Where We Left Off:
Last week, we moved closer to the two timelines merging and finally got a good chunk of backstory. Naomi pulled a wounded John out of the firefight, and that group got away from the skirmish as Alicia killed Mel and several Vultures escaped. We saw that, in the past, Mel was brought to the stadium for medical care, but was allowed to leave by Madison. When Nick and Alicia went to look for him at night to bring him back, the remaining Vultures arrived, unleashing a massive horde of walkers and starting a blazing fire with Nick and Alicia trapped in the parking lot. In the present, the SWAT truck arrives at the burned-out, overrun stadium to try and get medical supplies to save John, with the fate of Madison left up in the air.
What Went Down:
In the open, Madison stumbles upon a campsite and holds someone at gunpoint, asking for the keys to the vehicle. She falls over a trip wire and the person turns around. It’s Althea, and the vehicle in question is the SWAT truck. In the present, the truck is inside the stadium, surrounded on all sides by the horde of walkers. They need supplies for John. Back in the past, Madison is searching the truck, because the keys Al gave her were the wrong ones. Al gets free, but Madison knocks her out and escapes with her interview tapes.
At the stadium, the group prepares to try and get John what he needs to survive. Morgan and Naomi get out and run after Al uses the mounted guns to clear a path. Alicia, Strand and Luciana arrive and things escalate. In the past, Madison sits in the car and quickly goes through Al’s tapes, looking for any sign of her kids. Al finds her and says she wants Madison’s story. At the Diamond, Naomi and Morgan hack their way through the corridors, looking for the infirmary, which they find and use to stock up on supplies. Charlie films John giving a goodbye message for Naomi. Luciana launches an RPG at the truck, and the door is ripped open.
Al is interviewing Madison,trying to document her story along with all the others. To get her to open up, Al gives her own story, about being in a place where a warlord was shaking down the local population for supplies, claiming the strength of an army he didn’t really have. In the present, Alicia is inside the SWAT truck, arm around Charlie’s throat, pointing a gun at Al. She makes Al radio Morgan and Naomi that it’s safe to come out, but John holds the talk button down while they keep talking, alerting the others to the danger. Naomi rushes Alicia, as we cut back to the Madison interview. She wanted to build a place where her kids could be safe, and wouldn’t have to do what she did by trying to rob Al. In the truck, Alicia and Al stop fighting when Alicia realizes that Al knew her mother. Cutting back to the interview (now being watched by Alicia), Madison tells a story about her kids nursing a dying bird back to health. They refused to give up hope, and she wants to preserve that same spirit.
Alicia gets out of the truck and confronts Naomi. She says Madison is dead because of her. Morgan stands in front of her and Naomi says all she wants to do is save John. Morgan says she can be the person she wants to be, all she has to do is decide it. He steps up to the gun and tells her things can change. He stepped aside for Nick, but won’t do the same for her. He gets through to her and takes the gun and they all walk away.
In the past, Al cuts Madison loose after the interview and sends her away with food. Down the road, Madison happens upon Alicia and Nick with Strand and Luciana. They had become separated not long after what happened at the dam. In the distance, they spot a baseball stadium and Madison tells them this is their new home, and that they can help people. With both groups united in the SWAT truck, Al asks for the rest of Madison’s story and Alicia tells her to pull over.
Naomi treats John and tells him that her real name is June. Strand, Luciana and Madison had fought through the walkers in the parking lot and cleared a path for Nick and Alicia to get out of the car and get inside the stadium. But before they could get to the gate, the Vultures opened it and got out of there. Mel took the car they had been trapped in, and saved Charlie from being eaten. The others in the stadium loaded up their cars to leave, not believing that the walls would hold. Madison used a road flare to get the attention of the horde, sacrificing herself to save the group. She ran back into the stadium, leading the horde inside so the others could escape and the dead would be trapped. Stuck at the gate and totally surrounded, she drops the flare, which ignites the gas the Vultures had poured out. She gave up her life so her kids could stay who they were. It was never about the stadium, it was about the people inside it and a hope for the future.
Where We Go From Here:
The first half of this season was excellent, really building on the momentum from the previous season and using a unique storytelling device to let the narrative unfold at a nice pace while still retaining a mysterious element. I can’t wait to see what the second half of the season brings us, after the break!
What did you think of this week’s episode?
Did Madison somehow survive the stadium horde?
Can Alicia go back to being who Madison wanted her to be?
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