For a world that crashed and burned thanks to a zombie apocalypse, there sure are a lot of surviving communities in The Walking Dead.

This week, we were introduced to yet another survivalist community, the Scavengers, so named because they run a giant junkyard. They join Hilltop, Alexandria, the Kingdom, Oceanside and who knows how many others. It’s getting downright crowded in the neighborhood, but they all have a common purpose – a burning hatred for the Saviors, who exploit nearly all of them.

Somehow, the Saviors have overlooked the Scavengers in their plundering patrols. But Rick’s team somehow stumbled upon them, and now it’s up to the former lawman to convince these new best friends to join the coming battle for freedom.

In this week’s, B-story, two old friends reunite for a Golden Moment that captures the agony of this new world order.

This week’s recap:

*** Rick and his team have been captured by a cult-like group of junkyard collectors, the Scavengers. Somehow, Rick realizes that they have the disappeared Father Gabriel, who is brought out before negotiations commence. As it turns out, he was kidnapped from Alexandria by a roaming member of the Scavengers, although his tale of abduction seems a little too convenient. Nevertheless, he’s here, and Rick tries to negotiate their release. A little tense back and forth between Rick and the Scavenger’s leader, Jadis, results in Rick being taken to “Up, Up, Up,” a point atop a pile of garbage.

*** Once atop the pile, Jadis pushes Rick down into the pit. There, a walker covered in improvised battle armor awaits. Unarmed, Rick must defeat the walker, who is immune to the usual head-thrust knockout by a spiky helmet. There’s a keyhole opening that allows Michonne to see a bit of the battle, and she tells Rick to use the walls of garbage that surround this pit. He brings down the house on the walker, allowing him to gain the upper hand and use a handy piece of glass to administer the coup de grace. He later learns that this was no random walker. It was “Winslow.”  Trivia buffs, take note.

*** Now that he’s won, Rick has new respect, and discovers that the plunder he took from the houseboat on the lake of zombies was actually a test. The Scavengers have been waiting for someone clever and strong enough to get the goods. Rick negotiates a deal with Jadis – they get a third of the Saviors plunder in return for helping in the coming war, including what she covets most – guns, lots of guns. She eventually agrees, and Rick and his team can leave, taking Father Gabriel. It’s all very mysterious and murky (the Scavengers mostly react to Jadis’s hand waving). But the Scavengers seem to have a decent number of weapons, and their blind loyalty to their leader seems to indicate they’ll fight hard.

*** Back at the Kingdom, it’s time for the regular tribute to the Saviors, never a pleasant task, and it’s made more difficult by the presence of Jared, a hot-headed Savior who loves to lord it over Richard, the Kingdom’s lead knight. This time, Jared tries to take Richard’s gun, and when the two face off with guns drawn, Ezekiel orders Richard to stand down. He complies, but Jared takes the opportunity for a sucker punch. That leads Morgan to block the punch, and Benjamin to use his staff to sweep Jared off his feet. But because the Saviors can’t really be defeated, they claim Morgan’s precious staff for the physical insult.

*** After Ezekiel calms the scene, he’s reminded that such outbursts against the Saviors can’t be tolerated, and issue a veiled threat to come inside the Kingdom for further plundering unless things change. After they leave, Ezekiel has much to ponder. Has his previous stance against joining the coming battle against the Saviors been altered by the threat?  Like Morgan, Ezekiel prefers the non-violent path. But circumstances are changing, and as Daryl later reminds Morgan, you must wake up and recognize reality – the Saviors will not be content with their status quo, and you can either die in combat or on your knees in supplication.

*** Darryl comes across Richard practicing his archery, a necessary skill since he no longer has a gun. Conveniently, he has a crossbow, and Daryl is reunited with his weapon of choice. It’s a sign that things are about to get ugly, and sure enough, Richard later proposes to Daryl that they ambush the Saviors to speed up the coming war and enlist Ezekiel. The only problem – Richard wants to have a trail of bread crumbs from the ambush leading to the cottage where Carol lives in exile. This is the first-time Daryl realizes that Carol is nearby, and he stops Richard’s plot to sacrifice her. He stalks off, but not before reminding Richard that if Carol so much as gets a fever, he’ll blame Richard and administer justice. Richard tells him he would die for the Kingdom, and Daryl coldly points out, “Why don’t you?”

*** At Carol’s cabin, she discovers the King and a few followers skulking about. After dismissing them and reminding them she wants to be alone, she settles down with a good book. Alas, there’s another knock on the door – she opens it to find Daryl. They embrace, and in front of a roaring fire, they catch up. Daryl senses Carol’s emotional fragility, so he spares her the news that Glenn, Abraham and a few others are dead by the hand of Negan. It’s what she needs to hear now, but it’s apparent that the seething sea of Carol rage is not too far from the surface.

*** When Daryl returns to the Kingdom, Morgan finds him. He knows that Daryl withheld information on the dead, as Carol would have been back at the Kingdom if she knew. Daryl tells Morgan that whatever is keeping him from supporting the coming war against the Saviors has already left the building, and by not taking a stance, he’s putting everyone and everything in jeopardy.

Next week: The army against Negan is growing, but the plans still must be formulated while regular life goes on, and tribute must be gathered for the Saviors. Daryl is returning to Hilltop, which will likely mean greater exposure to the Saviors, who have a bounty on his head. At what point will these alliances formulate their plans?  It must be sooner than later, as it’s becoming harder and harder to find food and supplies in the area.

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