“Promises Broken”, the latest episode of The Walking Dead, continues with Maggie’s group escaping into the woods. Negan wants to turn back after Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) warning. Maggie and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) refuse to return empty handed. Negan knows they need him. He’ll help them with a new tactic if Maggie promises not to kill him. She begrudgingly accepts the truce. They see walkers approaching that were previously their friends.
In the Commonwealth, Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Stephanie (Chelle Ramos), Princess (Paola Lazaro) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) are forced to clear walkers as punishment. Eugene asks Stephanie if he can trust Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton). She swears that he can. A sick Ezekiel struggles to fight the dead. Princess begs him “to see a doctor, they got real hospitals here.” They see Mercer (Michael James Shaw) and his troops guarding a preppie couple that sniggers at “the smell.”
Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), now wearing a dress suit and her hair up, is being interviewed by another administrator. She wants to know how long her friends will be punished. Then demands to see Pamela Milton. In Meridian, Daryl watches a Reaper lock the warehouse door for the food rations.
In the woods, Father Gabriel holds a funeral. They tie up the remaining walkers. Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) wants to find his sister. Then kill the Reaper that murdered her. Gabriel leaves the group to scout ahead. Maggie tells Negan to get walkers “that weren’t her friends.”
In Meridian, another patrol comes back with no sign of Maggie’s group. Pope (Ritchie Coster) berates the men angrily, “There are dozens out there!” Leah (Lynne Collins) defends them. She volunteers to search again with Daryl. As they trek into the woods, Daryl probes her for more information. He asks why they need to find these people. They have “walls” and “food”, so “you kill everybody and he goes back to being a good guy?”
Maggie wears a skin mask. Negan, also masked, tells her to “lower your shoulders” and “go limp.” He releases the walkers. Maggie struggles and the walkers attack her. They tie them up again. Negan says he will find her a better face.
Father Gabriel surveils Meridian from a tree with binoculars. He sees Mancea (Dikran Tulaine) praying as he walks to their graveyard. Mancea grabs his knife as he senses someone around him. He prays loudly to show him the way. Gabriel unsheathes his cutlass, but stays hidden and doesn’t kill Mancea.
In the Commonwealth train station, Yumiko talks to Tomi (Ian Anthony Dale). She begs him to be a surgeon again. He tells her she can never reveal his true skills. He’s happy with his life. Suddenly they are surrounded by guards. A stunned Tomi is dragged away from his sister.
Maggie, wearing a better fitting skin mask, leads more walkers into a rope pen. Negan watches her with a smirk by their campfire. Elijah asks Maggie, “If he’s changed.” She replies, “We can’t know that.” In the Commonwealth, Yumiko confronts Lance Hornsby. She wants to know why Tomi was arrested and how long her friends will be punished. Hornsby knows that she’s been groomed as “another Harvard graduate” for Pamela Milton. He hopes she “will be inclined to return favors.”
Daryl and Leah come upon a house. Daryl sees fresh tracks. They find a man (Burke Brown) hiding. He swears his wife is hurt. Leah asks how he’s been able to avoid them. They force him to lead them to his family. Leah radios Pope. He orders her to “kill them.”
In the woods, Maggie and Negan talk over a roasted critter. He “feels for her” seeing her friends as the undead. He suffered losses when Rick killed his friends. Maggie tells him there were “no children at the satellite station.” Negan retorts, “Where did Aaron get Gracie?” Maggie fires back that he killed people “in front of their families.” Negan admits it, but the “world is different now.” When Maggie asks if “he would have done things differently”, Negan starkly replies “yes.” He “would have killed them all.”
A healthy Ezekiel returns to the others with Lance Hornsby. They are covered in bloody jumpsuits stacking bodies. Ezekiel brings them lollipops from the hospital. Hornsby orders Eugene and Stephanie to clear more walkers “near the fence line.” Gabriel returns to Maggie’s group, but lies to her about seeing Mancea.
Eugene and Stephanie see the preppie couple having a picnic with walkers approaching. They race to defend them. They kill the walkers, but the preppie man (Teo Rapp-Olsson) is furious. His “date was interrupted” and “we have private security for that.” Stephanie tries to pull Eugene away, but he’s irate at the rude and ungrateful man. A walker comes up behind the girl. Stephanie races to kill it, but sprays the girl with blood. When the preppie yells at her, Eugene slugs him.
Hornsby and Mercer run to the commotion. The arrogant preppie berates Mercer, then claims “these lunatics attacked us.” Eugene admits to hitting him. Hornsby asks, “Do you know who this is?” Yumiko enters Pamela Milton’s waiting room. Her secretary offers an “herbal tea” and is greatly concerned about Yumiko’s friends. She wants to know if “the new group” is okay. Drumroll please, this is the real Stephanie Vega (Margot Bingham). The phone rings. Pamela Milton has to reschedule, “Someone has attacked her son.”
Eugene sits on a cot in a dark prison. Hornsby walks in. He orchestrated the guards not being on duty, “You were supposed to save him. You’d have been a hero. You could have asked for anything.” Hornsby demands the location of Eugene’s home. Eugene wants promises they will be safe. Hornsby acidly replies, “Look how we’ve treated you.” When Hornsby turns to leave, a broken Eugene relents.
Maggie’s group, in their skin masks, leads a group of walkers. They come to a building and open a boarded door. A horde of trapped walkers start pouring out. In the woods, the young father takes Leah and Daryl into the home’s basement. He pulls apart a duct to reveal a boy (Brisco De Poalo) and his mother (Liz McGeever) with a terminal stomach wound.
Leah tells the father “to take his son and run.” The boy weeps, but his mother begs them to go. Her “prayers are answers.” Leah cries as she cannot shoot her. Daryl kills the mother with an arrow to the head. Then covers her body. He wants to tell Leah something, but the radio crackles. They are needed back in Meridian immediately. She’ll tell Pope that Daryl killed them. Maggie’s group leads the horde toward Meridian. Elijah sees his sister as a walker. Maggie gingerly holds his hand.
Lance Hornsby has cleverly duped Eugene from the beginning with the fake “Stephanie.” His true motives are still unclear as we haven’t met Pamela Milton. Using a walker horde against the Reapers is a smart move. It’ll be interesting to see if Daryl can turn Leah against Pope. The Walking Dead heads into its mid-season finale next Sunday night on AMC. The episode is available to stream now on AMC+.
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