Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” “The Obliged.”
While we’ll have to wait to see how the zombie series sends Rick off next week, earlier in the episode Rick had one of the most meaningful moments he’s had in years with Daryl and Michonne had a dangerous conversation with Negan that hit close to home.
From mentions of Glenn to a foreshadow of Rick’s accident earlier in the episode, keep reading to see what you may have missed on “The Obliged.”
Michonne gives Rick a quick kiss when she wakes up while he’s still asleep.
It’s a nice mirror to the opening of Sunday’s previous episode. When Rick woke up to start his day, he kissed Michonne tenderly on the shoulder.
You can see a full timeline of every moment leading up to the Richonne relationship and every one thereafter here.
Michonne is overseeing construction on rebuilding the church in Alexandria.
It’s the last place Rick and Michonne saw Carl alive so it holds a lot of meaning to the Grimes family.
According to “Talking Dead,” the show’s art department used the real blueprints to build the sets as inspiration for the blueprint seen in this scene. Artists redrew them by hand to use as a prop on the episode.
Michonne is having trouble sleeping at night, something Rick confessed he had issues with back during season seven.
On season seven, episode 12, Rick tells Michonne he hasn’t been able to sleep because he keeps thinking about the people they lost along the way, like Glenn, who saved him right at the very start of the show. He was haunted by the fact that he couldn’t save him from Negan.
Here, Michonne’s sleepless nights are caused by an unrest. Even though she’s helping to rebuild society, it’s becoming monotonous for her to be inside the walls of Alexandria each day. Negan reminds her that people like her and him are only alive when they’re outside, not caged up in the thick of it among the undead.
“I don’t think the warrior in you is meant to be kissing boo boos,” he tells her later in the episode. “We were built for more. We still are, Mihconne. Behind walls, bars, we die. Out there, it’s like an addiction. I know that you know what I’m talking about.”
Michonne is drafting a charter for the communities, and it’s reminiscent of her comic character.
In the comics, Michonne was a lawyer. She starts taking up her practice again at the Commonwealth community that hasn’t been seen yet on the show.
Michonne beats on a container to draw the attention of walkers.
It feels like a direct parallel to season seven, episode 12 when Michonne banged on a larger dumpster to distract and kill a group of walkers for Rick.
Michonne picks up a bat to kill a zombie. When she notices she’s wielding a bat, she drops it, horrified.
It brings back memories of Negan killing her friends on the season seven premiere. As the bat sits on the ground, it’s covered in guts. But it’s a reminder of the brutal killings of both Abraham and Glenn.
When asked why Negan didn’t appear on the season premiere, new showrunner Angela Kang noted on “Talking Dead” she felt he didn’t need to be there because his presence still weighs so heavily among the survivors. Maggie won’t go to Alexandria because of him. Rick and Michonne talk about him. The war with Negan is still causing friction between Oceanside and the Saviors. The bat was just one more reminder.
Rick and Daryl ride by the very area where he gets injured earlier in the episode.
When Daryl offers Rick a ride back to Alexandria on his motorcycle, they hop onto a dirt road, passing by a bunch of rocks and debris.
The camera lingers on the space momentarily. We didn’t know it yet, but that would become a very important location later in the episode when Rick gets surrounded by walkers.
Daryl gives Rick a hard time about keeping Negan alive and opens up some old wounds.
Daryl says Rick made the wrong decision by keeping Negan alive as some sort of symbol for his new world. He says he understands exactly why Maggie wants Negan dead, he brutally murdered one of their best friends, Glenn, in front of them. He thinks Rick should want the same.
After all, it was Glenn who saved Rick at the very start of the zombie apocalypse and Rick couldn’t even save him. Rick mentions he thinks about Glenn every day. That’s something he also brings up on season seven, episode 12 to Michonne when he can’t sleep.
Negan tells Michonne about his wife, Lucille.
He tells her she died of cancer and wouldn’t have been strong enough to survive in this world.
“She was an angel. she deserved better than she got,” Negan told Michonne. “We would have loved to have a kid. We would have loved to have a kid like Carl.”
Negan first opened up about his wife to Gabriel on season eight.
If you were a little confused as to why Negan was so obsessed with seeing his bat, it’s because it has direct ties to his wife.
“My wife’s name was Lucille. She got me through,” Negan says. “I didn’t give her sh– and she got me through this life – regular life. The bat, the bat got me through this, so I named it after her. That’s it. Nothing more to do with her than that, but it is the last little piece of her I have left.”
Negan learns about Michonne’s son, Andre.
He guesses that Carl wasn’t Michonne’s first son and makes her rather emotional.
When Negan suggests that it’s good that Andre didn’t survive, because he would have made her weak in the apocalypse, she gets rightfully upset. He later tells her he didn’t mean to piss her off.
The only person we saw Michonne speak directly about Andre with before was Carl.
It was an early bonding moment between the two after Carl thought Judith died at the prison. She opened up to him by saying she lost her son, Andre Anthony, early on during the zombie outbreak.
Rick also knows about Michonne’s son, but she must have told him off screen about it at some point. She referenced him indirectly on season eight to Rick after Carl’s death.
Rick refers to Daryl as his brother and it’s a callback to a fan-favourite scene on the series.
On the season four finale, Rick and Daryl sit and have a long chat. Daryl tells Rick he would die for him, something he says again on Sunday’s episode. In the same scene, Rick refers to Daryl as his brother for the first time. It’s a moment that means a lot to Rick.
During the New York Comic Con panel for the show, AMC revealed that the scene was voted the favourite Rick and Daryl scene among fans.
Many fans also noticed that scene called back to one with Daryl’s brother, Merle, in season two.
On season two, episode five, “Chupacabra,” Daryl gets hurt and hallucinates and sees his older, missing brother Merle.
The hallucination tells Daryl that no one will ever care about him in Rick’s group the way Merle does. The scene of Daryl trying to climb up from the pit mirrors Daryl trying to climb his way up a slippery patch on season two.
As Daryl nears the top, the hallucination of Merle tells Daryl to grab onto his “friend Rick’s hand.” That’s exactly what Daryl did on Sunday’s episode.
Angela Kang, the series’ showrunner now, was one of the story editors on that season two episode.
During “Talking Dead,” Michael Rooker, who played Merle on the show, also pointed out how the scene between Rick and Daryl reminded him of the “Chupacabra” episode.
“He’s kind of been grieving,” Rooker says of Daryl not speaking much for the past few seasons on the show. “This relationship with Rick has sort of started to bring him back out, make him feel more like himself, more than himself, more than when he was with his real brother.”
The way Rick falls off his horse at the end of the episode brings us back to season one.
On the series’ pilot, Rick also gets cornered in by two groups of walkers in Atlanta, Georgia. When he attempts to make an escape, he falls off his horse and onto the ground before hiding in a military tank and getting saved by Glenn.
There’s no tank this time. The moment is especially emotional since shortly before Daryl told Rick he wouldn’t be there if Glenn never saved him. As we know, Glenn isn’t around anymore to do any saving.
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