'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 11: Negan prepares for the next battle

It was finally time to figure out how the lost souls of Alexandria are faring after the Saviors forced them to go on the run. It was a night of high tension and even higher stakes on Season 8, Episode 11 of “The Walking Dead.”

[SPOILER ALERT]

The episode opened with a group of Saviors learning that, prior to their attack on Alexandria, Dr. Carson and Father Gabriel escaped. They’re ordered to pull out all the stops to find them and return them to Negan. When they leave, it’s revealed that Daryl, Rosita and Tara overheard everything as they were leading the group of Alexandrian refugees to the Hilltop. They aren’t alone, as they have the newly turned Dwight.

After killing several Saviors at the Alexandria battle, Dwight has no choice but to push forward with his new faction, something Tara is not on board with. For those who don’t remember, Dwight personally put an arrow through Tara’s girlfriend, Denise. She’s very clearly on the fence about keeping him alive. She throws walkers at him and openly asks the group about killing him now rather than later. Daryl and Rosita believe he’s still got some utility left in him, but note that he’s a dead man as soon as that utility is up. Despite this, Dwight seems to be willing to continue to help.

He suggests leading the group through a swamp that Negan previously deemed too dangerous. When they arrive, there’s a handful of waterlogged walkers to deal with. Daryl and a handful of others make the mistake of leaving Tara alone with Dwight. He makes an even bigger mistake by taking that moment to apologize for Denise. Tara draws on him and takes her shot. Unfortunately for her, she misses.

After a brief chase, she gets him at the end of her barrel again, but they hear a group of Saviors before they can finish their tiff. They take cover and overhear that they’re planning to check the swamp. Dwight makes his presence known and pretends to still be on their side. He’s convincing enough to get them to abandon the swamp and head back to the Sanctuary.

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter; single - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

 (© 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

Meanwhile, Negan seems upset with Eugene. It’s unclear if he suspects him of giving Father Gabriel and Dr. Carson help in escaping, but he makes it clear he’ll find out the truth once they're found. In the meantime, he tells him that the time has come for him to get to work on manufacturing bullets like he promised.

As for the escapees, the audience catches up with Father Gabriel and Dr. Carson as their car breaks down. Furthermore the priest’s condition is dire. The fever has gotten so bad that he’s on the verge of permanently losing his sight. However, despite Dr. Carson’s disbelief, Gabriel feels that God is guiding his path. It becomes harder-and-harder to argue with him when they stumble upon a small abandoned radio outpost. Inside they discover antibiotics and the keys to a car - literally everything they need. Sure, the good doctor stepped in a bear trap on his way to the car, but luck still seemed to be on their side.

However, that all changes when they go to start the car and are quickly discovered by the Saviors. As they’re being loaded into a truck to go back to the Sanctuary, Dr. Carson sees an opportunity to avoid Negan’s iron and snags a weapon from an inattentive guard. Unfortunately, they’re too quick for him and he’s quickly stabbed in the heart. Just like that, Gabriel realizes that God may not have been guiding his path after all. In an act of intimidation, Negan brings Gabriel to Eugene, but reveals that Gabriel lied and said that Carson was the one who helped him out. A completely dejected Gabriel resigns his life to sorting Negan’s bullets with his hands.

Despite the major gains in favor of the Saviors, the episode ends on a hopeful note as the Alexandrian refugees successfully arrive at the Hilltop, followed soon after by Rick. The community has Savior prisoners and is the last safe haven for those that defied Negan. However, its leader, Maggie, is running out of food for the prisoners as well as supplies for her people. More mouths to feed won’t help, and Negan has another sinister plan.

The episode ends with him gathering the Saviors, including Dwight, and making them watch as he covers his infamous bat, Lucille, in the blood and guts of a walker. He’s clearly planning to infect the Hilltop survivors and Rick in their next attack, but it’s not clear yet how. It seems that, after the first two days of fighting, they’re about to engage in their second battle, and the good guys are on the ropes.