I give this episode a 60 on Robin's Scale.
Overall, I think this is the best written show this season (which isn't saying much). A few things stood out:
* Great development as far as Negan's ability to judge internally the plots against him and to change his plans at the drop of a hat.
* The way Gregory was handled in the past two episodes has been a bit flimsy (See: the Bad).
* Big Reveal: Simon ran the Sanctuary before Negan and was responsible for killing all the men at Oceanside!
Summary with comments:
* Rick reads the letter Carl left for him, which I thought was emotionally moving in terms of the hopes and viewpoint of a child. Carl always felt safe around Rick and felt that was what life was about for when he grew older. He wants Rick to make peace so that everyone can pass on the feeling of being safe to their children again (including Judith).
* Gregory somehow makes it back to the Sanctuary (SEE: The Bad) and sides with Simon.
* Eugene tells his minions that Simon is in charge and has stepped up bullet production. He takes Father Gabriel off of bullet production because he figures out that he is purposely messing up the making of the bullets. Eugene goes outside to test rounds that were made and is captured by Rosita and Daryl and they run off with him towards the Hilltop.
* Negan surprises Dwight in the courtyard and tests his allegiances.
* Negan confronts Simon, who asks for a pass on his move to exterminate rather than infect the folks at Hilltop. Negan makes it clear that in the past it was Dwight that ran the Sanctuary before him and it was revealed that he was the one who killed all the men from Oceanside (not Negan). Negan forgives him.
* Negan lays out a plan to surround the Hilltop with caches of ammo so they can focus on picking off Hill toppers one at a time. I guessing the gradual plan is to starve them into surrender. He asks everyone to leave but Dwight.
* Rosita calls out Eugene for the traitor that he is (because he assisted the Saviors with their escape from the Sanctuary) and put all the deaths that occurred after that on him. Rosita wants to put him in the darkest hole and then just use his brains to make the world a better place.
* Eugene forces himself to throw up all over Rosita and hides in a pile of body ashes; and escapes. He makes his way back to the bullet factory.
* Simon has a talk with Dwight and wants him to meet them all in the courtyard after rounds to discuss their plan for taking Negan down.
* Aaron is camped outside of the Oceansiders compound and fights off walkers. The Oceansiders find him and he struggles to convince them to fight against the Saviors; just like he fought the walkers around him.
* Dwight meets Simon, Gregory and some Saviors in the courtyard and Simon tries to persuade Dwight to be the one that takes out Negan (since he has the most beefs with him.) Negan shows up (probably because Dwight told on Simon to Negan behind closed doors.)
* Negan has a meeting with Simon surrounded by Saviors inside the Sanctuary and tells everyone how Simon went against his word and killed all the garbage people. He tells Simon that he's going to give him one last shot to kill him to be the man in charge. Negan fights Simon and wins with strangulation. Simon's walker body is tied to the front gate with all the other walker bodies.
* Negan brings Dwight into a room where he reveals Laura, who he double crossed. She told Negan that Dwight tried to kill her and how he killed all the other Saviors in their party. Negan figures out it was Dwight who told Rick when to attack; how to get to the outposts and probably didn't kill Sherry and was responsible for helping her get out of there.
* Negan reveals that he gave fake plans to Dwight; sent through Gregory to Maggie to set up at trap.
* Michonne walkie talkies Negan and reads Carl's letter to him. Carl says the way out is working together. You can see he's affected although he vows to kill them all.
* I loved Negan's maneuverings. I loved how he reacted to Carl's letter. He's definitely getting more complex than I had in my mind previous to this episode.
* Big Reveal: Simon ran the Sanctuary before Negan and was responsible for killing all the men at Oceanside.
* Gregory. Someone has to explain how he escaped Hilltop; and was not amongst those in the Dive bar. How did he escape? Somehow Gregory makes it to Sanctuary. How did he do that? Gregory escapes execution fire in the courtyard (although he is out there with Simon and Dwight)? How do they know he isn't on Simon's side? Gregory is also trusted (as well as his intel) after he has escaped the Hilltop by Maggie and is allowed back in the compound?
* I understand that Negan killed Simon partially for disobeying his orders. Now, that Simon is out of the way Negan is going with Simon's plan to kill them all. You would think after Negan made such a large speech about using people as resources to Simon that his plans would still reflect that kind of logic. What exactly has transpired on the Hilltop side that has ratcheted up Negan to change the way he looks at things?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will they set him up so Rick kills him rather than kill him themselves?
* Does Maggie believe the plans brought over by Gregory and Dwight?