We're inching towards the finish line on Season 8 of "The Walking Dead," setting up the pieces for a final showdown between Rick and Negan.
This week, Rick veered into seriously dark territory with Morgan by his side, while Negan did some soul searching for his own and seems primed to take on his right hand man before anymore fallout at the Hilltop. That darned helicopter also popped up again, bringing in a slew of questions about Jadis and her place in the world.
Here are the 5 biggest questions we're asking after "Still Gotta Mean Something":
Will Carl's Letter Change Rick?
Rick grappled with his decision to read the letter his son, Carl, wrote him before he died. Michonne tried her darnedest to get him to look at it, telling him it's what he needs to do to keep from going off the deep end. "I did it too, when it happened to me," she told him, referring to her own son's death. "I kept moving to move away from it. Carl wrote that because he wanted you to read it, it was one of the last things he ever did." Unfortunately for a few Saviors, he didn't read it just yet.
Instead, he picked up a gun and went looking for the Saviors who escaped. Hot, now former-Savior Alden pleaded with him to not kill them all if possible. "They made a choice, it was the wrong choice, some of them. It probably hasn't hit them yet," he said, "You could show them."
The only thing he showed them was utter bloodlust, however. After meeting up with Morgan, they got themselves kidnapped by the group, led by Jared. Rick promised he'd let them have "a fresh start" and a "chance to be part of our community" if they let them go. Most of the men seemed keen on the idea, knowing Negan didn't really give a crap about them. Thanks to Morgan screaming like a lunatic (more on that later), walkers swarmed the warehouse and Jared attempted to kill the two in the scuffle.
In the end, a few of the Saviors turned on their long-haired leader, freeing Morgan and Rick and joining them in battle against the walkers. As thanks for letting them go, Rick then buried a hatchet into one of their necks. "I lied," he told the man as he died, in what basically amounts to the worst "PSYCH!" ever. Morgan then offed Jared, finding glee in killing the guy who killed Henry's brother. The two returned to Hilltop covered in blood, with Alden looking pretty damn disappointed nobody else was with them.
The episode ended with Rick finally opening the letter, a letter we can assume told him to do the exact opposite of what he did earlier that day. He, of course, knew this before reading it, but will seeing all of Carl's words actually make his plea real? Will he finally stop all the killing, unless absolutely necessary? And when the time comes, will he be able to keep himself from tearing out Negan's throat?
He better, because right now Rick's veering into a truly terrible direction, one that finds him having more in common with the shady Simon than anyone else on the show.
Rick's storyline tied into Morgan's this week, with Rick doing nothing to help the man already on the edge come back from it.
Morgan was on a mission to kill Jared and the Saviors, feeling guilty for allowing Henry to embrace his dark side and plot revenge on the man who killed his brother. He's seeing ghosts again and is clearly in a very bad state. It's obvious and Carol realized it, telling him she followed him into the woods to "keep an eye" on him.
All episode long, Morgan kept repeating how he's the one who lives to see those he cares about die. "You save people, I've seen it again and again, you can't save the dead Carol," he told his mate. "I don't die, I just see it. Again and again. Even when I look away, I still see it."
She pleaded with him to help her find Henry instead, but he just couldn't do it, focusing his rage on finding the Saviors. "You save people, I watch them die. I have to, I'm supposed to. I'm not strong like you," he told her. "I was there that whole time watching him, knowing something would happen. I knew it, I saw it, and then it did. Like it always does. I have to kill them, I have to."
At least Morgan realizes he's not OK, telling Rick, "I'm not right." Rick doesn't help the situation at all though, instead using Morgan to "finish" off the Saviors.
After playing an instrumental role in Jared's death -- which, yes, was satisfying to watch even if it means Morgan's totally off his rocker -- he returned back to the Hilltop to find Henry alive. "I killed him, I killed the man who killed your brother, I did, I killed him," he rambled at the kid. Henry's devastating response: "I'm sorry."
At this point, both Rick and Carol know Morgan is not in a good way. With the character also jumping to "Fear the Walking Dead" at the end of the season solo, there's a pretty good chance his unstable mental state now will play a role in how he gets there. Will they make him leave? Will he leave on his own because he sees himself as a liability? We'll know for sure in two weeks, when the season finale airs on AMC, followed immediately by the premiere of "Fear."
