"Service" is the fourth episode of the seventh season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the eighty-seventh episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 13, 2016. It was written by Corey Reed and directed by David Boyd.
Michonne and Rick lie in bed, back to back. Michonne turns and gazes at Rick who she believes is sleeping before quietly slipping out of bed, getting dressed, and retrieving a hidden sniper rifle from the living room fireplace. Rick quietly watches as she leaves the house with her katana and rifle.
Michonne sits on top of a rusty truck in the middle of a field. She scans her surroundings; the rifle rests on her lap.
Rosita and Spencer drive up to the gate, preparing to leave for a supply run. Spencer asks Eugene if he would like to help. Eugene states he is repairing a portable audio system for the Saviors. Negan arrives with a large group of over 30 Saviors; Daryl is among them, looking injured and pale. Negan bangs on the gate and demands to be let in; Spencer opens the gate for them, after initially not recognising Negan. Rick meets Negan at the gate and notes that he came earlier than planned. Negan strides into Alexandria and thrusts Lucille into Rick's hands, saying, "Hold this."
Rick tries to check in with Daryl, whose face is swollen and bruised, but Negan forbids Rick or any of the Alexandrians from speaking to him otherwise they will face consequences. Rick tells Negan that they already set aside half of their supplies, but Negan says he'll be the one to decide which supplies to take. Arat, one of Negan's lieutenants, orders the Saviors to start searching the houses. Dwight confiscates Rosita and Spencer's guns and taunts them by taking Rosita's hat and pouring her water out. He orders them to bring back Daryl's motorcycle. Rosita and Spencer leave Alexandria.
In the field, Michonne sits patiently on the rusty truck, waiting. When a walker comes into view, she aims her rifle at it and shoots, missing numerous times. She kills the walker out of frustration with her katana.
Back in Alexandria, Saviors haul furniture out of residents' homes. Negan inquires about Maggie's whereabouts. Gabriel asks if Negan wants to pay his respects. "She didn't make it?", Negan asks. Rick says nothing, but shakes his head hesitantly. Gabriel leads Negan to the graveyard where Glenn, Abraham, and supposedly Maggie are buried. Negan rues Maggie's death, saying he'd planned on asking her to join him as his wife at his compound. Rick quietly seethes with anger and tightens his grip on Lucille, but quickly relaxes. Moments later, they hear a gunshot.
In the infirmary, Carl holds David, a Savior, at gunpoint. He orders David to return some of the medicine he took. Rick begs Carl to lower his gun. Negan jokes about Carl's fearlessness, and Carl finally complies after Negan threatens to harm more people. As a precaution, Negan declares that he's confiscating all the guns in Alexandria.
Olivia takes a group of Saviors to the armory. Negan tells Rick he'll leave their food untouched to ensure that they remain strong enough to collect for him. Negan commands Rick to thank him, but Rick refuses. Negan says that Rick is the one who forced Negan's hand and that is why he should thank him. Negan asks if anyone keeps guns outside of the armory. Rick assures him that all their guns are kept in storage.
Out in the woods, Rosita and Spencer find Daryl's motorcycle where they had previously hidden it. Spencer begins to question Rick's leadership, unaware that Rosita was heading into the woods as Spencer loads the motorcycle into their van.
Arat informs Negan that two guns are missing from the armory. A disappointed Negan threatens to kill Olivia if Rick doesn't find the missing guns. Rick calls a meeting with the residents of Alexandria in an attempt to locate the missing guns. Ignoring the question about the missing guns, Eric asks Rick how he plans to get them out of their situation with Negan. Rick emphasizes that there's no way out; Negan is in charge. He asks if anyone has the guns. Eugene notes that some people are absent from the meeting.
Rosita hunts down the undead Saviors present during Denise's death and kills them. She takes a gun from Neil's corpse, but it has no bullets. Spencer tracks her down and chastises her. Rosita tells him that she's looking for guns on the assumption that Negan will confiscate all the guns in Alexandria. She says that they don't have to live this way.
