The Walking Dead mid-season finale brings a logical reaction to Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) reign of terror. The Alexandrians, Kingdom, and Hilltop communities have seemingly had enough. The roots of rebellion are planted; friends are reunited, while others pay a harsh price for stupidity.
Hearts Still Beating opens with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) on guard duty at the Hilltop. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) is shamed into giving her his apple. The Hilltop citizens are looking to Maggie for alternative leadership. Meanwhile at the Savior's factory, Daryl (Norman Reedus) has escaped his room and is slinking down hallways. In Alexandria, Negan has shaved his beard using Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) razor. He's made a spaghetti dinner with Carl (Chandler Riggs). They sit at the dining room table to eat. Negan props up Lucille, his barbed-wire bat, on a chair. He's tired of waiting for Rick and digs in.
Rick and Aaron (Ross Marquand) get into a bullet ridden boat to cross the walker infested pond. They make it across, but Aaron falls in. He doesn't get bitten and swims to meet Rick at the houseboat. It's loaded with supplies. They bring it to shore and start to pack up the truck. Aaron tells Rick he supports his decision to supply the Saviors. As they drive away, a man with marked boots has been watching.
Outside the Kingdom at Carol's (Melissa McBride) house, Morgan (Lennie James) drops off a sack of supplies. She invites him in, but just to say she is already stocked. Her kitchen is full of fruit from King Ezekiel. There's another knock on her door. It's Richard, Ezekiel's second in command.
Back at Alexandria, Spencer (Austin Nichols) gives his supplies to the Saviors. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) watches as Spencer starts to curry favor with them. At the factory, Daryl breaks into a room. He gobbles down a jar of peanut butter and changes clothes. At the Hilltop, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) brings Maggie and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) a pie. Enid tells Sasha that she knows she sent Jesus (Tom Payne) to find the Saviors. She continues by telling her that she is not alone in the fight. Sasha says Maggie must never know. They have to protect her.
Rosita (Christian Serratos) is in church with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). She shows him the bullet Eugene made for her. Gabriel pleads that her life has value. They will move against Negan at another time. Spencer has gone home and cleaned himself up. He grabs a bottle of whiskey. On his way to Rick's house, he sees Rosita. She admits to using him, but agrees to have dinner that night.
At Carol's house, Richard tells them of the Saviors. He knows that the deal will end poorly for the Kingdom. He wants to attack them first. Take them by surprise. Carol and Morgan want no part of it. Richard leaves in a huff. Carol tells Morgan she wants no more visitors.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) is in the car with the Savior. She asks the girl how she came to be a part of them. She asks her why is she on the road alone. The girl says Michonne must turn back, kill her, and dump this car. She says her name is Negan. She stops on a hill, where an intersection below has dozens of cars waiting. They are all Negan too. Michonne orders her to turn the car around.
Daryl has made his way outside to the motorcycles. He's confronted by Fat Joe. Joe pleads for mercy but is beaten to death by Daryl. He grabs his gun. Jesus steps out of the shadows to greet Daryl.
Rick and Aaron return to Alexandria. They are surprised to see the Saviors. As the truck is unloaded, a Savior finds a threatening note in a box. Aaron is beaten to a pulp as Rick watches helplessly. On Rick's porch, Spencer and Negan sip whiskey. Negan desires to play pool. Spencer brings a pool table out of a garage into the street.
Richard has left Carol's house. He walks deep into the woods to a camper. It's loaded with supplies. In Alexandria, Negan and Spencer play pool. Spencer rails against Rick's leadership while the community gathers around. Negan is unimpressed by Spencer's backhanded talk of Rick. He slices Spencer's stomach open. He falls to ground with his guts spilling out. Rosita raises her gun and fires at Negan.
The bullet hits Lucille and is lodged in the bat. The Saviors pounce on Rosita. Negan asks where she got the bullet. Tara (Alana Masterson) speaks up, but is not believed. As he is about to kill Rosita, Eugene gives himself up. Negan says someone must pay the price. He orders a Savior to randomly kill someone. She shoots Olivia in the face.
Rick and Aaron hear the shot. They race to the house and find the carnage. Rick is stunned when Negan tells him what Carl did. Negan says Rick should be more thankful in the future. Rick tells him to take his supplies and leave. The Saviors kidnap Eugene. Spencer has become a walker. Rick stabs him in the head.
Rick is in the Alexandria prison cell looking at the note from the supply box. Michonne walks in. She tells Rick that they are vastly outnumbered by the Saviors, but they cannot abide by their rule. They must fight and defeat them. Rick embraces her. His mind has been changed.
Hearts Still Beating ends with long awaited reunions. Rick and the Alexandrians go to the Hilltop. Daryl is there with Jesus. Rick and Daryl share a long hug. Daryl gives Rick his gun. Sasha and Rosita settle their differences. Enid and Carl have a tender look. Rick says the time has come to fight the Saviors. They walk in unison to the great house. The last shot is of Alexandria at night, the mysterious man with the marked boots is lurking outside the gates. The tide against Negan turns next February on AMC.