Thursday, 1 April 2021

Review: #TWD S10x22 Here's Negan #TheWalkingDead

 Previously: Review S10x21 DIVERGED

 - S10 x 22  HERE'S NEGAN - 

Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick

Directed by Laura Belsey

Well, that's a big OMG from me—talk about saving the best till last!  One to watch again and again; I'd say it's up there with Morning Star, The Calm Before, Here's Not Here, This Sorrowful Life, No Sanctuary, No Way Out, etc.  So clever to have pulled an All Time Great out of the bag at the end of the bonus six.

If a piece of fiction ever showed how the post-apocalyptic world brings out the hitherto undiscovered best and worst in people, this is surely IT.   On the day Lucille heard news about people killing and eating each other, Negan discovered what was important in his life, i.e., her, and became the selfless, strong husband she knew he could be.  Later, although he'd given up the doctor and Laura's location because he had to get the medicine to Lucille, his basic decency and bravery made him go back to confront the thugs and do the right thing.

...but then the Negan we met in Last Day On Earth was born out of the flames of Lucille's funeral pyre.  The Negan he had always suspected lurked within, as he explained to the guy who'd tied him up.

'There were consequences to me seeing red; seeing red was a bad thing then...but now no-one's suing anybody ... now it's just a matter of what I am capable of, and I am starting to think that I am capable of damn near anything.'

In Walk With Us he said this to Alpha: 'When she was gone, I didn't feel much of anything anymore. I didn't feel scared, I didn't feel happy, I was just ... here.  And that is my strength', which made it sound like he was dead inside because of the pain of losing Lucille, but in this episode he delved deeper, and we found out there was so much more to it.

He said he made himself not feel anything because he didn't want to face his shame.  The shame about banging his ex, about Lucille not feeling able to tell him she had cancer, of acting like a rebellious teenager after he'd lost his job, but most of all, for leaving her alone at the end when she'd asked him not to.  

He referred to the Negan of the Sanctuary years as a 'clown', and a 'cult of personality with no cult' - so were his actions and how he presented himself partly down to self-hatred?  Was Sanctuary Negan a mask he wore, to disguise the real him from others, but also from himself?  

It's as though the two sides of him are constantly in conflict.  He seems satisfied with himself when he's Bad Negan, but maybe it's only a superficial satisfaction.  Then again, when he's been Good Negan for a while, he misses his dark side. 

His 'bad self' said that he was 'nothing without her'—this, I believe, is the root of the conflict.  His fear that without (wife) Lucille, Good Negan is gone forever.  But without (bat) Lucille, he has no strength.  And he rather liked being King.


The actual scenes in the cabin between Negan and Lucille were such a pull at the heartstrings; the emotion, the sadness.  So beautifully played by Jeffrey and Hilarie.  I loved that they had that time of happiness before she died.


I was pleased to see Lindsley Register in the titles at the beginning, as I thought she was one of those shouldn't-have-been-killed-off characters, especially as we now know she must have been the original Savior; it was a cool surprise.  And of course there was this historic moment they were yet to know was so important:

At the beginning, when Carol took him out to his new home, he made two mistakes: thinking that the good he's done over the past couple of years might have made his 'less recent history' not so prominent in people's minds (Daryl, Aaron, Rosita and Eugene were there on that night, never mind Maggie), and also telling Carol that she owed him.  Carol doesn't owe anyone anything.

So did the council really vote him into exile, or was it just Carol's decision, as Negan suspected?  Carol is the one person who is a mental match for him. They're alike; they both carry pain and shame with them, all the time, and Carol is capable of damn near anything, too.  Including giving him a chance, but not doing anything to help if Maggie does decide to kill him.  No, she doesn't owe anyone anything, and she was always bound to put Maggie first.  From the farm, to the prison, to this moment now, not as strangers—as family.

Lucille seemed like she was pretty tough, too.  Not unlike Carol.  Hiding her cancer from him, AC/DC on in the car, using the last bullet (the one that was meant to put her out of her misery?) on a Walker that her husband couldn't kill.

More great moments... 

  • Maggie and Hershel walking along, talking about Glenn had a real feel of S5 and 6 about it (see under picture for clip of opening minutes).

  • This scene - wonder if he was thinking of Carl?

