Synopsis of 8×15: There’s turmoil at the Sanctuary when a few familiar faces make their reappearance, Daryl and Rosita try to take out one of their resources, and Negan finally hears Carl’s letter… but it may be too late.
Rick finally reads Carl’s letter, delivered in a voice-over by Chandler Riggs, and is drawn down memory lane by Carl’s childhood reminiscing. He urges Rick to think of the future that he wants to build and to stop fighting with Negan in order to preserve that future. Rick needs to rebuild… and spend more time with Judith.
After escaping the Hilltop, Gregory made his way back to the Saviors (without the help of the Saviors’ group that Rick and Morgan massacred in the last episode) and to Simon specifically. When he finds out that Simon is in charge now, he’s first happy and then immediately throws a fit when Simon threatens him for how stupid he made him look in front of Negan. Simon reveals that he was going to kill Gregory as punishment, but changes his mind after literally knocking him down a peg.
Eugene has the girls make him sardine mac and cheese from his college days, which is what he plans to serve everyone at his outpost, as he eats and delivers a pep talk to the workers. When he realizes Gabriel is deliberately sabotaging the quality of the bullets, he yells at him — only to force Gabriel into the realization that he’s still scared to die. When Eugene leaves the building to test fire some of the bullets, Daryl and Rosita kidnap him.
While Dwight’s out in the yard smoking a cigarette, Negan reveals to him that he’s still alive. He questions Dwight’s loyalties and reminds him of who he is and what he’s done to get this far. Dwight defers to Simon as Negan’s second in command and claims to have deferred to him when they went looking for Negan after his car chase. Negan happily tells him to remember their talk.
Later, Negan and all of his lieutenants — Dwight and Simon included — are gathered around. Negan questions Simon’s recent choices and reminds him of how he found Simon (implying that he had killed all the men in the Oceanside community). Things had been going fine for them up until this point when Simon killed all the garbage people. He’s forced to his knees, but Negan forgives him easily. He goes on to explain a grandiose siege plan against the Hilltop until they surrender. After everyone leaves, he again stresses Dwight’s loyalties.
Scared, Eugene starts rambling to Rosita and Daryl, who threatens to cut his tongue out. When Rosita stops Daryl, Eugene thanks her and reminds her that he’s in this position because of the bullet she asked him to make so long ago. She blames a bunch of deaths on Eugene since then and gets pissed when he blames Rick for the current state of affairs. Angrily, she reveals to him their plan is to keep him alive, but only interact with him when they need information from him.
Obviously, this seems to upset him. When they get him to where they plan to keep him prisoner, Daryl and Rosita notice a few too many walkers in the area. Distracted by clearing the area, Eugene takes the opportunity to vomit sardine mac and cheese all over Rosita and run off. His footprints lead him away from the scene, but he comes out from under the debris nearby once Daryl and Rosita take off after him with a mind to finally kill him.
In his room, Dwight is copying the siege plans with a message for Rick when Simon disrupts him. It’s time to betray Negan once and for all and Simon really needs Dwight on board with his plan. Though he’s still reluctant, Dwight does eventually agree to help Simon stage a coup.
The Oceanside women are aware of Aaron alone in the woods around them, but they refuse to help him as he slowly dehydrates and starves himself for… some reason. Exhausted and alone, he finds himself battling more than a few walkers who have found him in the woods. After a desperate fight, he passes out and is later found by the Oceanside women again. He gives another speech urging them to join the fight against Negan, but whether they’re convinced or not remains to be seen.
Dwight is waiting outside for Simon and the other defectors to meet up with him. When he gets there, Simon makes a big deal about making Negan’s death quick, quiet, and respectful — only to have Negan appear because he was tipped off by Dwight. Everyone except Simon and Gregory is gunned down quickly, with Negan asking Simon why he killed the garbage people against orders. Realizing Dwight gave him up, Simon goes after him before being restrained.
That spunk convinces Negan that Simon should get the chance to be the man by beating the man. The rest of the Saviors gather around while Negan sets the scene: if Simon beats him in a fair fight, he can have the Saviors. In the middle of his speech, Simon sucker punches him and they dissolve into brawling with no one intervening. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for Simon to overtake him and Negan eventually chokes him to death.
While this is going on, Dwight pulls Gregory away and urges him to leave. He gives Gregory the map he made with a warning for Rick and some car keys to get him to the Hilltop. Surprisingly, Gregory does make it back there and the message is delivered to Rick.
After the fighting ends, Negan is talking up Dwight’s loyalty again and invites him to be his second in command. Dwight accepts, but when he enters his room he finds Laura there and the Saviors close in on him. She was picked up by Negan and told them all about his betrayal at Alexandria. Negan spares him but reveals that Dwight sent a fake plan to Rick by way of Gregory and now it’s a trap.
Eugene makes it back to his outpost with a renewed interest in fulfilling Negan’s bullet quota. He gives another attempt at a rousing speech and recruits Gabriel back to his position to work as well.
Simon joins the fence around the Sanctuary as a walker as Negan gets a call on the radio from Michonne. She found Carl’s letter for him and reads it to him. He does look genuinely affected by it, but Negan claims that it’s too late to work together — and it’s Rick’s fault that there’s no more room for talking. All Out War ends next week supposedly.