Previously, on The Walking Dead…
Rick’s group took out of one Negan’s outposts, thinking that it was Negan’s main compound. Afterward, Tara and Heath took off to scavenge for a couple of weeks.
A woman and a girl are walking along the beach, with the girl killing walkers she sees washed up in shore. She is about to take out one when the woman with her realizes that person is alive. It is Tara. The girl still wants to kill the person, because they are ‘supposed’ to. The woman says that if they don’t tell, they don’t have to do it. She asks if the girl will snitch. The girl says she won’t snitch, but she won’t help either. She stalks off angrily, and the woman pulls the person, who turns out to be Tara, out of the surf.
In what is apparently a flashback… 8 rusty cans of okra and a bottle of aspirin are all Heath and Tara have found in 2 weeks of scavenging. Heath is down, but Tara still thinks they can find something. They need ammo and meds for Alexandria. Tara has a point. They have to go further and further to scavenge, and if they haven’t found anything yet, that implies they haven’t gone far enough.
“There’s nothing left in this world that isn’t hidden. We just have to find it.” Tara says, repeating what she learned from Glenn. Heath isn’t impressed, but more importantly, he is still upset about what they did at ‘Negan’s’. And why did they do that? For food from Hilltop. Heath has come to realize that if it’s them or you, you have to choose you. But he doesn’t like this new reality. In a way, he misses the ignorance they previously had in Alexandria. I don’t blame him. The Alexandrians have had to accept a harsh new reality in the space of a few weeks, but the people in Rick’s group have had years to become the survivors they are now. Tara hasn’t had as long, but she’s had a lot more experience with ‘bad guys’ than Heath has done.
“Nobody’s in this together, not anymore.” Heath says. Tara disagrees, but Heath says she knows it’s true. They decide to push on for one more day, and then go back to Alexandria. Tara looks at her pistol, which has a carving of Lucille on the handle, although Tara doesn’t recognize what it is.
Back in the present(?), the woman who pulled Tara from the surf goes to check on her. She has put Tara in the shade and has left bottles of water, some food and a spear for her. When she leaves, Tara awakens, and it seems like maybe she was faking being out of it, as she spies on the woman while drinking the water. Tara pulls out the food, seeing that it is a salted fish. It’s pretty clear that she doesn’t find it too appetizing.
The woman leaves and Tara follows her, through some woods and to a large cabin, where 2 women are talking. They enter the cabin. Laughing children come out of the cabin and run off to play. Tara scouts around, seeing guard posts and people working outside. Strangely, everyone is female. Between being all women and hearing about ‘rules’, I am wondering if this is some kind of ‘Craster’s Keep’ kind of place, like on Game of Thrones.
There is a clicking sound, and two people open a shed full of weapons. All of the women and girls present go to get guns. I would have been running from the scene as soon as I saw the shed full of guns, but Tara sticks around. This is proven to be a bad idea when the women begin shooting at Tara. Tara finally runs, and manages to disarm a woman, knocking her to the ground. The woman looks at her.
“Go ahead.” she says, but Tara doesn’t kill her, only knocks her out with the butt of the rifle. But as Tara moves to escape, the young girl from the beach, Rachel, points a gun in her face, stopping Tara short.
“Doesn’t matter; we’re supposed to.” Rachel says ominously. The woman who tried to help Tara, Cindy, comes up and tries to talk Rachel down, but a gruff older woman intervenes and stares grimly at Tara. Clearly she isn’t just going to let Tara walk out of there.
In a flashback, we see the RV stuck at a blocked bridge. Tara and Heath find a camp on the other side of the blockage and decide to explore. They find a big pile of sand in the middle of the bridge, as if there was a construction project underway. Tara pulls at a big bag in the sand, which dislodges the whole pile, revealing a group of sand walkers, who had been buried underneath. As they try to escape the suddenly-revealed horde, Heath and Tara get separated. Tara falls over the bridge, and is washed down the river to the ocean, which is how she ended up on the beach.
Back in the present, the women’s camp is named Oceanside. The older lady, Natania, appears to be the leader, and she seems to refer to all of the women as her ‘granddaughters’. She and two other women, Kathy and Beatrice, question Tara, poking a hole in her story of having been on a fishing boat. They explain that normally they kill strangers on sight, so they can’t tell others about Oceanside, but Tara saved Beatrice’s life, and Cindy worked to save Tara, so they don’t know what to do. They will think on it. This seems ominous, but Tara doesn’t have much of a choice, as she is handcuffed to a radiator.
After dark, the women take Tara to a different building and remove her cuffs; they are having dinner and Tara seems to be invited. Tara is formally introduced to Cindy. Cindy says that her mother taught her ‘the way’, and she was trying to teach Rachel. Tara realizes what is being left unsaid.
“She hasn’t had to do it yet.” Tara observes, and when Cindy is silent, she adds, “Have you?”
Cindy is again silent for a long while, finally responding, “I’m a really good shot.”