While Rick, Gabriel, and Aaron search Spencer's house for the missing guns, Rick commends Gabriel on his ruse with Negan earlier at the graveyard: "It was quick thinking. Thank you." Gabriel is optimistic that they will prevail in the end, despite Rick's insistence that there is no way out. Rick then finds the missing guns stashed in an air vent, under the floor of Spencer's house. He also finds several stolen food items and liquor bottle.
Outside, David taunts Enid in the street, stroking her face and making a scene. Rick brings the missing guns to Negan. Rosita and Spencer return as Negan gathers his group at the gate and the Saviors begin to leave in small groups. Rick sees Michonne lurking in a dilapidated house nearby, watching them. Rick asks Negan if he can give him "a second". Negan refuses, and Rick rephrases and says, "Please, can you just give me a second?" Negan permits Rick to speak with Michonne.
Rick tells Michonne that he knows about her secret rifle and that he knew that she was using it for target practice sessions. He urges her to hand over the rifle, arguing that more people will die if the Saviors find an Alexandrian with a gun.
Rick gives Negan Michonne's rifle, making up a cover story for her saying she was out hunting. Rick then goes on to ask if Daryl can stay in Alexandria, since they've followed the rules and gave Negan half of their supplies. Negan asks Daryl if he wants to stay. Daryl remains obediently silent.
Dwight takes the motorcycle from Spencer and rides up to Daryl and says, "You can have it back; just say the word." Daryl remains silent, so Dwight drives off.
Negan refuses to leave Alexandria until Rick thanks him. "Thank you," Rick concedes. A walker approaches, and Negan turns to kill it. Rick once again tightens his grip on Lucille as he contemplates killing Negan, but decides against it. Negan retrieves Lucille on his way out, saying that he can't forget her. Despite Rick's cooperation, Negan ridicules him to his face. The Saviors leave with half of the Alexandrians' belongings, and Daryl, in tow.
Rick closes the gate and privately chews out Spencer for hoarding supplies saying that he is small, weak, and that he has gotten lucky. Spencer says they should've made a deal with Negan when they had the chance; he then blames Rick for Glenn and Abraham's deaths. Rick threatens to break Spencer's jaw and knock his teeth out if he says anything like that again.
Rosita confronts Spencer about the hidden guns and asks why he didn't mention them. "You saw what I did to get one," she says. Spencer explains that he hid the guns for a while because he didn't trust Rick, and he was worried about Rick being in charge. He muses that Rosita was correct; they don't have to live like they are. When he leaves, Rosita reaches into the wheel well of her car, retrieving the gun she took from Neil in the woods.
Rick spreads blankets on the bedroom floor at home, mentioning that the Saviors took most of their mattresses. Michonne assures Rick that she doesn't have any more secret guns. She reminds him that they've survived as long as they have because they always fight back, but Rick says there are too many Saviors: "It's about the numbers." Michonne mentions the Hilltop, but Rick says that even with the Hilltop, they're still outnumbered. He reveals his thoughts on Judith not being his biological daughter, and says he learned to accept it in order to keep her alive. He tells Michonne that she has to learn to accept their situation with Negan — they all do — or it won't work. "This is how we live now," he says. Michonne says she'll try to accept it.
Michonne returns to the rusty truck in the grassy field. She sees a wisp of smoke in the distance and goes to investigate. She finds all the mattresses from Alexandria smoldering on the side of the road and rages with anger.
In Alexandria, Rosita picks up an empty shell casing from the gun Negan shot earlier that day and pays Eugene a visit. "Make me a bullet," she says.
- Jordan Woods-Robinson as Eric Raleigh
- Ted Huckabee as Bruce
- Dahlia Legault as Francine
- Mandi Christine Kerr as Barbara
- David Marshall Silverman as Kent
- Vanessa Cloke as Anna
- Martinez as David
- Elizabeth Ludlow as Arat
- Mike Seal as Gary
- Robert Walker-Branchaud as Neil
- First appearance of Arat. (Physically)
- First appearance of David.
- First appearance of Gary.
- Last appearance of Anna.
- Last appearance of Neil. (Zombified)
- This episode marks Andrew Lincoln's 75th appearance on the TV Series.
