Sing Me a Song took the writers’ fascination with Negan to its inevitable breaking point. There’s only so long they could lean on him before his shtick got stale. This might have been the episode where Negan got exposed as a one-trick pony.
Maybe there’s a way for the writers to fix Negan. First thing is cutting his screen time immensely. Jeffrey Dean Morgan continues to do a superb job with the role, but smaller doses would be so much more effective.
That brings up another problem — the over reliance on the 90-minute episode format. It works when a major event occurs or a well-crafted standalone story benefits from the longer run time. That hasn’t been the case this year and Sing Me a Song felt longer just because AMC is down for as much Walking Dead as possible.
On the surface, Carl’s plan to go after Negan wasn’t half bad. It’s a thought also shared by Rosita and Michonne, but as evidenced this episode, going after Negan is akin to a kamikaze run. The would-be Negan killer has to go in prepared to not come back. There’s not a happy ending here.
This episode marked the first real look at Negan’s factory hideout. It’s far more formidable than Terminus, which makes a Woodbury style assault out of the question. Maybe if Carol can get hold of a few rocket launchers?
Michonne might stand the best chance. She’s been used to going it alone. Even with Eugene’s magic bullet and a pissed-off attitude, I don’t like Rosita’s chances. But it was Carl who got to Negan first and despite taking out a couple of random Saviors, Carl’s plan ultimately failed.
He did gain what passes for Negan’s respect, which is likely what saved Carl from an intimate meeting with Lucille. In full bully braggart mode, Negan showed Carl his ultimate power is his ability to break and humble anyone … even Daryl. We got a glimpse of the old Daryl when he thought Carl was in danger, but Daryl has summed up the situation well enough to know a decisive course of action is needed to kill Negan.
In this week’s installment of Negan’s Reign of Terror, Negan harassed his harem, forced Carl to remove his eye patch and took an iron to one of his lackeys for daring to sleep with his wife. All the while gleefully switching from crazed psycho to a nutjob oddly seeming to gain Carl’s approval and respect.
The guy who played batting practice with Glenn and Abraham’s heads was scary. But Negan has gone from unpredictable psycho to high school bully. That was never more evident than when he went back to Alexandria with Carl to await Rick’s return.
Rick was off on another supply run with Aaron. It’s growing tiresome waiting on Rick to wake up. He has to know Negan won’t ever let up and that this is no way to live. Hopefully something happens in the mid-season finale to snap Rick out of it. Maybe the sight of Negan with Judith?
Spencer and Gabriel were making their own run when Spencer suggested Rick wasn’t fit to lead. This might be the one time in the series when Gabriel has the moral high ground on someone and calmly got all up into Spencer. It’s bad truth when Gabriel can provide a verbal smack down and be right.
Maybe with the standard hour length Sing Me a Song would have been more compelling. As it was, this was another episode that was long for no reason that felt like the writers are on full stalling mode. Maybe they need a wake up call more than Rick?
Rating: 6 out of 10
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC