The Walking Dead recap: Maggie channels her inner Alpha
Maggie and Pope have a few things in common: They both want to protect what their people have; they're both willing to do whatever is necessary to make that happen, and they're both bloodthirsty for some vengeance — even if it's not totally clear why they are fighting each other. (We know the Reapers killed everyone in Meridian, but the explanations aren't lining up just yet as to why this pious group of mercenaries would do that beyond just them all being insane, which most of them don't seem to be.) For Maggie, this all means taking some notes from Alpha and the Whisperers.
She wants to make the Reapers hurt. More than that, she wants to wash over them the way they did to Meridian. And she's going to try to do that with some walkers. A lot of 'em.
Taking some tips from Negan about how to be a good Whisperer, she practices wearing a walker face mask and herding as many of the dead as she can into a pen while Gabriel scouts out the Reapers' home base. He returns and reports back to Maggie that "it's still there," which makes all of this more suspicious. What exactly is she looking for that's apparently in the Reapers' possession? Are the Reapers currently occupying what used to be Meridian? Is that what he meant by "it"? I still think there's something missing from this puzzle and that Maggie — who's now literally becoming an Alpha, one of the worst people they've come across — might have done something to attract Pope's ire.
The episode leaves us with an image of a masked Maggie marching at the helm of her own horde.
She and Negan are still at odds, but he's at least somewhat aligned on the do-whatever-it-takes part of the protect-our-people mission. At first, he threatens to abandon Maggie's suicide mission to reach Meridian, but he strikes a deal with her: if he stays and fights with them, that makes them even. She shakes his hand, but it remains unclear if she'll actually uphold that promise. I mean, the episode is titled "Promises Broken," so... the jury's still out.
Meanwhile, Daryl sees that the good person he once saw in Leah is still alive in her. Pope is furious that his scouts have not found Maggie's group yet, so he sends Daryl and Leah out together. They find a frightened man cowering in the bushes. He leads them back to his hideout, where his young son and dying wife are resting. Pope gave Leah orders to kill them over the radio, but she can't do it. She tells the father to take the boy, run away from the area, and never return. The woman sees this as a sign from God. They never would've left her while she was still alive but it was dangerous for them to stay. Leah can't even bring herself to kill this person, so Daryl does it for her.
It's a moment that makes what many of the characters have been talking about even messier: what would they do to keep their people safe? Maggie and Pope seem to have no limits to that question. Leah, too, had defended the Reapers' past actions with Daryl while scouting together before making this act of mercy. It's the mindset that people will come to take what they have so they have to kill everyone before they get the chance.
Maggie and Negan had a conversation comparing and contrasting both of their actions: Negan as leader of the Saviors and Maggie as head of their group. Negan points out the murdered Saviors who had families. ("Where'd Aaron get Gracie?") Knowing everything that transpired after the fact, he admits if he could redo the whole situation he would've killed all of them instead of just Glenn and Abraham. This appalls Maggie, but he says for their relationship to work, they need to be honest with each other. She doesn't respond, which is another hint that she's not being upfront about everything. (Watch this theory end up being totally wrong, but the factors surrounding why Maggie is so merciless these days and why the Reapers do what they do doesn't make sense to me.)
Are things any better for Eugene, Yumiko, Princess, and Ezekiel at the Commonwealth? Maybe only slightly, but the hole in which they've found themselves continues to get deeper and deeper.
As punishment for breaking Commonwealth laws, Eugene, Stephanie, Princess, and Ezekiel were tasked with hard labor. For days, they've been clearing out walkers from buildings for future development, while Yumiko is being groomed to become legal counsel for Ms. Pamela Milton and her cabinet. Mr. Hornsby is trying to gain her favor by helping her friends — and her brother, who was abruptly snatched off the streets without an explanation — in exchange for a "favor" he will cash in at a later time. But it's clear there's only so much he can (or will) do.
Eugene and Stephanie get different assignments from Hornsby and are en route when they see walkers heading towards a preppy couple making out on a picnic blanket. They make quick work of the dead, but the guy chastises them for interrupting their date. Stephanie is forced to step in and save them again when another walker sneaks up behind the girl, but the guy again is dismayed for her getting blood on his date's sweater. So, Eugene punches him in the face.
The guy, however, turns out to be Pamela's son, Sebastian, who's a total privileged dick. Yumiko's meeting with Pamela is even canceled last minute because mommy has to go save her kid from the bad man who attacked him — the narrative Sebastian fabricated for himself.
So, Eugene is thrown in jail. Hornsby now says the price for his freedom is a lot higher and manages to get Eugene to reveal Alexandria's location. Hopefully, Yumiko can work some lawyer magic.