The latest episode of The Walking Dead — Here’s Negan, Season 10 Episode 22 — might very well be one of my favorite episodes of TWD in quite some time. It captured that old-school feel of surviving an apocalypse, with all the grit and desperation that comes with losing every connection you once had in the world. I especially loved that Jeffrey Dean Morgan and his real-life wife, Hilarie Burton, were playing a married couple in the episode. It made their emotions feel so much more authentic and raw as I watched.
This is an episode review for Here’s Negan, Season 10 Episode 22 of The Walking Dead. Since this is a review, there will be spoilers.
I’ll be honest. I’ve lost some interest in The Walking Dead over the last couple of years. I’m a huge fan of post-apocalyptic shows in general (you can see my extensive reviews of Attack on Titan here, which I firmly believe is the best TV out there at the moment.) But this latest episode of The Walking Dead brought back some of the love for the show that I thought I had lost for good.
I’ll Never Hear ‘You Are So Beautiful’ The Same Way Again
The writing was top-notch for the latest episode. The show brought back that authentic fear of survival that would haunt anyone trying to live in an apocalypse. The show hasn’t really touched on that feeling for quite some time. But we got to go back there, with a look at how a regular guy and a regular gal would handle an apocalypse. It would be perfectly normal to struggle with killing zombies at first, trying to avoid it, until finally realizing that you don’t have a choice. Keeping power going with a generator, scavenging for food — it brought back that authentic end-of-society feeling.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton knocked it out of the park with their acting. “You Are So Beautiful” may haunt me for some time. It was gut-wrenching.
I haven’t read the comic, but some readers have told me that this episode was even better than the comic version. That’s pretty impressive if so! But considering how great Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s acting is, I’m not surprised. Honestly, I’d be more likely to watch a Negan spinoff at this point than a Daryl-Carol spinoff.
We got to see the origin of Lucille-the-bat, but also the origin of Negan’s jacket. I loved how it was a symbol of Lucille’s own guilt, later turned into a gift for him that symbolized how she forgave him for treating her when society still existed.
One of the most tragic parts of the episode was realizing that Negan’s wife, Lucille, most likely killed herself right after he left. He was gone for six weeks, but some viewers pointed out that she wearing the same clothes as when he left. Although they likely didn’t change clothes every day (it is the apocalypse), this probably means that she didn’t last long before she decided to end her life. 🙁
Negan’s Motivations Did Leave Me Unsatisfied
Of course, there are some issues I’ll always have. I know that Negan has done a lot of penance over the last few years (including years the show skipped over). But like Maggie, I’ll never truly be able to forgive him for what he did to Glenn and Abraham. That man has shown the ability to go DARK. And even though this episode helped us better understand his motivations, I still couldn’t help but wonder WHY.
It seems that he turned fully dark because he felt that was the only way to survive in the world. He tried to be “good” and it only brought him more pain. And even though he once had a deep love of his own, that wasn’t enough for him to have sympathy for other couples, like Maggie and Glenn. But even knowing all this, I can’t help but also recall that the episode revealed that Negan, at his core, is twisted. He beat up a man and sent him to the hospital for talking loudly while his wife’s favorite song played on the jukebox. He ended up just sitting at home and playing video games when he was let go from his job as a coach, rather than look for something new. He was cheating on his wife and didn’t even bother going with her for her MRI, and only stopped when he felt guilty.
This episode left with the uneasy feeling that the one emotion that motivates Negan to be good is guilt. Once he frees himself of guilt, he goes back to his baseline, which is being a jerk to other people.
So how does that play into the way he smiled at Maggie at the end? Well, some people think it means that he’s ready to face whatever punishment Maggie wants to mete out, even if it means death, and he’s smiling at her to try to goad her into moving forward with her revenge. But there’s also the possibility that he’s freed himself of his guilt, so now he’s free to be “regular Negan” again. And that possibility truly worries me. I’m hoping that instead, it means he’s found a way to bridge the two sides of his personality, but the head-bashing side of him won’t ever return.
What do you think?
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