The Walking Dead throws a feint with another episode sans Negan. Do Not Send Us Astray has the battle for The Hilltop front and center. Simon (Steven Ogg) is now calling the shots for the Saviors. He's out for blood, but underestimates, again, the fighting spirit of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the Alexandrians. Unfortunately for our heroes, Eugene's biological warfare plan with the tainted weapons works brilliantly.
Do Not Send Us Astray opens with Morgan (Lennie James) standing by a pick-up truck in the woods. He hallucinates an image of Gavin saying, "You know what it is". A horn blares in the distance. He races to the truck and press the horn. There is a montage of other lookouts doing the same. The Saviors are coming for the Hilltop.
At the Hilltop, preparations are in high gear. Young Henry (Macsen Lintz) wants to join the battle. Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) refuse. He must hide with the others. Siddiq (Avi Nash) is in the infirmary with Dr. Dana. She callously orders him to stock blankets, mocking his lack of experience. He stands up to her, Siddiq wants to help. Daylight ends with Maggie standing ready atop Barrington House. Jerry (Cooper Andrews) leads the lookouts on the wall. The Saviors are driving towards the gate.
The lead Savior truck is disabled by hidden spikes in the road. Simon gets out and orders them cleared. Maggie radios to talk to Negan. Simon replies that he is Negan, and that they received her message in the coffin. Maggie parades on the terrace the thirty-eight Savior hostages. She will kill them all if they attack. Simon dismisses her and his former brethren. Saviors who get caught aren't his concern. Dwight (Austin Amelio) cautions again about this action. Negan didn't want this. He might still be alive out there. Simon scoffs, he'd rather apologize than ask permission.
Suddenly Daryl (Norman Reedus) drives up from behind the Saviors on his motorcycle. He riddles them with machine gun fire as he gets to the gate. Simon orders the truck forward into the opening. It is blocked by an armored school bus at the entrance. Maggie and company open fire as the Saviors stream in. The Saviors launch a barrage of arrows and bullets into the yard.
Tobin (Jason Douglas) is knifed in the chest by a Savior. Siddiq runs to administer aid. Carol shoots the attackers. It is the first time she's seen Tobin since leaving Alexandria. Tara (Alana Masterson) is behind a truck firing. Simon and Dwight are sneaking towards her. Daryl is about to kill Dwight before getting distracted. Dwight grazes Tara with an arrow before Simon can shoot. Maggie orders everyone to fall back to the house. The Hilltop defenders shoot out the lights on the Savior vehicles.
Simon orders the Saviors to split into three groups and attack. He and Dwight's team will hit the house. As they approach in the dark, the lights turn back on. Rick and others flank the Saviors with machine guns. They cut them down from three sides. Simon signals a retreat. The Saviors run back through the gates.
At daybreak, Maggie surveys the aftermath. She wanted Negan dead, but he wasn't there. Rick tells her that he almost killed Negan before the attack. He tried, but Negan got away. Tara and Daryl argue over Dwight's loyalties. Daryl regrets not killing him when he had the chance. Tara defends Dwight, reminding Daryl he saved them all in the swamp. Daryl brings up Denise. Tara also reminds him that she fought with the Governor, as did his brother Merle.
In Barrington House, Rick removes the boards on the windows of the children's room. They need air. Michonne (Danai Gurira) brings him a turnip. He refuses to eat, or have his wound checked. He explains what happened between previously with Negan. In the yard, Jerry buries the dead. Maggie cuts Alden (Callan McAuliffe) loose. She allows him to bury the Savior dead outside. Alden responds that these aren't his people. Simon had doomed them all to die.
Maggie looks over the Hilltop dead. Diane (Kerry Cahill) extols Maggie's virtues as a leader. She saved the gates, and thus the entire community. Maggie replies that she sent the coffin to bring Negan here. She wanted Glenn's grave to be the last thing he saw. Carol goes to visit the recovering Tobin. He wonders if any part of their relationship was real. Carol responds that she was just pretending, but she did hope it could be real someday. Tobin wonders if she will stay after the fight. Carol replies they are just lucky to see another day. As the others tend to the wounded, Henry quietly steals a machine gun.
A bloodied Rick sits on the house steps. Siddiq offers to clean his wound. He begins by talking about a prayer for the dead he learned as a boy. Rick cuts him off, then walks away abruptly. Maggie goes through the house, talking to the injured. They thank her for her leadership. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) was selfish, she cares about their lives.
In the infirmary, Tobin turns in his sleep. He gets up and attacks the other patients. Doctor Dana opens the door and becomes his next victim. In the house, the injured start turning. The walkers from the infirmary come through the front door. Meanwhile at the Savior pen, Henry has a gun on the group. He wants to know which one killed his brother. Gregory asks for the gun. Alden tells him vengeance won't help his feelings. Henry unlocks the gate. When he goes inside, screams erupt from the house; an infected Savior turns in the pen.
Jared knocks Henry over and takes the gun. He and several Saviors escape into the night. At the house, Maggie and company fight off the walkers. Tobin attacks, but is killed by Carol. Everyone regroups to discuss what is happening. Rick realizes that Negan's bat was covered in walker blood. An injured man confirms his fever, the Savior weapons were tainted. Tara cradles her arrow wound. Daryl, again, regrets not killing Dwight.
Alden helps the Hilltop fend off the walkers. When Maggie comes outside, he points to the other Saviors that stayed to hold the gate. They could have escaped, but chose to stay and help. At dawn, Carol realizes that Henry is missing. They search for him. Morgan again has a vision of Gavin, who repeats "You know what it is". The episode ends with Maggie staring at a row of new graves. This is "the cost" of defending the Hilltop.
At first I felt cheated that we didn't get any updates on Negan and Jadis. The Battle for the Hilltop had one of the better shot action scenes of season eight. "Do Not Send Us Astray" lost me when the injured starting turning. It's ridiculous that the sick could turn, gather in numbers, and get into the house without anyone being on guard. Also, how was Henry allowed to open the pen with no one else there? It is ridiculous and unbelievable. Tara is fine, as Dwight wouldn't shoot her with a tainted arrow. The whole episode ends up as filler. The Walking Dead plods along as the season winds down on AMC.