Back in the junkyard, we learned via flashback how Jadis survived Simon's massacre: she's real good at playing dead.
The show then cut to the present, where she had this season's Big Bad all tied up in one of her shipping containers. She's clearly not as into him as she is Rick, because she kept him fully clothed, save for his infamous leather jacket. And yes, she also wielded Lucille.
Negan spent most of the episode making the case that he did not order Simon to kill all of the trash people. "I told you, people are a resource. I don't throw resources like that away. I got a lot of confidence that most people can be put on the right path, my path, I wouldn't have killed all your people. That was the work of someone not following the program," he told her. "I'm sorry that you lost all you had, but I know in some way I can help get it back."
She wasn't feeling it and set up some crazy way of killing him that involved a walker on a dolly. Stupidly, she left her own bag nearby and Negan was able to roll over to it, take her gun and threaten to light up all her personal photographs with her flare. She pleaded for him not to set them on fire, saying it's all she had left. Jadis then played the most important card in her arsenal: Lucille. Threatening to set "her" ablaze too, Negan then revealed the bat's origin story.
"My wife's name was Lucille. She got me through. I didn't give her shit and she got me through, just life, regular life," he explained. "The bat, the bat got me through this, so I named it after her. That's it. It is the last little piece of her that I got left, sort of like these snaps for you, huh?" Just as all this is happening, Jadis' watch timer went off and a helicopter circled above -- but since Negan put out the flare she was hoping to use to signal the pilot, whoever was flying that thing didn't see her and left. In the end, she let Negan live, as he promised to get vengeance on the man who really killed all her people.
On his way back to the Factory, he picked up a mystery person on the side of the road and stowed him away when he got back. "Daddy's home and it's going to be a surprise," he said when he returned. "I got all sorts of surprises to roll out."
OK, so who's in his trunk? Our guess: Gregory. Why? Well, we know he left Hilltop with the Saviors after Henry accidentally left them loose, but he wasn't hiding out with Jared and his men. If Negan picked up Gregory, he can fill him in on what Simon's been doing behind his back -- like staging an all out attack on Hilltop against Negan's wishes and saying screw you to all the Saviors who were captured there. Any other guesses? Sound off in the comments.
The first time we saw the helicopter, Rick was headed to the junkyard to make a deal with Jadis. It was only a matter of time until it came back, but we're still left with very little answers.
It's clear now that they have communication with Jadis, at the very least, but who are they and why do they keep making trips to the dump?
The top theories right now: it could be from Georgie's community, which we were only lightly introduced to a couple episodes back, or it'll somehow tie into "Fear the Walking Dead."
Either way, do you think Jadis will get another opportunity to join up with that group or will she keep living solo at the junk yard? Rick already made it clear she's not welcome with his people, so is that idea totally moot at this point, or could he feel some sympathy for her after what Simon did to all her people? There are a lot of unanswered questions here and hopefully some answers in the next two episodes!
Could we be inching closer towards the death of Eugene?
After the attack on the Hilltop, Rosita pointed out that while the Saviors' likely took the poison weapon route because they were low on real ammunition, they "have our bullet maker, they can make more." This, of course, is a reference to Eugene, who previously made it pretty clear he's "Negan" now.
After sneaking over to his factory with Daryl by his side, she proclaimed at the end of the episode, "We don't have to take out the machines. We take out the man."
Will they really kill Eugene though? Or will Gabriel finally be able to talk him back from the dark side? Either way, the mulleted wonder is in a pretty precarious situation right now.
-- Sorry, Caryl shippers, but it looks like Carol and Ezekiel are stepping up their romance game. By the end of the episode, they're holding hands and bonding, hard. She's seen telling him about her daughter, Sophia, and how she lost herself after her death. "It always feels like I could just be swept away again," she explained. "But that doesn't mean it will and it doesn't mean that I couldn't find myself again if it does."
-- Tara believes Dwight has her best interest at heart. After being cleared of any walker sickness, she tried to talk Daryl into believing Dwight only hit her with an arrow to save her from being attacked by Simon's poisoned axe. Daryl still isn't buying it, telling her she just "got lucky" and criticizing him for not giving them a warning before the attack ... like they have phones or something. "You said we might need him and I'm saying if I had killed him, maybe I'd be dead right now," she told him. "Do what you gotta do, but know it's just for you."