Welp, that was a lot.
This episode opens with some of the residents of the Kingdom loading a single melon onto a truck, an image which is incredibly painful once we learn its meaning.
After what seems like a rough night of nightmares, Carol can’t stand her self-imposed solitude any longer.
She heads to the Kingdom to make sure that Daryl was letting the truth in last week’s episode, and everyone back in Alexandria is alright. (Side note: No, he wasn’t and no, they are not.)
She confronts Morgan, but it’s clear that she already knows something is wrong. Morgan refuses to tell her what the deal is mostly because he’s Morgan and nothing is easy with him. He does, however, offer to bring her to Alexandria to find out what’s happened, but because she’s Carol, she refuses.
She also declines to show Benjamin how to kill walkers and survive outside the walls of the Kingdom. That’s par for the course with Carol this season.
As she walks away from the Kingdom, we see that Richard is being shady and burying a backpack. (We have a lot of questions, Richard.)
Back in the “royal garden,” we find out that the Kingdom’s crops are infested, and so they have to burn all their produce except for the melons they’re going to give the Saviors, of course.
After Benjamin gives Morgan a painting and Richard brags about his “perfect” life before society’s collapse reminding Morgan of his lost family no doubt a group from the Kingdom goes to meet the Saviors to make an offering.
On their way, the road is blocked where we saw Richard being shady before. Because a blocked road is never good, the group moves in military formation to clear the area. They find an open grave, with a cardboard headstone reading, “Bury Me Here.”
King Ezekiel comments on how crazy people are, and it’s a miracle they haven’t all gone mad. Benjamin comments that it isn’t luck, and says to Ezekiel, “You gave us another world.”
Little do they know, Richard totally dug this grave.
At the drop off, their offering is one melon short, which compels Jared to shoot poor Benjamin in the leg. The Saviors demand one single melon be brought to them the next day, explaining the opening moment.
In an effort to save his life, the group rushes Benjamin to Carol’s house, but they are too late. With one of his last breaths, the promising young apprentice echoes the words from Morgan’s favorite book, “To injure your opponent is to injure yourself.” Everyone, especially Richard, is in shock.
Morgan runs out of the house to the area where they found the grave earlier, and begins to have hallucinations similar to ones he’s had in the past, when he was a vicious killing machine. He sees the word “CLEAR” written all over the scene, and even has visions of self-ham.
He kicks a (literal) bucket and finds the missing melon, just as Richard approaches him.
Richard confesses to setting the whole thing up, and explains that he was supposed to be the one to die, because Gavin had previously threatened him.
He explains that he let his family die, “Because I didn’t do anything, because I waited.” Karl Makinen’s performance in this scene is brilliantly balanced and believable, making the audience understand where he’s coming from. The character’s intentions were good, but it was still too risky a move to make.
Richard tells Morgan that they can still destroy the Saviors, if they’re able to cooperate and convince them that “they get it.” Once they’re lulled into a false sense of security, the communities can strike. But, of course, Morgan would have to kill in order for this plan to work.
At the offering the next day, Morgan goes rogue and beats Richard to death as everyone watches in horror. He then explains how Richard set them all up, and that he committed murder in front of the Saviors to prove that they “get it,” echoing Richard’s words.
In his frantic state, Morgan refers to Benjamin as “Duane,” which was his son’s name, in an attempt to break every single viewer’s heart at the same time.
Morgan obeys Richard’s wish and buries him in the pre-made grave. He does find the backpack, but buries that, too. He then goes on a walker killing spree before visiting Carol to explain everything to her.
Carol begins to cry as Morgan tells her that Glenn, Abraham and others were killed by Negan. Melissa McBride’s performance in this moment is a rebirth of sorts for her character. Even though we’ve known about this event for a long time, McBride opens the wounds again and makes the pain feel fresh. And that’s when we get Carol back.
As Morgan walks away, she repeats the words he once said to her, “You can go, and not go,” offering her house to him.
Carol then returns to the Kingdom, where Ezekiel is replanting the royal garden. She tells him that she’s there to stay because they all need to get ready to fight. Ezekiel agrees, which is a long overdue conclusion on both their parts.
The episode closes on Morgan, sharpening his staff into a spear.
“Bury Me Here” is definitely more satisfying than other episodes have been this season. The performances were commendable, though the plot was mildly predictable. The foreshadowing and imagery with the garden was a little heavy-handed, but at least the episode was interesting and emotional.
We are moving slowly but surely towards a war with the Saviors, and it’s taking forever. Hopefully, the payoff will be worth it, as it was in the Walking Dead comic book series.
For now, it seems like we finally got Carol back, and maybe we’ll soon see King Ezekiel and his marvelous tiger, Shiva, in action.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC