'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 12 recap: New allies emerge as Negan and Rick go toe-to-toe

Rick sought his revenge for Alexandria as a potential new ally emerged out of nowhere on Season 8, Episode 12 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

[SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this article will discuss Season 8, Episode 12 of "The Walking Dead"]

The latest episode picked up right where last week’s left off, with a giddy Negan organizing a biological attack on The Hilltop. He knows that the remaining survivors that are working against him are on their way, if not there already, and he wants to make another attempt at putting the fear of God into them. However, one of his top guys, Simon, is having second thoughts.

Previously, Simon disobeyed Negan’s orders by executing every one of the Scavengers. Now, he’s hoping to make a play against the only man who can punish him for his crime. Unfortunately for the entire situation, Rick soon gives him the chance.

The Saviors roll out en route to the Hilltop. Negan is traveling alone, soaking his beloved bat Lucille in walker guts. The hope is to wound people and let them turn. Simon approaches Dwight, who no one seems to know is a traitor, and insists that he rides with him, claiming it’s a direct order from Negan. As they travel, he starts to voice his doubts about the whole plan.

“We’ve thrown a lot at Rick, the widow and the King and they just keep coming. They keep fighting,” he says. “They don’t scare.”

Rick sees the Saviors coming after volunteering for scout duty in the wake of Carl’s death. He’s supposed to honk his horn when he sees them coming, but his anger gets the better of him and he launches a one-man-assault instead. It’s more than likely that any other character would have died instantly, but this is Rick Grimes we’re talking about. He comes from the side and slams into Negan’s vehicle, knocking it out of formation with the others. They dissapear in a compact town’s streets. Simon stops the caravan and demands everyone stay behind.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC (© 2018 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

His reasoning is that he doesn’t want to divide the troops and lead them into what is very likely a trap. However, based on his actions and the conversation with Dwight, it seems he’s got ulterior motives.

Meanwhile, back at The Hilltop, Maggie is preparing her hungry forces for war. While inspecting the perimeter, she discovers four crates. They bring them in to discover that they’re from a new faction, offering a trade and calling for a meeting. She’s reluctant, but Michonne convinces her and Enid to go and check it out. They’re greeted by three women in a van. One emerges in a spotless white pantsuit and introduces herself as Georgie along with Hilda and Midge. They ask for food and music records in exchange for knowledge. If that doesn’t sound like a fair trade, you’d be in agreement with Maggie, who hauls all three of them back to the Hilltop. However, it quickly becomes clear that it’s a bad time to take more prisoners thanks to an impending Savior attack.

Elsewhere, Simon and Dwight come upon the scene of Negan’s car. It’s on its side and there’s blood everywhere. It’s hard for them to tell if it’s from Negan or the bucket of guts he was riding with, but they decide not to bother investigating too much. Simon makes the point that Negan is either alive and will return, or dead and a moot point. Dwight seems to agree and they go back to the Saviors and report what they saw. Simon makes an impassioned speech calling for the group to carry out Negan’s plan, but with a twist. He wants everyone at the Hilltop wiped out so that they can move on to bigger and better things -- perhaps even a new group to control outside the state.

Just like that, Negan is on his own against Rick, and it’s not going well. After expelling all his ammunition chasing the villain into a building, Negan stops and tells Rick to come up some stairs for a fight. Rick throws his hatchet, instead, forcing Negan to fall two stories into the dilapidated building’s basement, where he promptly loses Lucille.

Rick gives chase and the two exchange verbal banter while they seek each other out in the dark. Negan, knowing his back is to the wall, offers Rick a deal. If he convinces the Hilltop and everyone else to fall in line, Negan will put their original deal back on, but instead of taking 50 percent of their loot, he’ll take 25 percent, which he considers charity. Also, Rick will need to surrender and be his prisoner.

Rick asks why he would believe in any offer from Negan given what he did to the Scavengers. Just like that, Negan is aware of Simon’s deception and is therefore a gigantic threat to him. As if his day wasn’t bad enough, Rick finds Lucille first.

He lights it on fire before breaking into a room that walkers are trapped in. Negan tackles him inside and the two trade blows surrounded by walkers. Rick is clearly ready to die there and now if it means he can watch Negan go, but the slippery villain manages to escape. Rick gets out soon after, but Negan is gone by the time he gets outside.

Back at the Hilltop, they’re surprised that they haven’t heard from the Saviors yet. Maggie has a change of heart and allows the new prisoners to go without incident. Georgie changes their deal. In exchange for the music only, she’ll give them her knowledge and the food that’s already in their van, noting the people there can use it more than the people where she comes from. In addition, she reveals that her knowledge is a textbook she’s compiled filled with medieval survival, farming and irrigation tactics. It seems her hope is for a uniform way for human beings to evolve in the new world. Maggie is grateful, and it seems a new faction has found its way into this whole mess.

The episode ends with the reveal of Negan, passed out in the passenger seat of a moving car. As the camera pans over, viewers see that Jadis, the former leader of the Scavengers, must have scooped him up as soon as they left the basement. It’s unclear where they’re going, but odds are good there’s nothing positive waiting for Negan there.