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The Ending Of The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 2 Explained

Contains spoilers for "The Walking Dead" episode "Acheron: Part II"

After beginning its final season by turning the tension up to the max, "The Walking Dead" kept the pressure on with "Acheron: Part II." The episode picked up right where "Acheron: Part I" left off. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) was fighting for her life after being left by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to fall into an approaching horde of walkers, the rest of her group was stuck in the partially collapsed DC subway with no easy way forward, and elsewhere, Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Princess (Paola Lázaro) were facing an uncertain future at the gates of the Commonwealth. 

Throughout the course of "Acheron: Part II," the fates of our protagonists turn multiple times. Maggie manages to survive her ordeal but finds herself stuck in an increasingly perilous situation with the rest of her group and facing the man who left her for dead minutes ago. In the Commonwealth, our heroes make headway against the bureaucracy, but it's still not entirely clear exactly what awaits them once they finally make it into the secretive community. 

Here's how everything played out in "Acheron: Part II."

Maggie shares a harrowing story from her past

Once Maggie escapes the walker horde by crawling under the train car, she finds herself out of the frying pan and into the fire. In fact, there isn't even enough time for her to properly deal with Negan's treachery (or, as he and some viewers see it, a justified move considering she all but promised to kill him) before another crisis presents itself.

Gage (Jackson Pace), who had fled at the first sign of trouble last episode, calls to everyone from the next car over, which is slowly filling up with walkers. While others rush to help pry open the rusted door, Maggie tells them to stop. Gage pleads with her to let him in. He apologizes for his cowardice, but Maggie makes it clear that her decision isn't personal. She knows the group doesn't have the resources to handle all the walkers who will stream into the train car after Gage. So, they all watch while Gage is eviscerated right in front of their eyes.

After this gruesome turn of events, Maggie tells a bracing story about a time she stumbled upon a group of women who had suffered a fate that makes the thought of being ripped apart by walkers seem pleasant in comparison. She describes discovering the stomach-churning scene as the moment she hardened herself and stopped allowing whatever emotional reaction she might have to things get in the way of her mission.

Season 11 has crystallized Maggie's motivations as lying beyond mere survival for herself and Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller). She is dedicated to preserving community, whether it's Alexandria or Meridian or wherever, because, as she sees it, the alternative is chaos, inhumanity, misery, and certain death.

Daryl is literally and metaphorically lost

Elsewhere in the tunnels, Daryl has been chasing after Dog (Seven), which leads him to stumble upon a camp that appears to be long abandoned. While picking through the detritus, he finds a bag full of belongings, including a polaroid of two young boys and a note that one of them wrote to their father on a $100 dollar bill. The message is simple. It explains that the boys have been waiting for their father's return but as he's been gone for so long, they've had to move on. Considering the piles of bodies that were found elsewhere in the subway tunnels, we can only assume that whatever community had sprung up there met an unfortunate end.

Who are these boys and what kind of significance will they play going forward in the season? The settlement where Daryl found their belongings seems to have been abandoned long ago so there's really no telling where the boys might be or if they are even still alive. But finding the possessions themselves seems to have a strong emotional impact on Daryl. He lingers while reading the note and even looks at it again once they've exited the tunnels.

Many of Daryl's storylines in Season 10C involved him dealing with loss. He's still reeling from the disappearance of Connie (Lauren Ridloff), an event so painful for him that it created a fracture in his relationship with Carol ( Melissa McBride). In the flashback-centric episode "Find Me," we saw him not only mourning the loss of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) but also of his girlfriend Leah (Lynn Collins), who he had never even told anybody about before.

Perhaps this story of a family seemingly torn apart by distance hit a particularly strong nerve for him while processing his own personal trauma.

Eugene manages to hold the line

Meanwhile, at the Commonwealth, paranoia is running rampant among Eugene, Yumiko, and Princess. Not only are they terrified that the guards will find out about their escape attempt, but Ezekiel has gone missing. This leads Yumiko to use her lawyer skills to get herself an audience with the guard's manager.

But she never comes back. Then, when Princess pleads for a bathroom break, she's escorted away and doesn't return, leaving Eugene alone. He becomes convinced that something sinister has happened to his friends and that it's only a matter of time before he's taken next. So, when he's called in for another round of questioning, his nerves are completely shot.

However, it's here that we learn that despite his nervous disposition and tendency to be a bit of a Pollyanna, Eugene is capable of holding it down under pressure. The guards tell him that if he gives truthful answers to two questions, they'll let him see his friends. Those questions are: "Where is your settlement?" and "And why were you at that train station?"

In the previous episode, Eugene was ready to spill the beans about Alexandria in order to ingratiate himself with the Commonwealth. He had to be talked out of it by his allies and earlier in this episode, Yumiko had to reiterate their strategy: "Eugene, for the last time: do not talk to the law enforcement. Or, if you find yourself in a situation where you have to, you stick to the story."

When he's pressed again about the location of their settlement, it seems like he's sure to crack. But Eugene manages to spin an effectively distracting story about his budding relationship with Stephanie while also maintaining that the four of them are drifters who bluffed about being from a larger community.

What awaits for our protagonists in the Commonwealth?

Eugene is taken to a trailer where his friends are being held and when he enters, he finds that they are not only safe, but they've actually been well taken care of. Ezekiel was taken to see a doctor about his cough, Yumiko was brought to see him after she asked to speak with the manager, and Princess joined following her bathroom trip. It appears that the Commonwealth interrogators hoped that once removed from his friends, the obviously nervous Eugene might crack and reveal more details. However, when he continued to uphold their story, they sent him to join the rest of the group.

There's even one more surprise in store. After they've hugged and exchanged notes, a young woman enters the trailer and asks, "Which one of you is Eugene?" This, it turns out, is Stephanie in the flesh (allegedly). Thus far, the Commonwealth has turned out to be everything the group could have hoped for. However, we shouldn't necessarily take this as a sign that things are going to work out. Their collective lie about not coming from a larger community may have helped get them in the door of the Commonwealth but there's a big possibility that it will cause them trouble down the road.

Protecting one's community at all costs has been a major theme of Season 11. Like Maggie, the Commonwealth certainly views maintaining the safety of their community as hugely important, which is why they subject anyone who wants to enter to an extreme vetting process. Even with the best intentions, that drive to protect can lead to unsavory actions. Fascism and authoritarianism arise from a desire to protect one's community and in entering the Commonwealth, Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel, and Princess may be leaving the lawless outside world behind, but there could still be plenty of other dangers ahead.

Here come the Reapers

Back in the tunnels, Daryl's side quest eventually brings him to the opposite end of the train car as the rest of the group and he's able to move the debris that has been blocking the exit just in time to save everyone from an arriving walker horde. But even after they emerge topside, they are far from being out of danger.

Before they can put much distance between themselves and the tunnels they are ambushed by a group of menacing, mask-clad people steadily approaching with their weapons drawn. It would appear that we are about to get a proper introduction to the Reapers and learn exactly what makes them so feared.

The arrival of the Reapers will almost certainly completely change the dynamics of this mission. Whether or not the Alexandrians win this battle, they will likely face casualties and become scattered in the night, making the final push to secure the much-needed supplies in Meridian even more difficult.

It will also be fascinating to see how this affects the tension between Maggie and Negan. The relentless pace of the first two episodes hasn't provided them with much time to hash out their various issues and, if anything, it appears that the constant barrage of danger has actually led to a working stalemate between the pair. Will that dynamic continue, or will their years-old conflict finally come to a head? It seems likely that there are a few more twists in store as far as that relationship is concerned.