In this week’s The Walking Dead, Eugene’s group does clean-up duty, Maggie makes a promise to Negan, and Daryl spends some quality time with Leah.  It is another week of testing loyalties and alliances with a host of mind games.  There is a lot of gearing up for the mid-season finale.

Leah and Daryl talk about Pope while they walk through a field.
Leah and Daryl talk about Pope’s thirst for revenge against Maggie’s group while on patrol.
(Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC)


Daryl scouts out the food storage area of the Reaper compound, and he even manages to befriend the Reaper with the key to it.  When the Reapers are unable to pick up the trail of Maggie’s group, a very angry Pope lays into his men.  Pope wants his enemies to die for their part in the deaths of his men.  Leah intervenes so as to focus Pope’s ire onto her.  For her trouble, Pope sends her out with Daryl to keep looking.  

While walking, Daryl compliments Leah’s instinct to protect the men from Pope.  Daryl asks Leah why Pope is so focused on the former inhabitants of the Reaper compound.  “You won.  Why hurt them?” Daryl asks.  Leah explains that the Reapers need to make sure that Maggie’s group does not return.  Leah also makes excuses for Pope’s anger, but Daryl points out that the behavior is dangerous.  When Daryl asks if Pope is going to return to being a nice guy after he kills everyone, the look on Leah’s face says everything.  Leah stresses that Pope is like a father, but it is clear that she is questioning whether Pope is worth defending any more.


Daryl picks up the trail of a man, but it is not anyone from Maggie’s group.  A family has stumbled into Reaper territory, and they have managed to avoid detection until now.  The man pleads for help for his son and injured wife, and he promises to take Daryl and Leah to them.  When Leah radios in to Pope about the family, Pope tells Leah to kill them all.  No follow-up questions.  No hesitation.  But when the man shows his family to Daryl and Leah, she is moved.  Leah tells the man to take his son and run.  

Once the father and son are gone, the mother tells Leah and Daryl that they are the answer to her prayers.  The woman explains that she lived in fear for her family because they would not leave her behind.  Leah hesitates to put the woman out of her misery, so Daryl takes care of it.  

On their day out, Daryl watched Maggie defend the men against Pope, and he watched her defy Pope’s orders to protect strangers.  Daryl is moved enough to trust Leah with some secret, but before he can confess anything, the Reapers radio Leah to return to base.

Negan teaches Maggie the ways of the Whisperers in “Promises Broken.” (Photo Credit: Josh Stringer / AMC)


Since Maggie is insistent on continuing with the plan despite the lack of numbers and fighters, Negan begs her to reconsider.  Again.  Maggie tells Negan he is free to leave.  “Then you are going to be down a soldier that you desperately need,” Negan notes. Negan changes tactics and makes an offer to help with the mission if Maggie agrees to call it even.  Rightfully horrified by the offer, Maggie says no.  Negan clarifies that he just wants a promise that Maggie will not kill him.  Maggie stresses that they will never be even, but she will make that promise.  As Maggie and Negan shake hands in agreement, one cannot help but think of the title of the episode.

The plan is to take a page out of the Whisperers playbook and to run a herd up to the Reaper compound.  Negan teaches Maggie the ways of the Whisperers, and he gives her a pep talk as her walker form improves.  During a quiet moment of training, Negan tells Maggie that he feels for her situation.  Maggie insists that the loss of her colony does not compare to the loss of Negan’s satellite outpost.  

“You think I can’t understand the losing side of a massacre?” Negan asks.  Maggie points out that no children died at the satellite outpost, but Negan counters that Gracie lost her parents that night.  Unfazed, Maggie notes that Negan killed people in front of their families.  Negan decides to be brutally honest, and he admits that if he had to do it all over again, he would have killed everyone in Rick’s group.  Maggie is stunned.  Negan explains that is the way to protect your people and that is what he and Maggie are planning to do now.  “Why admit that to me?” Maggie stresses.  Negan tells her that their new agreement only works if he is absolutely honest with her.

Elijah looks through the trees at oncoming walkers.
Elijah spots a familiar looking walker in the distance.
(Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC)


As Gabriel, Elijah, Maggie, and Negan round up walkers, they are confronted with undead from their former colony.  Elijah is anxious to find his sister, and unfortunately his wish comes true.  On the shambling herd walk to the Reaper compound, the walker of Elijah’s sister ambles up beside him.  Elijah is barely able to keep from breaking down, but Maggie slips up beside him and takes his hand to calm him.

Though Maggie was horrified by Negan’s honesty, she has vowed to do the same thing to the Reapers: kill them all.  It is slaughter in the name of protection, and though Maggie may hate Negan for it, she definitely understands the instinct.  Though Maggie made Gabriel promise to kill any Reaper he encountered, Gabriel failed to do it when given the opportunity.  Gabriel lies to Maggie and tells her that he did not run into any Reapers.  The priest has come a long way, but maybe not as far as Maggie and Negan.

Eugene lectures a preppy picnic goer about respect while Stephanie spots a walker approaching.
(Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC)


As punishment for their transgressions against the Commonwealth, Eugene, Princess, and Ezekiel have been assigned clean-up duty on the permiter buildings.  Ezekiel struggles to keep up with the walker killing, and Princess insists that he see a doctor.  Hornsby is happy to arrange for the help.  The group is rightfully concerned about the cost of that help.

