So after that slight detour to check in on Heath and Tara, it’s time to return to some multiple plots and see just what happens when Carl pays Negan a surprise visit at the Sanctuary. The comic fan in me cannot wait for this one. Welcome to “Sing Me a Song.”
The episode begins with Michonne on the road as she again comes across the burned mattresses. Doing her best impression of Omar from The Wire, she whistles “The Farmer and the Dell,” and soon puts down two approaching walkers. Setting down the radio and her katana, she begins dragging one of the walkers away.
Elsewhere, Rick and Aaron awaken just past 5:30. Rick contemplates radioing into Michonne, but doesn’t. As the two prepare to head out, they make a new discovery.
On another part of the road, some Saviors talk of how something is still going, but it might be the end of them. At least Negan is smart enough to not let that mess anywhere near them. Fat Joey also apparently rigged the herdway.
When the Saviors finally depart, they are unaware that Carl and Jesus are also on this truck. While the drive continues, Jesus pours syrup onto the road in order to leave a trail, thinking that they’re close. Jesus wants to bail and follow the rest of the way. The trucks are slow enough, so he and Carl will be in the blind spot and can race behind the other cars.
However, only Jesus jumps out and is left on the road as Carl continues towards the Sanctuary. As the truck approaches, Carl loads up one of the machine guns and overhears Negan’s voice. One of the Saviors tells Negan that the redirect has been screwed up. They’re on it now, but there’s still a mess.
As the Saviors check the truck, Carl opens fire and manages to gun down a few of the Saviors. He demands that the rest lower their weapons, saying that he only wants Negan. Negan indeed presents himself, calling Carl adorable, even though he scares the shit out of him.
Dwight tackles Carl and confiscates his knife, but Negan orders him to back off. After all, it’s no way to treat a guest. Negan is all ready to give Carl a tour of the place, and Carl eventually relents and takes Carl’s hand. Negan tells Carl that, like Daryl, he’s lucky, as both of their lives and jobs would be tougher with just one hand or arm.
As Dwight takes Daryl instead, Negan laments that he’ll maybe have time to screw just one of his wives today. As for what’s in store for Carl, two things: Carl can’t shatter the badass image that Negan has of him, so Carl can’t show any fear. Second, Negan sure as shit isn’t about to ruin the surprise..
Negan brings Carl inside the Sanctuary, where he greets a waiting crowd of Saviors. He tells his followers that they have gone out into the world, fought the dead, and come back with some good shit. That shit can be theirs if they work hard and play by the rules. As such, everyone, regardless of points, gets fresh vegetables at dinner. Negan tells Carl that this is a sign of respect, as the people are still kneeling.
Back in Alexandria, Rosita and Eugene have the first of many arguments this episode, this one over whether to gather supplies for the Saviors or ways to fight back. Spencer, though, believes the three should travel together, but Rosita says that she’s fine with Eugene.
Spencer can grovel to the Saviors all he wants, but he still believes this is all Rick’s fault. Even if Spencer can do better, Rosita isn’t so confident that he’s capable. If Spencer wants to provide for the Saviors, he can, but he’ll do so alone.
You know, Spencer certainly has a way with women. Those that don’t end up in harm’s way can’t get far enough away from him.
Negan pops by his harem and tells Carl that the women won’t mind if he stares at their tits. He shares a drink with Sherry and wants to know what happened with Amber and Mark, but Sherry says that’s none of Negan’s business. Fair enough, but Negan wants to know if it’s true that Mark skipped out on redirect duty to be with Amber. After all, there are rules for a reason and nothing matters if you’re dead.
Sherry is with Negan because she gets that. She admits that Amber made a mistake and wants Negan to go easy on her, but Negan reminds Sherry that he’s never hit any of the women. True, but Sherry knows that there’s worse to Negan. This tale is to be continued.
