“The Walking Dead” decided not to compete too much with action against ABC’s Oscar show on Sunday night, but it still delivered a punch. If you have it on your DVR, do watch, because Rick and the Group headed to the Hilltop compound in Northern Virginia to meet the group that Jesus was from, and managed to run into a fight and yes, some died, but none from our Group, and later the infamous Negan was discussed. Rick is headed to a full on battle with Negan, which he has no idea what it’s going to be like. To put it mildly, imagine someone dropping a nuclear bomb in your front yard. That’s who and what Negan is.
This week, after escaping his bonds and almost catching Rick and Michonne in flagrante delicto, Jesus convinced our group to take a trip back to his own community, Hilltop, in the hope of establishing trade between the two colonies. Alexandria might be well-stocked with ammunition, but their food situation is apparently growing dire, as evidenced by Maggie’s pre-dawn attempt to build trellises for tomatoes that haven’t begun to grow yet.
Hilltop was really a surprise and the set decorators and location scouts deserve credit for making it so grand, with most of its inhabitants living in beaten up trailers around the colonial mansion at its center — occupied by Gregory, a man with all of the Governor’s arrogance and even less of his charm. Apparently a neat-freak as well as a chauvinist, Gregory refused to talk to our grubby group until they’d cleaned up, and when Rick sent Maggie to negotiate with Gregory in his stead (both because Deanna was rightly grooming Maggie for leadership and because Rick seemed likely to punch the guy if he engaged with him), Gregory was dismissive of Alexandria’s many valuable assets — trying to undermine Maggie with typical chauvinistic come-ons and condescending pet names rather than actually seeing the value of Alexandria’s resources and her own undeniable strength.
Soon however, the negotiations were derailed by the return of a supply group who had an unfortunate run-in with Negan, whose reputation has preceded him both on-screen and off this season. After the team dropped off some of Hilltop’s supplies (a tithe that is supposed to stop the Saviors from killing them all), Negan apparently decided that the offering was too light, and retaliated by killing two members of the group and holding a third hostage, offering to release him only if the group delivered a message to Gregory — a knife to the stomach.
After a very bloody fight which resulted in one Hilltop resident being killed, the rest traumatized, Jesus offered our group a handy intel exactly why Negan is such bad news — highlighting the main shortcoming of this episode, which broke the cardinal writing rule of “show, don’t tell.”
Nevertheless, the dead Hilltop residents and Jesus’ handy exposition served their purpose — our group volunteered to take down Negan and his men and rescue the Hilltop hostage, in return for half of Hilltop’s food and medical supplies.
But, the foreboding is in the air. Everyone can feel the darkness of Negan on the way. The first video below is the preview of next week’s episode, and the second is a pivotal scene, which Rick makes plans to attack Negan and the Saviors, which we all know, to his Group’s peril. Negan is like no other villain in TV history, and seasoned fighters like Rick, Daryl, Abraham and Michonne, even Carol, cannot imagine the evil they will face.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.