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The Walking Dead‘s Mid-Season Finale Promised Big Things to Come

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In an episode that saw nearly every character’s storyline converge for the first time this season, fans finally got their answer as to whether the real Rick Grimes will ever make another appearance.

After updating viewers on some familiar faces in each community to show just how many different people want to kill Negan, it was time for the real action to begin.

At the Saviors’ compound, Daryl was busy making a mad dash to escape — a breakout that ended with the brutal killing of Fat Joey, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Meanwhile, with Rick still out on a supply run with Aaron, Spencer decided it was a good time to try and have a friendly chat with Negan about who should be in charge in Alexandria. However, his attempted coup didn’t go as expected, as Negan used a knife to perform a literal gut check on him as his friends and neighbors stood helplessly by.

Unfortunately, watching Spencer die was the last straw for Rosita, who then fired Eugene’s homemade bullet at Negan, only to miss and hit his barbed wire-wrapped bat Lucille instead. This mistake ultimately cost Olivia her life and earned Eugene a one-way ticket back with the Saviors.

However, there was at least one good thing to come out of this gruesome showdown — the return of the Rick Grimes we all know and love. The episode ended with the first major moment of hope yet this season, as Rick, Michonne, Rosita, Tara and Carl showed up to Hilltop for an emotional reunion with Maggie, Sasha, Enid and the newly-free Daryl, and began to plot Negan’s end.

The Walking Dead will return for the second half of season 7 in February.

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com