie's reluctance to release him. Even though Gregory was a heavy influence on Earl attacking Maggie, people need to be held accountable for their actions.
Some people can be redeemed, and others can't.Maggie
I'm glad that Maggie decided to speak with Earl, and it ended up being an enlightening conversation. Not only did she learn that Earl shared similar drinking problem with her late father. It made her realize that if it weren't for Hershel's second chance, he never would have had the opportunity to help Rick's group when they were in need.
Everyone deserves a second chance -- or at the very least an opportunity to prove that they've earned a second chance. So, with Earl released under good faith -- and supervision -- he will be able to get back to doing his part to contribute to the community.
It had been obvious who Rick had been talking to the entire time, and I'm glad we finally got a chance to (sort of) see the former Savior leader holed up in his cell.
You could hear a sense of pride in Rick's voice as he flaunted how the communities are all flourishing without Negan. However, there was also that hint of smugness in Rick's delivery, and Negan was quick to call him out on it.
Rick: Don't you ever get tired of acting like you're still in charge?
Negan: Do you?
Does anyone even for a moment think that Negan will spend the rest of his days in that cell? Love him or hate him, Negan is a survivor, and he always finds his way out of predicaments one way or another. How Negan will wiggle his way out of this one is anyone's guess, but it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
Did Rick make a mistake keeping Negan alive? The decision to do so may eventually come back to bite him.
Other bits from the episode:
⦁ The logs rolling down the hill and crushing the walkers was pretty cool. The one thing that this series deserves credit for is always coming up with unique walker kills.
⦁ Anne and Gabriel are a thing now too? I didn't see that one coming, did you?
⦁ What was up with the helicopter that Anne heard in the distance? Could it be the same people that she tried to leave with back at the garbage dump? Could it be Georgie's big return?
⦁ It was good to see Henry stand up for himself against Justin. After Henry's facepalming debacle last season, I never thought I'd find myself cheering for that kid.
Now it's your turn, TV Fanatics!
What did you think of "The Bridge"? Who do you think is taking out the Saviors? Will Negan rot in his cell or will he figure a way out?
Hit the comments below and let me know!
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The Walking Dead returns with a new episode on Sunday, October 21 on AMC at 9/8c.
Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.