  • The glimpses of Rick and Michonne 😍 
  • I love seeing the 'back at the beginning' bits in flashbacks, in the world when there were still vehicles with petrol, when people didn't know how to and were scared of killing Walkers, and further back, when there were just these weird reports on the news (reminded me of Shane telling Rick how it was at first, just a few reports...)
  • How, once Maggie had said good morning only to Barbara, Hershel sang the line 'please don't take my sunshine away' as the camera followed Negan.
  • Now we know where the 'shitting pants' speech came from... bit different when you're playing those video games for real, though.

  • That he and Lucille had obviously looted a wig shop :)

Lucille said that she could always see the man he was even when he wasn't; maybe if she shouldn't have given his jacket back!  It's become so symbolic, like he puts it on and becomes Bad Negan again.  Then again, he swaggered into Alexandria without it on at the end, still looking like the old him.  Which made me wonder about the symbolism of him burning Lucille Bat in the fire—does this herald the beginning of a new Negan?

I suspect that in S11 we are going to see a cross between the king of the Sanctuary and the guy who picks tomatoes in Alexandria.  A little of one, a little of the other.  What do you think?  And will Maggie kill him?  If anyone is going to, it has to be her, surely?

Thank you so much to Angela, Jeffrey, Lauren, Melissa, Norman, Seth, Ross, Paola, Khary, Hilarie, Seven, David Boyd, Laura Belsey, David Leslie Johnson McGoldrick, Kevin Dieboldt and everyone else who has brought these six episodes to us while we wait for Season 11!

*drums fingers waiting for late summer...*

Negan and Lucille's song :)

Other TWD posts (gif/picture posts)

Thank you, TWD Actors!

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Review: #TWD S10x21 DIVERGED #TheWalkingDead

Previously: Review: 10x20 SPLINTER

—  S10 x 21  DIVERGED —

Directed by David Boyd

Written by Heather Bellson

I loved this episode!  Centres around Daryl and Carol going in separate directions and struggling through bad days, starting with Carol's narration - I'm really liking these little 'where we're at now' speeches at the beginning of each of the bonus six.  The co-stars of this week's were, of course, Dog and Jerry, both of whom made Carol's bad day a lot better than it might have been.

I'm guessing many cries of 'Think he's trying to tell you something, mate' went up, as Dog chose to follow Carol rather than his master in the clip above that we all saw before the episode aired.  Perhaps he knew Carol was the one who needed him more, on that day.

Some dialogue that stood out for me:

Carol: Every tough decision I've made was always to protect us


Daryl: You'll make it work.  You always do.


Carol: I'll make it work

Jerry: You always do.

Carol is viewed like that by everyone, even when she is despairing and sees herself as weak, hopeless and disliked.  I wonder when she will really start to believe it?  Ed did such a number on her - much of the time she does believe in the post-apocalyptic Carol, the person who was inside her all the time, but now and again she forgets that she's the woman who looked up on the internet how to un-dislocate a shoulder, so she wouldn't have to keep going to ER.  And undislocated it herself.  

Then there's the soup out of old potatoes, wrinkled mushrooms and dandelion root - don't forget, she's the lady who used to make miracles happen with water chestnuts, never mind the beet and acorn cookies. The stores are looking a bit different from how they did in JSS, though, aren't they...

When she first got back to Alexandria and was talking to Jerry, I hated seeing her sounding so apologetic just for being there.  Wondering if she should 'get out of everyone's hair'.  Yes, the lady who saved everyone from incineration at the CDC, from becoming dinner at Terminus (including you, Daryl Dixon), and being slashed up by the Wolves shortly after the water chestnut and cola canned ham conversation.  Feels like Daryl's brutal treatment brings out the Wife of Ed Peletier in her, all over again.  

But dear Jerry was with her for all those years when she was happy in the Kingdom.  He knows that Queen Carol is still part of her, too.  I loved him for checking up on her, realising that she was in much worse shape than she'd tried to make out, and showing his unconditional support.

'A friend is someone who thinks you're perfect 

even if everyone else thinks you're broken'

Her comment about not needing an apology because it didn't mean anything other than a truce said a lot; Daryl's actions speak, rather than his words.  When she told Dog that she missed Daryl, too, I felt she meant missed him as in the two of them being close, rather than his actual physical presence.


