3 Days until that moment, the moment we in TWD fandom have been dreading, and anticipating…and dreading.
3 Days until we must bear witness to Negan savagely beating one (or more) members of our sweet gang to death with Lucille, a bat wrapped in barbed wire, a weapon created for the very specific purpose of shattering the skulls of certain, chosen members of a group, a community, while the others must kneel, and watch, and sob, and grieve, and accept the horror that is their lives now…a life of constant work, of constant worry, and of constant fear, a life of indentured servitude to a tyrant who seems devoid of compassion, of kindness, of reason.
As Robert Kirkman, said, so eloquently during AMC’sTWD retrospective special, “TWD: The Journey So Far,” the moment when Negan brings the bat down upon his victim is a moment that “changes absolutely everything, moving forward.”
3 Days, people, until that fateful moment.
We’ve been waiting.
But are we ready?
I don’t know, gang. I thought I was ready.
And then, this happened:
And then, it was like…whoa, whoa, whoa….wait. What? What?
What. The. Fuck. Is. That. Shit?
Like, in one moment in my life, I was completely and blissfully unaware of that shit. And then, my TWD buddies sent it to me, via group text (a.k.a. our lifeline. Daryl Partners forevs! ❤ ❤ ).
I watched it, and I watched it again, and as I watched, my world started to come down hard, and fast, all around me, with a deafening roar, until my ears were ringing and my mind was racing and I didn’t know what was happening, or where I was, any more.
The streak of blood across Rick’s cheek. Negan’s talk about the right hand, the right handman. And Simon handing Negan Rick’s hatchet, and Negan looking at Rick, that long look, before he drags Rick to the RV, holding Rick’s hatchet…what the fuck is he going to do with that hatchet? Is he going to cut our man Rick Grimes’ hand off with Rick’s own hatchet?
And then the slam of the RV door, behind Negan, dragging Rick, throwing him into the RV, and the horrible moment of silence, the horrible moment of not knowing what just happened, not knowing what is about to happen, inside that RV, that silence broken only by the soft sobbing in the background, male, and female.
And, as the camera pans down, we see, first, Daryl’s bloodied blanket on the ground, and as the camera continues down, the shot rests, just for a moment, on the bloody remains of what once was a living, breathing, beautiful, brilliant, beloved member of our sweet, sweet gang.
I cannot. I cannot. But, I must. We must.
As Glenn Rhee told Daryl Dixon, in TWD Episode 510, “We can make it together. But we can only make it together.”
(Long, ragged breath, here. Glenn.Glenn…I cannot. I cannot. But, I must. We must.)
Because we must, darlings, in the spirit of a much-needed rallying cry, and in the spirit of the Law of the7 P’s, I am going to take us through The 7 P’s of Surviving TWD Season 7, barnfullawalkers-style.
For those of you who haven’t learned the Law of the 7 P’s, it goes like this:
Now, this saying may sound old-timey and lame AF to some, while others of you may be rolling your eyes to the back of your head and beyond at this point, because you’ve heard your parents, and your grandparents, say it forlikeyour whole freaking life, but I am telling you, kids, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties until I first heard the Law of the 7 P’s, and frankly, I wish someone had told it to me sooner.
It may have saved me a lot of trouble over the years.
So, in the spirit of paying it forward to young humanity, I offer you my personal patented system of The 7 P’s Of Surviving TWD Season 7 (additional “P” words may, and will, be added as addendums, i.e. add-ons, because we all know I can be loquacious AF when I get on a roll…)
Partner(s) … (as in, Daryl Partner(s) ❤ Now, darlings, back in the day, just before the TWD Season 4 mid-season premiere, I penned my first prepost, thus starting a time-honored tradition at barnfullawalkers(along with some of the best playlists I have made, yet…I don’t know why, but the prepost playlists are always extra awesome. Maybe because we’re all so stoked for the upcoming TWD season.) :
In this post, I came up with the idea of securing a “Daryl Partner,” a ride-or-die-fellow-TWD-fan-friend (s) who will be there to support you in these dire times, when a favorite TWD character meets his or her untimely, and tragic, demise.
We predicted this time long ago, my friends, this time when we are looking at the imminent death of one or more major, beloved character(s). And here we are, only days away, crying at stoplights when sentimental songs come on the radio, or when we see a certain post, or rewatch a certain TWD episode.
I know you all know what I am talking about, because we are all in it, people. We signed up for this crazy ride, and shit’s about to get real (even though, you know, it is only a show, but we TWD fans know it’s so much more than that. It kind of reminds me of that Harley-Davidson saying from back in the day, “If you have to ask, then you wouldn’t understand.”)
Whether in the IRL or online, your Daryl Partners are a vital lifeline for you right now. Keep the lines of communication open. Reach out, check in with each other. Give, and receive, the love. These are trying times.
Remember, we can make it together. But, we can only make it together.
(Blinking back tears, trying to compose myself, again.)
As Andy Lincoln said so eloquently during the TWD retrospective special, “I think the audience needs to not watch the returning episode alone. Be with your loved ones, and hold hands, and make a nice meal. Really say nice things to each other, and tell them you love them, before embarking on this returning episode.”
Listen to the beautiful, wise man, loves. He knows.
