Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead.”
“The Walking Dead” fans have been waiting for this episode for a while.
Ever since the series showed Carl sneak into the back of a Saviors’ truck in the season’s fifth episode, fans have been waiting to see if the show would adapt one of the character’s biggest scenes. In issue #104, a younger Carl leaves Alexandra for the Saviors’ Sanctuary to go after and kill Negan with a machine gun in tow.
Some weren’t sure if the show would be able to execute the scene in the same manner. Since Negan had taken all of the Alexandrian’s guns, Carl didn’t have a gun at his disposal. That didn’t end up stopping him Sunday night though.
Surprisingly, the majority of it followed issues #104 and #105 beat for beat, delivering a very satisfying episode for comic fans.
It all started with Carl killing several of Negan’s men before demanding to see him.
Instead of being mad, Negan is quite taken with the teen, who lost one of his eyes in the last season of the show. Even though he kills two of his men — in the comics, it’s six — he’s excited to take his new guest inside and give him a grand tour of the Sanctuary.
The rest of the episode follows the comics closely as we watch Negan introduce Carl to the many wives he has accumulated in the apocalypse and gives a speech before the Saviors as they kneel before him. “Respect,” Negan tells an impressionable Carl.
When one of his wives misbehaves by “cheating on him,” Negan punishes her former husband by taking an iron to his face. It’s similar to the punishment Dwight received. On the show, Dwight got the iron for disobeying Negan. In the comics, he received the iron for the exact same reason — for fooling around with his former wife while she was technically with Negan.
We see Negan interrogate and humiliate Carl, make him unwrap his injured eye and tell him how disgusting it is. He then punishes him for killing his men by forcing him to sing him a song, a nod to the episode’s title. Carl chooses to mutter out a rendition of “You are my Sunshine.” Whenever Carl shows a sign of being anything other than a badass, Negan tells him to cut it out because it ruins his image of Rick’s tough-as-nails son.
The only part where the episode started to deviate from the source material was near the end when Negan decides to take Carl home to his father and then finds Rick’s daughter Judith.
If you haven’t read issues #104 and #105 of the graphic series, I recommend picking up copies. Sunday’s episode was one of the most accurate adaptations from the comic show to date in terms of both imagery and dialogue.
Since Negan’s introduction onto the series in season seven, the show has tried to mirror the character closely to his comic counterpart. The majority of his dialogue, save a few lines, comes directly from the comics.
When we spoke with Greg Nicotero after the season seven premiere, he said that Negan, in a sense, admires Carl. The two have a “weird bond.“
One of the most interesting parts of the episode is when Negan has Carl unveil his now-empty eye socket to him simply for his twisted delight. After Carl is visibly upset, Negan tells him he should proudly display his battle scars.
“All jokes aside, you look rad as hell,” Negan tells Carl on the show. “I wouldn’t cover that sh– up. It may not be a hit with the ladies, but I swear to you, no one is gonna screw with you looking like that. No sir.”
That moment is an important one for Carl. It’s the first time we’ve really seen someone on screen address his injury since it occurred in season six. No one, not even Carl’s father, Rick, has given him a pep talk on how to feel about losing an eye. It’s been wrapped up and hidden away under locks of hair almost to pretend as if it never occurred. Carl’s own love interest Enid made a tiny jab at it recently when saying she’s a better shot than Carl.
Negan appears to be the only one giving it to him straight. He isn’t afraid to address Carl’s injury or possibly hurt his feelings. Like his many other treasures in the apocalypse, Negan finds Carl to be another unique prize he has stumbled upon.
Expect the scene between Negan and Carl to most likely lay the foundation for more scenes between the two in the future.
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