"The Obliged" is the fourth episode of the ninth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and nineteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on October 28, 2018. It was written by Geraldine Inoa and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez.
In Alexandria, Michonne spends her days doing various errands around the community before going out in the nights to kill walkers in the woods. One night, she finds a walker hanged on a tree, shocking her. She tears up and gets attacked by another walker, but kills it with a baseball bat. She looks at the bloody bat in horror, remembering Negan and his actions.
At Hilltop, Maggie looks from her balcony with Hershel and then passes him to the babysitter. Later, she grabs a backpack and sneaks a crowbar into it, planning to head to Alexandria to take care of Negan. Jesus tries to convince her not to go but she instructs him to look after the Hilltop while she is gone.
At the camp, Eugene updates Rick on the status of the rising river in relation to their bridge construction. He apologizes for the bad news but Rick reminds him how valuable he is to them, making him smile.
Inside the main tent, Carol tells Rick she's taking her people back to the Kingdom while the Sanctuary figures out who they want to be. He tearfully accepts her decision and looks down with sadness. Jerry arrives to warn Rick about Maggie's march to Alexandria. He immediately radios Rachel to warn his people not to let Maggie into the community, but Rachel picks up a magazine and ignores the request. Daryl overhears Rick and tells him he'll take him to Alexandria himself.
At Alexandria, Nora advises Michonne that Negan has been refusing to eat and she promises to handle it.
On the road, Daryl rides past the turn and Rick angrily tells him to pull over. Rick asks what is he doing and Daryl reveals he messed with the relay so Maggie will be allowed into Alexandria to kill Negan. Rick tries to use his radio, but Daryl knocks it out of his hand and the two wrestle until they roll into a giant pit.
Back in Alexandria, Michonne brings Negan a meal and he says he'll only eat if she stays to talk to him. She agrees to stay for an hour.
In the pit, Rick and Daryl argue over the merits of keeping Negan alive. Daryl reminds Rick how Negan turned him into a slave and how no one's on board with him sticking around. Rick says if they martyr Negan then everyone who died during the war, including Carl, will have died for nothing. Daryl tells Rick he'd die for him and he would have for Carl too, but he has to let him go. Rick says he never asked anyone to follow him, and Daryl says, "Maybe you should have".
In Alexandria, Negan tells Michonne he's not meant to be in the cell just as she's not meant to be doing random chores and looking after kids. Michonne shoots back that she's helping rebuild civilization. Negan admits he's happy his wife never got to see him like this, revealing that he wishes they had a kid like Carl, but his wife got cancer and the world changed. Michonne says she sees Carl everywhere, and when Negan asks about her own kid, she angrily says Andre didn't make it. Negan says it's better this way because his wife wasn't made for the apocalypse. "We were built for more", he says. As Negan implies that Andre would have made her weak, Michonne reacts in anger, throwing Negan's food on the ground, and storms off.
At the Heaps, Anne kisses a tied up and unconscious Gabriel before rolling up one of her walker experiments to kill him. He wakes up and begs her to stop before telling her he forgives her. She leans the walker over him and then stops, before putting a chloroform rag over his mouth to knock him out.
At the camp, Carol packs up to leave for the Kingdom when an armed Jed and several Saviors return. He reveals he knows that Oceanside's been killing the Saviors and he needs her to step aside so he can enact his revenge. Carol attacks him again, but more Saviors show up and a shoot-out ensues.
Rick and Daryl hear the shots from the ditch and are forced to help each other escape.
In Alexandria, Michonne returns to Negan's cell and acknowledges that they're similar but distinguishes that her worldview is a lot more positive than his. She finally gets him to eat, and as she leaves he asks her to see Lucille. Michonne tells him they don't have the bat, claiming it's "still out there", which causes him to violently bang his head against the wall.
In the pit, walkers begin to tumble in as Rick and Daryl struggle to climb out. Rick finally crawls out of it and uses a tree branch to get Daryl out as well. With a horde building near the camp, Rick concocts a plan to lead them away while Daryl heads for the river.
Back in the Heaps, Gabriel wakes up untied and alone. He finds a note in his pocket from Anne telling him, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I want to go fast." He breaks down in tears.
In their house, Michonne reads to Judith about baseball and is disturbed by a picture of a bat. On the way to Alexandria, Maggie notices the several walkers killed before by Michonne.
Elsewhere, as Rick is leading the horde away, he gets blocked by another horde. Rick's horse panics and throws him into a pile of concrete rubble. He lands hard on a slab, impaled on a piece of rebar through his side. Rick cries in pain but loses consciousness as the walkers close in.
- Briana Venskus as Beatrice
- Matt Mangum as D.J.
- Mimi Kirkland as Rachel Ward
- Tamara Austin as Nora
- Mandi Christine Kerr as Barbara
- Jennifer Riker as Mrs. Robinson
- Aaron Farb as Norris
- Kathy (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Norris (Alive, Off-Screen)
- At least 1 unnamed Kingdom resident (Alive, Off-Screen)
- First appearance of Nora.
- First (and last) appearance of Mrs. Robinson. (Unknown)
- Last appearance of Norris. (Alive)
- Last appearance of Kathy. (Alive)
- Last appearance of the Heaps.
- This episode marks Danai Gurira's 75th appearance on the TV Series.
- The title of the episode, "The Obliged", may be a reference to how Rick thinks he's obliged to keep Negan alive to honor all the people, including Carl, who died in the war.
- It could also be a reference to Rick telling Maggie that they're obliged to help the Sanctuary in "A New Beginning".
- Rick reaching a hand to help Daryl climb out of the ditch while calling him brother is a reference to a similar scene in "Chupacabra", where Daryl is mocked by an hallucination of Merle, who tells him he should take Rick's hand to help him climb out of a ravine.
- At the end of the episode, Rick is riding on horseback and ends up cornered between two walker herds, and the horse gets scared and bucks him off. This directly mirrors the pilot episode, when Rick first rode into Atlanta and similarly became cornered between two herds and fell off his horse.
- This is the last episode where Rachel is portrayed by Mimi Kirkland, as due to the time jump in "What Comes After", she is now portrayed by Avianna Mynhier, starting in "The Calm Before".
- Rick telling Eugene that he's valuable to the communities is adapted from Issue 127.
- Negan talking with Michonne in his cell is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 140, where Negan talks with Andrea instead.
- Negan taunting Michonne is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 141, where Negan taunts Rick instead.
- Negan asking Michonne if she can see Carl in the cell is a slight nod to Carl talking with Negan in Issue 127.
- Michonne referring to Carl as her son and Judith as her daughter is a slight nod to Andrea starting to refer to Carl as her son in Issue 127.
- Daryl tells Rick about Oceanside killing Arat and the other Saviors.
- Michonne refers to Carl and Judith as her children for the first time in this episode.
- Negan and Michonne discuss Negan's wife Lucille and Michonne's son Andre.
- This is the first time Andre is mentioned since Season 4.
- Michonne reveals that the Militia abandoned Lucille and that the bat is "still out there". In "Here's Negan", Negan remembers Michonne telling him this and locates Lucille buried beneath the tree that Rick had nearly killed him at.
- Alden and Anne go missing in this episode.
- Dwight is mentioned for the first time this season, as an example of Daryl's mercy, despite Dwight's actions towards him.
- Denise is mentioned by Rick when he and Daryl discuss the bad things Dwight had done as a Savior.
- As Rick is trying to climb out of the pit, three walkers fell into the pit, Daryl promptly puts them down and stacks the bodies to climb out. As he climbs up the wall, the camera pans down and there are now five live walkers in the pit reaching up for him before any others have fallen in.