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"The Walking Dead" recap: "The Key"

AMC/Gene Page
AMC/Gene Page

(NEW YORK) — (SPOILERS AHEAD) Sunday night’s The Walking Dead starts with Negan questioning his turncoat lieutenant Dwight as to how he escaped; Negan buys his lies.

Meanwhile, the Saviors go about covering their blades in walker guts, for an attack against Hilltop meant to scare them. 

At Hilltop, Rick and Michonne return, reunited with Judith. Daryl tries to apologize to Rick for trying to attack the Sanctuary alone. On the guard tower, Maggie and Rosita spot a mysterious package, which contains a message and coordinates from a stranger. “This isn’t the Saviors,” Michonne advises. She offers to check it out; Enid wants to go, too.

On the road to Hilltop, Simon expresses doubts to Dwight whether Negan’s blood and guts plan will work. “These people don’t scare,” Simon said, dissapointed.

At a lookout point, Rick spots Negan and the gang heading towards Hilltop, but doesn’t sound the alarm, instead he gives chase in his truck and rams Negan’s car out of the baddie’s caravan.

Simon commands his folks not to follow as he and Dwight go after Negan themselves. 

Elsewhere, Negan’s car is flipped, Rick is in pursuit, firing at him — for some reason — without a clear shot. Negan scampers away and the Savior leader runs into an empty building.

Rick slides, avoiding getting brained by Lucille. Again, he proves to be the worst shot in the apocalypse by missing Negan again, this time with his trusty revolver, pursuing Negan further as walkers close in.

Out of bullets, he faces off with Negan, who’s a flight of stairs above him. Rick takes out his hatchet; Negan beckons him to come at him. Instead, Rick throws the hatchet, and Negan ducks, crashing through a rickety banister, losing Lucille, leaving him and hanging by his fingers above a huge hole below him, and at Rick’s mercy.

Rick chops at Negan’s fingers only to see him let go, and vanish into the hole below.

Meanwhile, Maggie, Enid, Rosita, and Michonne meet up with the mystery person; it’s a middle-aged woman who introduces herself as Georgie. At gunpoint, she offered food for music records. She also offers to trade knowledge and trust. After a spell, Maggie agrees to take them to Hilltop.

Meanwhile, in the basement, Rick hunts Negan by the light of a Zippo while Negan hunts in the dark for Lucille. They taunt each other in the dark.

Negan offers Rick a deal: fall in line and work for him, and all is forgiven. Rick asks Negan why he should trust him considering how Negan wiped out the Scavengers — and that’s when Negan learned Simon disobeyed him and killed them all.

On the outside, Simon continues to try to turn Dwight against Negan — not knowing he’d already betrayed him. They come across Negan’s overturned car, and Simon offers to just walk away without Negan. “This is a critical point in our history,” he offers. In response, Dwight takes a drag off a cigarette and flicks it, burning Negan’s car. “Good answer,” Simon says.

Back at Hilltop, Maggie, Michonne, and Enid decide what to do about the newcomers. Enid suggests just ripping them off. Michonne wants to follow Carl’s ideal, and make friends instead.

Back in the basement, Rick continues to taunt Negan, saying the only thing Negan cares about other than himself is Lucille, which Rick lights on fire, and starts smashing into a barricade erected to keep out walkers inside. Negan freaks and tackles him through the enclosure.

With walkers all around, Rick swings the flaming Lucille at Negan and at walkers. Negan tackles Rick again, and gets a hold of Lucille; they continue to fight off walkers until Rick scrambles out.

Back at Hilltop, Georgie offers Maggie her food and gives her “A Key to the Future” — plans for windmills, and other schematics to help build up Hilltop.

Simon and Dwight return to their Sanctuary team without Negan. Simon demands a radical departure from Negan — not to scare Hilltop, but to “expunge them.”

Meanwhile, Negan comes to in a moving car. Jadis is behind the wheel, and her gun is at his head. He smiles, and offers an expletive.

The Walking Dead next airs Sunday, March 25, at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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