The Walking Dead 809 recap: ‘Honor’

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The Walking Dead returns with the mid-season finale “Honor.” Here’s your complete recap of episode 809.

The episode opens with Rick’s bloodshot eyes. “My mercy prevails over my wrath,” he whispers. We go into a future vision of Rick and Judith meeting with Jerry, who came to Alexandria with Siddiq for  dessert.

Rick is digging with Michonne, who stops for a moment to shed a few tears. Rick keeps digging.

We flash to the moment when Carl was bitten. Siddiq tells him to run, that he doesn’t need to be there. Carl knows he has been bitten. The shock on his face says it all. Siddiq asks if he’s ok, and he says he is, but he knows it isn’t. Later, Carl leads Siddiq into the sewer, where he’ll wait while Carl talks to Rick. Later, Carl looks at the wound while he’s in the bathroom. He looks scared, but he puts on a clean shirt and grabs his hat. He’s sweaty, but he’s regained his composure.

Carl goes out to the fence to find out who is back. There he learns that Michonne left to see the Sanctuary for himself. She apologizes for leaving without saying goodbye. Carl writes his letters to his family, and we see him helping Siddiq get settled in the drain pipe. Then he does art with Judith and takes pictures with her before heading down to share candy with Siddiq. They laugh. Then he plants a tree and looks up to see Michonne has returned.

He takes his hat off and looks up to the sky and smiles.

Morgan is at his post at the Sanctuary. He is scoping out the courtyard, which is full of Walkers. He spots some of the Saviors as they start shooting at the Walkers. They clear the courtyard quickly, but Morgan realizes that they were working to make a barrier using Walkers. They’re escaping. Suddenly gunfire rings out at Morgan’s sniper den and he’s forced to flee. Before he does, though, he makes noise to catch the Walkers’ attention, then he draws them toward him so that the unsuspecting Saviors are caught unaware. He escapes.

Gavin leads a caravan of Savior vehicles down the road. Morgan sees them and runs after them.

There’s a Walker stuck on the wire. Carol kills it and then tells Nabila and Henry to go back. Nabila says the Saviors don’t stand a chance against Carol. Henry wants to help her. He knows the stick and gun, but she says no.

Carl shows his father the wound and Rick takes it in. Michonne is shocked. Daryl holds Judith while Tara looks on. Rick wants to know how, but Carl tells him it’s ok and that this is how it’s going to be. He wasn’t sure his father would make it back in time. Carl hands them all the notes he wrote. Neither Rick nor Michonne can process what’s happening. “I got bit,” Carl said. He tells his father about Siddiq and says it wasn’t the Saviors, it happened while going back for Siddiq.

Gavin tells Ezekiel that Negan is going to kill him, and he can’t stop it. Ezekiel doesn’t respond, but then he says that he helped his people escape and his fate doesn’t matter. Gavin says he liked him because he understood the way the system worked. “Shit’s getting shittier and you’re going to die,” Gavin says. Ezekiel says he made a choice he can live with. Now it’s Gavin’s turn to do the same.  

Morgan sneaks into the Kingdom and calls for Henry. Carol shows up. Morgan says he saw Henry so they figure out a way to take out the Saviors so they can rescue Ezekiel.

Michonne helps Carl get more comfortable. Siddiq offers Rick some medicine to give Carl that will help the fever. They helped with his parents. Michonne nods and Rick takes them. Turns out that Siddiq was a resident before things fell apart, and Rick asks if Carl knew he was a doctor and that’s why he brought him back. He was alone. There’s a rumble from above and the dust makes Carl cough. Michonne goes to Dwight and tells him to go make them stop attacking. He’s one of them. She begs him. Rosita gets up and puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder. She asks if the Hilltop is safe. They saw them go west, she points out. Dwight thinks leaving is a bad idea, and that they should stay til they’re gone. Judith peeks out from Daryl’s shoulder. They agree to wait. Dwight asks if the Hilltop is the best idea, going together. “All of us together will be their worst nightmare,” Daryl tells him, disappearing into the shadows with Judith.

Carol and Morgan continue scoping out the Kingdom. They find Saviors putting out a fire and they have to go through them to keep their cover. “This is it,” Morgan says. They attack, with Morgan giving a few extra stabs from his stick to ensure they’re dead. They take out the others as they exit the building. They get them all. Carol is a little worried about Morgan’s desire to kill.

Gavin asks Ezekiel if things are going to go bad. Gavin seems to wonder if he’s doing the right thing.

Carl tells Michonne she’s supposed to be resting and jokes that she “looks great” though she’s tired. He says it has to stop. It can be better but it must stop. Dwight notes that it’s getting quieter, but Daryl isn’t so sure. He hands off Judith to Rick and gives Rick’s shoulder a squeeze. He gives Carl a long look before leaving.

Carol and Morgan sneak around, but Morgan hears talking and he spots Saviors loading supplies into the truck. She tells him to leave it, but Morgan goes anyway and almost risks exposure but she shoots the last man with a silencer on her gun. “Let’s go,” she says.

Gavin tells his men to get a pillow for Ezekiel so he’s comfortable on his last ride. Gavin goes on to say he has been hoping things would settle, but “it always has to come down to this. It always has to get dark, ugly, inhuman.” He asks Ezekiel if he knows how much he doesn’t like this. Ezekiel reminds him he can change. Gavin calls his men, then he realizes that no one is responding. Ezekiel says it’s not too late. They hear gunshots and take Ezekiel inside. Morgan and Carol are right behind them.

