We know it's the apocalypse and all, but can the real Stephanie please raise your hand?
The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 11 was filled with mystery, scheming, and betrayal as the inner workings of the Commonwealth were exposed.
Our merry band of survivors should know better than to trust new people.
If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know they've been betrayed countless times under the guise of joining thriving communities.
There was Woodbury. Then there was Terminus. And now, we've got the Commonwealth, who might just be the most cunning band of villains to date.
The good thing about this last pivotal location from the comic books is that the show is doing a stand-up job at translating the story to screen.
Yes, there are significant changes, but it's all part of the fun of wondering what's going to happen next.
There's no such thing as happiness in the zombie apocalypse, so it was inevitable something would go sideways with Stephanie.
They never receive any mail. There’s lights on at odd hours, when they’re ostensibly closed. And while people go in and out with a fair degree of regularity, it’s usually just the same four people over and over.Eugene
The sad part of it is that Eugene was vulnerable throughout their whirlwind relationship, but little did he know she was a plant from Lance.
Shira kept up the ruse very well, but she realized she was in too deep when Eugene gave her the key to his apartment.
Manipulating things from afar and meeting her people in the dead of night would have been far too difficult while living under the same roof as Eugene.
Say what you want about The Walking Dead, but it is one of the best shows at world-building and reinventing itself.
It should be a crime how fast the rug was pulled from under us to reveal the truth, but it flawlessly moved the show into the next phase of this arc.
Eugene was devoted to this person he thought loved him, but secretly, she was just helping Lance with the next part of his plan.
Seriously, Shira was cold as ice when she kicked Eugene in the stomach. His reaction was probably the same as most viewers.
Personally, I figured Stephanie knew too much and was getting too close to Eugene, so the people above her wanted to distance her from him.
Mercer: I was wondering when you were gonna figure that out.
Connie: If I was you, I would be really interested in who I was risking my life for.
Mercer: And 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.
The beauty of this storyline is that the stakes have never been higher. Our Alexandrians have uprooted their lives with the promise of safety.
They've unwittingly been thrust into a corrupt community that is poised to host a rebellion fairly soon.
Eugene feels terrible because he was an instrumental part in getting everyone there, which will surely come back to bite him before long.
The verbal beatdown between him and Lance showcased first-rate acting from Josh McDermitt and Josh Hamilton.
Eugene is not the type of person to attain enemies. His personality and skills usually find him in good graces with everyone, but there will be a revenge arc here for Eugene that might not end with him alive.
Princess stepping in to help her friend and showing up with a lasagna-less crockpot helped elevate the storytelling.
They make for quite the dynamic duo, but I hope Eugene's actions don't have a lasting effect on their relationship.
Lance has Eugene by the horns because of the document he signed, but It will be hard to believe if no one else believes Eugene's claims.
And who or what is that, exactly? The villain? The boogeyman? Or the best goddamn thing that ever happened to you? You’re right, Eugene. I did lie to you. Just like you and your friends lied through your teeth to get inside these walls.Lance
People like Carol, Daryl, and Rosita should be interested in the truth, but when you look at the optics of it all, it makes things murkier.
Eugene spiraled out of control in his pursuit of answers. He thought he found "the one" in an apocalypse, so of course, he would be livid that she disappeared.
On top of that, she lied that she liked Iron Maiden and took all of the intel from his novel to the bad guys. Maybe Eugene will build a lie detector for any future relationships.
Max revealing herself as the real Stephanie in the closing moments sent the narrative in another direction.
Max was the person introduced to Eugene on the radio, which means Shira was legitimately coached on all things Eugene with minutes to spare.
The exciting aspect of this is that Max has mostly been an enigma so far, but it's clear that she and Mercer are less than impressed by the trajectory of Pamela's community.
Hopefully, Max and Mercer join forces with Eugene and Princess to start the process of this rebellion the show is hinting at.
Then again, nothing is ever clean cut on The Walking Dead, so we shouldn't be surprised if Max and Mercer have another trick up their sleeves.
The events of "Rogue Element" were understandably taxing on Eugene. He went from having everything, to having nothing, and then learning his mysterious girlfriend might actually exist.
The Mercer of it all is fascinating because he seemed like the type to work for the Commonwealth without asking any questions, but the deeper dive into how he works highlighted that he was just as frustrated.
Will Connie and Kelly be able to make the story public? We know Connie butted heads with Pamela before the world fell, and you can tell the Commonwealth paper is all about propaganda.
It's possible Pamela could run with the "Connie has it out for me" angle to garner herself some followers when her name is inevitably dragged through the mud.
My biggest concern is Sebastian. He's already proven to be a loose cannon, so we truly don't know the lengths he will go in order keep his family legacy alive.
Then again, maybe the scene of Eugene and faux Stephanie killing the walkers on his date earlier on The Walking Dead Season 11 has a new meaning with the Stephanie reveal.
Here's my hot take:
What if Sebastian is a part of the rebellion and wasn't comfortable about Shirabeing used as a plant?
So many questions. So little answers, but that's the way I like it!
Lance is racking up enemies like they're going out of fashion, and I believe Carol's act about wanting to get to know the inner working of the place is just that.
Carol has saved her friends from some of the stickiest situations. Yes, there have been losses along the way, but she's observing everything.
Maybe she'll bake some poisonous cookies and get rid of her enemies for good!
"Rogue Element" was an impressive display of what the show can offer 12 years into its run.
It was a major turning point, and if the tension continues to mount, we could be looking at one of the best final seasons around.
What did you think of those Stephanie reveals?
What are your thoughts on Mercer and Max?
Who do you think gave the list to Connie and Kelly?
Hit the comments.
The Walking Dead continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.