The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 7 Ending Explained

"Promises Broken," the penultimate episode of "The Walking Dead" Season 11A, brings several central storylines right to the brink of climax.

Maggie's (Lauren Cohan) mission to retake Meridian from the Reapers has been hit with calamity and misfortune all season. Now that they are within striking range of the settlement, her group is down in numbers and at a strategic disadvantage. To make matters worse, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is threatening to walk away from what he sees as an expedition that's doomed to fail. But he offers Maggie a deal. If she promises that she won't try to kill him in the future, he'll see the mission through to the end. Maggie shakes his hand, but will she actually honor a deal with the man who murdered her husband?

In the Commonwealth, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) both get first-hand lessons on the downsides of life in the ultra-orderly society. They've been told again and again that the community can provide rare wonders in this apocalyptic time but at the price of playing by a strict set of rules. During "Promises Broken," they both learn that it's easier said than done.

And at the Reapers' camp, Daryl (Norman Reedus) is still walking on eggshells to try and keep his cover from being blown. There is a potential bright light on the horizon, though, when he notices cracks forming in Leah's (Lynn Collins) allegiance to Pope (Ritchie Coster) and her adopted family.

Here's how everything went down in "Promises Broken."

Yumiko learns how deals are made in the Commonwealth

In her pre-apocalypse life, Yumiko was a Harvard graduate and a successful lawyer, credentials which give her quite a bit of sway in the Commonwealth. In the middle of "Promises Broken," she takes a break from job hunting to hang out with her brother Tomi (Ian Anthony Dale), who took the opposite approach when he joined the community. He's kept the fact that he was a surgeon in the before times a secret, opting instead to enjoy the comparatively low-stress lifestyle that being a baker provides.

When Yumiko expresses her confusion about his decision, Tomi makes it clear that she can't let anyone else know that he's a trained medical professional. We can assume that should he let that information slip, he would be conscripted against his will and possibly even face punishment for concealing his skillset.

Their conversation gets interrupted by a squad of Commonwealth guards, who haul Tomi away without explanation. Yumiko later goes to confront Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton), who confirms that he ordered Tomi's arrest, but promises that he'll be released. We don't know much about Mr. Hornsby other than that he's able to pull a lot of strings and appears to have no issues with bending or breaking the laws of the Commonwealth in order to secure favors from others. He tells Yumiko that she is already a star on the rise in the Commonwealth and he will help her so long as she agrees to scratch his back down the road.

Is Mr. Hornsby a figure like Varys (Conleth Hill) from "Game of Thrones," who trades in secrets and information? Or is he lining a war chest to make some kind of big political move? As of now, his motivations are opaque, but he's certainly up to something.

Has Daryl found a crack in the Reapers' solidarity?

After last week's episode focused on Daryl's precarious position with the Reapers, this week's implies that he may have more of an ally in Leah than he first assumed.

Early in the episode, he watches as Leah stands up to Pope after he berates a pair of Reapers who had just returned from an unsuccessful scouting mission. When she chastises Pope for losing his temper, he responds by telling her, "You trying to be noble? Is that it, Shaw? You trying to get them to like you?"

Later, Daryl and Leah go on their own scouting mission where they come across a scared man who is scavenging for his wife and young son. He agrees to take Daryl and Leah to where his family is waiting in hopes that they will see that he's not a threat. When Leah radios Pope about the situation, however, he instructs her to kill the entire family.

But Leah ignores that command. When they arrive at the man's hideout and see that his wife is suffering from a serious stomach wound, Leah tells the man to take his son, leave the area, and never return. He complies and the wife, who knows her wound is fatal, thanks Leah and Daryl for putting her out of her misery.

After Daryl euthanizes the woman with a crossbow bolt, Leah says she'll tell Pope that Daryl took out the whole family, as "it'll be good for you." This is indeed very good for Daryl. Not only does it earn him brownie points, but it's also a moment where Leah has put Daryl ahead of her allegiance to Pope. Whether or not this means she'll eventually defect from the Reapers, it is an indication that he might be able to use her confused allegiance to strategic advantage.

Who does Stephanie actually work for?

