The Walking Dead episode 709 recap: Rock in the Road

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The second half of The Walking Dead season 7 begins with “Rock in the Road.” Here’s your comprehensive recap of the entire episode.

Father Gabriel keeps watch at the gate. He picks up his Bible but can’t find the desire to read it at the moment. He leaves his post and walks through the darkened Alexandria streets to Olivia’s house. There is a crash, and the sound of pots and cans clattering to the ground can be heard. It’s Gabriel emptying the pantry. He drops his Bible as he grabs some of the weapons and loads them all into a car. Once the car is gassed up, he opens the gate and prepares to drive away. Once it’s locked again, he drives off into the night.

Back at the Hilltop, Gregory says there’s “no way in hell” he’s going to agree to another deal with Rick. He tells Rick that he doesn’t owe Rick anything, and in fact Rick owes them something for leaving Sasha and Maggie there under great personal risk. Jesus calls him out for hiding while Maggie took care of things. Maggie wants to know how many people they can spare, and Gregory says they are all farmers. Tara says that people will rise up when the occasion calls for it. Rick wants to know if Gregory is happy living under the Saviors’ rule. Daryl says Gregory is talking out of both sides of his mouth. Gregory continues to deny knowing them at all and insists that they leave out the back door so as to not be seen by anyone.

Sasha wants to knock Gregory’s teeth out as they leave the study. Maggie tells Rick that Enid is there with them, and Enid arrives that that moment to bring them outside. A group of people have gathered outside and one woman, Bertie, says Maggie saved her life before. She wants to know if they think they could beat the Saviors. Enid has told them that Maggie needs them to help fight the Saviors and that they can learn to fight. She wants to Hear from Maggie whether or not this is true. When Maggie nods, the deal is done. Carl gives Enid a smile of approval.

Rick admits that they are shorthanded even if the people at the Hilltop join their group. Daryl says that they could just blow them up, but Tara points out that there are workers at the Sanctuary who have no choice. Rick knows that the distance to the Sanctuary works against them, and he also knows that Negan will come looking for him Jesus stole one of their radios so they can listen in. Jesus says it’s time for him to meet King Ezekiel. Rick wonders about the “King” part.

The car pulls up at the Kingdom. Rick asks about the name of the place and Jesus explains that the Kingdom was there first. Daryl wants to know who they’re waiting for. Jesus points, and Richard rides up on a horse with another man. “Oh shit, Jesus, is that you?” Richard wants to know who his friends are, and Jesus explains that Rick is a like minded person who would like an audience with King Ezekiel. Richard wants everyone to get out of the car. He wants to know what “like minded” means. Jesus says they live and trade and fight the dead but it’s the “sometimes others” part that catches his attention. After making sure their weapons are secured, Richard leads them into the Kingdom.

Rick and Daryl look around and realize that the community has the numbers but they wonder if they can fight. Suddenly Tara looks up and sees Morgan, who gives Rick a hug. Rick explains to Richard that they know each other. Morgan gives them a quick rundown of what happened with Carol and that she wanted to get away from everyone but she had been shot and needed help. He also tells Rick that he killed the man who tried to kill Carol. But “now she’s gone,” he tells them.

Ezekiel is thrilled to see Jesus again, and he silences Jerry from repeating his messages. Benjamin is at Jerry’s side. He wants to know why they seek an audience with the King. Rick and the group are shocked to see Shiva at Ezekiel’s side. Rick, who has apparently learned his lesson, addresses Ezekiel respectfully and he tells the King that their communities serve the Saviors, but they tried to defeat them and only took out an outpost. He knows that they have a deal with the Saviors, which makes Ezekiel upset because Jesus wasn’t supposed to share that information with anyone else. Jesus says he wants Ezekiel to hear Rick’s plans. Rick wants to defeat the Saviors because they killed their friends. Morgan wants to know who died, and he’s shocked as Rosita lists off the names. Abraham, Glenn, Spencer, Olivia. Rick tells Morgan that Abraham and Glenn were brutally beaten, and Negan set off Walkers just for the fun of it.

Rick admits that they don’t have weapons or a lot of people. Richard jumps in and says that they have weapons and people. He implores Ezekiel to step in to set things right. This is the right time to do it. Ezekiel wants to know what Morgan thinks, which startles Morgan but he admits that people will die on both sides. He says they need to find another way, and he suggests finding another way, like capturing Negan. Ezekiel wants to ponder this but before he leaves Rick tells him the story of a rock in the road, where people kept running into a rock and then a family came through and lost all of their goods to sell. The little girl wanted to know why the rock was still there even though it did so much damage. She dug at it with her hands. Inside the hole was a bag of gold. (This is when Jerry gets excited about the story) Rick says that the king put the gold there because if someone took the time to fix the problem, they deserved to have their lives changed.  Ezekiel offers them dinner but Rick says they need to get back home. Ezekiel says that he’ll have an answer the following morning.

