The Walking Dead – Sing Me A Song
By: Jennifer Vintzileos
Finally, a multi-storyline episode sure to rile us up for the mid-season finale next week! We were treated last week to a Tara (Alanna Masterson)/Heath (Corey Hawkins) fan reunion, but as for this week? For comic book aficionados, the famous Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) arc has begun in the most glorious of ways. And for those wondering where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) have wandered off to, we’re about to find that out as well.
But first, we start with Michonne (Danai Gurira) who is obviously still fairly riled up by the burning of the mattresses. In a potential effort to release some of that pent-up anger, we witness her begin to lure and collect dispatched walkers for a plan. Meanwhile, Rick and Aaron are still on the hunt for product to present to Negan. Noticing a potential lead, they go to investigate.
On the truck to Negan’s compound, Jesus (Tom Payne) begins to damage a few of the goods to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, then promptly jumps ship off the truck. Carl decides to remain on the truck, pilfering an automatic weapon and demanding an audience with Negan before he is disarmed for taking out two of the Saviors. Negan is all too happy to grant Carl’s request, offering him a tour of his facilities. Daryl (Norman Reedus) stands behind the fence of chained walkers, witnessing the exchange with a rebellious determination.
Within the walls, Negan makes it a point to throw around his authority, proving to Carl just how powerful he is. Further into the compound, Negan introduces Carl to a bevy of women known as Negan’s “wives.” In there, we find Dwight’s former wife Sherry (Christine Evangelista) consoling wife Amber (Autumn Dial). Amber was caught cheating on Negan with a man named Mark (Griffin Freeman). Amber begs for forgiveness, but it is clear while Negan forgives her that there will be a price paid. To thank her for her loyalty, Negan takes the opportunity to kiss Sherry as Dwight (Austin Amelio) enters with Daryl carrying food for their leader. When Carl is asked to procure the plate and walk with him to another room, Daryl shows signs of defiance by speaking up to Negan before being hauled off by Dwight.
Back at Alexandria, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) are heading out on their own mission: to make a bullet. Spencer (Austin Nichols), who is on his way out to scavenge supplies, tries to deter the mission, but Rosita will have none of it. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) offers to go with Spencer instead until he finds that Spencer’s hatred of Rick is too much to listen to. While thoughts are not sins, not aspiring to be the better person is something that Gabriel does not want to stick around for. Gabriel heads back on foot, but Spencer continues on his mission.
Carl is led to Negan’s room in an effort to break the ice a little. Intrigued by the eyepatch, Negan feels that as part of the payment for taking out two of his men, Carl needs to remove the bandage and show him the damage. It is the first time we watch Carl’s resolve break, pleading to avoid showing his only vulnerability. But Negan is adamant, eventually getting his wish as everyone witnesses the first look at Carl’s visual impairment. This apparently was the last straw, as Carl begins to cry while Negan attempts to joke with him. In a strange turn, he apologizes to Carl and assures him that the deformity is something to embrace, not hide. Mid-conversation, Fat Joey (Joshua Hoover) enters the room with Lucille, which was forgotten in the midst of the tour. Once reunited, Negan requests that Carl sing to Lucille as part of his punishment; Carl warbles through a shaky version of “You Are My Sunshine” before being escorted to witness Mark’s punishment a la hot iron.
As the crowd gathers to witness the event, Amber is comforted by Sherry watching Mark tied down to a chair to receive his punishment. Dwight hands Negan the hot iron and Mark’s face takes the brunt of the heat until he passes out from pain. In that brief moment Dwight remembers that this was the same punishment he received when he and Sherry broke the rules. Dwight and Sherry share a brief moment as Negan decides to continue his sentence for Carl.
While Spencer manages to finagle his way into finding some weapons and supplies, Rosita and Eugene reach their intended destination. Last season Eugene had been adamant about the possibility of making bullets, but now shows hesitation because the group’s weakened state. Rosita uses Eugene’s cowardice against him, calling him out for his lack of contribution and asking him to prove he can provide. He goes into action to honor Rosita’s request, but not without a sense that she may have overstepped her boundaries. When they return to Alexandria, Eugene feels that since he complied, his debt has been repaid and refuses to speak to her.
After the incident with Mark, Dwight and Sherry coincidentally run into each other in the stairwell. Over cigarettes, both consider the sacrifices that they made in order to stay alive. Sherry wonders how Dwight can live with himself after their sacrifice. In a moment of honesty, Dwight admits that his choice has affected him deeper than we know.
Carl is still perplexed as to why Negan has kept him alive. While Negan’s M.O. is to break his group members down and degrade them until they bend, Carl doesn’t understand and goads Negan until he becomes intent on returning the young Grimes back to Alexandria himself. As they prepare to leave with Jesus hiding on the top of the truck, Daryl manages to mouth off one more time to Negan before being led back to his cell by Dwight. Later on that day Daryl receives a note under the door of his cell with the words “Go Now” written on the front, a match and the keys to what looks like a motorcycle on the back.
Michonne’s hard work of gathering walkers pays off as she has managed to create a road-block of the undead, effectively stopping a female Savior along the road. Undeterred by the woman’s antics to disable the warrior, Michonne’s anger fuels the fight as she demands to be taken to Negan. Meanwhile, Rick and Aaron have stumbled onto the property of a Leslie William Stanton where potential supplies are on a sizable houseboat in the middle of water. With time running out, both men take to the small rowboat left ashore and paddle their way through walkers who were once unsuccessful trespassers.
Bringing Carl back to Alexandria, Negan requests a tour of his own. Upon return to the Grimes residence, Olivia (Ann Mahoney) is there to babysit Judith, unbeknownst to Negan. Still sore about the lack of food, Olivia breaks down when Negan tries to joke with her about being in dire straits. In an effort to be sympathetic he apologizes and offers to sleep with her, earning a well-deserved slap. She storms out and the tour continues, where Negan finally meets Judith. In the final scene, Negan and Judith spend quality time together with Carl sitting next to him. Negan may be kind to the youngest Grimes, but he is ready to wreak havoc as he considers becoming a more permanent fixture in the Alexandria community.
So how will the mid-season finale play out? With Daryl provided the tools to escape the Saviors and the surrounding communities showing discontent, will our group finally have the numbers? Can Rick & Aaron find the needed supplies to appease Negan? We’ll hopefully find out next week in the mid-season of The Walking Dead!