This all coincides well with what we learn in Here’s Negan — again, comic book spoilers ensue — which sees Negan’s wife diagnosed with cancer, a tragedy that leads him to begin an affair with another woman. His wife is eventually taken to the hospital when the outbreak begins. Negan doesn’t want to leave her side, but she dies on her bed and turns into a walker. That’s when Negan finally says her name: Lucille. (End spoilers.)
Beyond this, you could skip most of the episode and not miss a beat of the current season.
With Negan presumed dead, the generals debate whether to sacrifice their workers to the walkers so they can carve a path through the horde and contact reinforcements at the other outposts. Eugene doesn’t think this is a good idea, but the others are starting to think he’s been sabotaging them from the inside. Dwight comes to his defense when they gang up on him, so later Eugene comes to his room with a thank you gift (a jar of pickles to get them “out of this pickle”). He notices Dwight has been making his own chess set and accidentally gets red paint on his fingers — a detail that could potentially be Dwight’s undoing.
Later on, the workers converge on the generals when the power goes out in The Sanctuary. They want answers about Negan and refuse to work until they can get food and water. Things get heated when one of the workers pulls a gun and Regina shoots him down. Negan heralds his return around the corner with his eerie whistle. He and Gabriel killed one of the walkers that broke through the wall and covered themselves in its entrails; they were able to walk undetected through the horde for a brief time but eventually had to fight their way to their base. As the workers and generals kneel before Negan, so too does Gabriel before he’s “gently” carted away and confined to a cell.
Negan convenes with his generals to figure out how everything happened the way it did, and they learn the worker who pulled a gun got it from their own armory. Since workers aren’t able to swipe a weapon without tipping off one of their superiors, they reason it’s one of the higher-ups betraying The Saviors. Eugene is the obvious suspect, but he notices smudges of red paint similar to Dwight’s chess set besmirching the bag. Negan pulls “Dr. Smarty Pants” aside after the meeting and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t solve the walker situation outside, so it’s unclear if Eugene will betray Dwight.
Eugene then goes to bring Gabriel some pillows but finds him in the throes of a fever. Before coating themselves with walker guts, Negan mentioned how people have fallen ill from being close to the dead, and it seems the same is coming true for Gabriel. But he tells Eugene in his delirious state that he came to The Sanctuary to extract Dr. Carson, the Hilltop doc, for Maggie.
The last story line to wrap up here — which I’m convinced was added to offer a bit more action in the relatively action-less hour — is the Daryl-Rick mission. As the duo watch over the dying Savior who attempted to drive off with the machine gun, Rick further questions the morality of their plan. Daryl is merciless, willing to kill every Savior without hesitation or remorse. Rick is unwilling to take the innocent lives of those forced to weather Negan’s rule. It’s this conflict that forces them to physically fight one another when they discover explosives in the overturned truck.
Before his death, the Savior told Rick and Daryl that most of the Kingdom’s forces are now dead, so Daryl wants to blow another hole in The Sanctuary and let the walkers flood in the home base. “We can end this by sundown,” he says. Daryl begins to echo Negan’s own justifications when he says any families or innocents killed at The Sanctuary are on Negan’s hands. When he’s unwilling to listen to Rick’s commands, the two tussle it out — and in the midst of the chaos, the explosives are thrown toward the truck, which then catches on fire and engulfs the supplies they could’ve extracted in flame.
Despite the dramatic fight music, I did appreciate their brotherly jabs at one another after the fact: “Choke hold’s illegal, a—hole.”
Without a working car — the one he drove there is also out of commission — Rick is forced to continue his journey on foot for “the last play,” while Daryl splits on his motorcycle. As he gets closer to his destination, Rick sees a helicopter flying overhead. He approaches a compound where a lookout, dressed in black body armor, spots him and sounds a whistle to notify the others of his arrival. It seems the “last play” has something to do with Jadis and her Scavengers.