Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
I think I’ve made my opinion of Negan on The Walking Dead pretty clear. Since he was introduced, he’s been a complete mess of a character. By oscillating between threatening and goofy, I just can’t find the guy scary at all. That’s a big problem, as he’s setup as the biggest, baddest villain yet. The latest episode of The Walking Dead, “Sing Me a Song”, is very Negan heavy. And it’s… well, honestly, it’s not bad. Negan actually made me laugh a couple of times.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still got more than a few flaws, but actually seeing how the Saviors work as a group was pretty effective. It really makes me with Negan was written a little bit differently, or perhaps played by a different actor, because I think we’re wasting some decent potential here.
Of course, a big reason the Saviors work better this week is because our heroes are a bunch of idiots. Carl’s grand plan is to hide in a truck, jump out, and assassinate Negan. He fails predictably. Rosita bullies Eugene into making her a single bullet, with which she plans to assassinate Negan. Another well thought out plan. Finally, Michonne’s master plan involves kidnapping a Savior and forcing her to bring Michonne to Negan, presumably to assassinate him. I suspect it will work about as well as the other two plans.
None of these plots is well thought through, and certainly doesn’t allow for any contingencies. By any comparison, the Saviors are going to look like they’ve got their shit together.
We also got a couple brief side-plots. Spencer gets into an argument with Gabriel, and then falls ass backwards into a huge cache of supplies and a compound bow. Rick and Aaron stumble upon a crazed survivor’s camp, in which he’s secured his supplies in a lake full of zombies. Finally, Daryl is given an opportunity to escape by some mysterious benefactor. None of these plots comes fully to fruition, probably because The Walking Dead is going to use them as part of the mid-season finale.
The thrust of the episode, of course, was Carl’s grand tour of the Savior’s compound, where he’s show how much power and control Negan really has. He also gets to see Negan’s sad group of sex slaves, and gets to watch some poor bastard get his face melted with a red hot iron. That’s a big day for Carl, even if you forget about Negan toying with him all day, and forcing him to show off his gross eye hole.
I’ll say this for The Walking Dead, they actually managed to make a table-setting episode, which was also full of idiotic decisions, fairly interesting. They gave the Saviors a bit of depth, and the ending definitely raised the stakes, with Negan chilling in Alexandria, holding Judith.
I can’t say I’m confident that the show is on the right track yet, but this was a step in the right direction. I wish they could have done it without turning estabilished characters into morons, but what can you do?