In “The Walking Dead” recap, Eugene searches for Stephanie, Connie tries to find out what’s really happening in The Commonwealth and Carol joins Lance on an expedition outside the walls…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Ever since Eugene and his group arrived at The Commonwealth earlier this season on “The Walking Dead,” there have been hints that the woman he knew was Stephanie wasn’t really the person on the other end of that radio who lured him to this community in the first place.
Reality finally smacked Eugene square in the face in the latest episode as he expressed his love for Stephanie only to have her go missing later that same day, which puts him on the hunt to find her while believing that something sinister much have happened. Sadly what Eugene discovers might actually be that much worse, at least when it comes to his emotional well-being.
Elsewhere this week, Carol continues to team up with Lance Hornsby in order to get Ezekiel the surgery he so desperately needs to save his life. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Carol over the past 11 seasons, it’s that she’s incredibly adaptive to her surroundings and she once again proves her worth to arguably the second most powerful person in The Commonwealth.
Finally, Connie has slipped back into her role as a dogged reporter but she’s discovering that the truth is much harder to find in this community, especially when no one wants to pull back the curtains on the underbelly of this idyllic town smack dab in the middle of the apocalypse.
With that said, let’s get to our full recap for “The Walking Dead” season 11, episode 11 titled “Rogue Element”…
Since arriving in The Commonwealth, Eugene has been torn in many different directions out of a sense of loyalty to his friends and family back in Alexandria while also attempting to strike up a relationship with the woman on the other end of the radio who lured him there in the first place.
While there was plenty of manipulation along the way, Eugene has started to settle into his new life and all signs are pointing towards everybody thriving in this new community. Eugene is so happy that he’s even started working on his science fiction novel — a dream project for him — and he’s waking up each day next to Stephanie, the woman he fell in love with while sharing stories and singing Iron Maiden together over a long range radio.
On that particular morning, Eugene finally expresses his true feelings for Stephanie by saying that he loves her and she reciprocates, which only further fuels how much he’s appreciating this new life being built at The Commonwealth.
With plans to meet for ice cream later that day, Eugene goes to Princess to ask for advice and she lays it out rather clearly for him — when a woman tells you she loves you, believe her. Obviously, Eugene has never felt genuine love for or from another person quite like this but it appears he’s finally ready to let his guard down and accept that somebody actually cares about him that much.
A few hours later with melted ice cream dripping down his hand, Eugene’s entire world falls out from under him.
Stephanie never made it to their planned date and when he arrives at her apartment, she’s not answering her door or responding to his calls. Inside the apartment we see Stephanie frantically packing a bag with Eugene outside calling her name.
Eugene does everything he can to find out what might have happened to Stephanie but he hits a brick wall at every turn. She never showed up for her job and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of where she might have gone, which leads Eugene to believe something more nefarious must be happening.
Just when it appears that all hope is lost, Eugene comes across a man he saw leaving Stephanie’s building the night she disappeared and in a drunken stupor, he decides to ask the stranger if perhaps he saw the woman he loves while he was inside. The man says he was called there on a plumbing emergency but he doesn’t remember seeing Stephanie while he was there.
The conversation rattles Eugene enough that he decides to dig even further and that’s when he starts to believe that Stephanie may not have left but rather she was taken.
Days later, Eugene pulls Princess into his investigation, which is now a bulletin board in his apartment complete with strings tied to all the different events that he believes connects the dots to Stephanie’s disappearance. He believes it starts with this mysterious name named Roman Calhoun, who Eugene has been following ever since that last encounter.
He works at a building marked Ruby’s Plumbing but he’s never seen anybody carrying tools in or out of there and Eugene is convinced that this must be some shadowy organization responsible for getting rid of his girlfriend.
After tracking Calhoun’s movements, Eugene decides to break into his apartment to look for clues that could tie him back to Stephanie. Princess decides to go along against her better instincts and inside Eugene doesn’t find any real evidence but he does discover a case filled with weapons under the bed, which seems like suspicious material for a plumber to own.