2. Personal Coping Methodology/Pharmaecopia: We all have our own ways of dealing with stress, loves, some more advisable than others. Nobody is here to judge, and if you are, well, then, you need to know that around these parts, we are all about love and acceptance.
Some years ago, I came up with a saying, “For every vice, adopt a virtue, and vice-versa.” And, in my life, I have held true to that, and it in the process, I have had lots of fun and have managed to keep it relatively tight and tidy over the years.
I highly recommend it.
Personally, I like dabbling in a rock-n-roll lifestyle, and I also like taking care of body, mind, and spirit. It’s like having your cake and your kombucha, too.
So, my personal coping methodology may include a pot of green tea earlier, with a shot of whiskey later. I may do my yoga to death metal. I may stay up way too late blogging, and need two or three strong cups of coffee with that CoffeeMate Sweet Italian cream creamer stuff to get the kids to school on time (barely) and me to work by 8 am (again, barely). Or, on my off-day-weekdays, I may drop the kids off at school, come back home, and go back to bed, and ignore the piles of dirty dishes to be washed or piles of clean laundry to be folded. (I really, really love those days.)
So, darlings, it’s time to stock your larder with lovely things to eat, maybe some chocolate for when those seratonin levels start dipping. Green tea, Sleepy Time tea, Bach’s Rescue Remedy, perhaps something a little stronger. Drink plenty of water. Take your supplements. Make your bed extra cozy, take a mental health day from work, and hide under the covers. Bingewatch Gilmore Girls. Hug your loved ones, cuddle your pets.
Keep in touch with your Daryl Partner(s).
Do what you gotta do, gang, whatever works for you to get through the day, as long as it doesn’t do undue harm to self or others.
3. Physical Exercise: Even if you are an avowed geek who reviles exercise, it would do your body good to step away from the screen and go for a walk, outside, with or without earbuds, for thirty minutes a day whenever possible. Physical exercise staves off depression, it keeps your heart and bones strong, and it keeps your lymphatic system moving, which bolsters your body’s immune system. If you break a sweat, that’s even better, as sweating helps the body to rid itself of toxins. Just remember to drink plenty of water. And wear your sunscreen.
Whatever exercise you like to do, it’s a great time, and great weather, to do it.
Biking. Treadmill. Gardening. Yoga. Dancing. Swimming. Stationary bike. Running. Laser tag. Pilates. A spirited bout of air hockey, pinball, or foosball, even. Go bowling with your Daryl Partners. Take your dog for a walk.
But, whatever you do, darlings, if you are out and about, please do not, I repeat, DO NOT, take any money, candy, or puppies from any shady clown, or clowns, you may see loitering about.
And please, do NOT ever follow said shady clowns into the woods, even if they say there’s a really awesome clown kegger going down there.
Nothing good can come from that, darlings. Not a damn thing.
Unless, of course, you happen to be Norman Reedus. ❤ 😀
4. Pampering/Panacea/Parasympathetic Nervous System: You might not even know what some these words even mean, but the basic message here is that you’ve got to let your body, mind, and spirit rest, relax, and recover whenever possible, especially now that TWD Season 7 is upon us.
See, kids, the parasympathetic nervous system is the involuntary part of the central nervous system that recharges, repairs, and rebuilds our body’s structures, organs, and systems when we are resting, sleeping, or deeply relaxed. It works in conjunction with the sympathetic nervous system, the voluntary aspect of the central nervous system which is on high alert when we are in “fight or flight mode,” or in modern society-speak, the “multitasking” or “getting it done” parts of our daily lives.
To be able to tackle the challenges that we face throughout our days, and soon, throughout our Sunday nights, we need to pamper ourselves with relaxing activities like soothing baths, yoga, meditation, massage. Even putting your feet up with a cuppa something lovely and watching a favorite feel-good movie, or show, can help your body’s parasympathetic nervous system take over for a spell, and recharge your batteries.
5. Posts, Pictures, Playlists, Procrastination, Prayer/Ritual, Predictions, Prognoses, Promises, and (Shameless Self) Promotions & Plugs: As always, dear readers, I will continue to show my endless love and devotion to our favorite show with blog posts, which may include some, or all, of the following:
Pictures, playlists, prose, poetry, links to other pop-culture sites and media, and other forms of parody (as long as it’s hilarious).
I cannot promise week after week of 10,000+ word epic recaps and deconstructions, a la my Season 5-style blog posts, because my life is too full, and too busy, these days. If an endeavor doesn’t contribute to raising my kids, making a paycheck, or keeping a home furnished, fed, and functioning, then any additional activity or hobby pretty much takes a back seat to what needs to be done in the moment. (And, as nobody has offered me a job yet doing this, then this blog is, out of necessity, filed under “hobby.”)
I do, however, promise you this: Any and all offerings from barnfullawalkers will be 100% all about the love for TWD, our sweet gang, and my TWD family worldwide.
And, now, comes the Shameless Self-Promoting & Plugs part of the P’s: If you like reading my blog, follow my @barnfullawalkers Instagram account, and you will be treated to my many postings about TWD, and my obsession with pop-culture in general.
Sometimes, I even post cool pictures of my garden, or the world around me, or even an occasional selfie. It’s like getting little morsels of the blog around the clock.
