In “The Walking Dead” recap, Negan seeks redemption, Beta’s identity revealed and Eugene, Yumiko and Ezekiel meet an iconic character from the comics…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
With Rick Grimes and Michonne no longer on “The Walking Dead,” the series had to start looking for a new hero — or at least anti-hero — and it’s clear Negan is going to be that choice moving forward.
Ever since the barbed-wire baseball bat wielding former leader of the Saviors first appeared on screen, Negan has been one of the most charismatic and well-liked characters on the series but considering all the horrific things he did to the survivors, it seemed nearly impossible for him to be redeemed.
The past two seasons and a massive time jump have allowed that to happen as Negan became part of the Alexandria community even as a prisoner and now with the latest storyline, his transformation from villain to hero is complete.
For a long time, fans of “The Walking Dead” TV series have theorized that if we followed Negan from the start instead of Rick Grimes, it would be easy to cast him in the light as a hero already. Of course that’s ignoring a lot of Negan’s greatest misdeeds including taking a harem of wives and torturing subordinates with an iron but still his ability to build a thriving community, maintain order and take out his enemies in ruthless fashion isn’t all that different from what Rick did and eventually became over the years.
Now Negan finally has a chance to become a leader for the second time but this version of the character is much different than the one who bashed in the heads of both Abraham and Glenn as a warning to the survivors never to cross him again.
A lot of this is uncharted territory because while Negan was somewhat redeemed in the comic books, he was largely written off after he was granted his freedom by Rick and allowed to venture off on his own after leaving Alexandria. The show obviously isn’t looking for Negan to go anywhere and so far what the writers have done with the character has been a smart, captivating redemption story while never quite forgetting his vile roots.
With that said, let’s get to our recap of “The Walking Dead” with the new episode “Look at the Flowers”…
The episode begins with a flashback to tell the origin behind Negan and Carol’s partnership, which started after he was placed back into his cell after rescuing Lydia from some assailants and accidentally killing one of them. Negan was certain his death sentence would soon be read but instead Carol arrives with an offer to finally turn the page on his past.
She asks him to find the Whisperers and silence Alpha once and for all.
If Negan can kill her and return with her severed head, Carol will help the communities finally accept him as one of their own. By eliminating the greatest threat to all of them, Negan will help the people forget the horrible things he did to them in the past.
Obviously, Negan agreed to the partnership but it took him longer to get close to Alpha than expected because he had no desire to go on a one-way suicide mission. After returning with Alpha’s decapitated head, Carol places it on one of the same spikes that made up the Whisperers’ border after they slaughtered 10 of the survivors including her surrogate son, Henry.
Unfortunately, Carol decides she’s not ready to go back to Alexandria just yet and instead needs some time to herself. That leaves Negan with a dicey situation because nobody else knows he killed Alpha, which means the chances that the survivors will accept him back after watching Hilltop burn to the ground is somewhere between slim to none.
For now, Negan is only worried about going back to the cabin where he had Lydia tied up in order to free her. When he arrives, Negan doesn’t find Lydia tied to a chair but instead Daryl is there waiting for him.
Negan does his best to talk his way out of a bad situation by explaining his partnership with Carol and what happened with Negan but obviously Daryl isn’t buying it.
He ties Negan’s hands behind his back as they begin the journey back to the rendezvous point while trying to see if this fanciful story might be true. Sadly when Daryl and Negan arrive to find a bloody spike without Alpha’s head on top … more on that later.
Before Daryl can react, a trio of Whisperers arrive to interrupt the conversation. The Whisperers know that Negan killed Alpha, which proves his story to be true but rather than avenge their former leader, the group bows down to him. Negan proved he’s the new Alpha by killing her and it doesn’t take him long to accept the role.
Once Daryl is tied up, Negan revels in the power that’s just been granted to him and after he’s handed a shotgun, it feels like all the right in the world has been restored. With Daryl on his knees, Negan is once again confronted with a similar situation after he captured the survivors in an elaborate plot to prove a point before killing Abraham and Glenn.
This time around, however, Negan turns the tables on the Whisperers and kills all three. Daryl begrudgingly learns to trust Negan and tells him to take off the binds around his hands as they begin the journey back to Alexandria.
Along the way, Negan explains to Daryl that everything he said during the standoff with the Whisperers wasn’t bullshit. He liked feeling the power again — the same way he started to enjoy Alpha’s embrace after she treated him as an equal. After spending seven years in a prison cell, Negan lost all sense of who had been before and it felt good being treated with respect again.
But Alpha didn’t understand her own limitations — and Negan couldn’t abide by her desire to kill anybody and everybody much less that she was willing to slaughter her own daughter. That was a bridge too far.
No matter what he does, Daryl doesn’t plan on being Negan’s friend but by the end of the conversation it appears the two have come to find a mutual respect. Negan does hope that his winning personality might help Daryl turn the corner with him one day.
After killing Gamma, Beta is horrified to find Alpha’s head left on a spike at the border the Whisperers once shared with the communities. When one of the other Whisperers tries to anoint him the new leader, Beta essentially force feeds him to Alpha’s chomping jaws as a piece of his cheek is gnawed off.
