Having returned back to a sense of normalcy after the fight against the Saviors, Alexandria seems to be in a state of cautious calm. Deciding that she wants to get out to an apothecary to scavenge for some medicine, she convinces Rosita and Daryl to join her. Their venture hits a couple of snags, but they find the store and are able to recover a significant amount of drugs. Meanwhile, Eugene wants Abraham’s help to uncover a possible new opportunity for their group. He unveils his plan to start producing bullets but gets interrupted by a walker. While Abraham goes in for the kill, Eugene calls dibs and struggles to overcome his foe. Abraham steps in and causes Eugene to get angry for taking his chance away. This causes a rift and Abraham storms off leaving Eugene to fend for himself.
Blossoming through Conflict: Eugene and Denise went through a bit of an evolution throughout the episode. While both had been growing independently and Eugene did get into the fight against the walkers during the swarm in Alexandria, neither had shown much success with fending for themselves outside of the walls. Both looked like they had something to prove to their peers to change the way they were viewed. Even Father Gabriel had a few moments recently to prove himself.
Eugene may have used deception to get Abraham to protect him, but there was room for growth. He does not quite have the recognition of Rick and the rest regarding his resourcefulness after his deception. He still feels like he needs to prove himself and fighting skills seems to be a way to do it. Abraham takes away his dibs kill, which sets him off and makes him say something he probably should not have said. It saved them later on from the group of Saviors because they were split up when Eugene was captured. Eugene was able to get quite a bite out of Dwight and survived a gunshot in the process.
As for Denise, we learned that she lost her older brother, who seemed to be quite similar to Merle in personality. She always saw him as the strong one but she outlasted him. As a doctor, she has been making it up as problems presented themselves, but her brother’s strength has alway been important to her. Her moment in the stock room at the apothecary was a setback, but her fight with the walker in the car was a moment of redemption. While it was not the smartest idea to engage in the fight with Daryl and Rosita walking away, she survived and was able to call both of them out on their faults. Her death was a surprise, as it was Abraham who suffered a similar fate in the comics, but the Saviors have some ground to make up after the attack on their compound and the confrontation on the road with Daryl’s rocket launcher.
The Coming War: The season finale will either have one of the biggest cliffhangers so far in the series or one of the most gruesome deaths. Regardless of your awareness of the comics, it is clearly building to the Negan reveal and he is not going to be happy with the murdering of his group. The run-in with Dwight was important to this point because they know where Alexandria is and can probably guess they have a connection with the Hilltop. Dwight seemed ready to steal a bunch of their supplies and take some of the townspeople, but why steal people is not clear.
Carol’s Conundrum: Seen early in the episode, Carol had a moment with Daryl where she continues to appear shaken by her deadly encounters. While the episode does not focus on her at all, her reveal at the end with the note and Morgan’s continued dissonance with Rick supports continued doubt building within the group about how they handle their business. When Carol got to emotionless with her actions at the prison, Rick sent her away. She returned just as hard during the rescue against the cannibals. Now, she has had enough time to stop and think about what her involvement in Rick’s plan means for her humanity and can no longer reconcile her actions with her faith.
Leaving Alexandria without speaking to anyone puts her and other in danger because no one is going to let her go without a fight. Next week will likely bring new challenges for Daryl and whoever follows him to Carol’s aid.
In Memoriam: Denise, several Saviors
Question of the Week: What does Denise’s death mean for Tara’s future in Alexandria?