The Walking Dead 814: Five to watch and one to watch out for

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Austin Amelio as Dwight - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Austin Amelio as Dwight - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Rick has read the letter. Will his mercy finally be able to prevail over his wrath? The human toll of The Walking Dead’s “All Out War” is not just a body count. Trust has been driven to near extinction while heroes are being transformed into monsters.

Rick and Negan are back in play, but their abilities to lead are uniquely compromised. Sorting the good guys from the bad guys has also become a complicated matter. Maggie has killed in cold blood, Daryl has dabbled in vengeful rampages and Rick has just murdered a small group of Saviors who were actually ready to join him. It’s also worth mentioning (again) that Morgan ripped a person’s guts out…with his hand. These “good guys” have been forever altered by trying to survive in a world comprised of other desperate survivors. Will Rick be ready to fulfill his promise to Carl? Standing in the way are other players vying for power and influence, and threatening to propel the war into more dangerous territory.

Here are this week’s five to watch and one to watch out for:

5. Mystery passenger

Laura - The Walking Dead, AMC
Laura (Lindsley Register) – The Walking Dead – Photo: AMC/Gene Page /

It’s probably a safe bet that whoever Negan invited along with him for the ride back to The Sanctuary is going to ruin somebody’s day. The person who could cause the most damage is probably Laura. Negan is already aware of Simon’s dissent, but Laura has the goods on Dwight and, if she’s still alive, she could blow his already not-so-great cover. In the episode 15 trailer, Negan does surprise Dwight at the compound. Later scenes show them together in the war room with the other lieutenants though, so he could still be safe. Or perhaps Negan is including Dwight in the planning session to see if he passes the information along to Hilltop.

Gregory - The Walking Dead - AMC
Gregory (Xander Berkley) – The Walking Dead – Photo: AMC/Gene Page /

Gregory was not among the Savior escapees killed by Rick and Morgan so it’s possible that he was wandering the route back to The Sanctuary when Negan pulled up. And Gregory still has some value when it comes to helping identify Hilltop’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The trailer shows Negan pointing to a map showing a specific location to attack. Perhaps Gregory provided him with a key piece of information that could give the Saviors an edge. He has sold out Hilltop before, so it should be no surprise if he were to do it again.

And, while Negan has promised to settle things with Simon on Jadis’ behalf, it doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t play ignorant and offer him a lift home. Simon scattered with the other Saviors as they fled the attack on Hilltop so it’s entirely possible that he was the mysterious passenger. We won’t know who it is until Sunday, but this is sure to be a game changer.

4. Rick

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Rick’s refusal to read Carl’s letter has been enabling his relentless crusade to kill Negan, but that may change. Rick and Morgan indulged in a Saviors mop-up operation that crossed a line Carl would have never approved of. The brutal killing of Saviors, who had essentially surrendered, confirmed that the “Shane-ing” of Rick Grimes was finally complete. When he returned to Hilltop, he faced himself in the mirror, just as Shane did after he killed Otis. While Shane chose transformation, Rick reached for his letter from Carl.

This is where things could change for Rick. A renewed pledge to Carl might liberate him from his obsession with Negan and put the brakes on his downward spiral. Let’s not forget Rick was able to rise from a similar low point just prior to inspiring a coalition to form and then started a massive uprising to rise up against the Saviors.

3. Dwight

Austin Amelio as Dwight - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Austin Amelio as Dwight – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 15 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

We still don’t know what Negan may or may not know about Dwight, but the trailer for episode 15 shows them interacting peacefully at The Sanctuary. And despite the potential danger, Dwight is still in a position to frustrate the Saviors plans. In the preview, Dwight is shown making notes on a map in order to warn Hilltop. This could be really good or really bad. It’s possible that Dwight is still safely operating as an anonymous mole, but the “mysterious passenger” variable should prepare us for another possibility. Negan could be on to Dwight, providing him with false intelligence in order to set a trap. Dwight remains mired in risky entanglements while embedded with the enemy, but if his timing is right, he can still scuttle the Saviors’ plans and shift the power to the alliance.

2. Negan

Negan continues to cheat danger, negotiating his own release from Jadis after a short confinement at the junkyard. Armed with new information on Simon (and a mysterious companion!), Negan heads back to The Sanctuary with the added element of secrecy.

"“Daddy’s home and it’s going to be a surprise!” – Negan"

Negan - The Walking Dead - AMC
Negan – The Walking Dead – AMC /

Simon’s dereliction will be first and foremost on his mind. He has promised to settle things on behalf of Jadis, but Negan is likely going to have his own issues he’ll want to settle as well. Simon’s actions not only went against Negan’s orders, but they also precipitated his capture and near-execution by Jadis. Reunited with Lucille, Negan is ready to take back his Saviors from Simon and then move on to Hilltop. Whoever he has in the car with him is likely part of his plan to reassert control, but we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see who he’s been hiding.

1. Maggie

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Maggie retains the tops spot in this week’s “five to watch”. Her influence remains as strong as ever after leading the successful defense of Hilltop and her leadership has gone uncontested. The Hilltop community functions as an effective team under her watch and this has not gone unnoticed by outsiders. Negan and Simon have underestimated the widow’s resolve up to this point so whoever is in charge of the Saviors during the next run-in will need to try a lot harder to shake her. Maggie has not shown any weakness since Glenn’s death and her march to avenge him began the moment he died. She quickly rose to the challenge of taking over Hilltop and, with all communities now housed there, she has become the stoic face of the resistance.

Once to watch out for: Jadis

Jadis (Polyanna McIntosh) in The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 14 Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) in The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 14Photo by Gene Page/AMC /

Jadis returns as our “one to watch out for” after a revealing sequence of events at the junkyard. Taking Negan as her prisoner was one of the biggest moves in the war, but it became an entirely different kind of turning point. Negan was able to appeal to her sentimentality by exposing some of his own human vulnerability. Telling her about Lucille, and how “she” is what gets him through, was the key to bargaining his way out of a horrible death.

While some might be frustrated by her decision to just let him go, don’t worry. There’s more about Jadis that we don’t know and we’re sure to see more of her as a result. During their heart-to-heart, that elusive helicopter made another appearance and Jadis seemed to be ready for it. She had a bag packed and signal flares on hand so, by the looks of things, her original plan was to execute Negan and escape to parts unknown. Having missed the helicopter during the commotion she appeared defeated. This provided Negan with an opening and he made a successful plea for a compassionate release. Where that leaves Jadis is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain – we have not seen the last of her.

Next: What else were the Heapsters hiding?

Who will have the power to change the world next week?

Watch Episode 15: “Worth” on AMC, Sunday at 9 PM EDT to find out!