Unfortunately, Calhoun returns from his run sooner than planned and Eugene and the Princess are forced to flee quicker than expected. Just when it looks like they might get away, another tenant in the building arrives with security after she watched Eugene and Princess climb through Calhoun’s window.
They are placed under arrest and for Eugene this is another strike against him after he already got busted using the radio to call his friends in Alexandria.
A Necessary Evil
After Carol delivered for him when he needed wine to impress Governor Pamela Milton, Lance Hornsby has now recruited her into his employ as she continues to build up points to help convince him to move Ezekiel’s name up to the top of the surgery list so he can be saved from his cancer.
The latest mission requires Carol to leave with Lance outside the walls of The Commonwealth as he goes on a business trip of sorts while explaining to her that he really wants to welcome all of the people from Alexandria and the other communities into this new place. He wants them to truly call The Commonwealth home, which is going to require an awful lot of trust.
Once they arrive at their destination, Carol realizes that they are in the middle of a poppy field and the people Lance is doing business with are drug dealers. He explains that these people are a necessary evil because the poppies they grow can be turned into opium, which is then used as a pain killer at The Commonwealth hospital.
Like it or not, Lance knows this is one asset that can’t be lost, which is why he deals with the less than reputable leader of the group named Moto.
It seems the workers have gone on strike while holding out for a raise and Lance has arrived to try and get production back on track. While he speaks with Moto, he leaves Carol to do her thing to see if she can discover what’s really happening.
After convincing Moto to get his people back to work while offering to pay for more product if they can produce it, Carol tells him what’s really happening following a conversation with one of the drug dealer’s lieutenants.
It seems every raise that’s been provided to the workers has been stolen by Moto and he physically harms them for daring to speak out against him. This latest incident ended after Moto got way too rough with one of the workers and everybody else decided to go on strike as a protest.
Learning this information gives Lance exactly what he needs to put everything back on track.
He orders The Commonwealth stormtroopers to place Moto under arrest while turning the operation over to one of the other lieutenants so production can begin again. Carol has been working with Lance for all of one day and she’s already become an incredibly valuable asset.
The Truth is Out There
In her old life, Connie was a political reporter responsible for bringing powerful people to their knees — including the time she uncovered a story that got Pamela Milton’s uncle tossed out of Congress.
These days, Connie is no longer running from the dead but she’s not exactly loving her new job either as she’s working for The Commonwealth newspaper but finding out that nobody is really all that interested in the truth behind what’s actually happening inside these walls.
Her latest effort is digging into Tyler Davis — the rogue guard who took a hostage in last week’s episode while telling Governor Milton that there’s an uprising happening with the working glass at The Commonwealth. Connie desperately wants to speak to him but her editor isn’t all that interested, especially after she was forced to rewrite the story on the incident with the press release that was sent out from the Governor’s office.
Still, Connie can’t give up but for now she’s tasked with a story to follow The Commonwealth stormtroopers as they clear more of the dead coming near their walls. Connie is mostly interested in a chance to talk to Mercer, who she knows leads the entire military and police force in the community.
After the stormtroopers clear out a nearby group of walkers, Mercer arrives for his interview with Connie but she’s not asking him the questions that were already given to him to answer. Instead, Connie reveals that she knows Pamela Milton’s assistant (aka the real Stephanie, more on that later) is actually his sister, which explains why he was so enraged when she was taken hostage.
Connie desperately wants to know what’s happening with Tyler Davis and why he wigged out after Mercer had personally vouched for him in the past and even suggested an early promotion before he was bounced out of the military.
Realizing that there are questions being asked that even he can’t answer, Mercer decides to pay Tyler Davis a visit himself but when he arrives at the hospital, the prisoner has been checked out. Of course, Mercer knows that Tyler was supposed to be kept under lock and key until he personally signed any transfer order but the nurse at the hospital tells him that perhaps somebody has a lot more power than him because the prisoner is gone without a trace.