Beta eventually leads the wounded Whisperer with him back to a different part of town where he kills the man and leaves him to be eaten. He then makes his way into the Grand Hotel — with Alpha’s severed head now in a burlap sack. Once he finds a particular room, Beta sees a note scribbled on a piece of paper — “these 2 eyes see 1 truth.”
He then spots a gun and a poster on the wall advertising “Live in Concert: Half Moon — the legend himself for one night only.” It turns out Beta is “Half Moon” — a legendary country crooner, who made a name for himself long before the zombie apocalypse. Apparently this was Beta’s former residence and he finds remnants of his old life all around.
But he’s also filled with rage after Alpha died and Beta ends up smashing his guitar and tearing apart the recently repaired skin mask that was torn during his fight with Gamma. After destroying everything he used to be, Beta cranks up one of his old records and the loud guitar and country vocals attract every zombie within shouting distance.
As the walkers descend upon the hotel, Beta finally figures out his next move.
He pushes his knife into Alpha’s severed head as he puts the former Whisperer leader down for good. When Beta finally emerges to greet his new herd, he has cut up Alpha’s head to fashion himself a new skin mask.
Beta then pushes his way into the mass of zombies as he leads them back to his final destination, which we have to assume is the Whisperer camp where he will begin plotting his revenge on the survivors.
Following Hilltop burning to the ground, the survivors reconvene at the rendezvous point as Eugene checks on Rosita and Magda is finally reunited with the rest of the group. That’s when Rosita tells Eugene that he needs to inform the group about his conversations with Stephanie and the plan to meet her a few days from now.
When Eugene first begins telling the group about his communication with another group, the questions begin firing at him in succession. Can they trust these people? Who is this group? Is this another trick like what happened with Dante?
Ezekiel finally speaks up and offers Eugene some support as well as a chance for him to keep his meeting with Stephanie because the survivors could surely use some hope right about now. Eugene, Ezekiel and Yumiko decide to leave together on horseback to meet up with Stephanie at the agreed upon spot in West Virginia.
Along the way the group spots some walkers tied up into cages, perhaps as a warning sign to potential intruders, but they are also forced to kill off some walkers that are starting to pay attention to them on the road. Ezekiel dismounts his horse and kills the walkers but not before getting winded and nearly being killed as the effects of his cancer are starting to take a serious toll on him.
Later that night as the group rests, Ezekiel’s horse falls over dead and it’s revealed that the animal was bitten by a walker when the former King of the Kingdom was struggling to react because he was barely able to stand. Ezekiel is feeling pretty low but Yumiko is able to talk him back up again while offering him a glimmer of hope because it can never be forgotten the leader he’s been to the survivors over the years.
The next day, the group makes their way into a city that’s largely been abandoned in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. As they walk down a street, Ezekiel, Eugene and Yumiko can’t help but notice that many walkers have been tied to tables, glasses attached to their hands and posed like some sort of animatronic fun ride. The group then sees the same thing deeper into the city with walkers being tied to cars and other ones dressed up as cops handing out parking tickets.
Ezekiel can’t help but laugh at this ridiculous scene and that’s when they are introduced to the artist behind these unique scenes. A girl pops up from out of nowhere and shouts “oh my god, hi!” as if they were long lost friends who had just been reunited.
The girl dressed in vibrant colors has a huge smile plastered across her face while brandishing a rather impressive looking machine gun. Her identity will be revealed next week but for those curious — her name is “Princess” or “The Princess of Pittsburgh” aka Juanita Sanchez.
She’s a fan favorite from the comic books — a girl, who grew up in a troubled home where she was abused by her stepfather and later worked at coffee shops or record stores. Princess has been largely living in isolation throughout the zombie apocalypse, surviving on her own without help from anyone. When the survivors meet her in the comics, Princess almost struggles to comprehend if the people she’s meeting are real or just hallucinations after spending so many years alone.
Eventually, Princess becomes a part of the survivor community but only time will tell how the character will be used in the show. Just look forward to a lot of eccentric behavior with an injection of fun now that the Princess has finally arrived.
Ghosts of the Past
As for Carol — after she leaves Negan behind to go on her own solo journey, she’s soon joined by someone else. Carol is haunted by visions of Alpha essentially taunting her as she makes her way out in the wilderness all alone.
Alpha’s ghost just continues to berate Carol along the way as she struggles to deal with the extreme grief she’s been feeling ever since Henry was murdered. Carol eventually makes her way to a boat house but when she tries to retrieve something, the roof caves in on top of her. An ironic setting considering Carol caused a cave in that likely killed Connie in her desperate attempt to get back at Alpha.
While laying under the pile of debris, Alpha continues to tell Carol about all of her shortcomings as a mother and surrogate mother after losing Sophia and killing Lizzie and then watching as Henry was slaughtered. Just when it looks like Carol is ready to succumb to her worst instincts, she finally decides to fight back and free herself.
Once Carol gets back to her feet — and kills a walker that was coming for her — she turns and sees that Alpha’s ghost has disappeared. She then makes her way back to Alexandria where the front gate is opened and Daryl is waiting there to greet her.
Carol’s long journey back from despair has finally been completed.
“The Walking Dead” season 10 will come to a close next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. A reminder that the actual season 10 finale will not air the following week due to the coronavirus pandemic preventing the series from finishing post production on the episode. The actual season 10 finale will air as a special later this year.