Flash back to Rick’s sad eyes. Then we go to that future time where Rick and Judith come upon Eugene who asks Judith to be his sous chef and offers her an apple.

Rick and Michonne aren’t digging anymore, they’re burying.

In the tunnel, Rick holds Judith and Michonne says they can make it to the Hilltop. Rick says Carl won’t make it. He has to stay, and she says she’ll stay with him. Rick wants her to take Judith to the Hilltop. Daryl comes up and promises to take Judith and keep her safe. Carl wants to say goodbye to her and she looks at him. He tells her to be good for Michonne and Dad.He tells her that sometimes kids have to show their parents the way. He gives her the hat and says it’s hers now. He says that the hat helped him, and he hopes it helps her. He says that before his mom died she said he would “beat this world” and he didn’t, but Judith will. She cries and reaches for him, so Rick hands the crying girl off to Daryl. Daryl tells Carl that he saved everyone. “It’s all you, man,” He walks away, wearing his angel wing vest and carrying Judith.

Siddiq tells Carl he brought him there and gave him a chance. He can honor him, though, by showing everyone that what he did “mattered.” It meant something. That is what Siddiq will do to honor Carl. Carl offers him his hand and says Siddiq is stuck with them.

Now everyone is gone and it’s just Michonne, Rick and Carl.

Gavin is taken into the throne room and Gavin tries to set up perimeters. He knows that if this goes south he will have to pay up to Lucille. Ezekiel reminds him he can still help himself. There’s an explosion at the door and the men start shooting. Gavin holds a gun to Ezekiel’s head, but Carol and Morgan come in from behind them and start shooting. Gavin is shot in the leg and Ezekiel grabs his gun. Morgan fights with one of the men, and then he sticks his hand inside his bullet wound and rips out his intestines. Ezekiel sees Carol and Morgan as Gavin looks on in wonder. He tries to escape, and Morgan tries to shoot him.

Carl is declining rapidly. His father and Michonne care for him. Carl tells Michonne not to be sad or angry after this. She has to be strong for Rick and Judith, and for herself. She says she will. “Don’t carry this,” he says. “Not this part.” He calls her his best friend, and she says he’s her best friend, too. She smiles. The candles blow out and Rick says he needs her help getting him out of there.

Gavin tries to flee but Morgan is right behind him, walking casually with his staff.

Rick and Michonne carry Carl out of the tunnels. We see that Alexandria is in ruins, on fire and burning. And empty.

Gavin knows Morgan is coming for him. Morgan is dragging his staff in the dirt. He sees Morgan’s shadow and thinks he’s safe, but then the door opens and Gavin falls into the yard where Morgan is waiting.

They take Carl to the church, one of the only buildings not on fire. He thanks them for getting him there. Rick says he didn’t want him in the tunnels, but Carl is talking about helping him to be the person he is. He says that back at the prison, there was a kid with a gun and he was going to put it down and Carl shot him. He wasn’t going to shoot anyone and Carl shot him anyway. He says this weighs heavily on him and he hasn’t forgotten it. It was easy to kill him.

Gavin tells Morgan he’s sick. He didn’t want any of this. He says he kept his word, even Ezekiel will say that. Carol and Ezekiel show up and Gavin says he can’t beat him. Morgan puts his staff in Gavin’s face and says “no.”

Rick says that what happened and everything he endured was when he was a boy. Carl says his father saw how easy killing became.

Gavin says they killed all of those men because of the kid, meaning Benjamin, but he says that killing him won’t change anything. Morgan forces him to his feet.

Carl says that’s when Rick changed. He brought the Woodbury people together. He was trying to show Carl that they can change. Stopping the fight was the right thing to do, and that’s what Rick should fight for.

Ezekiel tells Morgan to stop. Killing Gavin is “the coward’s way.” Ezekiel says Gavin will have to live with what he’s done.

Rick says he can’t go back, but Carl says he can’t kill them all. There has to be “something after.”

Carol tells Morgan to stop. She reminds him that he said they can be better than the Saviors. She knows he doesn’t want this. He says he has to. He gets his staff ready, but Gavin is suddenly impaled from behind. By Henry. 

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Rick holds Carl’s hand as Carl says he has imagined how life will be after this is all over. He sees Rick with his beard and Judith is older and happy, and Michonne is happy. Alexandria is one big family. Everyone is working, living. They’re helping each other to live. “Carl, it was all for you, right from the start,” Rick says. Everything, from Atlanta to the farm to the prison. Carl wants this vision for his father. “I’m going to make it real,” Rick promises. Carl looks at Michonne, who smiles and nods.

Ezekiel looks at Henry and says it’s ok. He doesn’t want the boy to look at the body. Carol says he was supposed to stay behind, but Ezekiel quiets her. He tells Henry that everything will work out, then he hugs him.

Rick apologizes to Carl for not being able to protect him. That was his job as a father, but Carl says it was love. That was his job. Michonne weeps beside them. Carl grabs his gun and she says it should be someone who loves him. But Carl wants to do it himself. He doesn’t want them to do it. “I love you,” he tells her. “I love you, too,” she says. “I love you, Dad.” Rick says he loves his son so much. “I’ll make it real,” he promises.

Later, in the cold light of morning, Michonne and Rick stand outside and they hear the gunshot. They dig the grave and we see a flash to the future when Judith walks up and says good morning to Negan. “Good morning to you, Darling.”

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.