Andrew Lincoln's penultimate episode of The Walking Dead was absolutely terrible. The Obliged clearly lays out the end for Rick Grimes. Characters that have been stalwart allies were put in ridiculous situations. "The Obliged" was disappointing from start to finish. Whatever hope fandom had for Rick's exit vanishes like a fart in the wind.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) wakes up beside Rick (Andrew Lincoln). She takes care of Judith, inspects Alexandria's crops, then works on the new charter. She lays in bed looking at her sword on the bedroom wall. She then sneaks out and savagely kills walkers. A montage follows of the same events. Take care of Judith, work on the charter, kill walkers at night, over and over again. One night she sees a walker tied up and hanging by a noose. She's caught off guard. Michonne drops her sword while being attacked by a walker. She grabs a nearby bat and smashes its skull. Dripping with blood and brains, the bat resembles Lucille.
At the Hilltop, Maggie hands baby Hershel off to a helper. Maggie looks at a bustling community from her balcony. She goes out to pack up weapons, including a crowbar. Jesus (Tom Payne) didn't know she had returned. He gives her a letter from Georgie. Maggie tells him to put the letter with the others, stay in charge here. He asks why is she leaving again? Maggie has unfinished business in Alexandria. Jesus begs her not to make the wrong decision with Negan, but she rides away.
At the bridge, Rick observes a torrent of water threatening the base. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) tells him the supports won't hold. Two herds of walkers are parallel to the camp. He apologizes for not being a better engineer. Rick thanks him for everything he has done. Eugene is visibly moved.
Rick watches as Carol packs up in the command tent. She's leaving with her group back to the Kingdom. Rick becomes teary-eyed asking her to stay. Carol says that the Saviors need to stand on their own. Some may still support Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but the majority do not. Rick tells Carol he is proud of her. Jerry (Cooper Andrews) informs Rick that Maggie is heading to Alexandria. Rick radios a warning to the relay, tell Alexandria Maggie must be escorted. The relay girl, an Oceansider, doesn't forward the message. Maggie is done talking.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) offers to take Rick home on his motorcycle. Meanwhile in Alexandria, Michonne is told bad news. Crows are eating the tomato crops. Michonne hopes the windmill will stop them when completed. She's also told that Negan has refused to eat for days.
Riding with Daryl, Rick notices they passed the road to Alexandria. He demands Daryl pull over. Daryl tells Rick that Maggie is going to settle Negan. Rick realizes that Daryl is with her. They start to fight, then tumble inexplicably into a large sinkhole by the road.
Michonne brings food to Negan's cell. She tells him the hunger strike is over. He isn't in the mood to eat. He wants to talk to her. She gives him twenty minutes. In the hole, Daryl reveals the Oceansiders killed the Saviors. He chides further, Rick wouldn't be alive without Glenn. He would never have met any of them if Glenn hadn't saved him. Rick understands their hate, but killing Negan would only make things worse. He brings up that Daryl let Dwight go free. Daryl replies that he would have died for Rick, and Carl. Rick is chasing a failed dream for Carl. Rick should have had faith in his friends.
At Negan's cell, he tells Michonne what happened to his wife. She died of cancer. But it was for the best, she would not have been strong enough for this world. He says they wanted a kid like Carl. He then asks Michonne if Carl was the only one she lost. Michonne tells Negan about her baby, Andre. She lost two sons, but she will make the world a better place. Negan replies she wasn't meant to be behind walls. His wife, her baby, it's better they're gone. They make us weak. Michonne smashes his tray of food and storms away.
At the junkyard, Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) has Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) tied up on the ground. She kisses him gently. He awakens. She rolls out a tied-up walker on a hand truck. Gabriel tells her she doesn't want to do this. He begs to be forgiven for failing her. Jadis explains this is what has to be done for her to escape. She lowers the snarling walker to his face, but cannot go through with it. Gabriel is relieved. She then knocks him out with a chloroform rag.
At the camp, Carol is locking up the weapons to take back. She hears commotion in the woods and draws her gun. The Saviors, led by a gun-toting Jed (Rhys Coiro), have returned. They know the Oceansiders killed their people. Carol doesn't budge. Where did he get the weapon? Jed stole it from Alden. Jerry and others raise their weapons against the Saviors. Jed mocks Carol. She got lucky last time. Carol lowers her gun, then holds out the key to the weapons locker. When he reaches for it, she kicks out his foot and attacks.
In the hole, Daryl and Rick hear gunshots from the camp. The noise will draw walkers. Daryl boosts Rick, who grabs unto a root. Walkers start to fall in. Daryl kills them as Rick struggles to climb up. Daryl stacks the walker bodies, then uses them to jump to another root. Rick claws his way out, then reaches for Daryl before the walkers get him.
Michonne looks at her sword. She returns to Negan's cell with a sandwich. He apologizes for bringing up her sons. He tells her that they're the same. Michonne vehemently disagrees. She tries to save life, while he enslaved it. She will make the world better for Judith. He takes the sandwich and begins to eat. Negan asks her what happened to Lucille. She replies that it's still out there. Then walks away when she realizes that's what he wanted all along. Negan starts smashing his head in the wall, screaming for Lucille.
Rick and Daryl get back to the road. The herd is approaching. Incredibly, Rick's horse is there as well. Rick tells Daryl to get back to the camp. He will lead the herd away. Daryl says he should go for the bridge, it would collapse under their weight. Rick refuses, the bridge is too important. They go their separate ways.
Rick leads the massive herd of walkers. When he comes to an intersection, he's stunned to see the second herd approaching. The horse gets spooked and throws him off. Rick is impaled by rebar jutting out from rubble. He grimaces, stuck to the rubble, as both herds approach him.
"The Obliged" offended me by its utter stupidity. Rick and Daryl falling into a hole? Negan telling Michonne they're the same, a bunch of Saviors sneaking up to the camp? A horse, which stood patiently as a herd approached, throws Rick at just the right time to impale him? WTF!? The returning characters like Shane and Hershel make sense. Rick will undoubtedly have a vision of friends lost. Then somehow free himself to lead the herds away. Probably to the bridge, which will then collapse, the symbol of unity destroyed. Andrew Lincoln's The Walking Dead finale is next week on AMC. It's looking to be a colossal disappointment. Sigh.