Later that night, Connie sits at home with Kelly, who tries to tell her sister that as much as she wants to get to the truth in this story, it’s possible that her need to expose the underbelly at The Commonwealth might cost more than it gains them. Kelly reminds her sister that this is all supposed to be temporary while they await Alexandria to be rebuilt so they can go home again.
Just when it appears that Connie will let it go, she gets a knock on her door and a piece of paper slipped underneath. When she opens the note, Connie finds a long list of names and at the very bottom is Tyler Davis.
Are these people who have gone against Governor Milton and the suddenly disappeared without a trace? Is this a list of disgruntled employees seeking retribution against a government that forgot about them?
It remains to be seen but now Connie wants to dig even deeper to find out what’s really happening inside the walls at The Commonwealth.
Eugene and Princess it in a holding cell until Lance Hornsby arrives after his trip out with Carol.
He’s shocked that these two have managed to get into even more trouble after being welcomed into the community. While Eugene is convinced that something terrible has happened to Stephanie, Lance provides proof that she signed a transfer order out of her job and paperwork that shows Roman Calhoun is just a plumber working inside The Commonwealth.
As much as Eugene wants to believe something terrible must have happened to take Stephanie away from him, Lance does everything possible to show he’s just brokenhearted after the woman he loved left.
Lance has Eugene sign a paper saying he was going through extreme mental stress after Stephanie disappeared and Calhoun has agreed not to press charges. Following their release, Eugene still refuses to let it go but then even Princess tells him that he’s looking for proof that just doesn’t exist.
In the harshest terms possible, Princess tells Eugene that Stephanie just broke up with him and now he has to live with it.
Despite urging from Lance and now Princess, Eugene still can’t let it go so he takes one final trip to Ruby’s Plumbing in hopes of proving that he’s been right all along.
He manages to slip inside but before Eugene can find any information, he gets knocked to the ground after the people working there discover that he’s broken into the building. Eugene is stunned when he looks up and realizes that the person who hit him is none other than the woman he fell in love with, except the not-really-Stephanie is no longer wearing glasses and she looks every bit the part of a hardened soldier.
That’s when Lance Hornsby descends down the stairs while introducing Eugene to Shira — the real name of the woman he fell in love with.
It seems this was all an elaborate ruse on Lance’s part to gain Eugene’s trust after he was unable to break him through conventional means after the group arrived at the rendezvous at the trainyard near The Commonwealth. At every turn, Lance used Eugene’s affection towards Stephanie as a way to learn about Alexandria, Hilltop and the other communities as well as the people who lived there.
Eugene is understandably enraged that he’s been manipulated and the fact that he fell in love with a fantasy that was never real makes this all that much harder to accept.
But Lance tells him that Eugene should really be thanking him because The Commonwealth helped save his people who were starving or otherwise dying out in the wilderness. Lance admits regret that Eugene’s heart got broken but in reality, he’s gotten more out of this relationship than he could have ever imagined because now his friends are safe and thriving inside The Commonwealth where all that’s expected of them is to contribute to the community.
He even invites Eugene to tell anybody he wants about his elaborate plan because he already signed a form admitting to mental exhaustion and even if anybody believed the conspiracy theory, Lance knows that the people of Alexandria have still been rescued and that ultimately matters most to them.
Eugene is utterly shattered and he returns home that night where he laments his lost love while burning the science-fiction book he had started to write. As he’s dumping pages into a fiery trash can, Eugene hears a call from a woman — the same woman who has been serving as Pamela Milton’s assistant this entire time.
When Eugene refuses to respond, she finally uses the call signal that they used while talking to each other over the long range radio. Eugene is stunned as he turns to discover that the woman he met all those months ago wasn’t just a figment of his imagination much less a government spy meant to manipulate him.
Stephanie is real but why has she been hidden away this entire time and a sleeper agent was put in her place to bend Eugene to her will? It seems like the actual Stephanie has a lot of explaining to do!
“The Walking Dead” returns for a new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.