Last week, a newly freed Negan got to see just how messed up his Savior cult truly was before purposely getting himself captured by the Whisperers.
This week, we get to see what type of bromance might develop between him and Beta…
Love and Betrayal
…but first, some subplots, both intriguing and infuriating.
The episode opens with Carol waking up, prepping for a trip, and heading out. Daryl notices Carol leaving and tags along. At first she claims to be looking for Negan, but quickly admits that she’s really trying to discover the location of Alpha’s horde…which seems a tad ambitious, right? I mean, even if they do find it, what are they going to do? Daryl and Carol might be two of the most badass characters on the show, but there’s nothing they can do to destroy it — and no way they are going to get an army together to do it.
Whatever the case, Daryl decides to join Carol on her quest. While waiting to see if any walkers/Whisperers show up, the pair tosses acorns into a can while Carol questions Daryl about his potential interest in Connie. Daryl denies there’s anything going on, but Carol (along with me and the rest of the viewing audience) insists he should go for it.
Later, the pair spots a Whisperer rounding up stray walkers. Following him/her might lead them into Whisperer territory, but Carol says it’s worth it to find the horde. Before they leave, Carol says she has to pee, which might be the first time ever that a someone leaving to relieve themselves has happened on the show. Daryl takes the opportunity to search Carol’s bag, which she calls him out for almost immediately after returning from taking a piss. Apparently, Daryl thinks Carol might have brought a gun with her (which she lingered on while packing for her trip) to try to assassinate Alpha again.
This seems like an odd concern to have considering that Carol could still assassinate Alpha with an arrow or knife, but whatever.
That night, Carol and Daryl cross into Whisperer territory. Carol accidentally (?) steps on a twig, which brings the walkers and one very chatty Whisperer in their direction. Daryl is attacked by a walker who looks like Gollum. He subdues the zombie, then cuts it open and smears the guts over himself to hide from the rest. The other walkers lumber by him while the Whisperer whispers “Where are you?,” which seems like a really bad way to sneak up on someone.
After evading capture, Daryl meets up with Carol, who managed to capture the chatty Whisperer. She plans to take him back to Alexandria and interrogate him, which seems like a good idea. Daryl, however, is more concerned about the fact that Carol has bound her prisoner with zip ties, which where not in her bag…which again, doesn’t make much sense. I can maybe understand why he’d think this “proves” she had a different plan all along, but at worst it means she really wasn’t going to assassinate anyone.
Also, zip ties can easily be stored in your pockets. Don’t ask how I know this.
Dante may be a sleazy douche, but he’s definitely doing Siddiq a solid by filling in for him so he can care for baby Coco and Rosita, who has come down with the same sickness that appears to be spreading through Alexandria like wildfire.
Siddiq eventually convinces Rosita that she needs to go to the infirmary. When they get there, the place is packed. After (unfairly) freaking out at Dante for not telling him how dire things had gotten, he forgives his friend and thanks him for all the help he’s provided.
That night, Siddiq rocks Coco and himself to sleep, which leads to him having a trippy PTSD fever dream of himself standing alone in Alexandria.
Back at the Hilltop, Eugene is hard at work getting the town radio upgraded with all those Russian satellite parts they recovered a few weeks ago. His first contact is with Rosita (before going to the infirmary), who admits that she his misses his creepy mulleted self.
His next contact ends up being a mystery woman who won’t reveal her location, but does end up forming a good connection/line of dialogue with him. If this were modern times, I think we could all assume that Eugene was getting catfished. As it stands now, though, it appears Eugene has found a woman he might have truly connected with.
Carry a Big Stick
And now we FINALLY get to the part everyone actually cares about.
While being led blindfolded through the woods by Beta, Negan yammers incessantly about how he can’t wait to join the Whisperers. He also asks about other things, like if the Whisperers wear underwear or go commando. Beta finally has enough of Negan’s mouth and puts a knife to the former Sanctuary leader’s throat, which silences him…but only for a moment. Negan then reveals that he was a prisoner in Alexandria and can tell them everything they want to know about the place.
After arriving at the Whisperer camp, Beta tells Alpha that Negan cannot be trusted. Alpha thinks he’s worthy, which is likely due to the fact that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a total stud. She then taunts Beta for feeling intimidated by the new arrival, even asking if he is considering killing her to become the new Alpha himself. Beta responds that he would never do such a thing and kneels before her.
Later, Negan asks Beta about the exchange with Alpha, asking if he is a “Beta-with-benefits,” which is one of the only times this show has actually made me laugh. Beta deflects Negan’s taunting, first by explaining that he merely respects Alpha (pssshhh) and then by setting Negan to a bunch of menial tasks. Beta joins in most of them, doing much more than Negan is capable of and providing us with a genuinely hilarious montage of the pair competing with each other.
That night, Beta refuses to let Negan eat any of the pig that he helped hunt, kill, and cook. Negan attempts to argue his case, which results in Beta throwing him to the ground. Just when it looks like they are about to throw hands, Negan agrees to go without, shocking Beta at his subservience.
Moments later, one of the Whisperers gives Negan some bacon anyway, which was pretty cool of him.
Skin Suit Ready
Even later that evening, Negan tries to make peace with Beta while they walk in a herd. As you might expect, Beta wasn’t having it. Negan responds to this by declaring that he isn’t going anywhere. Beta agrees, then kills the other Whisperer with them and leaves Negan to die as the herd surrounds him.
Quick side note: Am I the only one who isn’t clear on how Negan was able to walk in a zombie herd that long without being attacked?
Anyway, the next day, a bloodied-yet-very-alive Negan shows up at the Whisperer camp, much to Beta’s surprise. He then bends the knee to Alpha, who accepts him into the her creepy murder club.
The Negan parts of the episode were great for a lot of reasons. Obviously the scenes with him and Beta were comedic gold, but seeing Negan’s personality contrast against Alpha and her methods of leadership was a good reminder of why the Whisperers are the first truly unique group of villains we’ve had on this show in a long time.
Unfortunately, much of the episode felt like wasted time and space in between the Negan/Beta scenes. The subplot with Eugene’s ham radio girlfriend could be interesting (especially if they follow the plot from the comics), but as of right now feels like yet another ‘There May Be a New Community’ narrative that we’ve seen play out plenty of times before.
And don’t even get me started on Siddiq. While I truly do feel for the guy, the way they are portraying his PTSD has gone from bizarre to downright absurd. Between yelling at his friend for helping him out to the psychedelic trauma visions/dreams, nothing involving him appears to have much impact on the overall plot of the show. All it does is make me feel sorry for a character who is being tragically underutilized right now.
It’s always great seeing Carol and Daryl together, even if the tension between them on this issue is pretty contrived. It also should be fun watching them interrogate a Whisperer, which is selfishly envision as a redneck version of the time the Star Trek Enterprise crew imprisoned a member of the Borg Collective.
But if that doesn’t come to pass, then I think we can all agree that watching Negan antagonize Beta and pretend to be subservient to Alpha is where we hope the next episode puts its focus.