Before the apocalypse, this was just a clearing in a forest.
Rick's group carries a very weak Maggie into the woods on a stretcher. Eugene gets in the RV and drives away. Marching through the woods, the survivors suddenly hear whistles coming from every direction. They realize that they are surrounded by the Saviors. They run but are herded in a large circle and up back on the road, enclosed by over 100 Saviors and their vehicles. Eugene, too, has been captured. The head Savior from earlier takes their weapons and forces them to their knees, denying Rick's frightened pleas for negotiation.
Inside the dark room, which we now realize is a van, we hear the leader talking to Rick's group outside. Dwight opens the van and drags out Glenn, Michonne, Rosita, and a gravely wounded, but alive, Daryl. Dwight kneels them down with the others. The Savior knocks on the RV's wall, exclaiming "let's meet the man".
A man wearing a leather jacket and red scarf steps out of the RV. In his hand is a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. The man then greets Rick and reveals himself to be Negan. He berates Rick for killing a load of Saviors. Negan goes on to explain his proposed New World Order, "You work for me now. You have shit, you give it to me." He explains that he is letting them live so that they can work for him but warns that he has to "beat the holy hell" out of one of them as punishment for killing his men. "This is Lucille," he says of the bat. "And she is awesome." He reveals that the entire set up, including the roadblocks, was simply to decide "who gets the honor" of dying. He eyes up the group and seems impressed when Abraham squares up to him. When Negan threatens Maggie, Glenn screams and lunges at Negan but is pulled back in line. After more taunting, Negan claims to have an idea of who to pick to be killed. He starts a game of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe".
"Eeny… meeny… miny… moe," he begins, pointing Lucille down the line of survivors. As he recites the rhyme, he continues pointing Lucille. "And you… are… it," he finishes, picking his victim. Negan warns the group not to move or say anything, threatening to have Carl's other eye out and fed to Rick. "You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry," he says, raising the bat. "Hell, you're all going to be doing that."
Negan's bat comes crashing down on his victim. From the point of view of the victim, blood trickles down their face. Negan gleefully taunts that they are "taking it like a champ" and beats the victim over and over again, to the horror of the other survivors.
"What? Was the joke that bad?" Negan taunts, kneeling by Rick with a bloodied Lucille in his hand. "I'm gonna kill you", Rick murmurs. Negan asks him to repeat himself. "Not today, not tomorrow....but, I'm gonna kill you." Rick repeats. Negan scoffs at the threat then mentions how important it is for a leader to have a right-hand man, introducing Simon, his own right-hand man, as he explains. Negan asks what weapon Rick was carrying. Simon hands Rick's axe to Negan, who then drags Rick inside the RV. He informs the Saviors that if Rick happens to return without Negan, they have permission to kill the rest of Rick's group. The bloodied remains of Negan's victim can be seen on the ground.
Negan slams Rick's axe into the RV's dining table and sits in the driver's seat, his back to Rick. He dares Rick to kill him with the axe. Rick grabs it and charges forward, but Negan turns around at the last second with an assault rifle pointed at Rick. Negan orders him to drop the axe. He starts the RV and proceeds to drive off.
Remembering the line-up, Rick's group is shown kneeling as Negan deliberates over who to kill, playing his game of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe". He lingers before announcing "you... are... it". He points Lucille at Abraham, revealing him to be the victim selected to be beaten to death. Abraham flashes a final peace sign to a devastated Sasha, before Negan strikes Lucille down on his head. "Suck... my... nuts." Abraham says defiantly, as he gets back up, as blood drips down his face.
Everyone in the group cries as Negan continuously beats Abraham. Negan pauses to mock Abraham's last words before continuing to smash his head into a bloody pulp. Once he finishes, Negan implores the group to look at his "dirty girl" (Lucille), which is now covered in Abraham's blood and brains. Noting Rosita's extreme terror and anguish, Negan asks if she and Abraham were together. Rosita is silent. Negan demands she look up at Lucille and begins to yell when Rosita refuses. Enraged, Daryl leaps up, punching Negan in the face before he is subdued by two Saviors. Dwight points Daryl's crossbow at his head and asks Negan if he can kill Daryl, but Negan says no. Dwight is made to drag Daryl back into line.