- This episode is extended, with a length of 85 minutes (with commercials).
- This episode shares with "Here's Not Here" for being aired in a 90-minute time frame and not being a season premiere or finale.
- Coincidentally, both are the fourth episode of their respective seasons.
- The title of the episode, "Service", comes from when Negan and his Saviors arrive at Alexandria for their first offering.
- Talking Dead revealed it had been three days since the events in "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be", which is why Rick told Negan he was early.
- A fan theory that Daryl blinked a message to Rick in Morse code, went viral online in the week after the episode aired. Showrunner Scott Gimple eventually addressed the theory, stating "This theory makes it official that this show has the greatest viewers and fans around. I would...like to live in a world where Daryl Dixon intimately knew Morse code, and intimately knew that Rick knew Morse code. I love the amount of attention and imagination that is brought to this show by the audience. It was an incredibly sunny day. I think the theory actually could be correct, but not within the story."
- Negan sings the beginning of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony before entering Alexandria. That four-note motif is widely considered to represent "fate knocking at the door".
- A Savior tries to take some green balloons from Enid, which she and Glenn had acquired while returning to Alexandria in "Heads Up".
- Negan drinks a can of orange soda that Denise had retrieved to give to Tara as a gift.
- Negan shooting the window in Alexandria is likely an allusion to the "broken window" theory mentioned by Rick in "Spend".
- In "18 Miles Out", Rick states to Shane that he suppressed the urge to break his jaw and let him choke on his teeth after learning of his affair with Lori. Rick makes a similar threat to Spencer in this episode for provoking him about the deaths of Glenn and Abraham.
- On Talking Dead, it was noted that the actors portraying Olivia and Negan had a hard time filming their lines with each other because of Ann Mahoney's sense of humor, and they both kept giggling.
- Rick expresses his thought in this episode that Judith is Shane's baby.
- Negan arriving at Alexandria and knocking at the gates with Lucille is adapted from Issue 103.
- Spencer asking Negan who is him is adapted from Issue 103.
- Negan killing a walker at the gates is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 103, where he is joined by other Saviors instead.
- Negan demanding Rick to open the gates is adapted from Issue 103.
- Rick asking Negan why he's early and Negan's response is adapted from Issue 103.
- Negan referring to Abraham's demise is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 103, where he references Glenn's demise instead.
- Negan making Rick hold Lucille during his visit is adapted from Issue 103.
- The Saviors taking half of Alexandria's supplies is adapted from Issue 103.
- Carl pointing a gun to David to stop him from taking the medicine is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 103, where Denise points the gun to a Savior instead.
- Carl threatening Negan is adapted from Issue 103.
- Negan making fun of Olivia while telling Rick he won't take their food is adapted from Issue 103.
- Rick claiming to everyone at the church that Negan was now in charge is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 104, where Rick claims this to everyone after Negan leaves instead.
- Negan retrieving Lucille and making fun of Rick before he leaves is adapted from Issue 103.
- Spencer questioning Rick about his leadership and submission to Negan is adapted from Issue 109.
- Rick talking about Shane and confessing to Michonne that he knows Judith isn't his biological daughter is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 76, where Rick confesses this to Douglas instead.
- When Rosita encounters zombified Neil, his hair is much longer compared to his appearance in "Twice as Far". Also, despite the fact that it has been days since the ambush in the woods, Neil and the other zombified Saviors are still very close to the ambush site heading away from it as if they just reanimated.
- When Negan fires the bullet into the window, the gun is a Desert Eagle VII pistol, which is chambered for .357 Magnum.
- At the end of the episode, when Rosita picks up the spent shell casing from that shot, the headstamp is clearly visible as ".357 Magnum", a rimmed cartridge, commonly used in revolvers. She takes it to Eugene demanding that she "Make me a bullet" for the pistol she had recovered near Daryl's motorcycle. However, the pistol she recovered appears to be a Beretta 92 series variant, chambered in 9mm (9x19 Parabellum), which is a rimless semi-auto pistol cartridge. The rimmed casing is not adaptable to her new gun, both due rim and the mismatched diameter, and could not easily be retooled to chamber in her gun.