After the first part of Rick’s plan to subdue Negan and the Saviors reached a point of relative success, it was time for him to launch the next phase of his scheme in Season 8, Episode 6, titled “The King, the Widow, and Rick.”
The episode opens with Rick, Maggie and Carol, all the respective leaders of the factions that make up the good guys, corresponding through letters about what happened in the battle that’s been unfolding over the last five episodes. They’ve sustained heavy losses, particularly the Kingdom, but Rick claims victory. The Sanctuary is surrounded by walkers and they have scouts making sure no one opens the doors. Rick reveals that the Saviors have two days before they return, likely to demand a surrender.
A big, albeit mysterious, part of the next phase of Rick’s plan seems to be contacting Jadis of the Scavengers. Fans will remember that Rick previously thought he had made allies out of them, but they aligned themselves with Negan at a very inopportune moment. Still, with the tide shifting, he knows he can’t just leave them out there in the wild to be a problem for later.
He shows them the polaroid photos he’s been taking throughout the battle to prove that they really have whipped the Saviors into some kind of submission. He offers them a one-time chance to switch sides again and be a part of the new world. Not being much for a lot of words, despite the fact they all must have spoken properly for decades prior to the apocalypse, Jadis simply says “no” to the offer and takes Rick prisoner.
Meanwhile, back at the Hilltop, Maggie, Gregory and Jesus are struggling to figure out what to do with the many Savior prisoners that were brought back. Gregory suggests they build gallows and start executing them. Maggie isn’t ruling out any options and it seems as though she allows construction on gallows to begin. Construction goes on all night, but in the morning it’s revealed that she greenlit the building of a prison, not gallows. Gregory protests, but it’s useless, Maggie has already decided that he’s basically a Savior and throws him into the cage as well.
While this is happening, Carol goes without Ezekiel to meet Rick. In an effort to catch up on the characters that weren’t able to go to the big battle, we see that Carl has been tracking the stranger he met in the first episode of the season. Although Rick scared him off, Carl felt compelled to help him. He finds the man, whose name is Siddiq, is making walker traps. It turns out, his mother believed that killing the dead sets their souls free. Carl begins asking him the prerequisite questions for someone to join the community. On the way, they encounter a group of walkers and Carl helps him “free their souls," which very nearly costs him his life.
Additionally, the bad-decisions train keeps moving with Michonne and Rosita. They were injured in the initial melee with the Saviors last season. Hating that they couldn’t help bring down the Sanctuary, they both set off on a mission to simply lay eyes on it so that they can feel better. However, on the way they discover two Saviors at a secret weapons cache. They have a truck rigged with speakers that will take care of the herd surrounding Negan’s compound lickity split. Despite blowing one of them up with a rocket launcher - yes, a rocket launcher - one still manages to get away.
Luckily, the larger victory is preserved as Daryl and Tara come out of nowhere and take out the speaker truck. The foursome admits they have more work to do before they can rest easy for the two days leading to their return, and they venture off together. Armed with a weapons cache, it looks like Daryl wants to make good on his plan from last week to end the Sanctuary once and for all.
The episode ends on a rather chilling note as Jesus goes to Maggie to thank her for her choice to let the Savior prisoners live. She informs him that the move was purely tactical. The Saviors might have taken prisoners of their own and having a whole camp full of bargaining chips could be useful. However, if they aren’t useful, Maggie says she’ll kill them.