Way ahead of schedule, Negan arrives at the gate of Alexandria, ready to get to work on their new relationship. The surprise visit starts off a little rocky, as the townspeople were not prepared for an army to walk through the gate. Spencer almost pushes Negan’s button, but Rick steps in to ensure that they just get down to business. The Saviors begin their tour of the town and the process of taking half of their belongings. The interaction does not go well at time, with Carl struggling with the taking of all of the medicine and Negan realizing that a few of the guns are not with the rest of the inventory. While all of the bumps are smoothed over, Negan drives off leaving the town miffed about what their future will be under Negan’s rule.
It’s Negan’s World: …and they’re just living in it. The instant Negan walked through the gate, he knew that he owned everyone in his presence. It did not matter that the town was heavily armed or that some of the Alexandrians are still ready to fight. He knew how to manipulate everyone around him. He handed Lucille over to Rick to emasculate him through carrying it around the entire visit. He calmly handled Carl while he was handling a loaded gun. He kept Olivia captive while waiting for the missing guns. He broke Daryl to the point that he did not even tempt the idea of speaking up to see if Negan would let him go. At the very end, he was able to walk away knowing that Rick was a tamed animal, at least at the moment.
Rick’s Controversial Passive Presence: There were times were Rick appeared ready to take a swing at Negan. Surprisingly, it was not when Negan was threatening Carl. The split second when Negan took out the walker with the candlestick was the moment where he appeared to be the most ready to take a swing with Lucille. It was not until late in the episode that it became apparent how aware Rick was to the potential dangers to his people’s lives. There were certain people who were missing and Negan looked ready to assert his dominance at numerous moments.
Also…bombshell…Judith is Shane’s daughter. While this may not have been a major surprise, there did not seem to be a reason before to revisit that part of the story. The moment with Michonne where he got a chance to explain his passive behavior around Negan and the Saviors finally allowed him to explain how Judith’s presence had an impact on his decision not to fight or plan to attack the Saviors…at least at this point.
Setup for an All-Out War: For those that know the comics, you know what is coming. For those looking just at the show, there were a number of moments that helped to push the story forward in this one, including points where it seemed that Negan was gaining more position. Carl’s anger, Michonne’s realization that Negan was messing with them, and Rosita’s visit to Eugene to get him to make bullets all provide seeds for the group to reorganize and start to develop a new plan. Rick prevented himself from lashing out but he appears more broken at the moment.
What they have not realized at the moment is that there are three communities out there that are being terrorized and could potentially have the manpower and resources to consider a fight against the Saviors.
Question of the Week: Father Gabriel seems to believe in Rick more now than before the invasion of the Saviors into their lives. What do you believe has changed Gabriel’s mind?
In Memoriam: several of the Savior walkers