In typical Walking Dead fashion, this week’s extra-long episode began with 45 minutes of tearful, whispered conversations, and ended with ten minutes of extreme plot developments happening at a rapid-fire pace. Eugene remains a turncoat! Sasha ditches Rosita! Rosita might get murdered next!
The episode’s most engrossing scene happens early, though, between Daryl and Maggie. After working alongside him in silence for awhile, Maggie finally asks Daryl why he refuses to speak to her. In tears, Daryl says he’s sorry and admits that he still believes it was his fault that Negan killed Maggie’s husband, Glenn. They console each other and hug, subsequently breaking the internet.
This scene was necessary in a couple ways. First, the audience needed a re-up on the severity of Negan’s actions before everyone from Rick’s camp risked it all to kill him. Second, Daryl hasn’t been acting like himself all season, and was knocked asunder by Negan’s psychological tactics. Without Maggie’s assurance, he wasn’t going to be an effective weapon in the upcoming war on the Saviors. Third, masochistic Walking Dead fans needed a hit of the show’s characteristic emotional gut-punching, and boy, did they get it.
Now that Daryl has been absolved of the guilt eating him alive, it may mean he’s in a better place to work alongside the other survivors and bring down Negan’s empire. With only two episodes left in the season, time is running out to decide whether Negan will keep dragging the show’s ratings into the grave.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC, Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.