(SPOILER ALERT) Sunday's episode of "The Walking Dead" kicked off from the opposite end of last week's bloody finale: with Carol and Maggie's capture, and their captors' walkie talkie conversation with Rick about negotiating their release.
We learn that a small gang of Negan's Saviors -- a chain-smoking woman named Molly, a younger woman called 'Chelle, an injured man named Donnie, and a redheaded ringleader, Paula -- are apparently in no mood to trade one of theirs, Primo, for the two from Rick's crew.
Carol, we learn, didn't get taken without a fight: Donnie is bleeding badly from a gunshot wound to the arm she gave him. He insists Primo could patch him up, but Paula decides a two-for-one trade is a bad deal -- especially from the "smug" Rick, who, in their eyes, just slaughtered many of their Savior friends.
Paula brushes Rick off for now, and then "blindfolds" her hostages by flipping their jackets over their heads.
The hostage takers try to get in touch with their fellow Saviors, and inform them they're headed to their safe house.
Once there, the captors bind their hostages with duct tape and gag them, sitting the pair on opposite ends of a prominently and ominously marked "Kill Floor." The Saviors separate to dispatch a few walkers, and as they drag one across the floor, Carol spots a pair of rosary beads near her foot. She sees an opportunity, and pockets them with her bound mitts.
Maggie quickly tries to free herself, but she doesn't get far along before the captors get back. Carol, on the other hand, tries another ploy. She starts hyperventilating, and Maggie gets their captors' attention and gets them to take off their gags. Meekly, Carol feels for the rosaries, which the cynical Molly helps her. "Oh, you're one of THOSE," she snarks.
Paula confronts Carol, who's in full undercover wimp mode. "How did you make it so far? Paula asks, incredulously.
Carol whimpers, "Just don't hurt Maggie. Don't hurt the baby."
Paula sees Maggie's pregnancy as a sign of weakness in their post-apocalyptic world.
Frustrated, Donnie looks for payback against Carol. When Paula stands firm that no medical aid is coming soon, he belts her, and Maggie and Carol, both still bound, do what they can to help her, by taking turns kicking him. Donnie grabs Maggie to her feet, and she headbutts him. The scrum continues until Paula pistol whips him, knocking him out.
Paula splits up hostages, with 'Chelle taking Maggie and questioning her about where she and the rest of Rick's gang have been living. Maggie doesn't tell her. "You're not the good guys," 'Chelle insists.
In the other room, an apparently meek Carol tells Paula, "I just want to thank you for helping Maggie."
"I know who you are," Paula hisses. "You're pathetic." She's swallowed Carol's vulnerable ploy, hook, line and sinker.
Paula wants to know why Rick's gang attacked the Savior camp. Carol explains their people were attacked on the road by Negan's people and they were just defending themselves. "Negan is some kind of maniac," Carol said.
"Sweetie -- we are all Negan," Molly says ominously.
Paula explains to Carol about her life before the outbreak, as a meek secretary, and how the first person she killed was her boss, in order to save herself. "You're the one who's afraid to die," Carol corrects, noting, "That's what's going to happen if you don't work this out."
"Are you going to kill me?" Paula smiles in disbelief. "I hope not," Carol replies.
Paula reaches out to Rick, explaining they're ready to make a trade in the open -- but she also radios her approaching backup team, seemingly plotting to ambush Rick and company.
Left alone, Carol sharpens her rosary's crucifix into a blade and cuts her bindings. Carol wants to slip away, but Maggie insists they kill their captors. She slips off Donnie's tourniquet in an effort to bleed him out, but they find out he's already dead -- and turning. They leave him leashed as an improvised walker trap that Molly soon falls into, getting bit before she stabs walker Donnie in the head. Maggie then goes after Molly, bludgeoning the bloodied baddie with a pistol butt.
Paula returns and realizes to her horror that she's alone -- and even scarier, she's made a fatal mistake: underestimating Carol Peletier.
Carol and Maggie run down a hall and into a trap of pinned walkers set earlier by the Saviors. As the women attempt to negotiate, Paula comes in shooting until her gun runs dry.
Carol draws up on Paula and offers her a chance to run. As Carol hesitates, a walker snags loose and Carol fires, hitting Paula in the shoulder.
The pair run into 'Chelle, who scraps with Maggie, and tries slashing her pregnant belly, missing by inches. For that, Carol blows 'Chelle's brains out without hesitation.
Paula resurfaces again, injured, but Carol can't bring herself to execute her. Paula leaps forward, scuffling with Carol until the redhead gets impaled on a spike -- just within biting distance of a walker, which chomps into her face.
Just then, Paula's team radios that they've reached the hideout.
Coolly, Carol pries away Paula's walkie, and imitating her, tells the team, "Meet us on the kill floor."
As they wait to spring their trap, a shaken Carol confides in Maggie that she's killed 20 people, and that at one point during the raid, she could have shot Donnie but hesitated, which got them captured. "Don't think about it," Maggie says. "We're almost done."
Backup rushes in, and lured into the room by her message, Carol shuts the door, takes a drag on her cigarette and tosses the butt, burning them all alive.
Carol and Maggie flee, running into Glenn, Rick, and the gang, who are rushing in. Maggie embraces her husband and Carol basically collapses from emotion into Daryl's arms.
Rick tells the still-captured Primo he's got no friends left, and might as well spill about how he got Daryl's bike and where Negan is. "Was Negan in that building last night or was he here?"
"Both," Primo says before echoing Molly's comment earlier: "I'm Negan."
"I'm sorry it had to come to this," Rick says, before executing him. The killshot makes the normally unflinching Carol flinch.
"The Walking Dead" returns next Sunday, March 20, on AMC.