What a fantastic ending to the extension of Season 10! This was really one of the best episodes we have had in a long time with the telling of Negan’s back story and a plan for him to move forward. Before we jump into the episode though there is some news, I want to talk about first.
After the airing of this episode AMC announced that we will see Season 11 premiere on August 22nd. It looks like the season will be split up in eight-episode batches. The first batch will run in August-September, the second in the Winter-Spring and then the final eight dropping in the Summer of 2022. We also have the second half of Season 6 for Fear the Walking Dead, which has been phenomenal this season, starting back up next Sunday with nine episodes remaining. So, this should only leave 3-4 weeks this year without a Walking Dead episode of some kind. Then of course we have the second and final season of Walking Dead: World Beyond which will lead up into the Walking Dead Movie which starts filming this summer. A Daryl and Carol spin-off is also in the works but won’t air until fall 2023.
Cabin in the Woods
Now getting into this episode. The opening is Carol leading Negan to the cabin that once belonged to Daryl’s mysterious love interest, Leah, and dog. She informs Negan that the council has voted for him to be exiled. Negan questions whether this is really the council’s decision or just Carol trying to clean up her messes after the awkward moment earlier with Maggie and Negan in Alexandria. Either way, he does stay at the cabin, for now.
In his time alone he does some soul searching which has him talking to his ‘Savior-Negan’ self. I was worried when he got the idea to dig up Lucille from the stained-glass tree, the location of the end of the Savior War. Could he revert back to that Negan, the cult leader? Before we get that answer we get to see how that Negan even came to be in the first place.
12 Year Ago
Twelve Years ago, puts us right at the start of the apocalypse, with Negan being held captive by a gang that wants information on where he got the chemo medication that he is carrying. He explains that he got the medication from a traveling clinic and based on the conversation they are having he has already given them one wrong address. In order for them to release Negan he has to tell them where to find the clinic. He doesn’t want to give up the people, but he also doesn’t want the medication to go bad either, so this puts him in a tough spot.
We do see the scene where he meets with the traveling clinic. He attempts to hold them at gun point for the medication, but it knocked over the head by Laura who later becomes a savior with the bat that will become Lucille. While knocked out the man, Franklin, has Laura get the medication that Negan needs. Once Negan comes to, they release him with the medication after feeding him. This leaves Negan caught between betraying the people that helped him and not getting back to his wife Lucille that needs this medication. Before we get his answer, we go back further in time to before the end of the world.
The Time Before
Prior to the end of the world Negan was a High School gym teacher and really loved his job. However, after some altercation he ended up with an assault charge and was fired. This puts a strain on his marriage with Lucille. Add in his video gaming and leather jacket purchase, things aren’t great. Even though things are difficult you can see that Lucille really sees the best in him even as she complains about him to her best friend Janine.
Over dinner Lucille tells Negan about an upcoming MRI appointment and that she needs a ride home. He says that he cannot take her because he has a probation appointment and adds in that those appointments are boring anyway. The next day, Lucille is diagnosed with cancer. She attempts to contact Negan, but he doesn’t answer, and his PO says that he did not have an appointment. She then attempts to contact her friend Janine who also doesn’t answer. She realizes in this moment that Negan and Janine are having an affair. When she starts the car to head home, we hear over the radio that the start of the apocalypse with the mysterious flesh-eating people.
That night Negan comes home. Under the table Lucille has a gun and the brochures about her cancer. Ultimately, she decides to tell him about the cancer diagnoses and doesn’t bring up the affair. The next we see of them is post-apocalypse still living in their home with Negan taking care of her. He is attempting to manage the temperature of her treatments with the use of the generator that attracts walkers. Lucille encourages him to kill the walkers, but he says it isn’t something he wants to get used to doing.
One night they are having dinner when Lucille gifts him the leather jacket that he had purchased before that she swore she was returning. She confesses that she hid it but now thinks that he should wear it. They then decide for fun that they are going to smoke together some of the ‘stash’ that Negan had found. At first, he says no that it is for her to manage her symptoms, but he eventually caves. This leads to him over sleeping, the ice melting in the freezer and her treatment medication getting too hot to use. Desperate Negan decides to hunt down the traveling clinic he heard about. Lucille begs him not to go and to stay with her. She even tells him that she knows about his affair in an effort to take away his guilt so maybe he will stop trying to hard to save her. Ultimately Negan goes and now we are back to him tied to the chair.
Negan chooses to give the gang the location of Franklin and Laura in exchange for being let go. We do see that they bring Franklin and Laura back and can even hear Laura being attacked. Negan does not stop to help but instead jets it back to Lucille. However, when he returns home Lucille has left him a note on the door and has taken her own life. I think she knew that he would never stop wanting to cure her and she wanted to free him. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out like that. Negan doesn’t have the strength to outright kill Lucille as a walker. Instead, he takes the time to barb wire the bat before setting the house on fire and leaving the loving husband part of his life behind.
He heads back to the gang and basically annihilates them. He frees Franklin who runs off to get Laura. Negan stays behind to talk with the leader of this gang. He explains that incident that cost him his job as a gym teacher. He says that he and Lucille were in a bar and this man was being rude to her and in the moment all he saw was red and ended up almost killing the man. This really become Negan for the next several years as he builds the Saviors.
Back in the current time, Negan says goodbye to Lucille finally as he burns the bat in the fireplace. He then returns to Alexandria with a warning from Carol that Maggie is going to kill him. Then there is the stare down with him and Maggie. I think Negan’s goal is to return to the man that took care of Lucille and to show Maggie that while he has does something that hurt her deeply, he has changed.
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