Synopsis of 7×04: In an extended 90-minute episode, Negan makes his first appearance since the season premiere, arriving at the Alexandria Safe Zone to collect his stuff.
Meanwhile, Rosita and Spencer are trying to leave through the gate to scavenge things for Negan’s visit and hassling Eugene to open it for them. Spencer gives him the opportunity to go with them, but he declines, and Rosita is derisive of Eugene’s activities since returning to Alexandria. He’s trying to fix the wiring on something for Negan and playing to his strengths, but she’s not impressed.
It doesn’t really matter anyway, as no one is leaving. Negan shows up early and there is a gorgeous shot of him silhouetted against the gate as he knocks to be let in. Spencer has the gall to ask him who he is before Rick shows up at the gate to let Negan inside. His group is set loose on Alexandria to go through the homes in search of supplies and Rick is left to hold Lucille for the duration of Negan’s visit.
As he walks into Alexandria and admires the place, there’s a hilariously comical zoom-out that matches the tone of last week’s episode and may just become commonplace in Negan’s scenes. Unfortunately, when Rick tries to talk to Daryl, Negan stops him and warns everyone to be cool. This is obviously his rodeo now.
Dwight approaches Rosita and Spencer, taking their supplies and their guns from the vehicle they were going to leave in, and tasks them with bringing him back Daryl’s bike.
Outside Alexandria, Michonne is still sitting on a rusted out car when she sees a walker far off. She tries to shoot it… and misses. And misses again and again and again until she’s forced to kill it with her katana. At least she manages to accidentally shoot a deer in the process.
Negan’s people are taking large furniture items from the houses and the man himself is enjoying the Alexandrian ‘hospitality’ to the fullest extent. One of his men brings Negan Deanna’s old video recorder that she used to interview Rick and his group. He watches a little bit of it, compliments Rick’s crazy Ricktatorship beard, and then makes fun of him for essentially getting soft.
He also asks about ‘the sick girl’ at their last meeting, meaning Maggie. While making jokes about her, Negan is interrupted by Father Gabriel. It leads to my favorite Neganism of the night, when addressing Father Gabriel, he says, “Holy crap, you are creepy as shit! Sneaking up on me wearing that collar with that creepy ass smile.” Nonetheless, Gabriel offers to take him to Maggie’s ‘grave,’ an empty grave he dug to hide her real whereabouts.
The moment is interrupted by a gunshot, wherein Negan and Rick find Carl in a standoff with some of Negan’s men. They’re only supposed to take half of everything, but they’re talking all of the medicine and Carl’s not having it. Not without some amount of pride, Negan reminds Carl and Rick what happens when they don’t fall in line. Carl gives up the gun to his father, who immediately hands it to Negan, who immediately asks for the rest.
This leads them to Olivia and the food storage, where Negan’s men go about taking all the guns from Alexandria. Rick and Negan hang back so that Negan can benevolently let him know that he’s not taking any of the food. He does eventually oversee the gun removal and is delighted to find the bazooka, realizing, “It was you guys that took out little Timmy and the dick brigade?”
Unfortunately, Olivia’s meticulous record-keeping works against them when Negan’s group finds out that two guns are unaccounted for. He immediately threatens Olivia’s life if the Alexandrians can’t produce the missing guns.
In response, Rick holds a meeting and urges whoever has the guns to give them up. It’s a largely defeatist speech and at least one person questions why they need two guns when they can’t possibly be a threat to the Saviors. Rick’s only response is to ask if he has them. Aaron’s boyfriend asks what happens after they give up the guns, how they’ll get out of this predicament, and Rick says they won’t, Negan’s in charge now.
He asks again who has the guns and no one answers. Aaron follows up his ‘WTF’ look before his boyfriend spoke up with one for Eugene, when he realizes that not everyone in in attendance at the meeting.
While Spencer recovers Daryl’s bike and grumbles about how this is all Rick’s fault, Rosita dashes off into the woods. He yells for her and tips off a group of walkers to her presence, causing her to have to fight for her life, though she does so easily. She pulls a gun off of one of the walkers, to his dismay, and adamantly says this is not their life.
Rick, Aaron, and Father Gabriel are going through Spencer’s house, looking for the hidden guns with little success. Gabriel tries to have faith and remain upbeat in the face of this adversity, even as Rick remains broken. He does thank Gabriel for his quick thinking with the graves and they all continue to look. Eventually, Rick finds them hidden in a floor air vent. He takes them to Negan, but demurs on giving an answer to who had them.
Before they leave, Rick asks him for a moment and after pleading a second time, Negan allows it. Rick rushes off to find Michonne and they argue over turning in the rifle. He knows she’s practicing her shooting for revenge, while he’s still too scared to make or plan any moves. He doesn’t want anyone else to die.
Ultimately, Rick gets the rifle from her and turns it over to Negan. With that goodwill in place, he tries to get Daryl back, which Negan declines, though he gives a silent Daryl a chance to plead his case. He announces to the entire group that they better have something interesting for him the next collection time or someone else is going to meet Lucille.
Spencer and Rosita return with the bike, which they give to Dwight. In return, he gives Rosita back her hat and then offers Daryl his bike if he just says the word. Again, he doesn’t speak. Later, Rosita yells at Spencer for hiding guns from her when she was running through the woods risking her life for them. He admits that she was right and they don’t have to live like this. After he leaves, she pulls the gun from the wheelwell.
Negan thinks they’ve refined their understanding and has Rick thank him before he leaves, which makes him laugh. Secretly, he let’s Rick know that he just slid his dick down his throat and Rick thanked him for it.
After he’s gone, Rick confronts Spencer about taking the guns because Olivia’s life was in the balance. He’s only concerned that Rick went into his home and Rick immediately comes back with the fact that Spencer is weak and got lucky up until this point. Spencer thinks they should have made a deal when they had the chance, throwing the deaths of his recent friends in his face. Rick threatens to break his jaw if he ever says anything like that again.
Later that night, Rick is rolling out sleeping bags because the Saviors took all of the mattresses from Alexandria. Michonne confronts him about giving up the rifle they hadn’t known about and he urges her once again to play by their rules. He shares about Shane and how he knows Judith isn’t his daughter, but he accepted that in order to keep her alive. In the end, Michonne says she’ll try to accept this new reality.
Michonne goes back to the same rusted out vehicle, only to smell something burning in the distance. She finds a giant pile of burning mattresses as another fuck you from the Saviors.
In the final moments, Rosita picks up the shell casing from Negan’s earlier gun testing. She knocks on Eugene’s door and demands that he make her a bullet with it. Next week, it’s a check in with Maggie, Sasha, and the Hilltop.