|A Larger World|
In this arc, Rick is hoping to restart a civilized and peaceful life inside the Alexandria Safe-Zone, but, his group realizes they're not the only survivors out in the world. They encounter a new suvivor in the wastes named Paul Monroe, who says he is a recruiter for a group of possibly more than 200 people nearby called the Hilltop Colony. The colony appears to be even safer than Alexandria, but, the group soon learns that the people of the Hilltop Colony have some very dangerous enemies.
The following events take place after a few weeks Carl Grimes has woken up from his coma and Nicholas gives up on the thought of taking over the Alexandria Safe-Zone from Rick Grimes. The story arc begins when Glenn, Maggie, Eugene Porter, Rosita Espinosa, Aaron, Eric, and Heath are looking for supplies in the city nearby, because the Safe-Zone is running out of food.
Rick and the others are complaining about the food problem, we learn it has been almost two years after the zombie apocalypse began. Carl and Sophia are spending time on the couch, and Sophia tells Carl she isn't afraid anymore. She knows her parents are dead and it makes her feel happy when she pretends Glenn and Maggie are her parents. Andrea tells Rick he needs her. Rick says the relationship would never work, and everyone he has loved has died. Andrea stops finally talking to Dale's hat pretending he's still alive.
Glenn's squad gets back from the journey for food. Aaron is worried about a bottle of alcohol Eric found, still forgives its presence.
Carl is reading a book in his bed, and Rick comes in. Rick recommends he switch the lamp off, because it's using too much power. Rick asks Carl if his "eye" hurts. Carl says it's not an eye anymore, it's just a "hole in his face." Rick understands his son's situation, but reminds him there's no reason to be snappy towards him. Carl says Rick doesn't know anything, and Carl yells at him saying he doesn't know how gross is it to see himself in the mirror. Rick apologizes to Carl, and agrees with him. Meanwhile, someone is watching the Alexandria Safe-Zone through binoculars.
The unnamed overseer takes a flare gun out of his pocket.
Carl wakes up, and tells his father he had a nightmare. In the dream he killed a kid, which is possibly a reference of him killing Ben. Rick doesn't get any sleep and goes to Olivia's house for coffee. Unfortunately they have run out of coffee and Glenn's group didn't manage to find any to bring back with them. Abraham is going outside, and tells Rick he's taking only rtaking Michonne with him.
Abraham and Michonne leave the Safe-Zone. Michonne tells Abraham she's lonely, and Abraham says she can come to his and Holly's place whenever she wants. After killing a couple zombies, the armed overseer shows himself. Michonne puts her katana in front of the overseer's face, which doesn't please him. After a minor fight, overseer displays very good self-defense skills and takes Abraham as a hostage. He tells Michonne to get their leader, Rick.
Rick arrives and the overseer introduces himself as Paul Monroe, commonly called Jesus. Paul tells them he is from a community called Hilltop Colony, and he lives there with about 200 survivors. Paul is surprised that Rick and his people thought they were the only living ones left in the new world. Paul explains to Rick that their community would like to trade and communicate with other communities. Paul is ready to lead the group to Gregory (incorrectly named as "Kenneth" in this conversation), the leader of Hilltop. Rick offers his hand to Paul but then pulls him down from the car he was standing on and kicks him in the face until he blacks out. The group then takes him to the Safe-Zone and ties him up.
Rick gives the other residents various instructions for protecting the zone from possible attacks. Andrea asks Rick what if the group gets mad about them keeping Paul tied up. Rick doesn't answer, and goes to talk to Paul. As he tries to convince him that his people are not dangerous, Rick says he doesn't believe him. Rick, Michonne and Abraham go to see the town themselves. Rick says if the people are bad, they're going to take everything they have and leave them for dead.
In the zone, Carl is examined by Denise. Carl asks who the man is in the backroom but Denise only answers he is being kept there for safety. Carl knows he is a prisoner, and leaves. Carl goes to see the man, and Paul tells him to come in. Paul introduces himself to Carl, and says he's going to tell Carl anything he wants to know.
