The past doesn’t always stay in the past on The Walking Dead. What or who has been haunting members of the group and how do they face it? Here’s our recap of “Ghosts”!
“Ghosts” opens with all the title cards at once so we don’t have to see them later. At 6:00 a.m., we wake up with Carol, who immediately takes a pill. During HOUR 2, she’s walking out of the gates in the ASZ.
The title cards go to HOUR 49 and follow the systematic attack from walkers on the ASZ. After HOUR 49, Gamma approaches and tells them to meet Alpha at the northern border. She also says that the walkers aren’t them…
So who is sending them in waves?
At a meeting, other members of the communities demand Alpha’s head. They don’t want to talk to her. They want justice. Michonne poses the question of what they would do if the killed Alpha and the Whisperers brought down their horde as revenge, but no one has an answer.
Before Michonne, Carol, and Daryl leave with some other random folks, Michonne lays out the plan for those left behind, and the groups who will be assigned where.
Aaron and Negan
Despite Negan not wanting bad vibes directed his way, he decides to be a prick to the guy he’s supposed to help. Granted, their partnership isn’t something either one of them wants, but it seems like Negan would try to fly a little more under the radar.
“Ghosts” debuts a new, bitter Aaron, too. We saw glimpses of him when he asked Michonne if they were the villians in the season premiere, but this one puts it on full display. Since he wasn’t given time to grieve for Eric when he actually died, he gets that out in this episode.
His anger is directed at Negan for Eric’s death, but it doesn’t come out right away. After night falls, they’re still fighting walkers. Negan picks up the tire iron to kill walkers after his staff breaks, and Aaron tells him to drop the weapon once the walkers are dead.
This is when they really get into it. Aaron tells Negan that he doesn’t care about anyone but himself. If he truly wanted to do something for the people of the ASZ, he’d leave and never come back. He’s caused these people so much hurt, and his presence is a reminder of that hurt.
Negan says something after that, and it sets Aaron off. It also launches Negan into a response rant that’s so toxic masculinity fueled that I cringed. Please remember who Negan is, guys. JDM is charismatic af, but Negan is truly gross.
“I did what I had to do back then.”
“What’d you say No, open that up. Tell me why the love of my life had to die.”
“Okay. One simple fact. One simple truth kept my people going. If you don’t protect what belongs to you, then sooner or later, it belongs to someone else. That goes for your land, your wallet, your home, your country, everything. It is your job as a man to protect it. It’s the story of America. It’s the story of the whole goddamn world, and ain’t no one changing it. Not you. Not me. Nobody.”
“Are you saying that Eric’s death was my fault? Well, if I failed Eric, then you failed your wife.”
“She died hating you, and you’ll never see her again.”
Now, before Aaron decided to confront Negan, Negan was going to tell him that the walkers were covered in a type of plant, hogweed, that can cause blindness. He didn’t get the chance to do that, so when Aaron gets knocked over by a walker, he doesn’t realize what’s happening to his vision.
Also, Negan is super pissed at Aaron, so he walks away from him, leaving him alone in the dark.
Eventually, Aaron makes his way to a cabin, and he freaks out, trying to fix his vision. He’s making a lot of noise, drawing in walkers. Negan’s there the whole time, though, and right before Aaron gets killed, he stops the walkers.
Negan finally tells him about the hogweed, and he ends up keeping watch while Aaron recovers. “Ghosts” ends with them staying in the cabin together and deciding to go back to the ASZ the next morning.
The only issue here is the new southern border.
Have Negan and Aaron been hiding in a cabin that’s now in Alpha’s territory? How will this pan out for them?
Rosita and Eugene
“Ghosts” holds a big revelation for this pair. Into the night, they’re killing walkers side-by-side even though he’d rather be inside and away from all the gore.
The following morning, they sit at the kitchen table and talk. Eugene asks about Coco, and tells Rosita that Coco can’t grow up without her mother. That’s when Rosita cuts into him, telling him that he’s not Coco’s father, and they’ll never be a thing.
Rosita apologizes and says she’s just tired. Eugene explains that tired thoughts are like drunk thoughts. Inhibitions aren’t there so what you say is what you mean. Since they’ve been in the show, and over the course of the last ten years, Rosita has made it very clear to Eugene what he is to her.
“I’ve been trying to tell you that.”
“I didn’t listen.”
Eugene comes to the realization that nothing’s there between them. When Rosita asks him if their friendship means nothing to him, he says that their friendship is based on his belief that eventually he’d be with her romantically.
“What kind of friend is that?”
He’s not fucking wrong. It’s absolutely awful that it’s taken him this long to realize what Rosita has been telling him for years.
Michonne, Daryl, Carol
When they make it to the border, Alpha calls them out on crossing her border three times. She’s not a savage, though, she considers context in these situations, and all she’ll do is take more land instead of killing anyone.
Instead of being quiet and calculating, Carol tells her that her demands are bullshit. This causes Alpha to flex a little after Daryl says they’re done.
“We’re not. Not until this one knows her eyes to my feet. You should fear me.”
“I don’t. I look at you and feel nothing at all.”
“Really? Is that right?”
