Even the most reluctant warriors can be prodded into action. That was the message of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Carol, Morgan and King Ezekiel all came to the realization that violence against the Saviors is necessary through essentially the same act…(SPOILER ALERT)

SPOILER ALERT

….Okay, we’re back. The act that initiated the action was the death of Benjamin, the young prodigy of Morgan, whose shocking shooting at the hands of Savior Jaron has embittered everyone and caused a psychotic break in pacifist Morgan. And it was all over a cantaloupe.

This week’s recap:

*** Carol is restless, and has a haunting suspicion after last week’s surprise visit from Daryl that information is being withheld from her. She knows the Saviors are still around, and by everyone walking on eggshells, her Spidey sense starts tingling. She confronts Morgan for more information, but he insists that they go back to Alexandria if she wants to learn more. He asks her if getting away was what she really wanted, or has she discovered the truth – that there is no “getting away” in this world?

*** King Ezekiel is troubled and pondering on his balcony when Nabila, one of his workers, approaches. She informs the king that his garden has weevils, and the only way to get rid of them is to get rid of the infestation, which will take out most of the garden. But she gives the king some good news – if you tear it down and throw it away, it will grow back. Dun-dun-dun!  The parallel is so clear that even the reluctant King gets it.

*** The weekly tribute to the Saviors is delivered by the Kingdom, but they have to stop along the way to remove an obstacle blocking their truck – a line of shopping carts. After scouring the area, they manage to clear the obstruction and proceed to the rendezvous. There’s just one problem – they are one cantaloupe short on the promised dozen. The King is flummoxed. He counted them out himself. But no, Savior Gavin insists, it’s short. And now it’s time for a lesson in what happens when there’s a shortage in the promised delivery. Jarod pulls a gun and sticks it in Richard’s face. He is sanguine about the threat, telling him to “Just do it.”  But Jarod shoots Benjamin in the leg instead. The Saviors depart with an admonition – come back tomorrow with one cantaloupe, no more, no less.

*** They rush the wounded Benjamin to Carol’s because she has a store of medicine, but there’s no saving Benjamin. The shot hit an artery, and he bleeds out. This sends Morgan on a psychotic break, as he has treated Benjamin like his long-lost son over the last few weeks as he instructed him in the martial arts.

*** Richard and Morgan meet, and Richard tells him the tale of how he lost his wife and little girl. He didn’t act, Richard says, and so bad things happened to those he loved because he waited. Because he didn’t act. He proposes that they make the Saviors believe that they can recover from Benjamin’s death, hoping to lull them into complacency and making them easier to kill. “But this is it, Morgan,” Richard tells him. “You have to kill – or else you might as well kill yourself.” Richard also confesses that he was ready to die, and now he will lead the Army against the Saviors, relishing the chance to die a martyr to the cause.

*** At the following day’s cantaloupe handover, Richard brings out the lone fruit. The lead Savior, Gavin, is stunned that Benjamin died from his wounds. He’s so upset that he tells Jarod to start walking back, and threatens to kill him if he says one word. As Richard hands over the fruit, he starts to tell the Saviors that he understands the need for Benjamin’s death, hoping to start his plan to lull them.

*** Suddenly, Morgan breaks from the pack and attacks Richard with his newly reclaimed stick, battering him to the crowd. As everyone watches, stunned, Morgan chokes the life out of Richard with his bare hands. Morgan soon reveals his reasoning – Richard blocked the road yesterday with the shopping carts and hid the cantaloupe. In essence, he caused Benjamin’s death. But Morgan also tells the Saviors that “I wanted to show you that we get it. That we understand what we need to do. That we understand how to go on.”  He’s using Richard’s tactics, albeit without Richard.

*** The King seems to understand Morgan’s outrage, and beckons him to depart with the rest of the men. But Morgan needs time to process what happened, and refers to Benjamin as “Duane” for a moment, the name of his long-lost son. Clearly, the loss of this surrogate son has touched that part of him that he long buried. Once everyone leaves, Morgan drags Richard’s body to a nearby patch of dirt. There’s a backpack with the name “Katy” on it, something Richard had buried there. It’s his daughter’s backpack, and now Richard will be reunited in death with the child.

*** Morgan stops by Carol’s house. He’s covered in dirt and grime, but he decides it is time to tell Carol the truth. He asks if she wants to know what happened in Alexandria, and when she assents, she learns for the first time of the deaths of Glenn, Abraham and others. But as Morgan begins to leave, Carol asks him to stay. She’s reached a similar conclusion that it’s time to fight, but she won’t let Morgan go rogue. Unification is the only solution.

*** Carol approaches King Ezekiel back at the Kingdom. “I’m gonna be here now,” she tells him. “We’re gonna get ready. We have to fight.”  The King looks at her. “We do,” he says.

Next week: We’re racing toward the inevitable showdown between the good guys and the bad, and now that Morgan and Carol are back on team kill, there’s some powerful warrior juju brewing.

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