A mysterious figure in the woods is wearing body armor and has a staff. It’s Benjamin. He runs into Carol, who has her gun pointed at him. He tells her that he’s training to help the group. She gives him some advice, namely to not wander around and get killed. He tells her that Ezekiel needs her to be his other hero. Ezekiel looks out for the people he cares about. Benjamin offers her some water, but she tells him to bend his knees when he walks because he’s too loud.

Ezekiel recites Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech to Benjamin’s brother who is in bed. Benjamin says that he was out in the woods, unaccompanied. He wanted to practice with the stick and the gun. He quickly tells Ezekiel that he saw Carol, which distracts him from being upset. Benjamin says he told Carol why he carries food and water when he goes out, which is the same reason they should help Rick. Benjamin says that Rick’s group is going to do this with or without them. If they help, Rick’s group won’t owe them anything, but it’s not the same if they don’t help. His father would have said yes, which makes Ezekiel proud of him.

The next morning the people of the Kingdom practice their training. Even the injured children practice with their bows and arrows. Richard leads Rick’s group to the archery range, where Ezekiel watches the children practice. Ezekiel says that he wanted to create more places like this, where people who have lost limbs and loved ones can be at peace. These children lost their limbs because he sent people into battle. Daryl says that Ezekiel doesn’t act like a king, but Ezekiel says that he has to hold on to the fragile peace he has with the Saviors. He can’t enter into a battle but he can offer asylum to Daryl because the Saviors never enter the Kingdom. Daryl wonders how long that will last.

As they walk away, Sasha and Rosita walk side by side. Sasha knew Ezekiel would say no. Rosita tells her that just because they had sex “with the same dead guy” it doesn’t mean they’re friends. Behind them Rick walks with Morgan and Richard. Rick says they don’t have enough people to take out another satellite station. Morgan won’t interfere with Ezekiel’s decision, but Richard pledges his help.  He wants to train his people to help.

Rick says goodbye to Daryl when they reach the gates. Rick says it’s the smartest thing they can do. He promises to be back soon. Rick gives Daryl one last look before the gate closes.

Negan gives a eulogy for Fat Joey over the radio. Rick and the group listen in as he says that Joey was loyal. They come upon a blockade of cars on the road and in the distance they can see the power plant that serves as the Saviors’ home base. They move some of the cars find a line of cable attached to explosives. Carl recalls hearing the men talking about keeping a herd in line. As Rosita works on the explosives, they hear Negan order his men to go to Alexandria to find Daryl. They start working to disarm the explosives because they need them.

In the distance Carl spies the herd of Walkers approaching their location. Rick wants the herd to stay on the highway because they might need them. They start moving cars into position but the herd is moving too fast. Rick says they aren’t splitting up and he urges everyone to work faster. He sends Sasha back to the Hilltop. Rick and Michonne get into the cars and try to hot wire them. Once they’re running they start honking and driving straight through the herd, using the wire in between the cars to cut the Walkers in half. When the rope breaks, they stop the cars and make a run for the waiting car and they drive away. Inside, Michonne tells Rick that they made it, and that “we’re the ones that live.”

When the group returns to Alexandria, Rick barely walks in when Negan’s men arrive. It’s Simon. He wants to know where Daryl is. Simon orders everyone to pair up so that they can find Daryl and watch him die. Simon spots the empty shelves and wonders where the food went. Aaron speaks up and says they’re still adjusting to the new system, but Simon says that they’re not there for a pickup. Simon thanks Rick for his help and warns him that if Daryl shows up then he’s going to have issues.

Once the gates are closed, Rick asks what happened to the pantry. They don’t know where Gabriel is. Rick says that he can’t accept that Gabriel stole their food and left. They find his Bible on the ground and Rick wonders why he would have left it on the floor. Rick finds the word “boat” written in a notebook. Aaron wonders how he knew they were out there.

Aaron has a conversation with his boyfriend as he packs. He suspects that there is more going on than Aaron is admitting to. All he wants is for them to stay alive, at any cost.

Rick and the gang head to the boat, where they find footprints. They move deeper onto the property and find themselves surrounded by a new and very well armed group of people.

Rick smiles.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.

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The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.