This episode starts at The Hilltop, with Lydia looking to leave and head to the Commonwealth checkpoint to head there. Elijah wants to walk with her when he hears a horse in the distance. Nobody recognizes him, and he has been shot. He falls off the horse close to Lydia. He says liars, devils, slaughtering them, you have to go while handing Lydia a map before he dies. Back inside, a group gathers, looking at the map. Maggie doesn’t want to help, thinking it’s a trap, while Lydia and Elijah want to help before she goes to the Commonwealth. Maggie can’t let them go alone, so she drives them to the destination.

On the drive, Maggie and Lydia have a talk about the Commonwealth, why Maggie refuses to get help from them. She says they don’t need the help. She talks about a story from when her family was living on the farm and investors tried to bully them from the farm and thinks the Commonwealth will not stop bothering them if they think they need the help. She goes on that this group hasn’t been tested in over ten years, and she doesn’t want to be there when they finally are. On the flip side, Lydia and Elijah want things to be the same every day. A little way down the road, they come across three Commonwealth walker soldiers. Maggie and the others kill the walkers and look to see how they were killed in the first place, but to make things even more bizarre, running down the street yelling at them is Aaron!

At this stage, we have a one-week flashback with Aaron, who was at the Commonwealth. He was asked to check out the intake process of newcomers and found some ways to improve things. A byproduct of that is to try to make contact with new groups and bring them in. This brings him to Gabriel’s church to try to recruit him for the next mission. Out on the Virginia border is a small group of 40 settlers in an apartment building, but it’s a religious group with service two days a week. Aaron’s boss is a complete weirdo. His name is Carlson, his plan was to have Gabriel and Aaron go inside and talk to them, and if they are afraid they will back down after talking with them, he wants himself and the soldiers to hang back. Neither Aaron nor Gabriel thinks this is a good plan, so they want to leave with Gabriel telling Carlson, “your plan is shit, and I don’t want to die.” The two lay down the law to Carlson, having him and his assistant join them as well.

Ross Marquand as Aaron, Jason Butler Harner as Carlson, Jenique Hendrix as Hart – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

This apartment complex has some geared-up members, and they do look pretty formidable. The welcoming crew, a term I use lightly, checks the group for weapons and tells them where to go down the hall. Inside they meet the leader, who is very protective and out there. He has a lot of skulls on display, people who thought they were liars, and thieves and cannibals. For some reason, he thinks they want to eat everyone even though they have been giving his people food and prepackaged MREs. During the diversion, Carlson, who was some sort of secret agent before, takes the leader’s gun, shoots him, and kills his two guards. He tells Aaron and Gabriel to stay and watch after the leader, and he will come back when it’s safe.

We get hit with another flashback, this time Hornsby talking to Carlson, who is retired now, about the mission. Hornsby had some soldiers, guns, and cargo to go to the other thing he was working on, but the guns were stolen, and soldiers were killed. He traced it to the apartment complex, and he essentially bullied Carlson to go and do this mission for him and revert to his old lifestyle. Now, back current, Carlson is asking the leader where the guns and cargo are. He tells them he found the wagon like that and doesn’t know where the stuff is. Carlson keeps hitting the leader when Gabriel goes up and punches Carlson. Finally, Carlson has a soldier cuff Gabriel, and the leader starts to say, “if I found those guns don’t you think I’d” when Carlson shoots him dead. Aaron looks at Carlson, pissed, and says I thought we were supposed to be helping people?! To which Carlson replies, this is the other side of it, snuffing out threats. I guess 40 people without guns against 50,000 Commonwealth is a pretty skewed fight that Carlson needs to be afraid of.

Carlson’s assistant has seen enough of this and tries to flee on a horse, but he is shot in the shoulder by a soldier. He is still able to escape the immediate danger, though, thanks to Aaron punching the soldier with his badass arm. Carlson wants to shoot Aaron, but his gun is out of bullets. Aaron eventually runs into the woods after more soldiers arrive. Another quick time jump happens before this exchange when the assistant is getting a horse when Negan and another ask how many people and what they are armed with. He tells them 12 and machine guns, but they are back arguing with a priest and a guy with a weapon arm. Negan instantly knows that it is Aaron and Gabriel, so he gets a map, marks the location of the Hilltop, and tells him to go give this to Maggie, nobody else and tell her Aaron and Gabriel are in trouble.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Connor Hammond as Jesse – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

We jump forward to see when Aaron and Carlson are about to fight outside. Negan and his friend Annie are the ones who kill the soldiers and save Gabriel. At this point, Carlson is done. He declares all the people of the apartment complex enemies of the Commonwealth. He asks some of the complex’s soldiers about the guns, and when they don’t know, he kicks them off the roof of the building to their death. Carlson wants his team to search every room and kill anyone who doesn’t talk. We see Maggie, Elijah, Lydia, and Aaron inside the apartment complex. They kill a soldier and take his walkie.