Alpha’s horde is coming to the Hilltop on The Walking Dead. As the group prepares for battle, Alpha gets strategy advice from Negan. Here’s our recap of “Morning Star”.
“Morning Star” opens with Beta harvesting maple syrup with many other Whispers. Near the gorge, Alpha and Nega are seated together, and she hands him a switch.
“Does this mean that I’ve graduated to the next level of kinky Whisperer shit?”
“You joke because you fear.”
Negan switches Alpha’s arm.
“Does this mean we’re bonded for life?”
Then she does the same to his arm.
The scene changes and the Whisperers are all together, shambling along. Beta starts the chant:
“We are the end of the world.”
Then Alpha joins and says, “We take them all.”
Finally, we get the big shot:
Negan, in a Whisperer mask, beside Alpha as they stumble through the woods.
Later by a stream, Negan offers Alpha some “unsolicited” advice:
“I respect a well-deserved massacre. Some people, they just have it coming. And I get why you want to take out Hilltop and Alexandria. It would just, it would feel good. But you know what might feel goddamned fantastic? Getting those assholes to surrender. Bend a knee. Alpha, we can get them to join us.”
Back at Hilltop, Stephanie and Eugene are still talking. He’s looking for an album, but they’ve been having a competition, counting falling stars.
She says that he better not be counting satellites. That’s when they realize they’re only a few hundred miles apart. Then he busts out:
“Virginia. I’m in Virginia.”
Eugene then tells her that they can meet. She can set up everything, and if she sees him from a distance and doesn’t feel safe, she can run and he’ll never know. She eventually says that she’ll talk to her people.
Early in “Morning Star” Ezekiel finds Carol out in the woods at Daryl’s old place, and he tells her that Jerry and Kelly made it back and told them what happened at the cave.
He tells her to come back with him, and when she doesn’t say anything, he says he’ll sit beside her until they both get eaten up by mosquitos.
As Hilltop continues to be fortified, Aaron, Rosita, and Gamma (Mary) show up. RJ, Judith, and Gracie are with them, too.
Earl is the first one to talk to Aaron, asking who the new girl is. Aaron explains that she’s Adam’s aunt, and she’d like to see him. Earl’s not having that at all.
“What the hell did he think I was going to say? They left that kid out there to die.”
Aldin tells Earl he’ll handle it. Making sure Gamma doesn’t see the baby at all.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s trying to tie up her ankle and support it enough to go back into the woods to search for an opening to the cave. Luke tries to talk her out of going because she’s injured, but she’s determined to find her sister and Magna.
Daryl comes through the gate with Lydia. He immediately tells them they need to talk, but Daryl tells them they need to talk.
“No, you can’t go out there. My mother’s coming.”
Back in Eugene’s loft, Rosita comes up and hears Stephanie on the radio. She picks up the mic and starts asking who it is. Eugene comes down the ladder and yanks the mic back. He frantically tries to get Stephanie to answer, but she doesn’t say anything else.
Shocked, Rosita asks what’s going on, and Eugene snaps at her.
“Leave before I say something I regret.”
He doesn’t even pause too long to ask about the wound on her arm that came from Beta.
Inside the big house, Earl makes the argument that Alpha may not even come for them. She may go around them to Alexandria.
“She doesn’t need to go around you. She’ll just run through you.”
After a little bit of back and forth, Daryl makes the decision for them. They’ll take the children, and they’ll get to safety at Oceanside.
I’d like to note that Daryl actually uses sign language during this conversation to say they’re going to Oceanside, and that’s that on that.
After the debate, the residents of Hilltop get the children settled into wagons for the move to Oceanside. Judith tells Daryl that she wants to fight, and Daryl acknowledges that, but puts her in the wagon. He helps up RJ, too, who’s wearing his vest.
He spots Carol and Ezekiel walk through the gate, and moves away before they can see him.
On the road, Daryl leads the wagon toward Hilltop, but they come across a tree down that blocks the path.
There are walkers hanging from the trees that were Hilltop scouts. Daryl takes all this in, and it feels like “Last Day on Earth” when Negan blocked all paths to Hilltop. That’s when Daryl realizes what’s happening:
“All the roads are gonna be like this now. We’re not getting through. It’s Negan. He’s with her now.”
