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The Ending Of The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 11 Explained

As the three-part final season of "The Walking Dead" slowly nears its end, the series continues to play with timelines and tease what's yet to come. Season 11 Episode 10 saw some survivors from Alexandria adjusting to life in the Commonwealth and celebrating Halloween as they had before the apocalypse. However, the sugar-filled festivities were cut short when a demoted soldier snapped and revealed that there is a growing resistance within the seemingly idyllic community.

Rather than providing any answers about this alleged resistance, Episode 11, "Rogue Element," introduced a new set of questions about the Commonwealth. The latest episode flashes forward another month, and many characters are frustrated by the lack of transparency about what went down on Halloween. Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory), working for the local newspaper, pursue the truth and receive an anonymous tip, while Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Deputy Gov. Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) venture out to a neighboring community for an off-the-record business deal.

The central conflict, though, revolves around the sudden disappearance of Stephanie Vega (Chelle Ramos). A devastated Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) vows to find the love of his life and stumbles into a larger conspiracy about the dark underbelly of the Commonwealth. Nothing is what it seems in this neo-noir-inspired storyline.

To borrow a phrase from Eugene, here's what in the name of little billy goats happened in "Rogue Element."

The truth about 'Stephanie'

Since the beginning of Season 11, Stephanie's identity has been a source of fan speculation. AMC may have spoiled the twist, but it's finally official: there is no Stephanie. While Eugene has been falling in love, she's been using him for intel on his people.

Lance, the head honcho of this decoy operation, confirms this when Eugene's suspicion that Stephanie got kidnapped by the Commonwealth government leads him into a mysterious gathering at what is purportedly a plumbing operation. The heartbroken survivor breaks down as he comes to terms with her betrayal, while the politician is unfazed by his emotional threats to expose this cruel truth.

He explains that they tried to end things between the couple when it became too serious, but Eugene wouldn't let go. The final straw was when he declared his love for Stephanie and gave her a key to his apartment. As if this information wasn't shattering enough, the final blow is that her real name is Shira, and she was only pretending to like Iron Maiden. Then, he's teased about the science-fiction story that she encouraged him to write, even if she did "genuinely enjoy it."

Drunk, defeated, and burning the draft of his book, Eugene is startled when Max (Margot Bingham) suddenly appears and reveals that she was the woman he spoke to on the radio. Can Max, who works alongside the governor and is related to a top soldier, be trusted? Is she involved with the resistance? Where do they go from here?

What else did Eugene uncover?

Eugene's investigation may not have provided the results he was hoping for, but it did uncover a web of secrets within the Commonwealth. With the help of a concerned but loyal Princess (Paola Lázaro), they confirm that his number-one suspect, Roman Calhoun (Michael Tourek), is "definitely not a plumber."

What Roman is, however, is still unclear. After getting caught breaking into the man's apartment, Lance dismisses their concerns about the weapons they discovered and has Eugene sign a document agreeing that he's under extreme emotional distress. Later, it's revealed that this document is insurance that anything Eugene tries to go public with can be chalked up to his paranoia.

It's easy to view Eugene as desperate and paranoid, and the corkboard filled with red strings and evidence doesn't help his case. Beyond the flawed kidnapping theory and unfurled waffle cone adorning the board, though, there's hard proof that something shady is going on in the Commonwealth.

With his erratic mental state on the record and friends who might not want to risk losing this new life they have, how will Eugene's investigation carry on? Will he ditch the whole thing following the revelation about Stephanie, or will Max's presence in his life push him to keep seeking out the truth?

When Eugene confronts Lance at the end of the episode, he references Occam's razor, a theory that the simplest explanation for something is the most accurate. This theory works regarding Stephanie, but the rest of his investigation is undoubtedly more complicated.

Will Carol be a mercenary or a patriot?

While Eugene experienced the dark side of Lance, Carol joined the politician on a business trip outside of the Commonwealth. On the way, he delivers a speech about how communities consist of two types of people: mercenaries, who want money and power, and patriots, who believe in their cause. Carol asks if he's attempting to make a "true believer" out of her by convincing her to join his cause.

When they arrive at their destination, she quickly realizes that this is not a publicly-known business deal. The two groups have a transactional relationship: they harvest poppy seeds to produce opium for the hospitals, and the Commonwealth pays them off. Moto (William Mark McCullough), their leader, tells Lance that his workers are striking until they get a raise. Carol learns that he's stealing money from the workers, resulting in his arrest by Commonwealth soldiers.

This trip indicated that an alliance between Carol and Lance is plausible, only she doesn't know the extent of what he's involved in. Showrunner Angela Kang explained in the Episode Insider that Lance is a complicated person to figure out. "There is like an incredible duality to this character, and I think in some ways, both sides of him are true," she said.

Unless Carol teams up with Eugene, she could be getting in over her head. She's motivated to work with Lance to seek better medical care for the terminally-ill Ezekiel (Khary Payton), while Lance's motivations remain a mystery.

Connie's investigation into Tyler's arrest

Before the apocalypse, Connie was a celebrated investigative journalist with a knack for exposing the wrongdoings of political leaders. In Episode 10, Kelly states that her sister was responsible for getting Gov. Pamela Milton's (Laila Robins) uncle removed from Congress. Before this, she also noted that Connie's work led to the arrest of "sleazeball politicians."

Given her background, it's no surprise that Connie is frustrated that her reporting at the Commonwealth Tribune is limited to pushing propaganda and paraphrasing press releases from the government. Kelly understands where she's coming from but tries to dissuade her from causing trouble. Connie ignores her advice and continues looking into the arrest of Tyler Davis.

While interviewing General Mercer (Michael James Shaw), she catches him off guard by straying from the list of pre-approved questions. She reveals that she knows Max is his sister and wonders why he's so blindly committed to a cause that could dispose of him at any moment.

"If I were you, I might wonder why I'm out here digging for answers that we both know will never see the light of day," he cooly tells her before walking away.

Later, someone slides a list of names under Connie and Kelly's door. At the bottom of this list is none other than Tyler Davis. Does this mean the resistance exists? Will they continue providing Connie with tips?

New episodes of "The Walking Dead" air on AMC on Sundays at 9/8c, and AMC+ users have early access to episodes every week.