The camera focuses on Mercer during key moments of Eugene’s speech to the jury to show the parallels between the two characters.
During the closing remarks of his trial for the death of Sebastian, Eugene addresses the crowd, comparing corruption within Negan’s former group to the corruption inside Governor Pamela Milton’s Commonwealth.
As Eugene recounts to the court how he conveniently looked the other way as Negan’s leadership carried out atrocious acts, because things were all right for himself, the camera cuts to Mercer, the leader of the Commonwealth army, a few times.
There are two key moments that stand out.
Mercer is shown watching Eugene and then looking down as he says: “I knew what was happening. My inaction made me culpable and I hated myself for that.”
A few moments later, Eugene tells the crowd that he decided to rise up against Negan to aid his friends, even though it meant putting his life on the line. Because of his choice, they succeeded.
As Eugene says the words, “I learned that one person can do that… Sometimes all it takes is one person to do that,” the camera fully focuses on a close-up of Mercer.
Similar to Eugene with the Saviors, Mercer knows there’s corruption to clean up within the Commonwealth. For the past few episodes, Eugene’s group has asked Mercer to help put a stop to that corruption to no avail.
Seconds later, Eugene is found guilty of Sebastian’s death.
Moved, likely in part by his speech, Mercer reveals to Eugene that he’s on their side moving forward by the episode’s end.