All the kids arrive back at Hilltop, and what’s happening begins to settle in on them. Kelly’s noticeably upset.
“We can’t stay here. You said…you all said we can’t stay here.”
Luke adds in that maybe they can call Alexandria and get fresh fighters brought in to help. Diane tells him that there’s no way that Oceanside or Alexandria will get there in time.
“We’re on our own.”
Earl tells them they have catapults on the walls and a good militia. They stand a fighting chance.
“This is what you’ve all been practicing for. C’mon now, people! Do whatever you need to do to get your head on straight. This is gonna be the fight of our lives.”
Carol’s standing off the side again, and Daryl doesn’t go to talk to her.
“Morning Star” continues to bring some bits of closure. This time with Ezekiel and Carol. Inside the house, Ezekiel’s going through something in the closet when Carol comes back inside. We see Henry’s gear for fighting, and Carol reaches up and pulls away his scarf.
“Never bullshit a bullshitter.”
“I wanted to tell you.”
She strokes his face and kisses him. He looks so sad but happy as she continues to kiss him and lead him to the bed.
Afterward, Ezekiel tells her that he’ll remember it fondly. When she doesn’t roll her eyes or laugh, Ezekiel says she’s changed and lost her sense of humor.
Carol tells him she didn’t lose it. She left it on the dresser back in the Kingdom on the day it all burned down. Ezekiel tells her that he left his pride there, too.
“Would this have happened if it were any other night?”
“What do you mean?”
“If we didn’t think we were going to die tonight?”
“Wait, we’re going to die tonight?”
They laugh, and it breaks my heart a little.
In another part of the house, Gamma sees Adam and begins walking toward him. Alden stops her. Aaron tries to intervene and allow her to see the baby, but Alden tells him no.
Everything they’re fighting for is for these kids. To protect them. Gamma’s people are the problem.
Later on in the afternoon, Eugene’s outside fixing the issues with battery power when Rosita comes back. She tells him that she spoke with Gabriel and Coco’s okay.
“Did you tell him about the horde.”
“No, he doesn’t need to know. I’ll tell him when I see him again.”
“Well, probability tilts firmly toward our demise, so…”
She asks him about working on the radio, but she tells her that he stopped transmissions. Stephanie won’t forgive him for the mistake he made of someone knowing he made contact.
After a little shame spiral of “no one loves me”, Rosita tries to tell him that he’s talked to that woman long enough for her to stop talking to him, but she obviously likes him and kept going. Then she asks:
“Do you want to kiss me? Come on. Get one. Hurry before I change my damn mind.”
He gets super close to kissing her and stops. Rosita’s smiling so big.
“It’s a special kind of peculiar to hanker for a kiss from someone you haven’t met.”
He says he has a forlorn heart, and Rosita laughs:
“That’s what we’ll put on your gravestone: Loser with a forlorn heart.”
It’s just really nice to see that their friendship is back, and that Eugene can see that what they’ve always had was friendship. It wasn’t tainted by him hoping for something else.
“You know what we can’t give them what they want. They’d love for us to bend over. Well, screw that and screw them. You like this girl so get off your ass and go get her.”
Eugene kisses Rosita’s cheek before continuing to work.
Outside, Carol finds Lydia sitting on the porch and goes to her. She sits down, lights a cigarette and says:
“You should hate me.”
“It’s hard. You seem to hate yourself so much.”
“I’m gonna kill her.”
“That won’t save us.”
“But it’ll feel good. Will you hate me then?”
“I won’t be thinking about you.”
“Thanks. Thanks for telling me the truth.”
“People don’t know how to do that anymore. I’m sorry your kid died and you hate the world. Sorry my mother’s a monster. So they stay away. Let you feel lonely.”
“I had a whole life.”
Carol leaves her there, and that feels like the first real conversation that she’s had about her grief this whole season.
As they make preparations outside the gates for walkers, Miko apologize to Kelly for before, and Kelly tells her that “assholes get shit done”. The moment is broken up by a rat running out of the woods next to them. Then more rats come out until dozens are running away from something.
We all know what it is…
“Tell everyone to gather up. The horde is coming!”
