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.

πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ’”

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.


πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ’”

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!








8 comments:

  1. This truly was a great episode, and coincidentally I had just watched "Last Day on Earth" the night before with my son (re-watching the series with him, its his first time). It is really such a critical plot point now (we didn't know it then) that Carol was not there when Negan killed Abraham and Glenn. I love how this episode fleshed out Negan's origin story (much of which we had already heard anecdotally)in such a way as to connect a lot of dots for us. I particularly loved that his first kill with "Lucille" was a morally justified one. It is interesting that you bring up Carl, as I thought of him too during this episode. Lucille (wife not bat), like Carl and Judith, could see the good beneath the bravado in Negan and they all managed to bring it out in him, albeit in very different ways. The burning of the bat was symbolic and I found it so interesting that he decided to claim his "place" in Alexandria rather than go off rogue (or accept Carol's willingness to "keep" him at that distance. So much to think about, great set up for the final season.

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  2. I just wrote a long reply that disappeared - in short, I've been thinking that about Carol not being there on THAT NIGHT - that is one of the many things TWD is so good at, isn't it? And it's notable that those who have heard about it rather than experiencing it, like Carol and Judith, are more willing to move on from it.

    As for staying in Alex, he knows from when he tried escaping in S9 that there is nothing out there for him, and he did, after all, take over the Sanctuary when he felt it needed shaping up. This time, though, he will have Rosita, Gabriel, Maggie, Daryl and Aaron to deal with!

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    1. Yes, rewatching the show has really put me in awe of those writers--a lot of things that maybe felt like they "didn't make sense" at first always make sense in the long-haul, big picture. Of course, Carol not being there that night was critical not only to her character development, but Morgan's as well. Thanks for the great read as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts after each new episode!

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    2. And I yours! I'm so pleased you like what I do - I notice my reviews are less critical than the big sites, and more part-analysis, part-review, but I write as a fan FOR the fans, not as someone who is looking for stuff to pick holes in and be clever about. Many of the reviews said that Diverged was 'boring' - well, it may be if you don't love TWD and rate an episode on how much action there is, but if you're a true fan, that was an fabulous 45 minutes.

      YES!!! Carol - Morgan too. That was another odd and troublesome relationship I loved. The writers must see the big pictures SEASONS down the line - there is never a plot development that doesn't make sense, and they all fit in so subtly :)

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  3. And thank you for reading and commenting, Kara! x

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  4. Thank you so much for this insightful post, Terry. I must admit, I didn't realise about the woman was gave him the bat, but then I'm not quite such an aficionado. Negan is such a complex character, and I feel you really helped explain him for people such as me. Now, it's quite obvious that the only thing that will stop Maggie from ending up killing him is if he does something like saving her son from drowning, in which case she won't kill him, but she will never say 'good morning' to him or be in the least bit friendly. It's hard to imagine him as a high school gym teacher! But then, it is hard to imagine any of them as they were before, e.g. the Governor being a normal family man, Rick being an ordinary cop and not any type of leader. I could go on.

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    1. ....Andrea a civil rights lawyer, Carol an abused housewife, Daryl a trouble-making layabout, Connie a journalist... Glenn delivering pizzas!!!

      Laura (who gave him the bat!) was one of the saviours who came good - she was totally Negan (she was the one who exposed Dwight's double agent-ness), but became an active Alexandrian after the fall of the Sanctuary. She was killed by Beta in 10x10 Stalker.

      As for explaining Negan, it's only my opinion, but I was pleased that Lady Savior thought I had it spot on!!!

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