SPOILER ALERT: Read only if you have already watched Sunday's Something They Need episode of The Walking Dead, or if you don't mind out finding what happened.
If you include tonights episode Something The Need, The Walking Dead only has two more episodes left in season seven. The puzzle pieces are finally moving quickly into place for Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his coalition to go up against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors. The war is almost here, after a buildup going all the way back to the November 15th, 2015 episode Always Accountable, in part it'll be fun to find out how it plays out, but at the same time we can hope that the series story arc can move forward into new areas. We've gotten stuck in a rut before while the zombie-battling team idles to deal with local story arcs (Hershel's Farm, The Prison, Woodbury), but this one has lasted longer than the others by far.
Tonights episode picks up with Sasha (Sonequa Martin) being held by the Saviors. Nearly raped in her cell, Negan appears just in time and kills the Savior who had been about to assault her. So, that makes him a good-guy psychopath? He leaves her with the bowie knife that he used to kill the would-be rapist, giving her the option of killing herself, or using the knife to kill the about-to-rise zombie laying next to her. In the end she winds up killing the zombie (no surprise) and he offers to let her join up with his side. She accepts, but all the while we know that she's just waiting for her opportunity. Other characters might have some moments of temptation to switch up sides, but Sasha has a deep rooted revenge drive that isn't going to be put to rest until Negan is dead, or she is. However the extents to whom she might burn along the way to achieve that goal is open for debate. She might well turn on Rick and the gang if she really believed that it would give her a clean shot at parting Negan's head from his body.
The moral question in the evening's episode revolves around Rick's actions at Oceanside (that's the women's enclave that Tara encountered earlier in the season). This time with Rick, Darryl (Norman Reedus), and crew setting off explosions and shooting at just the right places to wind up herding all of Oceanside's population into one central location. Where it was once Negan appearing and using force to make others kneel before him and take their goods. Now it's Rick standing in front of the women ordering them to kneel, give him all of their guns, and to thank him for the opportunity. Sure, he might not be carrying a big barbed-wire-wrapped bat, but he's still got Michonne (Danai Gurira) up in a tree ready to shoot anyone in the head if they were to fight back. In the end they relent and give the guns over. So Rick leaves them without weapons to defend themselves just after they had a fresh walker attack up out of the ocean. Sure, there's no question Negan is evil to the core, but somewhere in the past was a first time that he made someone else kneel and took their stuff because he needed it for some greater good (as he saw it).
Just because it wouldn't be a Walking Dead episode without at least one pointless scene to eat up time, we have a moment between Gregory (Xander Berkeley) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Gregory as the current leader of Hilltop has been long threatened by Maggie's presence. He comes out to where she's been working in a part of the garden with a knife to kill her. He's inching forward and gathering his nerve to stab her in the back when a walker suddenly appears. She asks him if he's ever killed a walker, he responds that he'll do it. He winds up chickening out and Maggie passes him by commenting that she'll deal with it. As he backs up in revulsion another walker comes up on him and they fall to the ground. For lack of strength or fortitude he winds up unable to kill it, and has to call to Maggie for help. She comes over and dispatches it and Gregory seems to be ready to retch when they spot another group of Hilltop residents. They look over to him in concern, and Maggie calls out that he just hasn't killed one in a while, helping him save face. He thanks her and returns to the mansion. The entire scene doesn't really change anything – he's not one to remain grateful for long, and Maggie is still a threat to his leadership. Had it been cut from the episode, it wouldn't have ever been noticed.
With next week's season finale, Rick still needs to get back and finalize the plans with the Kingdom, Scavengers, and Hilltop communities. Between that and the time it'll take to actually engage with Negan and the Saviors, there's little doubt that the war won't be over by the end of the episode. With the recent pacing of the story the episode may end with the first volley of gunfire.