Gene Page/AMC

A scavenging hunt that Denise orchestrates with Daryl and Rosita ends in tragedy

March 21, 2016 at 01:15 PM EDT

After the pressure cooker of last week’s episode, The Walking Dead returns to the relatively wide-open spaces of Alexandria, where life marches on at its normal pace. The food pantry is surveyed, guards arrive on time for their shifts, and Morgan practices out in the yard.

But as much as things stay the same, they’re also changing. Carol is now involved with Tobin beyond that one kiss they shared, Morgan is building a full-on jail cell to “give [them] some choices next time,” as he tells Rick, and Rosita has found a new bedmate in the form of Spencer.

All three are, in some fashion, wrestling with their pasts. While Morgan’s internal struggle is dealt with least attentively in “Twice as Far,” both Rosita and Carol’s concerns are at least addressed in an episode centered around Denise.

(Carol’s development is more of a book-end to the episode, so more on that in a bit.)

Rosita is doing whatever she can to dull the pain caused by Abraham’s rip-the-Band-Aid off approach to breaking up with her. Spencer is a body to keep the bed warm, but she doesn’t seem much more emotionally invested than that. Spencer, chasing her as she leaves for the day, tries to play it off like he doesn’t care whether they’re casual or something more. But he clearly would like for them to be more than the occasional hook-up.

She’s initially curt but eventually accepts his invitation to dinner before he leaves her be for the day. And if only he knew just what kind of day she was about to have.

The whole conversation takes place outside Denise’s, and she just so happens to have overheard at least enough of the conversation to get the gist of it. Denise has more in mind than the traditional weapons training Rosita would normally provide, and she’s looking to include both Rosita and Daryl in her plans.

There’s an apothecary and boutique Denise saw in a strip mall a ways out of town, and if it’s truly an apothecary, Denise believes there may be a store of drugs there. Daryl and Rosita are reticent to have her go outside the walls of Alexandria, but Denise promises she’ll head out with or without them.

And though neither Rosita nor Daryl is pleased with the idea of babysitting Denise, her resolve to go along for the ride forces them to bring her along. The whole awkward road trip starts off on a low note as Daryl can’t quite handle the stick shift while Denise, who promises she knows how, offers to help.

Their need for a ride quickly comes to an end, however, when they come to a downed tree in the road. Naturally, Daryl and Rosita are suspicious, so they go out to check whether the tree is a trap first, but a trapped walker and a rotted trunk reveal it to be nothing more than an accident.

So the trio must continue on foot, and ahead of them they have two paths they can take — a set of railroad tracks or the main road. Rosita refuses to take the latter path because it’s assumedly twice as long a road to travel, but Daryl has had enough of train tracks in his life (no need to accidentally run into another Terminus, right?), so he chooses the longer road. Denise goes with him.

The two eventually come to the other end of the tracks, where Rosita, practically bored, waits for them. Denise tries to explain to her that she wasn’t choosing one of her protectors over the other, but her attempts to connect with Rosita further do little in the moment. (Asking who taught Rosita what she knows, she receives a curt response back.)

RELATED: The Walking Dead: Before They Were Stars

They eventually find their way to the apothecary, a few dead walkers lying in the parking lot and dozens if not hundreds of hand prints appearing on the boarded-up windows and door. They make their way in, where the trapped odor almost makes Denise gag. But rather than revealing what she had for breakfast, Denise collects herself and begins exploring with others. She finds a few photos of a child by the counter and a display of name keychains while Rosita and Daryl make their way into the locked pharmacy section. Once they’re inside, they decide to just take everything rather than have Denise sort through what’s most important, leaving her to her own devices.

NEXT: Something regained, someone lost as the scavenge winds down 

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