Rick returns and notices Carl talking with Paul. Rick tells Carl to leave. Rick informs Paul he is going to have to lead Rick and some others to Hilltop, and if he tries something he will be shot. Andrea tells Rick he needs her, and she is not going to get herself killed.
Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Glenn and Paul start to head north. Paul is tied up in the back of their van. After nightfall, the group holes up in a gas-station. Rick tells Paul to get up, and notices that Carl has stowed away in the van. Rick is threatening to shoot Paul if he is moves a muscle. Carl gets out of the van, and Paul convinces him didn't do anything to the boy. Carl says he didn't want to stay behind, and Glenn asks if they have to drive him back to safe-zone. Rick isn't able to say anything but he isn't happy.
A bunch of zombies are approaching the group. Paul appears to be trying to escape, but in fact he's helping the group by kicking the zombies down so others can "brain" them. After they beat the zombies, everyone has to sleep in the van. Paul says it's only a half day trip to his home from the gas station.
Next morning Paul tells Andrea to pull over so he can "go to little boys room". Rick pulls down his pants, and Paul shows his hands, which are untied. Paul could have freed himself at anytime but he was testing Rick - who passed the test. Both start to earn each others trust, and Paul welcomes everyone to Hilltop Colony.
Rick isn't ready to go inside, as he thinks they're outnumbered.
Paul however convinces Rick that if he wanted to kill him would have done so in the van. Carl convinces his father that Jesus and his people are not bad and Rick finally agrees. Rick and Carl along with Paul and the others walk into the Hilltop Colony. At the entrance there are two guards named Kal and Eduardo who do not want to allow Rick and the others to pass because are armed. Paul tells them to open the door and they finally oblige.
Once inside, Paul shows the others the Hilltop community and then takes them to the Barrington house where Gregory tells Paul that he wants to talk to Rick. Then Wesley, a Hilltop resident, informs Gregory that Ethan, another resident, has returned to Hilltop. Gregory asks Ethan where Andy and David are but Ethan replies saying that Negan has killed them and says he is holding Crystal hostage and will only release her if Ethan delivers a "message" to Gregory. Ethan whispers the "message" to Gregory and then stabs him. Rick then attacks Ethan and slices his throat. Rick sees all of the Hilltop residents staring at him in shock and Rick simply replies, "What?"
Paul explains the whole story to Rick. Ethan was sent by The Saviors, a large group of ruthless, mean people. They are led by a man named Negan. The Saviors kill every zombie nearby Hilltop and for this they demand half of Hilltops supplies as payment. Carl asks if they kill all the Saviors, could they get half of Hilltops supplies.
Then Rick comes across a group of people cremating Ethan. In that group is one of the citizens of Hilltop named Samuel who is angry about Ethan's death. Samuel gets attacks and hits Rick in the eye. Paul intervenes to say that Ethan attacked Rick and he was a coward who deserved to die.The next day Glenn sees Rick with the swollen eye and asks what happened. Rick tells him what happened at the funeral. After, Glenn tells Rick that Hilltop is a pretty good community where people are very united. Andrea then wakes up and asks if Glenn and Rick lost something. Rick tells her nothing in particular, and Andrea then hugs and kisses him on the cheek. Then Kal calls saying that Gregory wants to talk to Rick. Gregory tells Rick that he agrees with Rick's plan to face off against Negan.
The group begins to put supplies in the van. Paul finally says goodbye to the group and tells Rick that the day they face Negan he will go with them, along with Kal others from Hilltop. Andrea and Michonne disagree with the idea of helping the people in Hilltop. Michonne tells Rick that the people paid tribute to murderers. Andrea tells him that the people were so frightened when Ethan attacked Gregory and they did not know what to do. She says these people are pathetic. As they are leaving the Hilltop Colony, Rick states that their people can finally start living.