The Walking Dead extended season 10 comes to a close with a backstory episode of one of the greatest villains of all time … “Here’s Negan!”
LITTLE PIG, LITTLE PIG
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has been a big help in rebuilding Alexandria, but that hasn’t stopped Maggie (Lauren Cohan) from giving him the side eye. Maggie and Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) are on a walk past where Negan is working. Carol (Melissa McBride) watches them walk by and sees the distress on Negan’s face.
Carol invites Negan to go with her to check traps for food. Negan is running out of places to hide from Maggie and asks Carol to put in a good word for him. Instead, Carol takes Negan to Leah’s cabin. She and Daryl (Norman Reedus) took the liberty to move Negan’s things in and says the council voted to send him away. It’s not what Negan hoped for and it’s not what she promised, but she says it’s better than he deserves. Negan asks if the council really banished him or is a Carol seizing the reigns kind of thing. She smiles, gives him a rabbit for dinner and leaves.
Negan sits by a fire and drinks. He starts hallucinating, seeing himself as the Savior leader we met all those years ago. Savior Negan says it’s sad that Negan thought the residents of Alexandria would see him in a new light. He got further with a kind word and Lucille than he ever did with a kind word. Savior Negan says they are nothing without her.
The next day, real time Negan goes back to the tree where Rick defeated him. He remembers when Rick slashed his throat. He also remembers asking Michonne to let him see Lucille. She told him they left the bat at the tree. Negan starts digging and a couple of walkers approach. He keeps digging until he finds the bat. He gently picks up the bat and smiles.
12 YEARS EARLIER
Valaks Vipers Motorcycle Gang has Negan tied up. They caught him with a cooler full of chemotherapy medication for his wife. She has cancer and Negan is desperate to get back to her. The leader of the bike gang, Baxter (Rodney Rowland) wants to know where he got the medicine. Negan told him one location, but they checked the road and it was impassable. So they know he lied. Baxter is giving Negan one more chance to tell the truth or he will dump the medicine down the toilet.
Negan comes clean. He got the medicine from a mobile medical clinic. They have a stockpile of medical supplies and drugs. He’s been tracking them for weeks to find it. A couple of days ago, he found the mobile clinic. Negan ran up to the van, threatening to shoot. There was only one man by the van and a couple of people he thought were guards. Before he could really tell what was going on, someone hit him in the back of the head with a bat. That someone is Laura (Lindsley Register).
Laura and her dad Franklin (Miles Mussenden) run the clinic. They have cut outs of people to make it look like the van is well guarded. Franklin can tell that Negan is exhausted, dehydrated and malnourished. The only question he has is why Negan is trying to rob them with an empty gun. Negan tells him about his wife’s cancer. Before the world ended, the doctors gave them a list of what she needed and when she needed her drugs to keep her alive. They were doing okay until something went wrong.
FLASHBACK IN A FLASHBACK
Negan lives with his wife Lucille (Hilarie Burton) in a quiet little house in the woods. He keeps a good stock of chemo for her and they use a generator to keep the refrigerator running. The generator attracts walkers though. Lucille tells Negan to take care of the dead, but he has a hard time fight the walkers off. Lucille has no problem killing them though. Negan doesn’t really have a problem killing the walkers; he’s just afraid that he’ll get used to killing them. Later that night, Negan holds Lucille and sings “You are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker to Lucille.
Negan has to go out to find gasoline and anything else they need. His trips are longer and longer each time. Lucille wants to move closer to people, but Negan says it’s too dangerous out there, especially in her state of being. He promises to take her wherever she wants when she gets her strength back. For now they have to turn off the generator to get rid of the walker.
Negan and Lucille have a candlelight dinner … consisting of dog food, and Lucille gives him an anniversary gift. She gives him the leather jacket that is so iconic now. She kept it in the crawlspace because she couldn’t return it to the store. Lucille says if she knew all of this was going to happen, she wouldn’t have gotten so mad about a credit card bill. Negan says he doesn’t deserve anything from her after all of the crap he put her through. He should be apologizing to her for the man that he was and the pain he put her through. He often wonders how he got so lucky that she stuck with him. Lucille says she stuck with him because she could always see the good man he is. They end up having an intimate night.
The next morning, Negan wakes up to the sound of dripping water. The refrigerator thawed out and the chemo is warm. Negan remembers a family passed through looking for a mobile medical clinic. He thinks he can find the doctors, but Lucille thinks it’s too dangerous. They don’t even know if the doctors exist, but Negan is determined to go. Lucille tells him to stop because she has to tell him something.
SEVEN MONTHS EARLIER
Negan bought a $600 leather jacket because he was on the verge of finding a new job. In the meantime, he sits in the basement, playing video games with kids. Lucille says she’s going to return the jacket, but Negan threw away the receipt. Lucille calls her friend Janine to vent. It sounds like Negan has always been a little reckless. He also beat someone up and lost his job as a gym teacher. Lucille says that guy had it coming to him though.
Later that night, Lucille reminds Negan that she has a MRI the next day, but Negan can’t go with her. He says he has a meeting with his probation officer. He thinks she’s fine, but she’s not. That was the day Lucille found out she has cancer. She immediately calls Negan, but only gets his voicemail. So she calls her friend Janine and she doesn’t answer either. Lucille makes a call to Negan’s probation officer and Negan is not there. Lucille puts two and two together. Negan is having an affair with Janine. Later that night, Negan returns home to a dark and quiet home. Lucille is sitting in the kitchen with a gun in her hand. He can tell that something is wrong. Lucille hands him some pamphlets and says she has cancer.
