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At the Sanctuary, John oversees the other Saviors working in the gardens. A young savior, Christopher, asks if they're going to practice shooting later, but John declines, stressing that they already have enough soldiers, but need more people who can grow things. Christopher complains that he doesn't like gardening, but John gently reprimands him, explaining that it's not a world of "like" anymore, but a world of "need", though Christopher is still dissatisfied. John goes on to point out just how far the Sanctuary has come since the war, and how much food they're producing for themselves. Christopher questions why they need so much, since they already get food from Alexandria. John is quick to remind him that they have to trade goods for that food, and that the more they have, the better off they are. John reminds him of the days when Negan was in charge, when everyone was scared and miserable. He states that Negan's way of "taking" made enemies, while their current policy of "giving" makes friends. He goes on to claim nobody wants to go back to Negan's way while glancing at Mark, who hangs his head in shame. Satisfied, Christopher asks if he can have a baked potato tonight, before they are interrupted by the arrival of Rick and Pamela.
Pamela is somewhat intimidated by the Sanctuary's appearance, but Rick points out it used to be much worse, and that hopefully times have changed. John appears at the gates, and bluntly asks who Pamela is. Rick introduces her as the leader of the Commonwealth. John apologizes for seeming inhospitable, and invites them inside. After governor Milton describes the Commonwealth, John is impressed, though he cautiously asks why she came to the Sanctuary. Pamela replies that the coalition of settlements that the Sanctuary is included in is the largest one they have encountered thus far, and expresses interest in trading goods and sharing resources, with the ultimate goal of rebuilding the country, pointing out that it would benefit both sides, impressing John even further. He offers them rooms to stay for as long as they want. Rick commends John's leadership, saying that he really turned things around and John replies that he's "all about making friends now". Afterwards, Rick asks for Pamela's opinion on the Sanctuary. While she is impressed with the community, she is less optimistic when it comes to their leadership, and adds that she sees why they need to be supervised by Rick. She asks what John did before the apocalypse, but Rick doesn't know. Pamela supposes that it doesn't matter and, switching the topic, asks about Negan. Rick is hesitant, claiming it's a long story, but proceeds to tell it nonetheless when Pamela prompts him.
In the morning, as they leave the Sanctuary, Rick asks Dwight if he got any sleep. He replies that he hasn't, as his former home brings out too many bad memories. Rick takes the opportunity to apologize for Sherry, but Dwight interjects, saying there is no need to "reopen old wounds". He adds that he was wrong to blame Rick, and also thanks him for not killing him. Rick humorously replies that thanking him for that doesn't exactly paint the best picture of him. Dwight goes on to elaborate that he always blamed the wrong people, be it Rick for Sherry or himself for Negan's actions, and reveals that Laura has been helping him with that, before she gleefully interrupts him. Rick states that he's glad Laura and Dwight have each other, before looking on saddened as they ride further ahead.
After making their introductions, William welcomes Pamela to the Kingdom, adding that the name made more sense when there was a tiger around. Pamela inquires, and Rick recounts Ezekiel and Shiva, and mournfully adds they are no longer with them. Pamela notes that the communities are very colorful and asks how many more there are, to which Rick replies that there is only one left, the Hilltop.
On the road, Mercer asks Rick if the roads between the communities are relatively safe, and Rick confirms. Mercer inquires if people in Rick's communities do whatever they choose, regardless of what they did before. Rick replies that "before" has got nothing to do with "now" and goes on to elaborate that people who had more important jobs before tend to stick to those jobs, citing Earl as an example. Mercer asks what Rick was before the apocalypse, and Rick recounts his backstory, asking if his profession in the Commonwealth would be "hassling rowdy teenagers and giving the odd speeding ticket". Mercer, somewhat bitterly, confirms. Rick, in turn, asks Mercer about his profession. Mercer reveals that he was, and still is, a marine. Rick jokingly asks if he would rather be a florist, but Mercer denies this, as he is quite comfortable in his line of work, though adds that there are people in the Commonwealth who are not. Rick expresses his condolences, revealing that in the DC communities everyone usually finds a place where they'll be most useful, and Mercer stoically grunts in reply. As they approach the Hilltop, Rick is dumbfounded at the speed at which the community was rebuilt, as is Dwight.
