As with so many episodes of THE WALKING DEAD, the writers of tonight's "Dead Or Alive Or" didn't bother to provide an adequate plot. As so often happens, they chose, instead, to take a few minutes worth of material and pad it out to fill the running time. As has so often happened in recent season, this padding was so extensive that the ep even ran 5 minutes over its regularly-designated timeslot. Have to get in those extra minutes of commercials to pay for all that "work" the writers are doing.
Two weeks ago, Daryl, Rosita and Tara departed the Safe Zone to lead its mostly-nameless-and-faceless residents to Hilltop. This is the latest example of the brilliant strategic thinking typically displayed by our heroes. Why make it tougher for Negan to defeat you when you can all hole up in the same small, closed-in community to which his forces can easily lay siege until he's starved out all opposition, right? This being TWD, that Safe Zoners plot-string was skipped last week and, this being TWD, tonight's ep, which picks it up, didn't begin with those characters at the gates of Hilltop. Instead, that's how it ends. Way back in December, Eugene arranged for Dr. Carson and the ailing
Father Gabriel to escape Savior custody. They were heading to Hilltop as
well but as the show finally returned to their thread three months later, they're not there either. They're lost and driving around backroads. Most of the ep just follows around the Safe Zoners as they try to hike to Hilltop and Gabriel/Carson as they mostly just dick around and waste time instead of trying to find Hilltop.
Neither of these threads feature anything interesting; they're just present to eat up running-time.
The Safe Zone group opt to cut through a swamp on the premise that the Saviors wrote it off as dangerous and won't be poking around there. They run into a zombie logjam ported in straight from Z NATION season 2 but it doesn't lead to anything--they just kill the zombies and move on. Tara is still furious at Savior turncoat Dwight and, being a dimwit, tries to kill him. He eventually hooks up with a group of Saviors who haven't heard of his betrayal and leads them away from the Zoners.
Gabriel and Carson find a cabin, hang out there, go on and on about Gabriel's increasing loss of vision. In order to safely walk among the dead, Gabriel, several eps back, covered himself in zombie guts. Characters on TWD have been using this same trick since the 2nd episode of the series, even those with open wounds. We've seen people splattered with zombie blood and gore, seen it get in their faces, their eyes. No one has ever suffered so much as a cough as a consequence but this season, the writers suddenly decided zombie gore was toxic. Gabriel is ill and going bind.
We find out why this was suddenly written into the plot toward the end of the ep. After breaking out of the zombie-surrounded Sanctuary, the Saviors are running low on ammo and Eugene's reloading operation isn't turning out enough at a fast-enough clip--Eugene may be foot-dragging on purpose. When Negan leans on him, Eugene comes up with the idea of using primitive siege weapons to chuck zombie gore over the walls of Hilltop. Negan doesn't like this suggestion at all but from it, he gets the bright idea to have the Saviors coat their weapons in this grue, use it for a sort of biological warfare. I'm disappointed we're not going to get to see Medieval trebuchets and catapults chucking zombie-parts over the wall.
And that's it. Near the end, the gate guard at Hilltop yells that Rick has returned but because if he appears, Andrew Lincoln gets paid for the ep, we never see him.
 As if to compensate for this obvious idiocy, the writers have Gregory point out to Maggie that the Saviors are on their way and suggests evacuating Hilltop. "How can we win?" Maggie replies, "look around, Gregory. How can we lose?" But it's so idiotic, even she doesn't sound as if she means it.
 The Saviors reapprehend Gregory and Carson; when Carson goes for a
gun, they shoot him, one of the last doctors in the world.
Fortunately--and coincidentally--the stranger Coral took in has medical
training. Absurdly, Negan assigns the dying and nearly-blind Gabriel to
sorting empty shells in preparation for reloading them.
 In fact, Rick, the first one to use the trick on screen, had an open gunshot wound in his side when he first did it.
 Zombie grue should be potentially rather dangerous--human
corpses are a regular stew of bacteria--but after 8 years of watching
people intimately interact with it to no negative effect, it's a bit
late to be making it poisonous.
 Negan's plot-armor comes with an immunity charm; he covered himself
in gore from the same zombie as Gabriel but remains unaffected by it.