Alpha then talks about killing Henry and proves that Carol actually does care because she pulls her gun to shoot at Alpha. Michonne is able to knock the gun down, and the shot misses. Michonne apologizes to Alpha.
“You know what she lost.”
“I forgive you. Mother-to-mother.”
Alpha tells them they better run. They’re on her land now. The scene ends with her pulling up the stake and preparing to move the border back.
Once they’re away and into the woods, Michonne tells Carol that she knows how she feels, but they can’t just kill Alpha.
“Bitch has to die.”
Daryl thinks Carol belongs out on the boat after all, but Michonne tells him that Carol belongs with them. Away from the camp, Carol sees a Whisperer and shoots at them. When the rest of the group comes running, Michonne orders everyone to split up to look.
They aren’t able to find them, and Michonne asks Carol if she really saw Whisperers or if it was just her imagination. Carol is adamant that she saw three. The group decides that the woods aren’t a safe place to sleep, so they find shelter inside a school. Inside this “safe place”, Carol’s hallucinations become a lot more vivid.
She picks up a book on home economics and sees all the kids that she has been tasked with protecting throughout the series. They’re all dead, of course. This is her failure. Daryl breaks her out of her daze, and she says she’ll take first watch. To start the shift, she opens up her pill bottle, and she’s down to two pills.
I have a big question for “Ghosts”:
Where is she getting these from? Since she’s taking them so often, does she have a supplier somewhere? Wouldn’t she be more reserved in using them if she didn’t have someone? Why is no one expressing more concern? It feels so forced that Carol is able to have an addiction this late into the apocalypse where any meds would be looked at a lot more carefully.
Daryl eventually comes into the room, and tells Carol a story about his dad. Apparently, he was a trucker, who used to take uppers to stay awake. Daryl tells her about how one time, his dad was driving, and he hallucinated a girl stepping out in front of his truck.
It turns out there was no girl. He was hallucinating because he didn’t sleep, and he took pills to stay away.
“Daryl, I’m not a meth snorting truck driver like your… I’m sorry.”
“You’re right. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong, though.”
The timer goes off, and Carol wakes up. Daryl tells her it’s his turn, and she tells him she’ll take another hour. She opens her pill bottle, and there’s only one pill left. She takes the pill and throws the bottle.
Daryl leaves the room.
In the hour that she gets, she explores the school, sees Henry’s ghost, maybe hallucinates a Whisperer, and wakes back up in the same room. Daryl comes in again, and asks where she’s been. Apparently, she’s been missing for a while.
She tells him that she’s not his dad, and that’s when we realize she’s been hallucinating because Daryl has no clue what she’s talking about. His dad wasn’t a truck driver.
Somehow, she talks Daryl into giving her another hour, which doesn’t make sense at all, and she leaves again. Why would he not keep a close eye on his best friend who’s obviously seeing shit?
This time she gets caught up in the gym in a trap. A Whisperer brings in a big group of walkers, and Carol has to kill walkers while she’s hanging upside down. Finally, she cuts herself loose, and manages to kill all the walkers with a single knife. When the alarm goes off again, they find her in the gym, badly hurt.
Some sense finally comes to the group because they finish the trip to the ASZ and get Carol to Saddiq and Dante. Before he can get started fixing her arm, Saddiq has another panic attack. Dante takes care of Carol, but he makes it seem like Saddiq did it.
Later, Michonne finds Saddiq and asks how he’s doing. He shrugs it off, blames his behavior on being tired. When she leaves, Dante comes over with a drink. He explains that he also experienced PTSD after coming back from Iraq. The conversation leaves Saddiq hopeful that he’ll be able to move on, too.
Meanwhile, Carol’s having an insane dream where Daryl’s cooking breakfast and Henry’s alive. When she wakes up, she realizes she’s out of pills, and her world is nothing like in her dream.
After she goes downstairs, Michonne’s waiting for her. Carol doubles down and says she saw the Whisperers from the night before. Michonne seems to placate her by saying she believes her.
Afterward, Michonne goes back to RJ and Judith. Judith asks if it’s safe to sleep, and she says for now. It’s a very ominous way to end “Ghosts”.
On the porch, Carol tells Daryl that Michonne doesn’t believe her about the walkers. She asks if Daryl believes her, and he says he does, but she stares at him like she knows he doesn’t either.
“Ghosts” ends back at the school. The camera pans over the dead walkers and goes outside. At this point, we see a Whisperer that’s been shot in the stomach, and she’s still alive.
Before the episode ends, we understand that Carol did see something and shot them, but we don’t know when or how since the shot pans so strangely.
This brings us to the problem with “Ghosts”:
Carol’s point-of-view. Due to her hallucinations and self-medicating with amphetamines, she’s an unreliable narrator. This is forcing her friends to doubt her, and it’s also setting up for some miscommunication angst in the future.
I don’t understand what the writers are trying to do here. They’ve already built Carol up and tore her down many times before. This time they have to make Carol go fully insane or she needs to complete her character arc and die.
“Ghosts” reminds us that the writers aren’t sure how to move their characters forward because they’re too busy being stuck in the past. The moment they give their characters a little growth, they fumble.
What did you think of “Ghosts”? How will Carol move forward this season?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9/8c.