'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 13 recap: The battle for The Hilltop leaves things hanging by a thread

At long last, the Saviors and The Hilltop had their battle during Season 8, episode 13 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” With Negan temporarily out of the picture, things go awry on both sides of the conflict as walkers get involved.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The episode, titled “Do Not Send Us Astray” began with the remaining refugees from The Hilltop, Alexandria and The Kingdom alerting the base that The Savior’s convoy had arrived. Things are tense as they all wait eagerly for nightfall. Maggie is leading the show, hoping to use her 38 hostages as human shields to protect them from the attack. Unfortunately for her, thanks to Rick’s intervention during last week’s episode, the relatively sensible Negan is not running the show on the other end. Instead, it’s Simon who seems to have adopted the policy of killing everyone that crosses them rather than use them as resources.

When the time comes, Simon orders his people to go at them full-tilt. Dwight, who is secretly on the side of our heroes, notes that this isn’t what Negan would have wanted. Additionally, in the event their maniacal leader returned, Simon will have a lot to answer for. Still, Simon pushes through the gates undeterred. Maggie, however, was ready for him and blocks further entry with a bus. Just like that, The Saviors are sitting ducks and get chewed to pieces.

Simon and Dwight manage to take cover and find that they’ve got a clear path to sneak up on Tara. Simon plans to take her out, but Dwight is more hesitant given his allegiance to The Hilltop. When they get close, Darly manages to warn Tara, but Dwight fires an arrow into her shoulder just in time to stop Simon’s advance. It’s unclear from the moment what his true intentions were, but it might be more fatal than anyone realizes as Negan ordered his people to outfit their arrow tips with infected guts. Tara isn’t alone. Tobin gets cut pretty bad on his chest in the fray, as do a handful of others. Simon manages to push them back and calls for an advance, but it’s yet another trap and their forced into a hasty retreat. They’re cut off, however, by Rick and the rest of the returning lookouts, but Simon and Dwight managed to get away.

“I wanted them dead. All of them. Negan most of all,” Maggie says.

“Yeah… me too,” Rick replies, before confessing that he went after Negan alone.

Meanwhile, Daryl informs Tara about what he saw, but she’s had an incredibly abrupt change of heart. She used to have an itchy trigger finger for Dwight, but it seems winging her with an arrow somehow made her realize that he’s stuck on the wrong side of things. She remembers that the only reason she made it to this group is because she joined in line with The Governor. While she makes a strong point, it's new, and Daryl isn't on board.

Austin Amelio as Dwight, Steven Ogg as Simon - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

AMC  (Dwight and Simon found themselves led into a trap by The Hilltop. )

A calm washes over The Hilltop as the next day falls into night. They’ve patched up their wounded, corralled the prisoners back into their cage and everyone is bunked up inside the mansion for safety. However, it doesn’t take long before Negan’s plan starts to work. The wounded turn from their infected cuts and find their way to the sleeping survivors. One even falls down an entire flight of stairs, but it seems The Hilltop soldiers are fast asleep after a night of fighting and no one wakes up. Everyone only wakes when things get completely crazy and people start dying left and right inside. As Rick and the gang clear the place out, a new debacle errupts outside.

Earlier in the day, viewers saw Henry, the young boy who lost his brother to an execution by one of the captive Saviors, pick up a rifle. With the cover of night, the boy goes to the apparently unguarded prisoners to demand the man who killed his brother come forward. One prisoner, who asked Maggie to help in the fight against the Saviors the night before, tries to talk him down but it doesn’t work.

Henry makes the colossal mistake of getting inside the pen with the Savior captives just as one of their numbers turns. Chaos ensued and Jared was able to tackle Henry and take his gun. Just like that, there was a massive prison break. However, things weren’t all bad for The Hilltop survivors. Maggie goes outside to see the pen empty, but a good number of the prisoners were still there. In fact, most of them were trying to re-secure the gates after the escapees took off.

Inside, Carol carries out the unfortunate task of putting Tobin down before they all put together what The Saviors did with their weapons. Daryl goes inside to break the news to Tara, who may or may not have been hit with an infected arrow. One thing is for sure, it seems Tara just became the loyalty test for Dwight and he’d very well better pass it before Daryl finds him as he’s out for Dwight's blood.