Negan then goes to Amber, played by Autumn Dial, and tells her that he doesn’t want anyone in his harem that doesn’t want to be there. If Amber wants to go back to Mark, she can, but what she can’t do is cheat on Negan. There are other women who would love to take Amber’s place. If Amber wants to return to Mark and her mother, Negan can put all three of them on the same job.
Though Negan accepts Amber’s apology, but Negan reminds Amber that she knows what’s coming next. It’s all going to work out fine for Amber, though. Negan then tells Sherry to go fetch Carson. Negan knows that he’s an asshole, but Sherry still likes him anyway.
Then Dwight and Daryl just as Negan is kissing Sherry. Daryl, as the help, brings in a plate of food, which is sad to see, I will admit. He demands to know why Carl is here, but that’s none of his business. If Daryl isn’t careful, a toothpick will go through Carl’s good eye. Negan then tells Dwight to fire up the furnace. It’s time for a little déjà vu.
Back on the road, Rick and Aaron approach a gate with only a day to find supplies. They climb the gate, which warns approaching people that the only thing beyond the gate is trouble, and head off to find supplies. You’d think that, based on Terminus, Rick would be more wary of areas with signs.
Elsewhere, Spencer asks Gabriel if hating someone is a sin, and it’s not since it’s a thought. Actions matter more in the end. Spencer admits that he hates Rick. He was a cop, but shouldn’t be in charge. Deanna, though, served in Congress and brought out the good in people. However, Rick did the same for Gabriel through his inspiration. More than that, Rick, despite not being perfect, kept people together and alive.
And neither Deanna nor Reg’s deaths were Rick’s fault. Before Spencer contemplates what would have happened if things went differently, Gabriel only looks towards the future. No point in speculating on ‘What ifs.’ But Spencer sees no future as long as Rick is in charge. The only good thing that could happen is if Rick doesn’t make it back to Alexandria. Gabriel then orders Spencer to stop the car.
He tells Spencer that what he’s saying doesn’t make him a sinner, but a tremendous shit. For now. It doesn’t have to be terminal, though. Fuck yeah, Father Gabriel. Anyway, Gabriel then gets out of the car and decides to walk back. Spencer soon also exits the car and heads into the woods. He soon finds a walker up in a tree with a compound bow nearby.
Back at the Sanctuary, Negan brings Carl to his quarters and confirms that yes, all of those women are his wives. After all, why settle for just one? Negan wants to get to know Carl better, as he’s fascinated by this kid. He figured a kid like Carl would mope around and cry about missing things like prom, but Carl instead went on a mission and killed two Saviors. And Carl is smart enough to know that Negan won’t let this slide.
Negan then orders Carl to take off his bandage. Carl refuses, but Negan reminds Carl that two of his men are dead. This is punishment, and Carl probably doesn’t want to piss off Negan right now.
Carl soon relents and removes his bandage, revealing the socket where his eye used to be. It is indeed disgusting as shit, but Negan finds it glamorous, even if won’t get Carl a girlfriend anytime soon. An impressed Negan wants to touch it, but Carl soon gets very upset by this.
Negan pulls back and apologizes for hurting Carl’s feelings. He was just fucking around. Soon, there’s a knock at the door. Fat Joseph returns Lucille to Negan, as he left her by the truck, which never happens. Negan reclaims Lucille from Fat Joseph and asks if he treated Lucille kindly like a proper lady.
And that includes if he patted Lucille’s pussy like a lady, but Negan is just fucking with Fat Joseph. After all, a baseball bat doesn’t have a pussy. That’s just Anatomy 101. This is what Rick should be teaching Carl. Negan then asks Carl to sing him a song. Carl can’t think of any, so Negan asks Carl what his parents used to sing or play for him.
Eventually, Carl begins singing “You Are My Sunshine” while Negan takes random swings. Negan loves it, as does Lucille- the one thing she loves more than bashing in brains. When asked about his mother, Carl doesn’t answer, so Negan puts two and two together. More than that, Carl admits that he was the one to put her down. Negan then orders Carl to get up because the iron should be ready.