At dinner, Natania offers to let Tara stay, which would solve the problem of Tara talking about Oceanside to others. If she wants, she can find her friend (I.e. Heath) and bring him here. Tara is surprised, as am I, because it seems like there are no men in the place. Tara, reading my mind, gets right to the heart of the matter, asking why there are no men at Oceanside. Apparently, the women were under attack from another group, and all of their men, and boys, went to fight and were killed. They are scared they will be found again, even though they have since relocated. This is why they kill anyone they see on sight.
They call Tara on her lie about the fishing boat, and Tara confesses that she is from a community, and that they have done things to protect themselves as well. She mentions how they took out another group in cold blood to protect themselves. She offers to have the Oceansiders join the Alexandrians in friendship. After some debate, Natania finally agrees to let Tara go back, with Beatrice accompanying her to check out Tara’s community. Cindy wants to go, but Natania says that Cindy hasn’t learned the rules and needs to stay ‘behind the gates’. If this works out, there will be other chances for Cindy to ‘go out’.
“There will be other chances.” Tara promises.
After only a short bit of walking, Tara asks how far it is to the bridge, and Kathy tells her that they are halfway there, which seems odd, given how far downriver Tara must have come. They hear a walker, and Kathy pulls out a knife very close to Tara’s head. Remember, Tara was in training to be a police officer, and it seems that her Spidey-senses are tingling. Tara outwardly seems calm, and says she will take care of the walker, but as she gets close to her target, she suddenly bolts. Kathy and Beatrice respond with a hail of bullets. Tara manages to ditch Kathy, but Beatrice finds her. They struggle, and Beatrice ends up pointing a gun at Tara. Tara begs for her life, but Beatrice explains that she can’t let her leave. The Oceansiders know about the Saviors, as they were the ones who killed all of the men and the boys over age 10 in their original group. They know that the satellite building that Tara’s group took out was just an outpost and that there are many more Savior outposts. The Saviors will now have destroyed Tara’s community. They can’t let Tara tell about Oceanside. If it comes down to it, Beatrice knows Tara will try to save herself.
Just as Beatrice is about to shoot Tara, Cindy knocks out Beatrice and saves Tara for a third time. She makes Tara swear to not tell about the community, then takes her to the bridge.
“Nobody’s evil; they just decide to forget who they are.” Cindy explains.
“Some people are evil, Cindy. I’ve seen it.” is Tara’s response.
When they arrive, Cindy insists on protecting Tara while she crosses the bridge. Tara wonders why Cindy is going out of her way to help.
“Why aren’t you like them?” Tara asks Cindy.
“Why aren’t you?” Cindy responds. Neither woman answers the question.
The sand walkers are all over the bridge, and Tara and Cindy fight their way to the halfway point. Cindy then takes up a position and takes out walkers with her rifle as Tara runs the rest of the way. She certainly is a good shot, as she stated earlier.
Tara gets back to the side of the bridge where she started. She has a flashback, seeing Heath trying to help her when they were being attacked by the sand walkers. She shouted that she would come help him, but fell over the side of the bridge before she could. In the present, Tara looks for Heath. She sees a walker that looks like him, but it is fortunately not Heath. Eventually, she finds his broken glasses and the RV tracks. He has taken off. At the side of the tracks she sees a card with ‘PPP’ written on it. Tara takes the card; it seems to be a clue. What is PPP? I am wondering if perhaps it represents an emergency plan or meeting location. Regardless, Tara begins heading for home.
Meanwhile, Beatrice and Kathy find Cindy and drag her away.
Tara makes her way back to Alexandria. When she stops for the night and checks the bag of supplies Cindy gave to her, she finds more salted fish, and a shell bracelet. She smiles, and puts on the bracelet.
When Tara returns to Alexandria, she meets Eugene at the gate, who tells her what happened with Negan and Denise. Tara is clearly devastated, and ends up in the infirmary: a place she would associate with Denise. Rosita is there too, and she asks Tara if she found any stash of weapons, anywhere that could give them what they need to ‘make things right’. Recall how desperate Rosita was last episode to find guns and have Eugene make bullets.
But Tara does not give up Oceanside. She looks at the shell bracelet and keeps true to her promise to Cindy, saying that she does not know of a place to get guns or ammo. It seems that her character is holding strong, even in the face of her recent devastating news.
This was a good episode to bring Tara back into the storyline, but I find that I am more curious about Heath, and what happened to him. He does not yet appear to have returned to Alexandria,. even though he had the RV and Tara was on foot. Additionally, the idea of an entire community of women hiding from Negan is intriguing, and I suspect this won’t be the last we hear of the people from Oceanside.
For those who play the No Man’s Land mobile game, this week’s Season 7 mission is a mix of scenarios from the actual episode. Tara is on the beach, trying to escape piles of sand walkers.
Do you watch The Walking Dead? Join the conversation on FoCC!