‘The Walking Dead’ Recap ‘Rock in the Road’: Surrounded

In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, Rick begins to gather his troops to form together to declare all out war on the Saviors…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Following a long winter break, ‘The Walking Dead’ finally returned on Sunday night with an episode that began the building process towards an epic upcoming battle that will pit Rick Grimes and several communities against Negan and the Saviors.

In ‘The Walking Dead’ comic books, the communities duke it out in a storyline known as ‘All Out War’ but there was a major change thrown into the latest episode when Rick and his group from Alexandria ran into a gun wielding gang who we’ve never met before. This all happened after Father Gabriel disappeared from Alexandria with all the remaining food and weapons left in town.

Did Gabriel betray his friends or is the good father gearing up for his part in the war to come?

The episode also saw the first meeting between Rick and King Ezekiel from the Kingdom, which will be a very interesting partnership going forward. Rick has finally decided that its time for the Saviors to be toppled, but he’s going to need allies to take Negan down.

That means the Kingdom and the Hilltop are going to need to team up with Alexandria if they are going to even have a chance to topple the Saviors.

There wasn’t as much action in this episode outside of a giant wire tied between two cars that cut down a row of walkers that definitely earns zombie kill of the week.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Rock in the Road’…

The Hilltop

When last we left the survivors on ‘The Walking Dead’, Rick had a tearful reunion with his good pal Daryl, who managed to escape the Saviors thanks to a good Samaritan at the Sanctuary as well as an assist from Jesus, who managed to sneak into the community after stowing away with them following a recent raid on the Hilltop.

As we pick up in the latest episode, Rick and the others are meeting with Gregory to try and get him on board with the plan to take out the Saviors once and for all. Gregory made a deal with Rick previously under the guise that they would become trade partners after Alexandria wiped out Negan and his people.

Unfortunately, Rick took down an outpost but came up well short when he actually ran into Negan and the real power of the Saviors.

So Gregory is clearly hesitant to team up with Rick on his plan ‘B’ to tackle the problem of the Saviors, not to mention he’s a coward who would rather bend the knee than to stand up to his oppressors. Still when Rick and the others leave Gregory’s mansion, they are greeted by several people from the Hilltop who ask Maggie if they are planning an attack that would wipe out the Saviors.

The people of the Hilltop are tired of living under a tyrant’s rule and Negan’s latest attack where he busted through the gates and allowed a herd of walkers to tear through the town was just further proof that life with the Saviors can only gets worse, never better.

So while Rick failed to get Gregory on board with his plan, the people of the Hilltop seem ready to fight but sadly they don’t have many weapons and their numbers are still dramatically low. That’s when Jesus makes another suggestion that perhaps it’s time for Rick to gain an audience with King Ezekiel and the Kingdom.

The Kingdom

On the outskirts of the Kingdom, Rick and the others are met by Richard — the leader of Ezekiel’s peace keeping force — who leads them into town and a meeting with his majesty. Remember, Richard is one of the people who knows about the Kingdom’s deal with the Saviors and detests them so he’s clearly ready to fight back with someone willing to lead the charge.

A journey into the Kingdom also provides a reunion with Morgan, who has been living there for weeks after he separated from Alexandria on a mission to go find Carol. Morgan tells Rick and Daryl that he caught up to Carol after she was attacked by the Saviors, but he kept her safe and killed the man who was trying to go after her.

Morgan then tells them that Carol was patched up at the Kingdom and then left to go her own way. He’s honoring Carol’s wishes to be left alone although the broken hearted look on Daryl’s face told exactly how he’s feeling now that she’s gone. Of course, Carol really hasn’t left after we see her run into Benjamin, who has been foraging through the woods as part of his continued training under Morgan to become part of the Kingdom’s security force. Carol offers the kid a few lessons while assuring him that she’s still doing OK because that’s what Ezekiel would be most concerned about.

Finally the time comes for Rick and the others to meet King Ezekiel and just like everybody else they are taken back with his royal appearance not to mention the giant tiger that sits by his side.

King Ezekiel welcomes Rick and the others to his Kingdom but seems hesitant to join their cause after he explains the plan to take down Negan and the Saviors. That’s when Rick tells King Ezekiel the story that inspired the name of tonight’s episode about a rock that sat in the middle of a road that led to a kingdom just like this one. In that story, people kept running into the rock — it would cause horses to break their legs and wagons to smash their wheels — until one day a girl was so utterly frustrated after her family’s supplies were lost after crashing into the rock that she decided to dig it up.