While Ezekiel is at the hospital, Eugene and Stephanie head to another section to clear walkers.  A surly, preppy couple is picnicking in a field with approaching walkers.  Eugene springs into action, angering the man on his date.  The man screams at Eugene for butting into the situation when he had a security detail to handle things.  Stephanie attempts to warn Eugene of a walker creeping on the man’s date, but Eugene is too high on his horse to hear her.  Stephanie takes action, causing blood to splatter on the woman.  

The man is now enraged, and he uses derogatory words about Stephanie.  Chivalrous Eugene breaks the man’s nose before Lance Hornsby can announce that the man is Pamela Milton’s son.  Eugene is in it now.

Locked in a cell, Eugene worries about his fate.  When Lance arrives, he tells Eugene that his actions mean that he has to provide more substantial intel on Eugene’s colony.  Lance explains that without a name and coordinates, he cannot promise Eugene’s freedom or help for Eugene’s people.  If a set-up smelled, this room would stink of fish reheated in a microwave.

Yumiko and Tomi sit on a bench in the town hall of the Commonwealth and talk about his past as a doctor.
Tomi asks his sister Yumiko to promise not to mention his past as a doctor to anyone.
(Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC)


As Yumiko had no part in Eugene’s plan to radio free Alexandria, she is allowed to wander the Commonwealth freely.  Yumiko demands to speak to Pamela Milton, but the bureacrat stalls. 

While Yumiko waits, she meets up with her brother.  Despite the obvious surveillance state they are in, Yumiko foolishly keeps talking loudly in public to her brother Tomi about how she cannot believe that he does not want to be a doctor any more.  Tomi stresses that he does not want to live a life of neverending work any more.  And though Tomi repeatedly asks Yumiko not to mention his past, she does.  Right up until a group of armored officers grab him and drag him away.  

Understandably worried, Yumiko demands an audience with Pamela Milton.  Lance Hornsby promises to set up the meeting, but he also admits that the meeting is ahead of their timetable.  Quite the admission considering all that is happening with Eugene.  When Yumiko goes to the waiting room for her meeting, she flips through a coffee table book about villas in Italy, while an overly inquisitive secretary, Max, asks her about the health of her cohorts.  The secretary is the same moony-eyed woman from the ice cream truck.  Two shots of this woman is no coincidence: Max is likely the real woman from Eugene’s radio talks.


Previous suspicions that all is not as it seems at the Commonwealth are extra heightened this episode.  Stephanie still seems a bit too damsel in distress to be real, and Lance Hornsby’s politician smile feels a little too practiced.  In both cases they could be exactly what they appear to be, but after several seasons of this show, we are prepared for a twist of some kind.  The secretary was a little too inquisitive and squirrelly with Yumiko to not have a secret as well.  

Most likely this is all a setup to get information about Alexandria out of Eugene.  Stephanie is likely not Eugene’s Stephanie, and I’m fairly certain the picnic preppy is not Pamela Milton’s son.  What better way to up the leverage on someone than to increase the debt of what they owe to you?  Between Ezekiel’s medical assistance and Eugene’s chivalrous actions landing him in jail, the Alexandrians owe the Commonwealth big time.

In the Reaper world, not a moment of the day is spent without a test.  Paranoid Pope has made sure that every Reaper tows the line.  Pope keeps the ranks in check with his bullying and neverending mind games.  Does Pope know that Daryl is a double agent?  Possibly.  As paranoid as Pope is, it makes sense for him to know and not out Daryl.  What better way to test the loyalty of Leah since she has already left the flock once before.

The final round of tests in this episode is in Maggie’s group.  Negan needs to build some sort of safety net in the community.  Without a truce with Maggie, Negan can never be comfortable with the Alexandrians.  Negan forces a deal with Maggie, and he offers her honesty.  Both Negan and Maggie make a promise to one another, but as the title of the episode implies, one or both are lying.  The episode does not reveal what promise is broken, but it does show Negan testing the boundaries of his truce with Maggie.  All we learn from Maggie’s side is that she is not sure yet whether she can keep her promise not to kill Negan in the future.  As for Gabriel, he failed his test to spare no Reaper.


The conversations between Maggie and Negan are worth watching.  There is this long standing argument that we have rooted for Rick’s group from the start because we saw things from their persepective.  From the POV of another group, they may be the villains.  There is a little of that in Negan’s admission to Maggie.  I think Negan’s past actions definitively prove that Negan’s group was the bad guys.  

However, Negan was not wrong when he said that if he had killed all of Rick’s group instead of attempting to make them heel, it would have protected his people.  Negan left Rick’s group alive because he believed fear would keep them in check.  Negan knows better now.  The fact that Negan openly admitted this to Maggie was the right move.  Maggie knows it was truthful.  The unspoken part is that Alexandria is Negan’s group now.  On some level, Maggie knows that Negan is willing to help her destroy all threats to his new community. That does not mean Maggie trusts Negan, but she also knows she can count on him in this fight.

The rest of the episode is somewhat filler and set-up for the last few episodes of this part of the season.  I do not think you need to watch the rest unless you want to look for clues about the real story at the Commonwealth.