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‘Walking Dead’ Recap: Tide of War Turns in Midseason Finale (SPOILERS)

SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading if you have not seen Season 8, Episode 8 of “The Walking Dead,” titled “How It’s Gotta Be”

The Season 8 midseason finale of “The Walking Dead” saw the Saviors flip the script on Rick’s coalition, with one longtime character meeting their end. But first–

The episode begins with Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) on the road. They are on their way to Oceanside, to try and recruit the women there into joining the war against Negan. Aaron gives Enid a turn at the wheel. She turns down a dirt road, saying they need to bring Oceanside something useful if they are going to ask for their help.

At Alexandria, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) prepare to head to the Sanctuary to accept the Saviors’ surrender. Carl (Chandler Riggs), meanwhile, sits at home writing a letter to his father. Tears come to his eye as he finishes.

Aaron and Enid have procured a truck from an old distillery. They camp out for the night, but are awakened when they se someone snooping around their campsite. They investigate, with Enid shooting Oceanside leader Natania (Deborah May) dead as she was about to kill Aaron.

Michonne finds Carl preparing supplies to give to Siddiq (Avi Nash), but before he can explain in detail what he’s doing, they hear Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)  on a loudspeaker outside. He and the other Saviors escaped the Sanctuary and are out for vengeance. He tells them he demands an apology immediately or people are going to die. Carl rallies everyone and helps them set an escape plan.

In the Kingdom, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is still wallowing in his misery. He reads a note from Jerry (Cooper Andrews) saying that he has left to honor the Kingdom’s commitment to the war. Suddenly he hears a commotion outside. He hides behind some stage scenery as Saviors pour into the room. Outside,  Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) tells the assembled Kingdom residents that the community is being taken over by the Saviors.

On the road, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Jesus (Tom Payne) ride in a car toward the Sanctuary. When they notice a tree in the road, Maggie realizes that something has gone wrong. A Savior convoy appears and boxes them in. A truck pulls in front of them, with Jerry being held prisoner in the back. Simon (Steven Ogg) steps out and demands they hand over their weapons. He tells them that the Kingdom and Alexandria are being destroyed, but Hilltop will remain intact in order to provide for the Saviors. To let Maggie know he is serious, he kills one of the passengers in her car. Upon his death, Maggie agrees  to return to the Hilltop.

Carl steps out onto the walls of Alexandria to confront Negan. He offers Negan his life in return for sparing the rest of the people in Alexandria. As they talk at the front, Daryl leads a convoy of vehicles out the back. Given the betrayal, Negan orders his men to fire on Alexandria. Carl retreats inside the walls and begins setting off smoke grenades as explosions rain down over the community.

Gavin tells the Kingdom that Ezekiel must die for their transgressions, but the Saviors cannot find him. Gavin keeps saying that things don’t need to be this way, but no one from the Kingdom will give up Ezekiel.

Eugene (Josh McDermitt) lays in bed at the Sanctuary, unable to sleep. He throws down some wine but it hardly seems to help, no doubt feeling guilty for rescuing the Saviors from the walker herd and setting them on a path of destruction with his former friends. He then goes to visit Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) to say he will assist Gabriel in getting the doctor back to Hilltop. He says that he incapacitated a guard to cover their escape. Gabriel asks Eugene to come back with them, but Eugene says he cannot.

Carl watches his fellow Alexandrians escape as the Savior bombardment continues. But as he tries to catch his breath, multiple houses explode all around him. Negan makes his way into Alexandria, and tells his men to find Carl and destroy the rest of the community. Before they can get a hold of him, Carl slips into the sewers.

Outside the walls, Daryl, Tara, Michonne, and Rosita hide in the trees as they wait for the Saviors to drive past. Dwight leads the Saviors closer to Daryl’s position. He barely escapes before Daryl and the others open fire. Dwight even fires on his fellow Saviors, killing several. But one of the women sees Dwight’s betrayal and escapes. He calls to Daryl and the others when the shooting stops, telling them he cannot return to the Sanctuary now. He pledges his allegiance to them and says he wants Negan dead. The others slip into the sewers to get back into Alexandria, but Michonne stays above ground.

At the Kingdom, Ezekiel sets barrels of fuel on fire, then drives a schoolbus up to help his people escape. But rather than leave, he chains the gates shut and allows himself to be captured.

Maggie returns to Hilltop and immediately has one of the Savior prisoners out of the pen. She guns him down in front of everyone and tells her people to prepare for a last stand. As she walks away, she begins to cry.

Rick returns to Alexandria as it burns. He returns home to find Negan waiting for him. Negan quickly disarms Rick and begins stalking him around the room. They begin to fight, with Negan eventually knocking Rick out a window. Michonne wanders back into Alexandria and is grabbed by a Savior, whom she quickly kills. Rick finds her and they escape into the sewers. They find everyone waiting for them, including Siddiq.

Carl sits ashen-faced on the sewer floor. He reveals that he has been bitten by a walker.

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