Show the love, people, not only to my IG account, but to any of the IG accounts featured in this post, if you’re not already. You’ll be glad you did!
In my own personal coping methodology, prayer and ritual are a big part of me getting in the zone. Building small shrines to Rick and the sweet gang, burning fires in the fire pit, working in my garden, burning candles, incense, and making cut flower arrangements, whimsical art, etch. are all rituals that I do to get myself focused to write, to post, to create. It is also my way of showing my undying love and devotion to TWD.
I am almost always listening to the barnfullawalkers musical playlists that are in varying stages of creation, or completion, as I am doing these rituals of mine, that help me stay connected to TWD and my personal creative offerings and edits.
Whatever your spiritual beliefs, or non-beliefs, may be, I highly recommend all TWD fans to engage in their own personal ritual when times get tough, to send out the love.
So, go ahead, light a candle, create a shrine, or find some creative way to show Rick and the sweet gang, and TWD, the love. I know, from many of the amazing offshoot projects that have blossomed from The Walking Dead comic and television series, that many TWD fans are already doing just that.
Prognoses and Predictions: Ok, here goes, gang. I know I originally predicted that Glenn Rhee, and/or maybe Aaron to be my top guesses as to who Negan picked to get the bat.
I am amending this guess, after many compelling hours discussing, reviewing, and theorizing with my TWD b’s and online TWD family. I am now, along with many, many TWD fans, predicting that both Glenn Rhee and Abraham Ford are the unlucky victims who get beaten by Negan’s prized weapon, Lucille.
It is hard to say it, let alone imagine it, but I can only pray that if that is indeed the case, then hopefully both Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz are kept on in a directing/writing/production capacity, especially since any actors who were around for Season 6 had to, to some degree, continue to show up for work at TWD productions until the airing of the TWD S7 premiere episode, so as to not give anything away.
Whoever gets the bat, may TWD, Inc. make it worth their while in the end. I am sure that the airing of this premiere episode will be difficult and emotional for the cast and crew on many levels (as it certainly will be for the fans), but I do imagine it will also bring a great deal of relief, especially to the actors that have had to keep this secret for many months, even from their closest family and friends.
I was going to go into other predictions, and theories, with this prepost, but I am thinking that maybe I will get into those thoughts later, and address them in future posts. I have many thoughts about Rick, about Daryl, and about Dwight, whom I predict will play a major role in continuing to teach us about the inner workings of Negan, and the Saviors, and who will, I feel, play a key, probably tragic role in the uprising against Negan.
¡Viva La Ricksistance!
6. Pacing, Prioritizing, Perserverance, Processing, and Purity of the Art Form: As difficult as it may be to process the intensity, the plot twists, and the losses of beloved characters as the TWD story continues to unfold, we as fans must respect the purity of the art form and roll with what Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero and Co. are dishing out. They have a plan, they are super inspired, and we must have faith in that.
The fact that millions of people are feeling real grief over the anticipated death of one or more beloved fictional characters, and the potential maiming, trauma, heartbreak for other beloved fictional characters, proves that Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero and Co. are doing, well, a smash-up, bash-up job.
Pace yourselves, darlings. Power off if you need to, go outside and be in nature. Make taking care of yourself, and the ones you love, the priority. We are in this for the long haul.
I dedicate this post to my sister, Peg, who has been a diehard fan of the TWD television series since the beginning, and whose birthday is on Sunday, 10/23. I love you sweetie. Stay strong. I am with you, always. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
And to all the TWD fans out there, I love you guys. Stay strong, and remember:
“We can make it together. But, we can only make it together.”
Until Sunday, gang. Be well, and enjoy the playlist. ❤
(All images used in this post are screencaps from AMC’s“The Walking Dead” and “Talking Dead” unless otherwise specified.)
Hello, loves…it has been far too long.
I have missed you all, and TWD, very much.
This spring threw a lot of life my way, at great rate, and I have been “adulting” like a mother, both literally and figuratively, since the TWD Season 6 finale aired and rocked TWD fandom like a hurricane.
Some of the adulting was super fun, some of it sucked ass….but, hey, that’s how adulting goes.
Now, thank the gods, summer’s here, about half way through by now, and while some aspects of my world haven’t slowed down much, others have.
Finally, I find myself more able to create spaces of time to steal away for some focused hours at the laptop, so we can hash it all out about TWD’s harrowing, iconic Season 6 finale episode, Ep 616,“Last Day on Earth.”
And just in time, too, as the #SDCC2016 is less than a week away, as is the #TWDSDCC2016 panel, which, of course, will include the premiere showing of the official TWD Season 7 trailer. 😀
And, here is the supremely awesome first official TWD S7 poster, which we will be deconstructing a bit later in this post, as we discuss my personal guesses as to who may have gotten the bat…but, more on that, later! ❤
It’s been 3 months + since that scene, since those harrowing final 15 minutes of Episode 616 bludgeoned our collective skulls, and left us gaping, speechless as we watched Jeffrey Dean Negan gleefully bash an as-yet-unknown member of our sweet gang (from the first-person perspective, the poor victim’s point of view) to their violent, brutal, bloody death at the hands of a merciless foe, and his barbaric weapon-of-choice: Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.
