The answers we've been waiting for since episode 6 - and, true to TWD form, the reason for those scars and the rift between Alexandria and the other communities was NOTHING like I expected! Thanks to Corey Reed and Vivien Tse for writing and to Millicent Shelton for directing this unusual and fascinating episode. I expect comparisons with The Grove; very different, but equally as shocking and as well executed.
A round of applause for the lovely scene with Daryl and Judith by the water; shortly afterwards Judith exhibited more of her best Grimes traits by taking off on her own to help the friends of Alexandria - Carl going off to kill Negan, anyone?
...and what a good case for nuture over nature, as Negan pointed out to Michonne that Judith is exactly like her mother, and not one to take shit lying down. (Real mom Lori was better at making dinner and caustic asides. There was the time she went to rescue Rick from rescuing Hershel, but she had to be rescued by Shane. No, I'm being too harsh; having Judith in the first place was brave, in itself. And I got to understand/like her more as I watched S1, 2 & 3 again.)
When Michonne's old pal was first allowed into Alexandria (yes, Aaron, you were right, as ever), we were given no idea of how insane she really was, i.e, bringing up the kids to know that the strong survive and thrive, and that stringing up, branding and slashing at pregnant women is the way forward.
Particularly pertinent that they escaped through the manhole cover. That whole scene when Michonne was crying out to Negan-in-waiting Linus, 'I don't want to have to hurt you' was so-oo good. I'm gutted that Michonne is leaving in Season 10, but I hear she may join Rick - hope so. With Judith and RJ too, preferably, though Judith would be a great loss for the show, too. Love that she remembered exactly what happened, all along.
Other stuff I liked:
- Nice to see the lovely Scott again, in the flashbacks, and a special guest appearance of ex-wife-of-Negan Frankie, with not an LBD in sight - wonder what happened to the two of them? Tanya, too? Don't think I've seen them since the time jump.
- In the end scenes, I loved Michonne and Judith's horsedrawn wagon made out of an old car!
- Throughout, I was once more struck by what a good actress Cailey Fleming is.
Incidentally, I notice that TWD episode 14s are always particularly good, a sort of coming together/blowing up of all that has happened in that season, before the crescendo of the last two episodes - like when Morgan and Rick's pain reached boiling point in S8:14 Still Gotta Mean Something, Maggie finally talking to Daryl again and Sacha and Rosita making up in S7:14 The Other Side, and the real start of the Negan war in S6:14 Twice As Far. If you binge-watch the seasons again, you really get to notice the structure of the whole.
And finally - talking of all that Daryl and Michonne have been through together, here is a look back at a few of those moments - from the wild woman who turned up at the prison, until the saddest moment of all.