Back up in the loft, he makes one final attempt to contact Stephanie before the fight…
He sings the song that he was trying to find for her earlier.
A montage of people getting ready to fight happens:
Jerry with his kids.
Earl and Alden with the baby.
Ezekiel giving Lydia Henry’s old body armor.
Judith trying to get a hold of her mom, but getting no answer.
Daryl standing on the balcony, watching everyone get ready.
Just when Eugene’s about to give up, Stephanie responds back by singing the rest of the song.
He apologizes for letting that happen. Stephanie asks who it is, and when he says Rosita, Stephanie says she can hear him smiling.
“You must be fond of her.”
“Well, yes. Very. She is my proverbial BFF, and at the risk of seeming forward, I sincerely hope you’ll get the chance to meet her someday.”
“I do, too.”
Eugene begins to tell her that he’s not sure when he’ll get to talk to her again, when she blurts out where she’ll meet him.
“Charleston, West Virginia.”
She asks if he’ll meet her in one week, and he says he will. He doesn’t tell her about the fight coming. Rosita comes to get him, and he seems happy.
“Let’s get this over with. I’ve got a date.”
Right inside the door to the house, Daryl approaches Ezekiel, who’s covering up the lump at his throat. Ezekiel tells Daryl that he has cancer, and Daryl acknowledges his support of of his and Carol’s relationship to Ezekiel before he goes into the important reason he wants to talk:
“Things are gonna get real bad around here, and I just want to know that the kids are alright. If things go sideways or if your or I go down.”
“The other gets the children out.”
“You good with that?”
They shake hands and Ezekiel leaves the house.
Judith’s waiting, and she tells Daryl that she wants to help. He knows, but she needs to be with the kids. He also apologizes for her seeing those walkers earlier in the day. It’s a moment where she says they’re just walkers, and Daryl doesn’t allow her to shut down like that, like they let Carl shut down.
“I’m not scared.”
“I know you’re not. Maybe I am, a little bit.”
“If I was scared, maybe I’d be scared for RJ since he’s so little.”
“Yeah, I get that.”
“Maybe I’d be worried about my mom. Maybe I’d be scared that you’d get hurt, and I’d lose you. Aunt Carol, too.”
“There ain’t no shame in that. You know who you’re fighting for.”
Judith redid the missing wing on his jacket. It’s blue with stars at the bottom of the wing. He tells her he loves it and puts it on, then he finishes their talk:
“There’s one more thing. If Ezekiel comes looking for you during the fight, you go with him. No matter if you know where I am or not.”
They hug and she watches him go out the door.
Upstairs, Carol looks at all the portraits of the people who died, and it focuses on Glenn. She goes outside and finds Daryl at the graves.
“Please don’t hate me.”
“I’m never gonna hate you.”
She’s crying, but Daryl doesn’t hug her like he always does, he walks past her. I don’t think she’s asking him not to hate her for what happened at the cave. I think she’s asking him not to hate her for what she’s about to do. Carol doesn’t fight with the rest of them.
“Morning Star” really builds Daryl up something incredible. They’re making him a legend, not that he wasn’t already.
He grabs a mace and limps outside to join the others.
Kelly kneels down and puts her hands on the ground. She can feel the rumble of the earth and the amount of walkers coming.
They’re are tons coming out of the trees, and you can’t tell which are walkers and which are Whisperers. The electric fence that Eugene set up breaks under the sheer weight of walkers, and the horde comes in quick.
Aaron and the others put into practice what we saw at Oceanside in the season premiere.
While the people of Hilltop fight off walkers, the Whisperers hang back and launch the maple syrup filled bags at them. It’s a lethal mixture that acts as gasoline and when the Whisperers loose fire arrows, it catches people on fire.
Negan approaches Alpha and asks about their plan:
“I thought you wanted them to join us.”
“They will. For my horde.”
“Holy shit. You are a badass.”
They’ve also hit Hilltop with the mixture, and the fences go up, too.
“Morning Star” ends as the group runs for the gates. There’s no way for them to get inside, and the horde is at their back.
My personal opinion: Maggie Rhee’s going to ride in the Knights of the Vale again and save the damn day. What do you think will happen next? Let us know!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9/8c.