It was as if we, the viewers, were on our knees, right in there amongst Rick and the others, bracing ourselves for the blows as Jeffrey Dean Negan brought Lucille down, hard, again, and again, and again, until the camera lens ran red with fake blood, and the camera veered crazily, falling sideways as it were we who struggled to right ourselves after the first blow… to stay alive, even for one moment longer.
And, when Jeffery Dean Negan bent forward, delighted, and peered into the camera lens, to study his victim’s face, it was as if he were studying our faces as he doubled over, laughing, pointing, mocking:
“Oh, ho, ho, look at that!Taking itlike achamp!”
And, we watched, in doomed horror and finality, as Jeffrey Dean Negan brought Lucille up one more time, with a flourish, over his victim’s head, over all of our heads, and with all his might and fury, brought the spiked bat down, and that is the last thing we saw, before the screen went black, and only the wet, dead, horrible sounds of the final blows remained, each one ringing out in the blackness, each one causing us to flinch, to wince.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Finally, merciful silence.
On the black screen, final credits began to roll.
We looked at the screen. We looked at each other. We looked back at the screen, at the credits silently rolling.
All at once, the entirety of TWD fandom exploded into a fury of social media posts, pics, bitching, fuming, theories, debates, expletives as to who lost that fatal round of Negan’s “Eeny, meeny, miney, mo.”
The uproar was so great that Scott M. Gimple, in the first few moments of Talking Dead, turned directly to the camera and jokingly addressed the roughly 14.2 million viewers worldwide who were still recovering from the shocking cliffhanger ending:
“That was NOT you, the viewer…that was a character!“
Robert Kirkman, who was also a guest on that night’s Talking Dead(squeezed adorably into the TD couch with fellow guests Scott M. Gimple, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Norman Reedus), was also apologetic…to a point.
Kirkman’s sorry was more like,“Sorry, not sorry.”
While echoing Scott M. Gimple’s apologies to any TWD fans who were still disgruntled about the S6 cliffhanger ending, RobertKirkman def seemed to be in especially high spirits, trading grim “fake-talk-show-coffee=mug-prop” barbs with ChrisHardwick over the subject of the future Baby Judith…
…and one-uppingChris Hardwick’s joking speculation that Judith would grow up “to be a lot like Shane,” with the quick rejoinder that perhaps Baby Judith wouldn’t get a chance to grow up, at all(to the mock horror and merriment of all assembled, shown here). Robert Kirkman=1, Chris Hardwick=0 😀
While Robert Kirkman definitely acknowledged that they at TWD, Inc.knew that the jolting, cliffhanger ending of TWD’s Season 6 could upset some of their fan base, he hoped that the fans would realize that the events that the catalytic ending scene, and the long-anticipated arrival of Negan, would set off TWD Season 7 with a new energy and excitement that would drive the TWD television series storyline “for many seasons to come.”
(And, hey, that’s great news, right?)
On TD, Kirkman reminded Chris Hardwick, along with fellow guests and viewers, that he created originally created, and introduced, the character of Negan for the 100th issue of The Walking Dead comic book series.
As Kirkman explained, by the 100th issue of a comic series, even the most devout readers may be tempted to give the ghost on the series, and perhaps move onto something else, especially if the long-running series has been coasting on its laurels, and losing its creative impact over time.
So, Kirkman gave his TWD comic series fans a lovely party gift for the century issue of the TWD comic book series: Negan, a charismatic, complex, catalytic villian who completely changed the game for the entire comic series, infusing the storyline with a new life and keeping it going for many issues to come.
And, in the same vein, Robert Kirkman, along with Scott M. Gimple, Greg Nicotero, and TWD, Inc. gave the world of TWD television series fandom a lovely party gift on the cusp of the show’s venerated Seventh Season: Negan, played to darkly delicious diabolical perfection by Jeffery Dean Morgan.
(As soon as Jeffrey Dean Negan stepped out of that RV, darlings, none of our lives would ever be the same, and we all knew it…and so did Kirkman.)
Here’s a link to an EW interview with Robert Kirkman regarding the TWD Season 6 cliffhanger ending:
Remember, darlings, take those deep breaths. The Season 7 trailer is almost here, and then it’s just a matter of weeks, days, hours until October, and the TWD Season 7 premiere, and eventually, all our burning questions will be answered, whether we like the answers or not.
Life will be vexing at times, and such times are sent to test us all. Weathering these tests with strength and grace are what makes us stronger.
Think of Rick and the sweet gang, all the hard times they have had to soldier through.
You can do this.
Remember the coping methodolgy we have discussed in previous posts, and keep your personal coping mechanisms within easy reach. If you are feeling stressed, reach out to your Daryl Partner(s).
We can do this.
And Kirkman, Gimple, & Nicotero know this, darlings. They seem like nice guys. They will kick our asses, and they will have a great time and make mad bank doing it, but they’re not dicks.
They’re not going to give us more than we can handle…I think.
Now, some of you may remember, back in the spring of 2014,in those carefree days of blogyore, when I penned my first “prepost” for the TWD Season 4 mid-season premiere episode, and www.barnfullawalkers.com first coined the Law of Kirkman.
The Law of Kirkman states:
“Kirkman does as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions. It’s nothing personal, it’s how he do.”
