Season 8, Episode 12

The Key

Hilltop's leadership faces a difficult dilemma after the arrival of unexpected visitors; Rick comes face to face with an adversary.

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Full Recap

Negan stops by Dwight’s apartment and welcomes him back to the Sanctuary. Dwight explains that he was heading towards Hilltop in hopes of running into Saviors. Negan orders Dwight back to work.

Simon directs his crew as they gut yard walkers and collect entrails to immerse their weapons in, which they plan to use in their attack against Hilltop. Negan predicts Rick’s group will surrender once they comprehend his new strategy.

Dwight joins the Saviors as they mobilize. Simon instructs his crew to wound a few Hilltoppers with their tainted weapons and let them turn instead of killing them.

Dwight gets his motorcycle and informs Simon that he plans to scout their route. Simon says they already have scouts. Negan wants them to ride together for a debriefing.

Dwight and Simon drive off with a convoy of Saviors.

Negan dips Lucille in a bucket of walker guts.

Rick and Michonne arrive at Hilltop and reunite with Judith.

Daryl apologizes to Rick for attacking the Sanctuary behind Rick’s back. Rick forgives him and assures him that he’s ready to fight Negan despite Carl’s death. They decide to join a team of lookouts scattered around Hilltop.

Maggie and Rosita stand guard at the gate. Maggie peers through binoculars and spots a mysterious crate in the distance.

While en route to Hilltop, Simon asks Dwight what he thinks of Negan's plan. Dwight is hesitant to answer. Simon reveals his own doubts that Negan’s strategy will work given that Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel “don’t scare.”

Rosita retrieves the crate and gives Maggie the attached note, which offers them a “key to your future” in exchange for food and records. The note includes coordinates for a meeting point. Maggie worries that it’s a trap, but Michonne suggests they investigate.

Rick watches the road from a parked car. He spots Negan’s convoy and reaches for the horn to alert the others, but decides at the last second to go after Negan on his own.

Rick rams his car into Negan’s then pursues him down city streets.

Simon instructs the rest of the Saviors to stay behind and set up a perimeter while he and Dwight search for Negan.

Negan comes to in his overturned car, which is covered in walker guts. Rick approaches and shoots at Negan, who uses the car for cover.

Negan escapes into an abandoned building with Rick hot on his heels.

Inside, Rick continues firing at Negan but quickly runs out of bullets. He throws his hatchet at Negan and narrowly misses. Negan falls off a landing and dangles from the ledge by his fingers.

Rick grabs his hatchet and chops at Negan's hands. Negan plummets into the basement.

Michonne, Maggie and Enid drive to the designated meeting spot and find two women waiting by a van. A third woman wearing a suit steps out and introduces herself as Georgie. Her bodyguards are Hilda and Midge. Georgie explains that she can give Maggie valuable knowledge in exchange for food and records. Maggie takes them prisoner instead.

Rick hunts for Negan in the basement. He discovers a barricaded storage room full of walkers. Negan makes Rick an offer: If Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom fall in line, they'll only be required to send the Saviors a quarter of their supplies as long as Rick works at the Sanctuary as a janitor. Rick retorts that Negan lost his credibility after the Saviors killed all the Scavengers. Negan reels at the news of the massacre. Rick finds Lucille on the ground.

Simon and Dwight search for Negan. Simon presses Dwight into admitting his resentment of Negan. Dwight sarcastically says that he never thought about killing Negan even after he took his wife and burned his face. Simon expresses a desire to move on from Rick’s group and find new communities.

Simon and Dwight find Negan’s wrecked car. They decide to abandon their search and return to the Saviors. Dwight lights the car on fire.

At Hilltop, Rosita and Enid guard Georgie, Hilda and Midge.

Michonne confers with Maggie. Maggie refuses to release Georgie after discovering a significant supply of food in her van. Enid agrees that taking the food to feed their starving people is the right move, but Michonne argues that Carl wanted them to be better people. Maggie reflects on this.

Rick tells Negan he has Lucille. Negan forbids Rick from touching her. Rick sets Lucille on fire and bashes the barricade to the storage room, busting it open. Negan charges at him.

Rick swings at Negan. Meanwhile, walkers flood out of the storage room and attack. Negan tackles Rick, grabs his beloved bat and escapes. Rick chases him through a window. He runs outside and finds his car gone.

Maggie gives Georgie a crate of food and records, and Georgie reciprocates with a portion of the food in her van. She gives Maggie a binder full of plans for windmills, water mills and other schematics to help create a community. “Build this place up,” she urges Maggie.

After Georgie leaves, Enid talks with Michonne, expressing her skepticism of Georgie’s vision. Michonne believes that Carl was telling them that there’s more to building a future than simply fighting.

Simon and Dwight inform the Saviors that Negan is gone. Simon reminds them that with or without their leader, the plan goes on. They're all Negan. He proposes they attack Hilltop — and kill everyone. The Saviors raise their guns in solidarity.

Negan wakes up in his car and finds Jadis behind the steering wheel, holding him at gunpoint. He chuckles and Jadis knocks him unconscious.