In one of the most disturing and universe shifting episodes to date, the Tribe reveals the lengths they are willing to go to for food, shelter and the life they have created together at Alexandria. In post-apocalyptic life, decisions must be made in order to survive and those decisions must be ones that the Tribe can live with in the days to come.
Spoilers ahead, Sweetie…
At Hilltop, Rick and the Trie decided to assist the residents in freeing themselves from Neegan and the Saviours’ hold in return for half of their food supply. While it may seem like the Tribe are heartless mercenaries, they have a “normal” life in Alexandria, which is demonstrated by a montage of Carol supplying her neighbors with homemade cookies. It’s an interesting characterization of Carol, because we already know she is a fierce warrior, but she is also a caretaker of a group very much in need of her unique skill set. Since arriving in Alexandria, Carol has struggled with who she has become alongside Rick and the Tribe. She kills easily, defending her brood with all her might, but questioning her own value system and what is important to her morality. Tobin, a widowed Alexandrian who is about Carol’s age, reminds Carol that she is not a monster, she is a mother who takes care of those who need her. The definition seems to shift the way that Carol views herself and helps her come to terms with what Rick is asking the Tribe to do in order to survive.
While Carol is struggling through an existential crisis brought upon by Morgan’s interaction with the Wolf (whom he tried to save but she ended up killing), Rick is having no such qualms. In order to eat, the Tribe must help Hilltop get rid of the Neegan problem, which, in Rick’s summation, is worth the risks to the Tribe’s well being and morality. When Rick finally gathers his Tribe and the Alexandrians together, it is to give an impassioned speech that encourages his group to destroy the Saviors before they come to Alexandria. Morgan, of course, objects, and raises good points about morality and safety, but is quickly shut down by others (besides Rick) and it seems the majority is for the attack move.
While Morgan initially struggles with the actions of the Tribe, he eventually gets on board and joins in the mass murdering of sleeping Saviors at the compound. It is a gruesome reality that everyone is involved in. From Glenn–who has never killed a non-walker, to Carol–who is counting the number of people she has killed, to Gabriel and Morgan–who are doing what they deem necessary for survival. In the end, the Tribe members and Alexandrians are resigned to the fact that they will have to kill every single person in the Savior compound if they want their own community to thrive.
And so, the Tribe does the same thing the Governor did to them at the prison, so long ago. They attack without warning, at night, and kill the sleeping Saviors without any conversation or chance of retaliation. Maggie, who is pregnant, travels with the group out to the compound, which is where Carol lays down the law. She berates Rick for even allowing Maggie to participate, and then decides to stay off site with Maggie, for her safety. Unfortunately, a few escaping Saviors come across Maggie and Carol, and before Rick and his merry band of murderers can get off site, the girls are taken hostage and we are right back where we started, with the surviving Saviors doing what they have to do in order to survive the brutality of the Tribe. The question is raised–who are the bad guys and who are the worse guys?
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