Rick and others have finally reached the Hilltop Colony, home of Paul Monroe. Rick is still uncertain about entering the place, but Paul attempts to convince him that they are not bad people. Paul is slightly frustrated, as he did everything in his power to convince Rick he wasn't a threat, pointing out that he could have killed Rick in the van while he was sleeping, but didn't. Paul tells him he just has to trust him. Carl says to Rick that Paul is not a "bad guy". Rick finally agrees with Paul and Carl, and is ready to go into the Hilltop. Paul is happy to hear this and, to ease Rick's nerves, reveals that the Hilltop ran out of ammo a while ago, but he will allow Rick's group to carry their guns, which makes Rick feel a little better.
Two Hilltop guards, Kal and Eduardo, are making conversation when Kal spots the group approaching the gates. Eduardo panically asks if it's Negan, but the guards are revealed to see it's Paul. Paul orders Kal to open the gates, but the latter refuses to do so until the group is disarmed. Jesus reminds him he's in charge of who gets to come in, and orders Kal once more to open the gates, which he does after some hesitation. Inside, Hilltop seems to be a full-fledged settlement, with farms, chicken coops, stables and craftsmen. It's also teeming with survivors, including numerous children. After recounting the history of Hilltop and the Barrington House, Paul introduces the group to Gregory, a man who "keeps the trains running on time". Rick speaks with Gregory briefly, before they are interrupted. A resident, Wesley, rushes in and informs Gregory that Ethan has returned, but that he's alone.
Gregory questions Ethan about what happened to the rest of his group, immediately asking if it was Negan. Ethan tearfully says "they" said it wasn't enough and that Hilltop wasn't meeting their end of the bargain. He adds that the rival group still has Crystal, and will return her if Ethan delivers a message. When questioned about what the message is, Ethan stabs Gregory, saying, "I'm sorry". Rick tackles Ethan while the latter protests, wanting to finish the job. While struggling on the ground, Ethan gets the upper hand and attempts to slash Rick's throat. Rick yells for help, but Ethan tells the residents that they'd be killing Crystal if they tried to stop him. Rick manages to push the blade into Ethan's throat, cutting his jugular and killing him almost instantly.
Rick gets up covered in Ethan's blood, while the crowd looks at him in horror. Rick glances at them, then breaks the silence, asking, "What?".
- Rick Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Michonne Hawthorne
- Paul Monroe
- Earl Sutton
- Harlan Carson
- Hilltop Colony residents
- First appearance of Kal.
- First appearance of Eduardo.
- First appearance of Gregory.
- First (and last) appearance of Wesley. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Ethan. (Alive)
- First appearance of Harlan Carson.
- First appearance of Brianna.
- First appearance of Johnny.
- First appearance of Earl Sutton.
- First mention of Negan.
- First mention of Mandy.
- First mention of Crystal.
- First mention of Andy.
- First mention of David.
- This issue introduces the most characters at the same time, and has several mentions of other characters who don't appear in the very issue. This is similar to #2.