Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1, Episode 4: “Everybody Wins a Prize.”
This fourth episode of Dead City is still focusing heavily on Negan, even treating us to a flashback to the man in his early pre-grey days.
Negan from Way Back
In this flashback, which opens the episode, we see something very important: a vulnerable and sensitive Negan in the face of The Croat’s early atrocities. We heard Negan tell the story earlier of how The Croat tortured a young woman who was just hitchhiking in the wrong place, and this seems to be that scene. The woman is bloodied and obviously tortured, but Negan (and a pleasant surprise appearance by Simon) tell The Croat that they don’t torture young kids. It’s just too far for their group. The Croat seems unphased, though.
This is just another storyline addition that cements the cruelty of this man and why we should be rooting for Negan to take him down. Not that there was ever a question, but sometimes you can’t help but wonder which bad guy you’re supposed to be rooting for when they go back and forth on the morality scale.
Most of this episode revolves around Negan breaking off the group to search for The Croat, while Maggie and her group look for Hershel. When Maggie’s group fights off waves of undead in The Croat’s twisted arena, and Negan finally reaches that final confrontation with The Croat, I can’t help but be reminded of so many other stories that go this same way. The first that comes to mind is in the original Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi is looking for Darth Vader while Luke, Han, and Princess Leah are fighting off stormtroopers. This is like the exact same scene, except Negan doesn’t get cut down by a lightsaber.
But the cat-and-mouse game between Negan and The Croat is exciting. When Negan taunts The Croat with his signature whistle, I got goosebumps. I bet The Croat did, too.
Negan stalks the man through dark hallways and from behind a parking area, while we keep getting duped into thinking he’ll get caught one of these times. You can tell that The Croat is scared, but he’s also desperate to kill Negan.
The Final Confrontation
They finally meet up toward the end and The Croat seems like they’re old friends. All of that hatred from before, the lost ear, the in-fighting… water under the bridge, right Negan? Nope, Negan isn’t falling for it.
So The Croat brings out his secret weapon: the marshal, Perlie Armstrong. But Negan doesn’t really seem affected by this. Still, when The Croat tosses the marshal over the side to his certain death, Negan saves the man. He saves the man who has been after him this entire season.
And do you know how Armstrong repays him? By pointing a gun at him and telling him he’s taking him in on murder charges. Well ain’t that just something.
So what did we learn from this episode? We learned that The Croat will not give up that easily. We learned that Negan has hit a new roadblock on his mission to kill The Croat, but we have yet to learn if Armstrong will end up siding with Negan for saving his life. We learned that Hershel is still out there somewhere and the undead boy we saw tied up to a chair was not actually him. I have a feeling that we’re due for a Maggie-centric episode very soon.
You can catch each new episode of The Walking Dead: Dead City on Thursdays for AMC+ subscribers, and Sunday nights for everyone else.