Robert Kirkman may look like an affable and mild-mannered fellow, but underneath that placid exterior beats the heart of a true gangsta.
With those last 15 minutes of TWD’s Episode 616, Robert Kirkman reminded all of us in TWD fandom just who is wielding the barbed-wire wrapped bat, here.
Negan may be the messenger, but it’s Kirkmanwho is wielding the bat, darlings.
Thisis Kirkman’s world, and we who choose to be in this world all work for himnow.
Never to forget, Robert Kirkman, sir. Never to forget.
Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero and the rest of the TWD cast and crew will make it all worth it for the fans in TWD Season 7, of this I am certain.
Scott M. Gimple readily admitted on the S6 finale ep of Talking Deadthat they at TWD, Inc. set the bar really high for themselves in Season 7 by leaving the Season 6 “Who gotLucilled?” cliffhanger ending dangling like so much bloody brains, gore, and viscera from Lucille’s deadly spikes.
Such a bold move is a creative call to arms, people.
These guys are inspired, energized. I have never seen Robert Kirkman so positively giddy as he was on that TD Season 6 finale episode.
The way I see it, there’s one big ass-kicking trickle down effect happening here, which has morphed into a personal theory about it, The AK Postulate.
The AK Postulate goes something like this:
Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero have, once again, raised the gauntlet on themselves harder than they have on anyone else.
They keep doing that, so it must be like their crack or something.
Since K,G&N love nothing more than to kick our asses, hard, season after season, they have to keep it real, keep it edgy.
So, in order to do that, I postulate that Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero have to first kick their own asses, and hard, by staying to true to their individual creative vision and the collective vision, in order to create a consistently superior product, and keep the fire going for the viewers.
So, K,G&N kick their own asses, first, and then, K,G&N kick each other’s asses (in inimitable kung-fu style, of course) to check and balance each other, and align their superpowers accordingly.
Then, once Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero have finished kicking each other’s asses, good andhard, then it is time for the Trifecta of Turmoil to assemble the entire TWD cast and crew, and start kicking all of their asses, for the duration of their burly TWD filming schedule.
And, so, take after take, day after day, week after week, month after month of getting their asses kicked, in the blazing Georgia heat, the entire TWD, Inc. franchise, come October, starts kicking allof our asses, week after week, episode after episode, month after month, year after year, season after season, in an unprecedented pop culture phenomenon, where we in TWD fandom worship our show, all year round.
The way I see it, everyone is the TWD family is kicking ass, and getting their asses kicked, and somehow, theworld is a better place for it.
And, since we seem to be batting around postulates, and theories, allow me to present my other theory: The L7 Theory.
See, gang, after this harrowing, cliffhanger finale ending, and seeing Kirkman on TD after, emanating like the Grand Master of the Flows, I really do feel that Kirkman and his army are ready to throw down in TWD Season 7 like never before.
I have pondered the sheer enormity of The Walking Dead television series entering its seventh season at great length, and as I meditated upon this event, the potential significance of the Seventh Level came to me.
I realized that perhaps Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero would employ Seventh Level/Level 7 imagery, symbolism, and references in the creation of The Walking Dead’s S7 storyline and episodes.
You see, darlings, the concept of the Seventh Level, or Level 7, is a recurring, powerful theme that has manifested itself throughout history, in vastly different cultures, in various spiritual belief systems, religions, art, and literature around the world.
I figured Robert Kirkman,Scott M. Gimple, and Greg Nicotero would know all about the meaning, and the symbolism, of the Seventh Level/Level 7, and as their hit show enters into its venerated Seventh Season, I felt certain that K,G&N would most certainly use Seventh Level/Level 7 symbolism and imagery to flex accordingly, to drive that shit right home into the core centers of our collective subconscious.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought, really, how could they not?
K,G&N know things, darlings. They are aware. Theyare erudite men, well-read, well-versed, well-traveled. They are true artists.
Personally, I have been struck many times how often K,G&N pay homage to the classics of film, art, literature, and music, within the realm of the TWD television series.
So, I did some research, and as I dug deeper into the concept of Seventh Level/Level 7, it seemed my hunch was correct; in fact, it seemed evident that perhaps Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, and Greg Nicotero & Co. had already been employing Seventh Level imagery and symbolism throughout TWD Season 6.
And so, my latest theory, The L7 Theory, was born, and it goes something like this:
As I said before, throughout history, the concept of the Seventh Level or Level 7, has been a recurring theme that has manifested itself time and time again, with powerful meaning and profound significance, in the realms of classic art, literature, and various religious/spiritual belief systems throughout the world.
For example, in Buddhism, the Seventh Level of Consciousness representsthe first level of consciousness that is inner-looking, rather than being focused outwards.
This 7th level, or ‘mano,’ (Sanskrit) is concerned with the sense of self, and one’s ability to distinguish between good and evil.
There is also the concept, in many religions throughout the world, of there being multiple levels of Heaven.
The Seventh Level of Heaven is where the holy beings and souls share their rest with the love of God, who sits above the Seventh Heaven in the Throne of God.
Now, haven’t we seen the concept of key characters looking inward, and taking a moral inventory, as a recurring theme in TWD Season 6?
