'The Walking Dead' Gives A Redemption Arc to ... Negan?
Previously on The Walking Dead: Michonne and Siddiq arrive at the Hilltop to vouch for Magna and her crew, only for Michonne to get the cold shoulder from nearly everyone due to as-yet-unknown events that occurred during the six-year time jump. Henry got drunk with a couple of other teenagers and despite realizing that most of them were up to no good, he got himself locked in the drunk tank. Jesus, Daryl, and Aaron go to rescue Eugene from the barn that he’s taking refuge in, and realize that the horde of Walkers they’re seeing from a distance is smarter and more persistent than any Walkers they’ve dealt with before. All four of them, as well as Michonne, Daryl, Magna, and Magna’s crew, end up confronting those Walkers at a cemetery and Jesus is killed when one of the Walkers he’s fighting reveals that it’s not a Walker, but a human wearing the skin of a Walker to disguise itself from other humans and Walkers. Oh, and Negan escapes from his cell thanks to Father Gabriel accidentally leaving it unlocked.
THE STORY SO FAR: Michonne, Daryl, Magna, and company are able to fend off the Walkers and Whisperers and escape from the cemetery with both Jesus’s corpse and a mask worn by one of the Whisperers, only to end up being ambushed by another horde. Daryl tests out whether they’re Walkers or Whisperers by shooting them in the leg with his bolts and when one cries out, they take her captive to be interrogated back at the Hilltop. Eugene is slowly but surely recovering from his injuries and since there’s no time like the present, he decides to tell Rosita that he’s in love with her, only for her to run away and vomit outside and then tell Siddiq that she’s pregnant, due to the two of them messing around with one another before she was with Gabriel. Meanwhile, Alden and Luke go out looking for them and upon coming across a trail of Yumiko’s arrows embedded in trees, they soon find out that the trail of arrows weren’t left by Yumiko at all, but by the Whisperers, who are now surrounding them and have them staring down the double barrels of a shotgun.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Negan’s scenes with Judith, where his attempt to climb over the gate are foiled by her and she once again reminds that she’s much smarter than he gives her credit for, which only endears her to him even more. Michonne and Daryl confronting the Walkers and Whisperers and quickly realizing which ones are which. The arrival at the Hilltop, where everyone is forced to accept both Jesus being gone and Tara immediately having to step up and take his place as leader. Negan going back to the Sanctuary, seeing it as an abandoned and desolate shadow of its former self and accepting that he can’t go home again before turning back around to return to Alexandria. And this classic line from Judith to Negan that would probably make Captain America proud: “Language! I’m a kid, asshole!”
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Negan being chased by feral dogs and his only means of escape being blocked by a Walker, so he throws that Walker out of the way and into the path of one of those dogs. And unfortunately for the dog, the Walker wins that fight. (Fortunately, that particular death happens off screen). And as well as this is being handled so far and as much as Jeffrey Dean Morgan is still killing it as Negan, I’m still rolling my eyes at the thought of Negan getting a redemption arc.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: Yes, he is.
MICHONNE?: Yes, and because of her belief that Daryl is the best judge of character she knows, she’s counting on him to be able to get the information she needs from Lydia and find out everything about The Whisperers, and then kill her if she doesn’t cooperate.
CARL?: Still dead.
JUDITH?: Yes. At the beginning of the episode, when Negan convinces her to let him go, she tells him that if she sees him again, she will shoot him. And she is not kidding.
RICK?: No. Whereabouts still remain unknown.
JADIS/ANNE?: Same response as above.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: He is, and both he and Michonne have a moment in which she thanks him for attempting to locate Rick’s corpse and him apologizing for not being able to find it and give her peace of mind. His interrogation with Lydia at knifepoint (in which she tells him that there were only ten Whisperers before he and Michonne killed them, and that they don’t believe in walls or gates or people, and that eventually everything ends up going horribly because of all three) is interrupted by Henry in his cell, telling him not to hurt her and Daryl telling him to shut the hell up. After he leaves, she thanks Henry for coming to her defense and the two exchange names…while Daryl is listening in on them from outside.
ARE THE WHISPERERS IN THIS EPISODE?: They most certainly are.
ANY SIGN OF THE BLACK HELICOPTER THAT TOOK RICK AND JADIS/ANNE AWAY?: No.
SO…I’M GUESSING YOU READ THE NEWS THAT DANAI GURIRA WILL BE LEAVING THE SHOW NEXT SEASON?: I did, and as much as I love seeing Danai as Michonne, she’s been with the show since its third season, and considering that she’s been doing fantastic work outside of The Walking Dead (her role as Okoye in Black Panther, her plays that she has written and continues to write, including Eclipsed, which starred a young, up-and-coming actress named Lupita Nyong’o and was directed by some random unknown with questionable talent by the name of Liesl Tommy), I don’t blame her at all for wanting to move on to greener pastures and put the role of Michonne to rest so she can do new things that will have us all singing her praises even more than we already do.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: The episode was a solid return for The Walking Dead, and does a very convincing job of showing us just how much of a threat that The Whisperers are going to be for everyone. And if the show is going to insist on giving Negan a redemption arc (rolls eyes), I’d be fine with him sharing scenes with Judith as they circle one another like gunslingers and shit-talk one another while doing so. Well, as much as a six-year-old girl and a grown-ass man in his forties/fifties can shit-talk each other.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan:
Header Image Source: AMC