After coming from several bottle episodes that focused on character development, we hit the mother-lode with this one. Not only did we get awesome character development, but we finally were able to see more into the psychology behind Negan’s hold on his people, especially in regards to his wives.
So, many things happened in this episode that are very exciting. We finally get to see the depth of Negan’s cruelty when he burns the flesh off of one of his men with an iron when he shirked his responsibilities to “visit” one of Negan’s wives (who used to be his girl). This act cements the fact that Negan absolutely controls his people with zero resistance.
Since Carl’s last run in with Negan he has been chomping at the bit to go after him. Carl is dead-set on killing Negan. After stowing away in the supply truck that Negan’s group takes back with them, Carl arms himself ready for a fight, and that is exactly what happens! When the truck stops and two of Negan’s men start unloading, Carl steps out with one of the rifles and kills them. Negan, at first, wants to punish Carl, but the more he thinks about what Carl did, the more impressed he is with him.
Negan takes Carl to his dwelling where he insists that Carl take off his eye bandage. Carl says no at first but after he watches the man’s face burn off from the iron Negan used, he finally complies. Negan begins laughing at the fact that he can see his socket and very rudely asks to, “touch it.” Carl resists at first, telling him, “no.” The moment is so frustrating and embarrassing for him that he starts to cry. This jolts Negan for a moment and for just a moment we see a piece of humanity come back to Negan and he sincerely apologizes to Carl saying, “I forgot that you are only a little kid.” Here, Negan may speak for the audience here as well because we too, often forget that Carl is “only a little kid,” even though he is able to hold his own in this post-apocalyptic world. The fact is, however, that he still reacts to situations like a child would. Negan becomes very aware of this, yet Carl still impresses him greatly.
Although Negan could kill Carl, he chooses to take him back to Alexandria instead. Rick is on a run with Aaron, so Negan stays until he returns. While he is there, he tells Carl to give him the “grand tour.” They go from room to room, turning on faucets and playing around with stuff, finally coming to a closed door. Negan asks Carl what is in there and Carl tells him, “nothing, it’s just a closet.” Negan opens the door anyway and there is Judith! Negan picks her up and holds her on the porch for the rest of the episode. Now he knows how much Rick has to lose!
While Rick and Aaron are out scavenging, they see warning signs for trespassers. “You will be shot.” …and they venture in anyway. Finally they come to a pond filled with walkers–a barrier to the supplies in the middle of the pond. Now, Rick has to find a way to get to the supplies, unaware of who awaits for him at home.
Several other things happen in this episode as well. Rosita and Eugene go back to the factory where Eugene says he can make bullets. It seems he is very unconfident in himself and Rosita confirms his feelings when she reminds him that everyone picks up his slack constantly. She tells him to, “make me a bullet.” What is interesting is that she doesn’t say make some bullets, or we need bullets, she tells him specifically, “make me a bullet.” For her, that bullet probably has Negan’s name on it; however knowing how crafty Negan is, it won’t be easy. Eugene does make her a bullet that she puts in her gun; she then tries to apologize to Eugene for the things she said to him. Eugene does not accept her apology saying that she may regret the words, but the intent was there.
Next is Father Gabriel and Spencer. Spencer is so pissed off that Rick is still in charge that he begins to talk to Gabriel about mutiny. However, Father Gabriel was having none of it! He calls Spencer a “shit,” which adds some depth into his character–going from the Word of God–to swear words protecting Rick’s honor as leader. I am really enjoying Father Gabriel’s character development. He started his journey as a sniveling, little mouse of a man and now he is becoming a mighty lion; cunning and protective.
One of the most interesting story lines of the night, in my opinion, is Michonne. Although she doesn’t have much screen time, she is still able to pack a punch, which is exactly what she does. We see her in the beginning of the episode, interestingly enough alone and whistling The Farmer in the Dell. While some may dismiss this detail, it is interesting because it is probably a reference to the book I am the Cheese, which details the journey of a young man who feels he is all alone in the world, just as Michonne feels. Carl must also feel that way, as he tries to take Negan on all by himself. We circle back around to Michonne at the end of the episode where she springs a trap and captures one of the Saviors, where Michonne forces her at gunpoint to take her to Negan. The woman tries to fight back unsuccessfully, ending the episode. There is one episode left before the break– will things between the Alexandrians and the Saviors be resolved? More that likely, no.