We have watched, throughout S6, as many of our main characters must grapple with the decisions they have made, and must continue to make, on a daily basis, to survive a hellish world that keeps getting more and more predatory, despite the brief and welcome respite that the walls of Alexandria provided for Rick and the gang, at least for a small spell.
Each of our main characters has had to look inside themselves, at some point in Season 6, and take an internal assessment, a moral inventory, on many levels, to reconcile what it takes to survive versus what it takes to retain their humanity, to love, to trust, and allow others in.
Many times, this moral inventory has led to key exchanges between characters, as they ponder, discuss, debate this ever-present, ever-evolving issue.
And, with the advent of Alexandria opening its doors to them, we have watched our gang’s struggle as they find themselves being challenged, once again, to open their hearts to others, and be part of a larger community, even if taking such risks means a real chance future loss and heartbreak…and, as we see in Season 6, there is much loss, and heartbreak, throughout, as Alexandria’s walls are breached, and innocent lives are taken, in brutal, horrific ways, and suddenly, Rick and the others are once more resorting to desperate measures to survive, and to protect the ones they love the most.
This exploration into each character’s individual psyches, and the ensuing conversations, and debates, between Rick, Daryl, Morgan, Carol, Maggie, Glenn, and so many other characters in Season 6, about: past and present choices (and how those choices inform who they are, and their code of values, in the present); good v. necessary v. evil;love v. survival, resonates (to me) with the Buddhist Seventh Level of Consciousness.
In addition to Rick’s people, and the citizens of Alexandria, we have begun to learn about other characters, other groups, in Season 6, who continue to choose to embrace their humanity, despite the risks inherent in doing so: namely, Jesus, and others, of the Hilltop community, and the two young horsemen in makeshift armor that Morgan and Carol encounter in Ep 616 (presumably from the Kingdom community of the TWD comic book series), and who offer their assistance to Morgan and Carol (who is wounded).
Come Season 7, we will get to know much more about these communities, how they have coped with the unwelcome role of “working” for Negan, and how these communities interact with Rick, his people, and the Alexandrians…and, if the television series mirrors the comic series, we will see these other communities’ roles in the Ricksistance!
¡Viva la Ricksistance!<3<3
Now, theSaviors…well, aside from a glimmer of humanity from Paula, Molls, and the other dark-haired beautiful sad girl, and the tense exchange between Daryl, Dwight, and the two young girls in the burned forest, there does not seem to be much“inward-looking”happening within the ranks of Negan’s cult army.
The eyes of the Saviors have gone cold, and dead, and the only joy, or spark, they seem to feel is the dark thrill of dominating, and harming, others.
And, on that note, kids, I’d like to welcome you all to the Dark Side of the L7 Theory, because, as we know, as there is progression inward, and upwards, there is also progression outward, and downwards:
In Dante’s classic epic, Inferno, there are 9 levels of Hell outlined, with each level going deeper in degree of wickedness of sin, the punishment for those sins, and the degree of eternal torment and suffering the damned souls are condemned to endure.
Of course, as one goes deeper and deeper, the levels of misery, and suffering, increase.
The levels begin with Level 1, limbo, and end with Level 9, which is located within the center of the earth, and where Satan, punished for his ultimate sin of rebellion and treachery against God, is trapped, encased waist-deep in ice, endlessly punished while endlessly punishing the most vile of sinners, and traitors, such as Judas.
The Seventh Level of Hell is described as follows:
Guarded by the Minotaur, who snarls in fury, and encircled within the river Phlegethon, filled with boiling blood, is the Seventh Level of Hell.
The violent, the assassins, the tyrants, and the war-mongers lament their pitiless mischiefs in the river, while centaurs armed with bows and arrows shoot those who try to escape their punishment.
The stench here is overpowering.
This level is also home to the Wood of the Suicides– stunted and gnarled trees with twisting branches and poisoned fruit. At the time of final judgement, their bodies will hang from their branches. In those branches, the Harpies, foul birdlike creatures with human faces, make their nests.
Beyond the wood is scorching sand, where those who committed violence against God and nature are showered with flakes of fire that rain down against their naked bodies. Blasphemers and sodomites writhe in pain, their tongues more loosed to lamentation, and out of their eyes gushes forth their woe.
Usurers, who followed neither nature nor art, also share company in the Seventh Level.
As we read in this description of the Seventh Level of Hell, and throughout Dante’s Inferno, each level of Hell is outlined in great detail, each level becoming more fearsome, more dark, more punishing than the one before it.
Each of these levels of Hell is guarded by a menacing force, or forces.
Does that sound familiar?
To me, it sounds like we have described the entirety of TWD Season 6, especially the second half of the season.
The way I see it, we have been descending deeper and deeper into Negan’s world throughout the second half of TWD Season 6, starting with Daryl’s fateful encounter with Dwight and the young girls, on the run from Negan’s as-yet nameless, faceless army, and ending with Rick and the gang’s terrifying journey, as they circle deeper and deeper into the dark forest, away from the Saviors and their increasingly menacing roadblocks.
As I rewatched Episode 616, after reading up on Seventh Level/Level 7 imagery and meaning, I recognized many details of the episode that seemed to be taken directly from Dante’s description of the Seventh Level of Hell.
In Dante’s Inferno, the descending levels of Hell are described as being circular in fashion, nine circles of suffering.
