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.
'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?
Other TWD posts (gif/picture posts)