Well, AMC finally delivers when it comes to providing a satisfying installment in the set of bonus episodes for Season 10C of The Walking Dead. It only took the last one to finally get there…
Episode 22 delves into the backstory that everyone has been eager to see: that of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the reason as to why his deadly barbed-wire bat is named Lucille. And, as to be expected, his entire persona is a mash-up of every one of his sh*tty decisions.
In addition to giving viewers a heartbreaking look at their story, AMC also cast Morgan’s real-life wife, Hilarie Burton, as Negan’s wife Lucille, giving even further emotional turmoil to many of the scenes.
For many fans of the comic books on which AMC’s TV series is based, there was plenty of assumptions to be made about this backstory, and many of them were correct, albeit with a twist to make it fresh for the TV audience. So, let’s break down what happened in the TV version.
Carol and Negan go on a little excursion
Episode 22 of The Walking Dead Season 10C opens with Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and her son, Young Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller), having a little chat and singing a song. It’s adorable, honestly.
Negan looks on and Carol (Melissa McBride) is scoping the entire scene from her window.
Deciding that things might get ugly, Carol takes Negan out for a daytrip to catch rabbits. Negan, who has obviously never heard the story of how Carol took Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) out to “look at the flowers,” actually thanks her for being so nice to him.
Oh no, she admits once they get to Leah’s (Lynn Collins) old cabin, this isn’t a fun excursion to get Negan out for the day. This is when she drops the bombshell that Negan has been banished from Alexandria, and this is his new home.
Negan’s not entirely stupid, though, and asks Carol if by “the council,” she really means her as being the one banishing him. Carol gives her winning soccer mom smile and leaves, so we all know that the council had nothing to do with this.
Lucille is Negan’s wife in The Walking Dead
Being stuck on his lonesome, Negan starts thinking back over his life and that’s how viewers find out about Lucille — especially after he digs up the original bat of his near the tree where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) slit his throat and took him under arrest.
It was already known that Lucille was Negan’s wife as well as the name of his bat. Episode 22 reveals that Lucille was diagnosed with cancer just prior to the zombie apocalypse, much in the same way as it unfolded in the comics.
Things are not all hunk-dory between the two, though; Negan has had a bit of a run-in with the law, which resulted in the loss of his job and a regular date with a parole officer. Now, stuck at home, it appears that he has decided to have an affair behind his wife’s back as well.
He’s also buying an expensive leather jacket and generally being an a**hole.
Still, Lucille sticks around — even when he ditches her when she needs an MRI done and shacks up with Janine for the afternoon. This is when Lucille gets her cancer diagnosis and confronts Negan with it when he finally gets home.
Life in the zombie apocalypse is hard when you need chemo
Negan immediately steps up his game when he realizes his wife is possibly dying. Then, when the world goes down the toilet with the arrival of the undead, he steps it up even further and learns how to give intravenous chemotherapy himself.
Using a generator, he is able to keep the chemo drugs at the right temperature and manages to continue the supply needed, thanks to a roving doctor service that still manages to run during the zombie apocalypse.
There are plenty of scenes showing just how close Negan and Lucille become during this ordeal, building in a way the previous five episodes just haven’t in regard to lifting the emotional stakes. Fans are also bashed with the notion that Negan really struggled with killing walkers at the start of the apocalypse, so you know that will be important later on.
It also means that when the generator eventually fails and things are looking grim, viewers are well and truly invested in the story. This is not a “Carol making soup” episode, that’s for sure.
Negan makes friends — and enemies
In order to continue Lucille’s chemo treatment, Negan tracks down a doctor called Franklin and his daughter. As TV Line points out, this is none other than Laura (Lindsley Register), who viewers will know as a member of Negan’s Saviors.
Not taking any chances, Laura knocks Negan out, and he is interrogated by Franklin before they hand over the drugs he requires. In fact, it was Laura who originally gave Negan the baseball bat that would go on to become the barbed-wired Lucille.
But, for now, it’s just a regular bat as added protection now that Negan has no bullets left for his gun.
Thanks to Franklin and Laura being so nice, Negan gets some extra time with Lucille until the aforementioned generator failure.
The search for more IV chemo leads to an event that sees Negan captured by a biker group that wants to know where all of the drugs are. Negan eventually tells them in order to get his chemo drugs back off them and save his wife. Because of this, Franklin and his daughter are attacked by the biker group. It’s a payoff that sucks for a Negan who is not yet a sadistic b*stard.
However, when he gets home, he finds out that Lucille has taken her own life and left a message asking him to kill her properly.
Negan is devastated when he sees his turned wife. She has secured herself to their bed, so she is no threat to him, but it is heart-wrenching to watch as Negan grapples with having to kill her. In the end, he torches the place and heads back to the biker’s location in order to deal with them properly.
And, this is where the Negan that everyone saw bluster in and take out lives in Season 6 of The Walking Dead originated from. He sneaks in and kills all of the guards on duty and then frees Franklin.
Finally, he deals with the head of the biker gang.
First, he monologues about the guy that he almost killed and who was the reason he got fired from his job as a high school gym teacher. Then, he kills him with his bat, which is now decked out with the barbed-wire that everyone is familiar with.
After rehashing all of his questionable decisions, Negan then apologizes to his dead wife and burns the baseball bat. The episode ends with Negan returning to Alexandria with zero f**ks to give about Maggie — even when Carol says that Maggie will eventually kill him.
Season 11 of The Walking Dead will premiere on August 22 at 9/8c on AMC.More: Hilarie Burton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Walking Dead