Negan tells his Saviors that what’s about to happen is hard to watch. He can’t ignore the rules and let it slide because, as the Saviors say, the rules keep us alive. The Saviors provide security and bring civilization to the world, but they can’t do that without rules because the rules make it all work. Negan knows that it’s not easy, but there’s always a cost. Here, if you try to cut corners, then it’s the iron for you.
Negan heads down and receives the red-hot iron from Dwight. He apologizes in advance for what’s about to happen to Mark, played by Griffin Freeman, but it is what it is. With that, he presses the iron to Mark’s face as Mark lets out a horrible scream. When Negan removes the iron, Mark passes out from the extreme heat. With the ritual done, Negan orders Daryl to clean up the mess and tells Dr. Carson to get to work.
But everything is cool. Mark’s face should be a daily reminder to everyone that the rules matter. Plus, Negan doesn’t want to do this again. He then leaves with Carl in order to figure out what to do with him.
In the woods, Spencer manages to secure a rope to the platform the walker is situated on and gets it loose enough for the compound bow to drop. He retrieves it just as the walker drops, losing its arms in the process. Spencer pick-pockets the walker and, among the items he finds, comes across a note.
Eugene and Rosita arrive at the munitions factory, though Eugene has no desire to be here. He refuses to help, even though he did initially agree to do so. Since then, Eugene has considered other options and is wondering whether this option even makes sense. He’s not trying to stop Rosita so much as slow her roll. And Eugene is seeing clearly. As Abraham said, the Saviors have numbers and a single bullet won’t do it.
Someone has to pay the price, and even if Rosita is willing, it’s still an uphill battle. Rosita reminds Eugene that she owes both him and Abraham. If there’s a price, she’ll pay it. She lashes out at Eugene, calling him a weak coward and saying that he’s only alive because people feel sorry for him. So for once, he needs to do something useful and make her a goddamn bullet.
Rosita, you’re being a real cunt right now.
We return to the Sanctuary where Dwight and Sherry again have a smoke. Dwight tells Sherry not to beat herself up, as he figures that she sold out Mark and Amber. Sherry says that isn’t what happened, but Dwight sees through her lie.
Sherry says that this deal with Negan was only meant to affect them, but Dwight believes that Sherry is just standing on someone else’s back. The two could be spotted, but Dwight isn’t worried since they’re not doing anything. Sherry agrees with that much.
Negan still won’t let Carl wrap up his face because Negan isn’t done with him. Carl demands to know why Negan hasn’t killed him, Rick, or Daryl yet. Negan has plays for Daryl, saying that he’ll make a good soldier. Rick is already gathering for Negan, but as for Carl, that remains to be seen. It’s better and more fun for Negan to break him. So Negan asks Carl what he should do with him, since he can’t release him.
He could do a number of terrible things, but Carl suggests that Negan jump out the window to save him the trouble of killing him. If Negan was going to do anything, he would have done it. Carl doesn’t even believe that Negan would kill him, and maybe Carl is right. As Negan gathers Lucille, he tells Carl that they’re going for a ride.
As the trucks leave the Sanctuary, Negan is unaware that Jesus is atop his truck. Negan tells Daryl that he’s taking Carl home and orders Dwight to take Daryl back to his box. Back to Easy Street it is.
So while Daryl stews in his cell, he gets a key under his door and a note that tells him it’s time to go.
On the road, a lone Savior happens upon a roadblock of corpses when she’s soon approached by Michonne, who orders her to lower her gun and knife. She orders the woman to take her to Negan.
And just where is Negan? Well, he’s back in Alexandria with Carl as he pays Olivia a surprise visit. He wants to speak with Rick, but he’s out scavenging and might not be back today, so Negan will wait. Olivia tells Negan that Alexandria is low on supplies, particularly with food, but Negan takes one look at Olivia and figures can’t be the case for everyone. This makes Olivia cry. A dick comment, but it’s Negan, so I’ll allow it.