Think back to Episode 616 (rewatch, when you are able), as Rick, Abraham, and the others in the RV keep getting blocked again and again by Negan’s army, each blockade being more threatening, more terrifying than the one before it.
At Rick’s command, Abraham must keep turning the RV around, away from the larger and larger groups of heavily armed men, and their trucks, and their increasingly menacing, elaborate blockades.
As the RV circles around again, and again, and again, each potential escape is cut off by the Saviors, who are there at each turn, sitting, waiting for them.
The gang must keep turning around, the RV circling back, again and again, being forced deeper, and deeper, into the trap that has been set for them by Negan and his Saviors.
As darkness falls over the woods, their situation becomes more desperate as gas is low, and Maggie’s condition worsens. Eugene heroically comes up with a plan, to drive the RV solo, sacrificing himself as a decoy so Rick and the others can make a break for it on foot, carrying poor sick Maggie on a stretcher in a desperate attempt to get her to the Hilltop.
As they hurry through the dark forest, carrying Maggie on the stretcher, Rick seems deeply troubled, as Carl attempts to reassure his father that they will make it through this challenge, too, as they have so many times before.
Carl vows that he will make sure that nobody will die the way Denise did, ever again, and Rick stops, looks at his son, and he is about to say something, something important, to Carl in that moment, in the darkness of the woods.
“Son,” Rick begins, but he is able to say nothing more, because his words, along with any hopes of making it out of the black forest, are pierced through by the telltale, singsong, two-note whistles of the Saviors.
The whistles build upon themselves, and two notes becomes a terrifying cacophony that surrounds Rick and the others, drowning out any thoughts, building only terror, and confusion…they are trapped, surrounded, and they will now be taken to the blackest epicenter, where Negan awaits them, eager to mete out his special brand of punishment.
Throughout this progression, throughout Ep 616, in your next watching, take note of the imagery, the scenery, the details of the woods with the description of Dante’s Seventh Level of Hell in mind.
Note how the woods look, the spooky, gnarled, twisting trees. The chained blockade of walkers, with the demonic faces, barring the way forward. Remember the image of the poor, doomed runaway man’s body hanging from the bridge. Remember the explosion of fire as the blockade of felled trees rained fire and burning ashes onto Rick and the sweet gang, as Rick frantically orders them back into the RV.
It struck me, as I read, and reread, the description of Dante’s Seventh Level of Hell, that so many details, images, and symbols from that description directly mirrored images and details contained throughout TWD’s Season 6 (especially in the EpS616 ), even down to the very “bows and arrows” that the centaurs use to shoot down those tormented souls to try to escape the river of boiling blood in Hell’s Level 7.
And what kind of sinners are condemned to eternal torment in the Seventh Level of Hell?
“The violent, the assassins, the tyrants, the war-mongers,” and “usurers.”
And who is Negan’s army comprised of?
The “violent, the assassins, the war-mongers” who swear absolute fealty to tyrant and a usurer (ausureris one who taxes others excessively and unjustly, just as Negan does).
I will bring my L7 Theory home, dear readers, by leaving this last detail for you to ponder:
Upon further research into the Harpies, which are mentioned in the above description of Dante’s Level 7 of Hell, I wondered if the chained blockade of walkers that Rick and the others drive up on (especially the female walker, the one who is adorned with Michonne’s dreds and clothing) may have been representative of the Harpies, who were once beautiful, winged spirits who devolved into hideous winged bird-monsters with women’s faces, and who became tasked with carrying the souls of the damned into the underworld.
When I read further into a hunch about the Harpies, and whether or not they made any kind of signature noise, or whistle, like the Saviors’ terrifyingly telltale singsong whistle, I stumbled upon the Mexican legend of the Lechuza, a demonic bird-monster with a woman’s face (just like theHarpies) who whistles at her prey from a hidden place, where the prey cannot see her, but become confused, rattled before the Lechuza swoops down and carrys her hapless victim to the underworld.
BOOM!La Lechuza sounds exactly like the Harpies, and the description of la Lechuza whistling to her prey reads exactly like the moment that the Saviors’ whistles surround Rick and the others in the dark forest!
In my research into my L7 hunch, I was repeatedly, completely blown away by the imagery and symbolism in both the Seventh Level of Hell, and Episode 616, especially my research into the Harpies, and La Lechuza.
In fact, many of the sites I found regarding the Harpies and the Lechuza made direct, frequent comparisons between the two.
My L7 Theory concludes with the mad certainty that Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero & Co. have already started to get jiggy with Seventh Level/ Level 7 symbolism and meaning in the latter part of TWD Season 6, and they will continue to draw inspiration from Level 7, in all its forms and manifestations, throughout TWD Season 7.
Rick passes by Deanna, makes eye contact with her, but neither one greets the other as Rick passes.
Bloody Rick looks up at these words…
Bloody Rick laughs at this. “You mean me?”
The others, Michonne, Aaron, Heath, and Spencer, join Rick, and the gang forms a kill circle, back to back, facing the oncoming walkers…
Bloody Rick gets serious, tells Deanna, “Your way…your way is gonna destroy this place. Your way is gonna get people killed…”
Rick Smash! is like, ‘Step aside, homes, and let me take this one.’