Contains possible future spoilers for "The Walking Dead"

In a different part of the Commonwealth, Eugene, Stephanie (Chelle Ramos), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Princess (Paola Lázaro) have been tasked with clearing some abandoned apartment buildings of walkers following Eugene's arrest for illegally using the community's radio. During the cleanup, Eugene and Stephanie see a well-dressed and extremely snobby couple about to be attacked by a small pack of walkers. The pair swoops in and saves them. But instead of thanks, they get berated and insulted by the rude man to the point where Eugene punches him in the face. It's only afterward does he learn that the man is Sebastian Milton (Teo Rapp-Olsson), son of the Commonwealth's governor Pamela Milton.

And speaking of Pamela Milton, around the same time, Yumiko is meant to have a meeting with her about a possible job opportunity. Her interview gets canceled, though, when Milton hears the news about her son's altercation. Curiously enough, Milton's secretary is none other than the woman who Eugene noticed ordering rocky road ice cream a few episodes prior aka the woman who may or may not be the actual Stephanie. While the receptionist maintains a professional demeanor, she does seem exceptionally curious to hear how Yumiko's friends are settling in at the Commonwealth. The "real Stephanie" twist still hasn't been officially revealed, but it's gaining traction by the episode.

If this woman is indeed the actual Stephanie, the fact that she works so closely with Milton raises a whole host of questions. Is Milton behind the Stephanie deception? If so, what does she have to gain from it? And what exactly are the motivations of each individual Stephanie? Hopefully, this deception will come to light in the Season 11A finale.

Eugene is running out of second chances

As it turns out, punching the governor's son in the face is kind of a big deal in the Commonwealth. There are many individual ways in which Eugene has put his foot in it since arriving at the community but all of them point to a massive difference between the relatively freewheeling lifestyle he enjoyed back in Alexandria versus how they do things here. Based on what we've seen thus far, the Commonwealth is a type of authoritarian society, where individual liberties are sacrificed for (supposedly) the greater good of the whole.

Theoretically, it's a system where everyone follows the rules and is taken care of in turn. But we've already seen the ways in which creating this kind of hierarchy leads to corruption and rot. In the case of Sebastian Milton, he uses his absolute power as the son of the governor to mistreat people with impunity. And in the case of Mr. Hornsby, he uses the threat of the unforgiving punishments meted out by the Commonwealth law to coerce people into doing his bidding.

Mr. Hornsby comes to Eugene again in the wake of his latest snafu. He warns the Alexandrian that he has quickly run out of second chances, and now faces a punishment much more severe than walker clean-up duty. However, Mr. Hornsby could throw him another lifeline ... if Eugene reveals the coordinates of Alexandria. Eugene has struggled all season to keep that bit of information a secret but as Mr. Hornsby turns to leave him to the mercy of the ultra-strict Commonwealth legal system, Eugene yells for him to stop. It looks like he just might be ready to crack.

Negan teaches Maggie to walk with the horde

With Maggie's group close to Meridian but perilously low on remaining members, she realizes that there's one simple trick for how they can overcome the odds and take back the settlement. The Whisperers may have been a grotesque community whose philosophy on life verged on total inhumanity, but their strategy of mimicking walkers in order to herd and then weaponize them against their enemies was pretty effective. It's a strategy that Maggie knows could help them overcome their numbers disadvantage. And thankfully, there's a member of her group who already knows the ropes of walking with the horde.

Having spent quite a bit of time embedded with the Whisperers, Negan helps train Maggie and the others on how to move like a walker. The assembly of their horde also brings the conclusion of a rather underdeveloped storyline that was introduced back in Season 10C.

Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), one of Maggie's comrades she brought with her when she arrived back in Alexandria, was on the lookout for his missing sister when we first met him. Unfortunately, he finds her in the massive battalion of walkers he's helping Maggie march toward Meridian. With this storyline now complete, it will be interesting to see if the show finds other ways to utilize Elijah, or if he will become a casualty of the upcoming battle with the Reapers.

Speaking of, considering this episode ends with Maggie leading a gigantic horde of walkers straight to Meridian and the next episode is the Season 11A finale, we could be in for a massive battle. With Daryl still playing double agent, the Alexandrians adopting a chaotic strategy, and the Reapers down in numbers, but high in religious zeal, it should make for a bloody and shocking finale.