Negan apologizes for being rude and offers instead to fuck Olivia’s brains out if she agrees, and that gets Negan a slap in the face instead. That just gets Negan 50 percent more into Olivia. He orders Olivia to make him a drink.
So Carl gives Negan the grand tour of the house as we get a montage. He even gets to meet and picks up Judith.
Rick and Aaron- you remember them, right?- happen upon a sign telling them about an armed person who has supplies and ammunition. The only way for someone to have reached this point is that the person who wrote the sign must apparently be dead. Indeed, Rick and Aaron find what looks a houseboat.
Rosita thanks Eugene for her bullet and apologizes for what she said, though Eugene rejects it because he knows Rosita meant what she said. As the two make their way back, they happen upon Spencer, who found a list of caches from a dead man with a plan. However, Rick is going to do more than just hand this over to the Saviors..
Well, Spencer won’t have to wait long to deliver the goods, as he, Eugene, and Rosita find that Negan is already at Alexandria.
In fact, Negan, Carl, and Judith sit on one of the porches and unwind. Negan likes it so much that he’d like to stay, and knows that it’s probably stupid to leave Carl and Rick alive. Maybe he should just bury kill and later bury them in the flower beds. He says this while holding Judith, which is creepy as fuck.
Now I’m no professional or a doctor, Jim, but I’ll just come right out and say it: I fucking loved this episode. The Walking Dead has been going through a tough period right now with the ratings. Perhaps people are tired, maybe the bottle episodes have gotten on their nerves, maybe the entertainment factor has dried up for some. I don’t know.
I’ll admit that the bottle episodes have been somewhat slower, but at the same time, they’ve allowed for some very good world building and character development. Plus, when done well, like the excellent “Clear.” I wouldn’t personally say any of the bottle episodes we’ve gotten have been as good as that, but I’ve enjoyed them nonetheless. But I can understand some criticisms when people say they’d prefer multiple storylines.
We sort of get that here, to a point, but I dug this episode not just for its fun factor, but as a fan of the comic book, this felt like a treat as we got to see a lot of comic moments come to life. And we didn’t even spend the entire episode at the Sanctuary, so those wanting several plots to play out at once hopefully got what they wanted.
As for me, having comic moments on screen was the real joy of this episode to me. We got the iron ritual, we saw Negan’s harem, and Negan bonding with Carl.
Actually, let’s start there, because some of the stuff with Carl was a bit weak. I don’t blame the acting because I do think Chandler Riggs did a good job, but I have to wonder how these scenes would have played out if this Carl was as young as his comic counterpart was at this moment.
I sympathize with Carl because of the position he’s put himself into, but it didn’t feel as uncomfortable as it was originally because Carl, though a badass in both interpretations, was just a kid. Here, he’s already been hardened through things like putting down his own mother. If anything, I just wish that we had more scenes that allowed Carl to show his vulnerable side.
Having said that, I’m not really complaining. I like how Carl, despite crying in front of Negan, maintained his composure, not to maintain a front, but because he’s not intimidated by Negan. Hell, he went as far as telling Negan to jump out of a window and questioned whether Negan would even follow through on killing him. Carl is tempting fate, but I think he knows that Negan wouldn’t kill him at this moment if he hadn’t already.
But as Negan indicated, it’s more fun to try and break him. And given the shit that Carl saw this episode, I would agree. Even though this is the second tour us viewers have had of the Sanctuary, there’s something different about seeing it with Carl as opposed to spending most of the time in Daryl’s cell. Here, we saw more of the Saviors and their devotion to Negan.
As he tells his followers, there are rules. Break them and you get the iron, which was a pretty disturbing scene. I had hoped that the show wouldn’t cut away when the iron made impact, but we did eventually see it, so I’m not angry. It showed how strict a stickler is for the rules, but also the lengths he’ll go to make sure his disciples stay in line because, as he told them, he didn’t want to have to do this again.
