On the last episode of “The Walking Dead” we saw an installment almost exclusively about Tara and her journey to make it back to Alexandra. She survived a lot, but she did so only to realize down the road that her great love Denise was gone. She has to now regroup, and that won’t be easy given that Negan is still of doing whatever it is that Negan does — in other words, be terrible.
For a good percentage of tonight’s episode, what we saw can be described best at “Negan emotionally manipulates the crap out of Carl, but doesn’t really do much else to him.” Early on in the season, we had a sense that there was a certain fondness that the character had for Rick’s son, mostly in that he seemed like the sort of person who, in a different world, would be a part of the Saviors. He had guts for days, and he showed that in making the incredibly-stupid move to come charging into the Sanctuary sporting a machine gun. He did manage to kill a pair of Negan’s guys, but didn’t get much further than that before Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character decided to get going.
While there were many notable minutes during the first half an hour or so (including a reminder that Daryl is still there), things really got going when Negan started making his demands. First, he brought Carl into a separate room, and then proceeded to force him to take off his bandages and show off the eye socket. As if that wasn’t enough, he then forced him to “sing him a song” — hence the title of “Sing Me a Song.” We haven’t even mentioned the fact that Negan more or less could start in a new version of “Sister Wives” for TLC.
How was Carl’s rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”? Probably about as good as it can be when you’ve got Negan swinging Lucille around during it.
The episode took a break from Negan’s “interrogation” to deal with other matters (some of those below), but when we eventually came back to it, we saw Carl continue to challenge him on one key question: Why not kill him? It’s certainly something we’ve thought about ourselves, given that we’re not sure why it is worth the trouble to keep him alive. Negan may enjoying playing with his food before he eats it, but sooner or later, couldn’t said food end up poisoning him? (Weird metaphor alert.) He decided to take Carl on a little “trip” to an unknown destination, and this was one of the first times we actually started to worry about the kid.
Eventually, we learned that Negan’s destination was Alexandria, where it decided to add shaming Olivia about her weight to his list of misdeeds. While at Olivia’s place, Negan took an odd little tour and decided to settle in and wait for Rick to turn up. The good news is that Carl’s still alive, but the bad news is that it’s not entirely clear what his ultimate plan here is other than playing house.
Spencer’s story – Just in case anyone cares, the guy’s roaming around and dealing with walkers. It’s Spencer, he’s reckless, crazy, and selfish. The dude got burned by Father Gabriel of all people! when this guy’s got a leg up on you in terms of mocking you, it’s pretty darn clear that something is wrong. At least Spencer did manage to accomplish … something, right?
Poor Dwight – We gotta admit that the show’s done a great job this season making us feel for a guy who came across as pretty terrible upon our first meeting him. Now, we totally feel for him and Sherri given what they are having to do to stay alive. We wouldn’t necessary make the same choice, but him making a choice makes him a fascinating character.
Daryl’s escape – After Negan opted to start his little trip with Carl, there was a note passed along that now was the time for him to go.
Michonne looks for Negan – Her screen time was limited, but it was fairly clear through what we saw that she was ready to start taking some matters into her own hands when it comes to finding the man responsible for so much torment.
Episode grade: B. This was a very entertaining episode and one with many great moments — the entire Negan – Carl conversation was fantastic, and Chandler Riggs gave us arguably his best performance in two seasons. Unfortunately, the show is still struggling somewhat when it comes to episode length. Did we really need the Rosita / Eugene stuff? There was almost so little of Rick that it almost didn’t matter. There also wasn’t exactly much of an ending here, either.
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