Maggie meets them at the gates, regretting the restoration not being quite finished yet, though Rick praises their work nonetheless. Maggie attributes this to the whole community's hard work, as well as the workers William sent from the Kingdom. Pamela interrupts them by asking about the destruction of the community, and Maggie, annoyed, asks who she is. Rick begins to introduce governor Milton, when he is interrupted by Carl, who is overjoyed to see his father. As father and son embrace, Rick says that it's nice to know Carl has missed him. Carl claims he was also worried about father. Rick is about to ask why, before being painfully reminded of the loss of Andrea. Rick says that he didn't realize he wasn't thinking about the loss anymore until Carl said he was worried. Carl says he was worried he had made a mistake by coming to the Hilltop, as Rick needed him, though Carl thought the people at the Hilltop needed him more. Rick commends his son's actions, claiming he doesn't blame him for leaving and that he needed the time alone. Carl notices Rick isn't using his cane , and Rick claims that he doesn't need it anymore, as the pain either went away or he had gotten used to it. Rick humorously adds he still won't be winning any footraces, and Carl assures him he'll be fast enough for both of them.
At the meeting, Maggie is skeptical about Pamela's good intentions, asking if the proposed alliance would entail trading knowledge and resources or a picture of Pamela hanging in every room and "pledging allegiance to the women who smiles too much". Pamela claims it's the former and, slightly embarrassed, says she didn't know it was possible for a person to smile too much. Maggie claims that it is, especially when one is trying to earn the trust of new people, as everything they say seems like it could be a lie. Rick gently reprimands Maggie for being rude, irritating her even further. Jesus asks about the conditions in the Commonwealth, and Rick begins to tell them about Michonne staying in the Commonwealth, but is interrupted by a shocked Maggie, who asks if Michonne is being kept prisoner. Pamela denies this and explains that Michonne has been reunited with her daughter who had been happily living there for years, and chose to stay with her, as the entire room stares at her in disbelief. Maggie agrees with Rick's plan to visit the Commonwealth, and agrees to the alliance if Rick approves of what he sees there.
In the morning, Rick meets Eugene on the road. He is driving a cart full of Commonwealth soldiers, as he figured they'd move quicker with the soldiers being on their feet less. Rick notices a bunch of tools in Eugene's bag and asks what they're for, but Eugene doesn't want to spoil the surprise. Dwight instructs Heath to take his group back to Alexandria and stay alert, telling him they would hopefully be back in less than a month, but adding that he would send someone to report back in if they stay longer. Pamela invites Rick to ride with her in her carriage, and Rick gladly accepts. She asks what happened to his son's eye and Rick tells her that Carl was shot. Pamela claims that, though they've had a fair share of conflict, they've never had children on the front lines. Rick grimly tells her that that luxury had always escaped them. Pamela says that she hopes those days are behind them. She goes on to praise the communities, deeming them good Commonwealth material, though adding that distance would be an issue. All that is needed now, she claims, is for the Commonwealth to bring the Rick's group to their way of thinking. Rick counters that his group could bring the Commonwealth to their way of thinking as well. Pamela jokingly hypothesizes that Rick will be trouble, and Rick replies that hopefully he won't be too much.
- Rick Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Maggie Greene
- Eugene Porter
- Paul Monroe
- Juanita Sanchez
- Maxwell Hawkins
- Pamela Milton
- Unnamed Commonwealth soldiers.
- Unnamed Sanctuary residents.
- First appearance of Christopher.
- Gavin returns in this issue after having been absent for 75 issues.