The strange thing is, as evil of a man that he is, we see that Negan has standards. He reminds Sherry that he’s never hit any of his women. He previously offered Dwight a chance to bed any woman as long as she said yes. And he’s not forcing any of the women to stay with him, even though their lives are far better living with him than scavenging for points.
And we see his softer side not just with Carl, but in Alexandria. He tried to apologize to Olivia after making fun of her weight, and though he got slapped for his troubles, we’ve seen how much Negan gets off on people fighting against him.
Though I maintain that seeing him hold Judith while talking about how he would kill Rick and Carl is one of Negan’s creepier moments. Hell, just seeing Negan hold Judith was still creepy as shit. He’s like the demented dad who loves fucking with you, but there’s some small part of him that still cares about your feelings.
Negan’s a guy you should hate, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance makes him as eccentric and likable as he is in the comic, even though you’re also rooting for his death at the same time as laughing with him.
But enough about Negan, because I could talk about him all day. There were plenty of other great character moments this episode. I loved Gabriel calling out Spencer on his shit. Not only was he right, but this shows how far Gabriel has come since his introduction and some of his time in Alexandria. This is the same man who warned Deanna that Rick and his group are dangerous people.
Now, even though he’s maintaining his faith, he’s not afraid to call someone a tremendous shit. He’s witnessed Rick’s ability as a leader and even though Rick has made some bad decisions, he’s also shown why he deserves to lead Alexandria. Deanna was a good leader, sure, but she saw something in Rick, and Spencer should realize that.
But he still doesn’t acknowledge Rick’s leadership, so chances are he’s going to do or say something that could lead to disaster. I say that not just as a fan of the comic book, but the fact that he thinks things would be better if Rick didn’t return to Alexandria shows that he’s plotting.
Not sure what to make of what Michonne’s doing. Like Sasha and Rosita, she wants her revenge against Negan and perhaps she’s heading right to him, but I assume this will play out more in the mid-season finale. And at the same time, she’s being proactive in her mission, and she’s better at this than trying to be Alexandria’s resident sniper.
As for Rick and Aaron, I wager they may come across some weapons and the two may grapple on whether to keep them for themselves or, as Spencer is doing, hand over their items to Negan. It would be nice for them to have an extra stockpile of weapons on standby in case needed. The area they found looked pretty isolated, so chances are they could even leave the arms there, take down the sign, and keep quiet about the spot.
There’s a lot I liked about this episode and I’m very anxious to see how this will all play out in the mid-season finale, especially with Negan back in Alexandria, but before wrapping up, I’ll just go through one negative I have.
The one part of this episode that I wasn’t a fan of was Rosita, or rather, her attitude towards Eugene. I get her rationale. She wants her revenge not just for herself, but for Abraham as well, and she’s not going to let anything stop her, especially if it’s possible for Eugene to manufacture a bullet. What I didn’t like was her calling Eugene a coward and saying that his survival is due to other people’s actions.
Rosita is way out of line here. Yes, Eugene isn’t as gung-ho as her, but ever since “No Way Out,” Eugene has stepped up and done a lot to help the survivors. He bit Dwight right in the dick, giving Abraham the opening he needed to attack the Saviors, and in “Last Day on Earth,” he was the one who ended up taking the camper, even though he ended up getting his ass kicked by the Saviors.
My point is that this even though Eugene is no Abraham, he has made significant development and has proven that he’s a changed man. And for Rosita to call him weak felt like a step backwards. He’s just hesitant to taking on the Saviors, and that’s understandable. He was there in the lineup right along with Rosita. Who could blame him for not wanting to just jump into this bullet plan?
Otherwise, “Sing Me a Song” was a great episode that allowed us to spend significant time at the Sanctuary as Negan bonded and became great buddies with Carl. As we head into the mid-season finale, there are a lot of pieces in place to make for hopefully a great episode: Jesus may be of help to Daryl at the Sanctuary, Michonne is on the warpath, and Negan has made another surprise visit to Alexandria. No one is on Easy Street right now.