For two seasons on The Walking Dead, we got the genuine Negan that fans knew from the comics. He was wild, brutal, funny, and intimidating all at once. But, after his arc with Rick concluded, we were given a very different and almost neutral version of Negan that lasted all the way until the series ended. Now, in the second episode of The Walking Dead: Dead City, titled “Who’s There?”, we not only see the return of the original Negan but are also provided with some explanation as to why he acts the way he does.
In a bind
The episode begins right where the premiere left off with Maggie and Negan chasing after the woman who surprised them and stole their bag. When they manage to catch up with her (after a quick zipline ride between two buildings) they are met with a group of New Yorkers who are not excited to see them. Meanwhile, Armstrong wakes up alone and surrounded by the dead. He works his way out of the building and sets off to the address he’s been carrying with him. We also check in with Ginny at the camp that Negan and Maggie sent her off to for protection. There, she’s having trouble adjusting to the well put together environment.
Negan and Maggie are somewhat welcomed by this new group but immediately lie to them when asked about their reason for being in the city. The two are then tied up while the group figures out what to do with them. While tied up, Negan tells Maggie about his time with The Croat. In the early days back at The Sanctuary, The Croat was a torturer for the Saviors. While they were known for their fear and intimidation, The Croat’s methods were too much even for Negan to bear so he was ousted from the Saviors. Negan attempted to kill The Croat, but his shot missed and blew off one of his ears. As a result, The Croat wants him dead.
The devil you know
The old Negan returns when a group of The Croat’s men storm the building. As he explained to Maggie earlier, he would “put on a show” when he knew he had to protect his people and would “only be a monster when he had to be.” After capturing one of the enemies, Negan drags him to the lobby of the building and smiles as he tells the rest of them a bad knock knock joke and continues to slit his throat and rain blood down on all of them as a show of force.
As he ends this “show,” Maggie looks on in horror realizing that she was now someone that he considered his people and that the monster still existed inside him. After saving them from the enemy group, Maggie comes clean about their true intentions for being there and the group gladly offers to aid them on their journey.
This episode continued to impress me with its character development for characters I thought I knew almost everything about. Hearing Negan’s history with The Croat and the pre-Rick days of The Sanctuary was a neat way to build out the universe. Although Negan is an unredeemable character, this exposition provided some insight into what makes Negan the master manipulator he has become.
Maggie also had some growth as we saw flashbacks of her relationship with her son and his uneasiness in this harsh reality. The way she looked at him was reminiscent of how she looked at her sister Beth, who was too pure and innocent to survive in this world. Lastly, we see small parts of Armstrong and Ginny’s stories in this episode. Armstrong returns to his family home and relives painful memories of the past. Ginny is put into a classroom and tries to fit in but is still hiding in her shell.
With great character development, some wild chase sequences, and one of the best Negan sequences in any of these shows, this episode is sure to delight fans and have them begging for what comes next. From the preview of the next episode, it looks like we’re in for a lot of walkers and explosions!
The Walking Dead: Dead City airs new episodes every Thursday on AMC at 8 p.m. CT.
Feature image courtesy of AMC Networks
The Walking Dead: Dead City 1x02 - 8/10