GOING DOWN SWINGING
Fast forward seven months, Negan is shocked to learn that Lucille knew about Janine. He promises that he stopped seeing Janine when he found out about Lucille’s cancer. Lucille says she knew that and he made up for the bad things he did, so he can stop now. If he really wants to help her, he needs to stay. Lucille says they went down swinging and now it’s time for Negan to go on without her. She asks him to stay, but he doesn’t want to give up. They are so close to beating the cancer. They made it this far and they will see it through.
Six weeks later, he found Franklin and Laura. While they talk, Laura went to a warehouse to see if they have what he needs to help Lucille. She returns with a cooler for him to take. Franklin says they have a lot and just want to help. Negan feels bad for trying to rob them, but Franklin says they are good. Laura warns him about the motorcycle gang and gives him a bat to defend himself.
Back to the bike gang … Negan loosens the bolts under the chair he tied to. Baxter is annoyed with Negan. He wants to know where the drugs are. Negan marks a map to the location where he found the medical fan. Baxter threatens to kill Negan if they aren’t there. They put Negan in a storage room while they check it out. When Baxter returns, he let’s Negan go. When Negan gets on his bike, the medical van is in the parking lot and Laura is screaming. Negan jumps on his motorcycle and leaves to return to Lucille.
YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL
When Negan gets home, the basement door is open. He walks downstairs, seeing a note that says “Please don’t leave me this way.” Negan opens the door and hears Lucille’s dead corpse growling. Lucille committed suicide by taking all of her medications and putting a plastic bag over her head. Negan takes the bat and walks toward Lucille. The song, “You are So Beautiful” starts playing in his head. He removes the bag from her head and stares at his wife’s corpse. Negan starts crying before sitting on the floor.
Negan goes outside and cuts the barbed wire off of his fence. He wraps the wire around the bat. He goes inside and empties his gas can in the bedroom. Before he leaves, Negan lights a match, burning the house down. He gets on his motorcycle, and leaves, hitting the mailbox with his bat.
One of Baxter’s men beats up Franklin until Baxter stops him. They ask him for the location of their “good” drugs or they will hurt Laura. Franklin feels the loose bolt on the chair and starts unscrewing it. Outside, Negan shows up with the bat and takes out a couple of Baxter’s men. He shoots one of the guys and Baxter sends his men outside.With Baxter’s attention on what’s going on outside, Franklin loosens the bolt in the chair. A splat in the back of the chair comes loose and this allows Franklin to untie his wrists.
Baxter hears someone knock on the door and break the glass doors. He shoots at the door, giving Franklin a chance to hit Baxter with a chair. Negan walks in and hits Baxter in the head with the bat. Franklin ties him up and Negan says he took care of all of Baxter’s men. He gives Franklin a gun and tells him to go find Laura.
Negan sits Baxter up to talk to him. Baxter said Negan talked to much, but now he better hope Negan doesn’t stop talking. Negan tells the story about why he got fired from his job. A guy at the bar was talking and laughing so loud that Lucille couldn’t hear her favorite song. She politely asked the guy to quiet down a bit and he insulted her. Negan got up and asked the guy for 50 cents so he could play Lucille favorite song because she can’t hear it. He says he was seeing red the whole time. The guy lunged at Negan and Negan hit back. Negan hit him until the guy stopped moving. He took a dollar from the guy so he could play Lucille’s favorite song … twice.
That guy happened to be a parent of one of the students at Negan’s school. Negan was fired and the guy sued for them to pay his medical bills. Negan says he has never killed a man until that day. And now there are consequences for seeing red. But now, no one is keeping score. Now when Negan sees red, the question is, what is he capable of? He’s capable of anything. Negan says this is for not killing him and hits Baxter with the bat.
Negan stares at the bat and a walker catches up to him. He hits the walker a couple of times with the bat, breaking it in the process. Later that night, Negan prepares to burn the bat, but talks to Lucille before doing so. He apologizes for leaving her. Negan was a coward who couldn’t face the pain of losing her. So he ran away. Then he made himself not feel anything because he couldn’t handle feeling the shame, but that’s all he felt. He says he should have been there. He’s sorry he named a baseball bat after her and all the pain he put her through. He says he misses Lucille and he loves her. Now he will do her fighting for her. Negan covers the bat in a cloth and puts it into the fireplace.
The next day, Negan walks back into Alexandria with his stuff. Daryl, Carol and Maggie are at the gate when he arrives. Carol approaches Negan. They are on their way to find food. She promises to bring him food if they find anything. Negan says that won’t be necessary. The cabin isn’t going to work out. He asks for her help getting a cart so he can bring his stuff back. Carol says she will get Gabriel to approve that. She says if Negan stays, Maggie will kill him. She just didn’t want his death on her conscience and now it’s not. Negan says that’s fair enough and walks away. He looks at Maggie and smiles as he leaves.
The extended season was a great opportunity to wrap up one of the biggest questions we had at the end of The Walking Dead 1016. What will happen now that Maggie is home? We knew it would be awkward. We knew Team Family would be on her side. But what we weren’t sure about is if Maggie and Negan can co-exist in the same community. Negan could have gone to Oceanside. He could have left for a new home. Since being imprisoned, he has never felt like a part of the community. Everyone know who he was and and what he did. Why would he stay?
I have to wonder if Negan has some anxiety issues. We finally got a glimpse of who Negan used to be. And it’s not a man I recognize. Maybe he became someone he didn’t recognize. And the one time he was freed, he turned around and went back. Maybe he feels like Alexandria keeps him from being Savior Negan. But now that Maggie’s back, he’s going into survival mode. He won’t do anything to hurt Maggie or Hershel, but I have a feeling he will play with her head a little. Will Maggie kill him before it’s all over? Or will she just live with the fact that he’s still alive and Glenn isn’t? Let’s hope The Walking Dead Season 11 gives us a nice ending for both.