This review contains spoilers.
It’s safe to say that a LOT of people have been very excited and looking forward to this episode. Why? Because its a Negan-centric episode! Negan has been on such a journey since his arrival on the show, from most hated villain to a redeemed member of the group. Now, I loved Glenn and liked Abraham, so its amazing how they’ve managed to win me around in such a way, and I know that I’m not alone in this. I’ve been big on Jeffrey Dean Morgan since his Supernatural days, and he has just got better and better as the years have gone on. So I am expecting big things from the episode! And if you are one of those who are still on the fence with him, this might be the episode that helps you pick a side.
So, on to to breakdown!
The episode starts out with Maggie talking to little Hershal on a nice morning walk through the settlement, of course they do, they clearly want to remind us early doors about Negan’s victims and the fallout, thus creating that confliction some have for the character. Lets be honest, it’s a smart move! As for Negan? The council has banished him and Carol escorts him to his new digs. Negan doesn’t buy it that the council decided anything and he playfully points the finger at Carol and that this is her doing. I mean, it’s smart… it keeps Negan out of Maggie’s firing line at least!
Do you know whats better than one Negan? TWO Negans! That’s right, it looks like we are going to deep dive into Negan’s subconscious as ‘Old Negan’ appears, in full gear and swagger, to prod and poke at New Negan (FYI I’m going to use Old Negan (bad) and New Negan (good) going forwards!). The Devil is definitely on his shoulder as Old Negan continues to stoke the fires of how New Negan is now washed up and how things were better back in the day when he was his ‘true self’. I could watch Jeffrey Dean Morgan talk to himself all day, the fact that there are two Jeffrey Dean Morgans just makes things ten times better!
We see the window by the tree, that led to Negan’s downfall, with the added bonus of a Rick Grimes monologue and flashback. This is quickly followed up with a flashback to an imprisoned Negan talking to Michonne about Lucille. Back in reality, we are back with Negan, who is now digging. It is not long before he is finally reunited with Lucille! At this point I am so hyped that I just want to see what happens next, and it’s not long before we time jump back to 12 years earlier…
Negan is being held hostage by a biker gang. He was trying to bring home essential medical supplies for his wife’s treatment. This is a very different type of Negan performance, it was very pure and innocent, it was, unsettling. We are not used to seeing him like this. We then have a flashback within a flashback of Negan getting clocked by a Laura as he tries to get supplies from an RV. We learn that Negan was a High School gym teacher. We then go into another flashback set 6 weeks earlier where Negan and his wife, Lucille, going through their routine – watching movies, going through her treatment, reading her stories, just generally being the nicest guy. As Lucille starts to show the heavy and horrible side effects of chemotherapy, she tries to convince him that they need to join others and not be so isolated. What follows is an emotional and heart wrenching Jeffrey Dean Morgan rendition of ‘You Are So Beautiful’ over a montage of lovely moments of the two of them. We also see Negan getting his iconic jacket!
Now, we go even more months back and see a Negan that I never thought id’s see… Gamer Negan! – Man this episode is taking us on a journey! Negan says he can’t make Lucille’s hospital appointment as he has to see his probation officer, so she has the have the bad news broken to her alone. In the car Lucille learns that Negan wasn’t due to see his probation officer after all and when she tries to speak to her friend Janine, she isn’t answering. She starts to create a picture in her head that Negan and Janine are in fact…. ‘together’ right now. We then go forwards back to the previous flashback and the affair is confirmed, with Negan saying that he broke it off as soon as Lucille’s diagnosis was announced. Lucille tells Negan that its time to give up on her treatment, that she isn’t going to make it and that its time for him to move on. Negan refuses and is determined to get more chemo treatment. We move forwards again to the Laura flashback and she and Franklin have managed to gather the medical supplies, you know, the ones that the biker gang are soon to be in the possession of! Laura gives Negan one final parting gift… a familiar looking baseball bat…
Negan arrives home to find Lucille turned… there are pill bottles and she has a bag over her head… heartbreaking! After some time to reflect, Negan finally decides to leave, adding barb wire to his bat and torching the house in the process. The music and visuals here are just incredible! You feel so many different emotions, it was really nicely done! Back at the biker bar, Negan starts to take heads, thus leading him down the path to ‘Old Negan’. This was badass and brutal and I loved very second of it! This entire backstory is just perfect and everything is clicking into place.
We are finally back in the present and after killing a Walker, Lucille breaks… and this leads to Negan finally burying the past by talking to Lucille one final time. Its an outpouring of warmth and love and beauty. I teared up hard here, I’m not gonna lie! The next day, Negan walks back to the main square and tells Carol that its not going to work and he’s coming back. Carol is happy that should Maggie kill him, it won’t be on her conscience as she did offer him a way out. Maggie spots Negan and the music changes to an intense and ever loudening drone. Negan flashes Maggie a ‘come get me’ smile and the episode ends. Wow. Is he setting up his own death? I’ll be honest, if you’re giving me the choice between the two characters I’m #TeamNegan all the way. So I’m hoping that this isn’t a prolonged subplot in the final season. I don’t want Negan shackled by this.
Overall, this was an incredible episode that really fleshed out Negan’s backstory and should hopefully have won over some new fans! Obviously Jeffrey Dean Morgan was phenomenal but Lucille, played by Hilarie Burton Morgan (Jeffrey’s real-world wife) was just as captivating. I think having a fake married couple played by a real married couple just makes all the touching moments in the episode just that more real and offer more impact. Bravo to the Morgans!
This was easily my second favourite of the extra episodes and now that we are at the end of ‘Season 10’ its safe to say I am now very much ready for the final season of The Walking Dead! How about you?
What did make of the latest episode The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below.