As punishment for Daryl's transgression, Negan reminds the group there is always punishment for resistance. He reminds them that while the first one is free, and unlike others they might have encountered, he is a man of his word. He exclaims simply "So...back to it..." then slams Lucille down on Glenn's head twice. Maggie screams. Glenn manages to sit up again and it is revealed the force of the blows has dented his skull and dislodged one of his eyes. Maggie stares at her husband in horror. Negan taunts Glenn as he tries to speak. Eventually Glenn stammers "Maggie, I'll find you". Negan appears to genuinely apologize for his actions, before reminding the group that there are no exceptions and continues his assault. He bludgeons Glenn to death in the same manner as Abraham, until there is virtually nothing left of his head, leaving a mass of bone, brain and flesh, with Glenn's corpse still twitching. "Lucille is thirsty. She's a vampire bat!" Negan quips after he has killed Glenn and walks back towards the group, who are completely traumatized by Glenn's murder. He utters the line "Was the joke that bad?", bringing the episodic timeline up to date.
Negan drives the RV back to the clearing where Rick's group awaits. He cleans the bloody axe and tells Rick that he is no longer in charge. "You can still lead a nice productive life producing for me," he says. He hands Rick the axe. "I think you're gonna need it. I just got a feeling."
Negan pushes Rick out of the RV and drags him back to the rest of his group. He explains to Rick that the purpose of the drive was to change the way Rick sees him. However, Negan notes "...but you're still looking at me the same damn way," he says. Negan believes Rick still does not fear him enough. Negan orders his men to put their guns to everyone's heads, aimed to line with their noses to cause maximum mess, and calls Carl over to him. After finding out Carl is not left handed, he wraps his belt around his arm as a tourniquet and tells Carl to lie face down on the ground. He draws a line on Carl's arm and presents Rick with an ultimatum: Rick must cut off Carl's arm, or everyone will die, including everyone in Alexandria. Rick is horrified. Michonne pleads with Negan, explaining they now understand his new world order. Negan agrees that the others may get it, but Rick still doesn't.
Rick begs Negan to let him take Carl's place instead. Impatient, Negan starts counting down from three. On two. Rick continues pleading and begins to cry. "Dad... Just do it," Carl whispers.
Anguished, Rick brings up the axe, but Negan stops him at the very last second. "You answer to me, you provide for me, you belong to me, right?" he demands, slapping Rick. "I provide for you," Rick agrees, totally broken and a nervous wreck. Satisfied at the broken look on Rick's face, Negan relents.
Negan tells Dwight to put Daryl back in the van. He explains to Rick that "Daryl is mine", and if he ever tries anything else, he will force Rick to mutilate Daryl. "Welcome to a brand new beginning, you sorry sack of shits" exclaims Negan. He leaves a truck with Rick's group so they can transport the goods they are to produce for him. He says he will return for their first offering in one week and leaves with a mocking "ta-ta".
Rick's group reels with shock and grief as the Saviors leave. One Savior takes a polaroid photograph of Glenn's body. Eventually, Maggie struggles to her feet. Rick tells her that they need to get her to Hilltop's doctor, but she insists they all head back to Alexandria and prepare to fight. Rick counters, saying the Saviors have Daryl now, and an army, and they will all die if they go after Negan. The group insist on continuing to Hilltop but Maggie demands they do not follow her. Sasha volunteers to go with Maggie, instead. "I'm taking him with me," Maggie says in reference to Glenn. She crouches next to Glenn, sobbing, then hugs Carl.
Sasha gently tells Rosita that she's going to take Abraham, too. Rosita nods and the two women hold hands on top of Abraham's body.
The group gathers around Maggie, begging her to let them help her. "He's our family too," Rick says of Glenn. Maggie relents and lets them move the body.
In the woods, Negan strolls around and kills some walkers. He then drinks from a river, before spitting the water out. He notices he's in the clearing where he killed Abraham and Glenn and looks down, remembering his actions.