The Commonwealth may protect people from the dead on The Walking Dead, but can it protect Team Family from the living. In “Rogue Element,” when Stephanie (Chelle Ramos) goes missing, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) leaves no stone unturned to find her. And Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is determined to find out more about Tyler (Cameron Scott Roberts).
Last week, Tyler made quite a scene at the Governor’s Halloween masquerade. He only wanted to talk to Governor Milton (Laila Robins) about how he was treated in the military. Tyler was arrested after threatening the life of the Governor’s assistant Max (Margot Bingham). As he was led away, he shouted that there were thousands who were like him and yelled to resist the Commonwealth.
DESPERATELY SEEKING STEPHANIE
Eugene and Stephanie have been hanging out since he arrived in the Commonwealth. She inspired him to write a novel. It’s apparent that he’s the happiest he’s ever been. Eugene even gave her a key to his apartment. He also told her that he loves her. Stephanie smiled and says she loves him too.
This made Eugene a bit nervous. Before his date with Stephanie, he asks Princess (Paola Lázaro) for advice. She says when a woman tells you she loves you, believe her. Eugene is elated until Stephanie doesn’t show up for their date. He goes to her apartment and bangs on the door, but Stephanie ignores him. She’s also packing her clothes.
The next day, Eugene goes to Stephanie’s workplace, but she’s not there. The guy filling in for her says she didn’t show up. He was called in to take her place. Eugene asks Rosita (Christian Serratos) to do a wellness check on Stephanie. Rosita reports back that Stephanie was not there. Eugene reports her as missing.
Connie covered the Governor’s Halloween Masquerade. The next day, the paper is ready to go to print, but they are not printing anything about Tyler. The Governor’s office sent over a press release for the paper to use. Connie questions why her editor won’t report what happened. She thinks Tyler’s story is important because something happened to him that he blames Governor Milton for. She accuses the governor for trying to cover it up.
Her editor says they got confirmation of Tyler’s PTSD from the military doctors and that was the reason for his outburst. Connie has no factual proof that there’s a government conspiracy going on. The doctors have medical proof though. Kelly (Angel Theory) interprets Connie’s argument, but stops abruptly. Connie wants the editor to print what really happened at the masquerade instead of paraphrasing the governor’s press release. This makes her editor angry.
Connie and Kelly go to the hospital to try and interview Tyler. Connie wants to know if Tyler has a lawyer and what he’s being charged with. They are stopped by Mercer (Michael James Shaw) and his troops, but no one answers her questions.
Carol (Melissa McBride) goes with Lance (Josh Hamilton) on a trip outside of the Commonwealth. They talk about how they feel different outside of the walls. Lance is bothered that Carol still separates her people from the residents of the Commonwealth. He wants her to feel like she’s a part of the community.
Then they talk about how the Commonwealth is run. Lance says Governor Milton runs the city, but Lance knows how it runs. He says if you get in with the right people, the sky’s the limit. He says there are two types of people in any organization. The mercenaries who are in it for the money. And the patriots, the true believers who want to do good. They are there because they believe in the organization. Carol wonders if Lance is trying to make her a true believer. He brought her along because she’s smart. He thinks she can help her deal with a problem.
They go to a farm next to a large poppy field. Lance says the farm isn’t exactly a part of the Commonwealth, but they need them. They use the poppy seeds for medicines. The leader of the farm is Moto (William Mark McCullough). Moto told Lance that the farmers want a raise for their work. Otherwise they are holding the crops hostage. Lance takes Moto aside so they can negotiate.
JUST THE FACTS MA’AM
Connie and Kelly go on a ride along with the military police, led by Mercer. Connie doesn’t like it because she knows she was sent to write propaganda for the military. Kelly tells her to do her job. After the troops clear out the nearby woods, Mercer lets Connie ask him some questions about the job. Instead, she asked about Tyler. She wants to know what Tyler is being charged with and if he has a lawyer.
Mercer won’t answer her questions, so Connie asks if Tyler’s arrest has anything to do with the fact that Max is Mercer’s sister. Mercer says Max has nothing to do with Tyler’s arrest. Connie knows that Tyler was loyal to the Commonwealth and was recommended for early promotion by Mercer. Tyler felt like the military was being manipulated by the politicians. She tells Mercer to be careful of who he’s risking his life for. Mercer tells her to stop digging for answers that will never see the light of day.
Princess checks in on Eugene and finds him conducting his own search for Stephanie. Eugene is convinced there is a conspiracy going on. Stephanie left because the Commonwealth government is out to get her for something she has on them. The night Stephanie stood him up, Eugene ran into a strange man outside her apartment. He thinks that man was there to see Stephanie.