Other stuff that really appealed to me about this episode: how Caryl's killing of the Walkers when she went outside to find plants was almost casual - like they've got so used to them that they're just like pests they have to deal with.

...and the basic survival stuff - eleven years in, those who have made it so far and will continue to do so are endlessly and admirably resourceful.  Carol finding her ingredients for the metaphorical stone soup and mending the solar panel, Daryl fixing his bike with old wires out of age-old cars, not to mention finding some of those skeletal Walkers that have been around for a decade; ex-soldiers, still with MREs, Camels, clips and tools in their kitbags.  What a find!  

And then there's the rat... like the tomato metaphor of Warning Signs, it stood for so much.  The vermin that destroys all they have, Carol's frustration (just when everything is really, really bad, it can actually get a bit more difficult), her determination to fix a problem even if it means busting up a bunch of other stuff, and probably a few others I'll catch next time I watch it (and I liked how Dog came to find his human when he thought he'd detected the rat during the night).

It was just good to spend so much time with Carol in this one - and let's hear it for women in their fifties who look great with long grey hair!  Sometimes, with those wispy tendrils hanging down over her face, I think Melissa looks really beautiful in an ethereal sort of way, much more so then when she was younger.  Talking of post-apocalyptic sex appeal, any man watching this (with the knowledge that 50% of the known female world adores Daryl Dixon, however dirty he gets) should realise that metrosexual is not the way forward. 😉🤣 

Yes, he always comes back. This current spat is only a blip; they'll find their way back to each other again.  Fear not.  

...and here's a little reminder of some of those things Carol does to protect people....

Next week... it's Negan time :)


Friday, 19 March 2021

Review: #TheWalkingDead S10x20 SPLINTER #TWD

 Previously: Review: S10x19 ONE MORE

~ S10 x 20  SPLINTER ~

Directed by Laura Belsey

Written by Julia Ruchman and Vivian Tse

Well, that was a strange little episode, wasn't it?  Just when I was thinking, 'Um, why have they given Ezekiel a personality metamorphosis?', the truth was revealed.  Hallucination scenes are not really my bag, but TWD does them better than most - similar to Alpha and Carol in Look At The Flowers, Ezekiel 2.0 played the part of the devil on Princess's back.  I saw it as the lonely girl who invented scenarios with her new friends, to keep her company when she was scared (when reciting North American state capitals in alphabetical order wasn't quite cutting it).

I wasn't sure I was going to like Princess at first, because I tend not to like deliberately 'kooky' characters—I wasn't that keen on Ezekiel and Jerry at first but now I love them, and Splinter has made me warm to Princess; she's resilient and resourceful and has obviously survived much in her life (neglect, abuse, abandonment.... ADHD, PTSD, loneliness, depression....) but she's still standing.  Not just standing, but strutting around with purple streaks in her hair, groovy shades and a pink fun fur jacket.  And she's rather sweet.

Here we are in a train boxcar once more, then, except that this time there's no Glenn, Abraham, Maggie etc., standing at the other end.  On the other hand, I don't imagine the guys in white are going to eat them.  

I admit to being a tiny bit disappointed by this episode; I'd hoped to see more about what actually happened to the four of them, how good or bad the white armoured (Commonwealth) soldiers are, and maybe a little bit of hope for Eugene finally meeting Stephanie....butwith every episode of 10C, it becomes more clear how clever an idea it is; they're kind of side-stories (One More certainly was) that show us more about where certain characters are at—detail there may not be room for once S11 begins.  They're bonus episodes, after all, rather than the continuation of the main storylines.

At the same time, though, they give us a hint of what's on the horizon - that stunning 'OMG WTF' ending this week, was one of those 'TWD at its best' moments - 'I didn't expect that!'.

Maybe when Princess feels that she's a part of a real family again, her head will stay in reality—her happiness at having Ezekiel, Eugene and Yumiko described as her 'friends' was touching, and her hurt when Fantasy Ezekiel reminded her that they Eugene and Yumiko were his friends, and that she'd only known them a week, said a great deal.  

I've added a couple of pictures from the comics this week because I am so impressed by how accurate the TV representations are :)

Next week: Diverged, as we watch Dog decide who's most important....!