The Walking Dead season 11, episode 7 recap – “Promises Broken” herd immunity

October 4, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
AMC, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Promises Broken” proves that old habits die hard and new alliances are fragile.

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3.5

Summary

“Promises Broken” proves that old habits die hard and new alliances are fragile.

This recap of The Walking Dead season 11, episode 7, “Promises Broken”, contains spoilers.


Promises, promises. People are only as good as their word in a world like this one. There’s nothing else to bargain with. That’s certainly true if you’re living in Alexandria, anyway, which continues to collapse, and which Father Gabriel reminds Negan about when the argument about going on or turning back continues in “Promises Broken”, as it has throughout the last several episodes. Maggie seems determined to press on out of some sense of do-gooder heroism, but Gabe is just pragmatic. His people are starving, and if he returns empty-handed, he’s going to look foolish. Negan just wants to do what makes the most sense, which however coincidentally aligns with saving himself. He’s willing to help the others out, though, but only on a guarantee from Maggie that if he does, they’ll be even, and he won’t have to keep looking over his shoulder. Is she as good as her word? A hero would keep their promises, but if this season of The Walking Dead has established anything, it’s that Maggie probably isn’t as much of a hero as she thinks.

The Walking Dead season 11, episode 7 recap

“On the Inside” didn’t give us any updates on what’s happening within the walls of the Commonwealth, so for once, it was a pleasure to see Eugene. He and Stephanie, along with Princess and Ezekiel, are working off their crimes by clearing out buildings full of walkers for “future development”, a task complicated by the fact that Ezekiel’s health is rapidly deteriorating, nobody seems to know how much work the sentence will require, and upper-class passers-by are complaining about the smell. Yumiko, meanwhile, has been assigned a swanky legal position working directly for Pamela Milton and her Cabinet, but her newly supplied office power attire has turned her girl boss attitude up to eleven, so when she’s denied access to her friends, she demands to see Milton herself.

There’s a clear undercurrent of class beginning to emerge in the Commonwealth. When Yumiko speaks with her brother, Tomi, who is adamant about nobody there knowing he was once a doctor and not the humble cake-maker he masquerades as now, he mentions that “someone like him” could never meet Milton — “You have to know your place.” Immediately after that, he’s taken away by Commonwealth soldiers, but on Hornsby’s orders. When Yumiko confronts him, he explains that he just needs to keep him out of the way for a few hours while he sorts everything out with her friends, deliberately keeping Pamela Milton out of his plans. He justifies it as trying to make friends in high places, so that perhaps when he comes to need a favor his friends might be favorably inclined, but it reads very much like a leadership takeover plot to me.

But the Commonwealth obviously has its upsides. Ezekiel returns from one of their hospitals feeling better than ever — so good, in fact, that he picks up his annoying regal mode of speech again, which annoys me almost as much as Eugene does. He’s so full of beans that he’s happy to volunteer everyone for new assignments. Eugene and Stephanie are sent to the north fence where they once again encounter the snooty upper-class couple from earlier. Despite saving them from a walker attack, they not only get no thanks but constant insults, so much so that Eugene, for once trying to get me on-side, smacks the dude square in the face. This, though, turns out to be a mistake — just as Yumiko sits down right on time for her meeting with Ms. Milton, she’s told that she’ll have to reschedule since someone — that someone being Eugene — just attacked her son.

Punching the governor’s son carries a steep sentence. Eugene is looking at life in prison if he doesn’t disclose the coordinates of Alexandria to Hornsby.

Meanwhile in The Walking Dead season 11, episode 7, Maggie has a plan. Despite me speculating in the preview of this episode that it’d be Negan who proposed using the ways of the Whisperers that he learned under Alpha to their advantage, it’s actually Maggie, which I’m not sure makes all that much sense given she wasn’t actually present for the war. Either way, it’s a solid plan, you have to admit. After getting Father Gabriel to say a few words for their fallen comrades and sending him off on a reconnaissance mission, the rest of the group bind some walkers so that their faces can helpfully be removed. Negan, however, kept his mask for “practical and sentimental reasons”, which he reveals with a chuckle. It’d be nice if the show could keep his personality straight. He seems unusually excited about this plan, even while training Maggie to walk like a walker and making little modifications to the mask so it fits her better. But when they sit down for dinner he couldn’t be more serious. He tries to equate the loss of Maggie’s community at Meridian to the loss of his own people, which is a bit of a stretch, and then he says outright that if he could do it all again differently, he would — he’d have killed all of them. Maggie is astonished that he’d say something like that to her, of all people, but he reasons that honesty is the best policy if their new arrangement is to work out. Perhaps he’s right. The next we see them they’re on the road, hiding amongst a group of walkers that steadily becomes a herd, heading in the direction of Meridian.

Speaking of Meridian, Daryl is also still embedded among the Reapers, though while his new peers don’t mind taking his scruffily-rolled cigarettes, they keep the contents of their sheds a secret from him. Pope, though, who is rapidly losing control and is clashing with Leah, doesn’t mind sending the two of them off on a scouting mission to try and find Meridian’s survivors. As Leah righteously explains to Daryl, they have to make sure they don’t come back, which is why they continue to hunt them despite having run them out of their home and taken all their food and shelter. Since Leah has fully bought into Daryl’s story that he’s a lone drifter, she tries to justify this as a necessity of protecting her community; tries to justify her relationship with Pope as understandable subservience to the leader who has kept them all alive thus far. Of course, Daryl has seen his fair share of communities and leaders who didn’t behave this way and knows her excuses are bogus. But his counter-arguments are half-hearted. It’s hard to tell if he’s just letting his principles slide because of his feelings for Leah, or he’s quietly reasoning that she might be too far gone for him to save.

The point of Leah’s potential delusion is reinforced when she and Daryl encounter a survivor in the woods who claims to just be looking after his sick wife and family; Leah reports the discovery and Pope orders her to kill them, just like that. It turns out the man is telling the truth and it really is just him, his son, and his badly injured wife, but Leah can’t bring herself to kill them. She tells the father and son to run and never come back; the wife, knowing she was on death’s door, is happy to be put out of her misery. But Leah can’t do that, either, so Daryl has to. Just as he’s about to tell Leah something, the radio crackles to life, and they’re ordered to return to Meridian immediately. Something’s afoot. I wonder what that could be?

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