Eugene encounters that man a few days later. His name is Roman Calhoun (Michael Tourek). He’s a plumber by trade. Eugene followed Roman to the warehouse district and saw something suspicious. Three other people entered the building at all hours of the night to meet with Roman. A fifth person would enter ever so often and Eugene thinks he’s the head honcho of this rogue element.
Soon after someone from that group went to Stephanie’s apartment and moved all of her stuff. The next day, Eugene found a work transfer request from Stephanie. He thinks they are covering up her disappearance. Now he wants to expose them so she can come home.
Lance and Moto go fishing to chat. Lance tries to negotiate with Moto about the farmers’ raise request. Carol watches them fish. She looks at the women who accompanied Moto. Lance and Carol prepare to leave. Carol tells him that Moto is robbing the workers. He’s pocketing the money Lance gives him for the raises. Moto also beats the workers to keep quiet. He went too far one night and that’s the reason the workers are on strike. Lance promises to give the workers back pay, plus the raise he just negotiated with Moto. He tells the troopers to arrest Moto.
Eugene asks Princess to help him break into Roman’s apartment to find signs of why he was after Stephanie. She reluctantly agrees. After Roman leaves, she keeps looking out for him to return, while Eugene goes through Roman’s things. It starts raining and Princess sees Roman return. At the same time, Eugene finds a case full of weapons. Eugene and Stephanie get out of the room before Roman enters, but are stopped by the military troops. A lady in the building saw them break in.
STATE OF MIND
Mercer checks in on Tyler, but he’s gone. He asks the nurse where Tyler and where his troopers went. She says no one was in that room. Mercer states that no one can move the prisoner without his authorization. Apparently, that’s not the case.
Eugene apologizes to Princess for getting her into trouble. He promises to tell the authorities that she had nothing to do with the break in. Lance comes in and says Roman is exactly who he says he is. Princess asks about the case of weapons, calling it a kidnap case. Weapons aren’t allowed in the Commonwealth. Lance says Roman is a citizen of the Commonwealth. So he is allowed liberties that they don’t have.
Lance says Roman won’t press charges, but Eugene has to leave him alone. He asks Eugene to sign a statement saying he was in a paranoid state over Stephanie’s disappearance. If he doesn’t do either of these things, Lance can’t help him. Eugene signs without reading the statement.
MORE TO THE STORY
When they get back to his apartment, Eugene says the conspiracy runs deeper than he thought. Princess interrupts him saying he needs to stop. Stephanie broke up with Eugene and he needs to accept it. Eugene finds the idea absurd. Princess says the evidence is not complicated.
Eugene doesn’t want to believe it. He wants to believe that Stephanie really loves him. Princess says you think you know someone very well and then find out you never knew them at all. And it sucks, but it happens all the time. Eugene appreciates Princess’ theory, but he felt loved.
Connie wrote the story that her editor wanted about the military. Kelly says it’s a good thing that Connie did her job. They are only living in the community temporarily, so it won’t be this way forever. A light flashes, signaling that someone is at the door. Someone slips a piece of paper under the door for Connie. It’s a list of names and Tyler’s name is at the end of the list.
THE BIG REVEAL
Eugene goes to the warehouse and gets caught sneaking in. Stephanie kicks him in the stomach, but she looks different. She’s not wearing her glasses and gives Eugene a dirty look. Lance comes downstairs and says he will handle the situation. Eugene accuses Lance of playing him. He knows that Stephanie is not who she said she was. He says Lance used Stephanie to get information from him about Alexandria. Now Eugene will make sure everyone knows about Lance.
Lance isn’t worried because Eugene signed a statement saying he’s paranoid. Yeah, he lied, but so did Eugene. He and his friends lied to get into the Commonwealth. And for that Eugene should thank him. Eugene is upset because he fell in love with an imposter. Lance says they tried to rip off the ban aid but Eugene wouldn’t let it go. At least now he can.
Lance says he’s helping Eugene’s community. They have everything they need. And the only thing they asked in return, was to be productive members of society for as long as they choose to stay in the Commonwealth. He’s sorry that Eugene’s heart got broken. But he thinks it worked out in everyone’s favor. The last thing Lance says is Stephanie’s real name is Shera, she hates Iron Maiden and she genuinely enjoyed Eugene’s book.
After the encounter, Eugene burns his book in the alley near his apartment. A woman approaches from behind, asking if he’s okay. She calls him tater bug, asking him to come back. Max walks into the light and says she’s the one he was talking to on the radio.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC. You can watch new episodes early on AMC+.
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