Once the girl got the rock out of the ground, she found a bag of gold underneath. The king had left it there because he knew the person willing to dig up that rock deserved a reward. It was painstaking work, but the reward was worth it. The same could be said about tackling the Saviors — it’s dangerous and blood will be shed, but the reward could be well worth the effort.

After a night of contemplation — along with a suggestion from Morgan that there must be a better way — King Ezekiel ultimately turns down Rick’s request but says he will give Daryl sanctuary in the Kingdom because the Saviors never come inside so he’ll be safe from them in there. King Ezekiel has kept his people safe by keeping the deal with the Saviors a secret not to mention he hasn’t lost anybody the way that Rick and his people lost Glenn and Abraham so he hasn’t seen Negan at his worst — but eventually he will.

Still, Rick tells Daryl to stay behind because he’ll be safe at the Kingdom and hopefully he can continue to work on Ezekiel to get him to join the cause because without him, there’s no chance the Saviors can be conquered.

Bird on a Wire


On the road back from the Kingdom, Rick and the survivors run into a road block set up by Negan and his people. It wasn’t there to keep Rick from traveling home, but instead it was a divergent to keep a herd of walkers from getting any closer to the Sanctuary.

At the end of the row of cars blocking the road were two more vehicles with a long trip wire tied between them. On each end was a giant vat of explosives and along the wire were several sticks of dynamite so when the herd got too close, the entire place would explode, leveling the zombies getting too close to the Sanctuary.

Thanks to a long range walkie talkie stolen by Jesus when he was helping to rescue Daryl, they are able to hear Negan’s plans as he talks to his people at home. Negan is flipping out about Daryl’s escape and how he killed Fat Joey, which also ruined his nickname for Skinny Joey, who will now only be known as ‘Joey’. With Daryl gone, Negan sends his forces to Alexandria to look for him, so that gives Rick and the others time to disarm the bombs and steal the explosives for themselves.

The C-4 and the dynamite are taken but the herd is drawing near so it forces Rick and Michonne to drive the cars — with the giant wire attached to both of them — through the giant group of walkers. As a whole lot of zombies are cut in half, Rick and Michonne are able to clear a path so they can put back the cars where Negan’s people left them and then escape back to Alexandria before the Saviors arrive.

Now Rick and the survivors have a ton of dynamite and a whole lot of C-4 and that’s just one more weapon that can be used in the upcoming war against the Saviors.

No Statute of Limitation

Rick and the rest of the group get back just ahead of Simon’s arrival at Alexandria. Rick puts on an admirable act that they have no clue where Daryl is at, much less that he escaped the Sanctuary, and the Saviors have free reign to search the place for him.

One of the stops is the building where all the supplies and weapons are held but the place is completely looted as Rick learns for the first time that Gabriel made off with everything they had. He plays it off like the community is hurting for food and they were just about to make a run for more supplies so they could make sure to have enough to tithe to the Saviors when they return the next time.

Hearing Rick say all the right things puts Simon at ease after there’s no trace of Daryl at Alexandria. He leaves but then gives a final warning that if Daryl ever shows back up again that the people of Alexandria will be severely punished if he’s not handed back over to Negan. The Saviors leave but Rick now has a whole new problem to deal with after Gabriel disappeared.


As much as the rest of the group wants to believe that Gabriel has left Alexandria while stealing all of their supplies, Rick just doesn’t buy it. Over the past few months, Rick has come to trust Gabriel and he’s become a valuable part of this community so he can’t believe that he would just leave without any kind of notice, much less leave the entire town with no food or weapons with which to survive.

Rick eventually finds Gabriel’s Bible left face down in his house along with the supply log that was left behind. It’s clearly a clue that Gabriel was giving Rick a sign of where to find him. Inside the log, Rick sees the word ‘boat’, which reminds him of the place where he found his last bastion of supplies while scavenging with Aaron several weeks back.

Neither one of them knows how Gabriel knew about that place but it’s clear that’s where he’s headed.

So Rick and a garrison from Alexandria leave to find the boat where they hope to find Gabriel. Once they arrive, Rick and the others are quickly surrounded by a large group of gun wielding people who gather around them in a circle with weapons drawn. Rather than panic that this is just another turn for the worse, Rick looks up and cracks a smile before the scene fades to black.

Who are these people that have Rick and the others surrounded and why is he so happy about it? Did he spot Gabriel amongst the mass of people? Does he see the group with all their weapons and realize that they could be the salvation to help take down Negan and the Saviors?

Whatever the case, Rick hasn’t smiled in a long, long time but now it seems he’s feeling something he hasn’t felt since before that fateful night when Abraham and Glenn were butchered.

He has hope.

‘The Walking Dead’ returns next Sunday night at 9pm ET on AMC.

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