…before turning around, slowly and facing McBeaty with this fearsome, smoking-hot look. This man is not Officer Friendly to you, McBeaty!
…all the while clocking Jessie with hungry eyes.
Rick sits back, trying to figure this out. Whoever took it must have watched as he stashed it, unless some person just happened to look inside an old, useless blender in a trash heap and find it…so not likely, though. Rick’s pissed, you can tell. He stands, unsheaths his knife, thinking…and then, he sees that he’s not alone.
“So, bringing people in, to a place like this, now…”
…look like they were taken from right from the old western classics. Love it.
A click of a gun, and Officer Baldy looks up to see Rick Smash! holding a gun to his head…cue the Rick Smash! Bear McCreary theme music, dark and pulsing…Rick Smash! wants to SMASH!
Rick Blast! stands right in the car’s path, firing at it…unfortunately, the windows seem to be bulletproof, and the gang must scramble out of the way, hide behind a dumpster.
…but Deputy Rick Grimes is a beautiful hero. No comparison, son.
When Deputy Smash tells you to stop two times, you should do as he says, Lamson…
After watching the wave of shooters cross his threshold, Rick jumps out and nabs the last shooter around the neck…
…and grabs the shooter’s gun…mmm hmmm, that’s right, Rick Grimes.
From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed…
Rick pulls his shiv out of his boot, grips it, and waits.
And that just makes it so much hotter…
Sigh…the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps ❤
WD’s first still shot for Season 5, Rick Grimes super tasty (in more ways than one, apparently) as he peers out of his train car storage unit.
Once again, Rick In Charge doing what needs to be done, and looking fine doing it!
See that look, Joe? That’s the look of a man who is about to go off…
Rick, Smash! don’t think so, Joe…
Rick goes primal, busts Joe’s nose with the back of his head…then goes slo-mo…he’s hulking out…Rick, Smash!
Joe, meet Rick Smash!
See that, Joe? That’s your neck and shit…
Here comes the beat down…
As Rick grabs the man’s gun and prepares to go out the bathroom window, he goes back to crack the door of the bathroom open, to set a “walker time bomb” onto the Downstairs Thug Boys once the dead guy reanimates…tactical genius, Rick Grimes-style!
So pimp, Deputy Grimes!
I love this look on his face as he watches the dude fade out
In the comic series, Rick vows revenge for Glenn after gets Glenn gets savagely beaten to death by Negan.
In response, Negan beats Rick down with his bare hands, then turns to the rest of the group, still on their knees, with Glenn’s mangled, bloody corpse lying before them, that he and the Saviors will be in Alexandria in a week’s time to collect half of all of “their shit.”
Rick and the others are left to collect Glenn’s remains and return home.
While it remains to be seen if the television series mirrors the comic series, I feel sure that Rick Smash! is not one to sit silently by after watching one of his own get horribly beaten to death in front of him, his son, and his chosen family.
Whether Rick Smash!takes a stand then and there, and vows his revenge aloud to Negan in the moment,or stays silent, I feel sure that Rick Grimes will ultimately do whatever needs to be done for the survival of himself, his son, and his people.
I think that the television series will mirror the comic series, and Rick Grimes will bide his time, grit his teeth, and play, so convincingly, the part of one who has been beaten, cowed into “obsequious bondage,” making a show of humbly eating Negan’s shit as it is fed to him, time after time, while secretly observing, calculating, planning, plotting, mobilizingLa Ricksistance.
Rick will suffer, no doubt.He already has.
Watching one of his own be brutally, savagely beaten to death in front of his, and his family’s, eyes (in retailiation for, partly, an attack he orchestrated and led) is a crushing blow to Rick Grimes. And this is just the beginning.
Negan will make sure of that.
Rick is sure to take some major moral inventory in TWD Season 7, replaying past mistakes, raking himself over the coals within his inner landscape, and I feel sure that his personal guilt and shame, coupled with his public humiliations at the hands of Negan will be a horrible, demoralizing thing to watch, especially for his people, and for those of us on Team Rick, and most especially for his son, Carl.
In the comic series, Negan vows to Rick that he will break him, Rick, in front of his people, and I predict that Negan, as he does in the comic series, will use Carl to get at Rick.
I feel most certain that Carl has survived being Lucilled in this first round. Negan developed an immediate fascination with the boy, especially when he quickly made the connection that “the future serial killer” was, in fact, Rick’s son. This realization immediately placed Carl in Negan’s “keep, for now” category, as he would be an invaluable tool in Negan’s quest to break Rick by dominating Rick, belittling him, and humiliating him in front of his son, and his people.
It’s going to be a rough one for those of us on Team Rick to watch our man fall from grace. I cannot lie. But, let us remember, and be comforted by the knowledge that while Rick Grimes must swallow “that nasty, bitter pill, oh yes, he most certainly will” on the outside, Rick Smash! will be crouched in that inner landscape, waiting, watching, simmering and smoldering as he secretly strategizes, mobilizes LaRicksistance.
Rick Smash! needs an army for his rebellion, and the communities like the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and now, Alexandria (who aren’t exactly gentling down into the sycophantic ranks of Savior Stockholm Syndrome) need a leader, one who has the brains, the brawn and the cojones to get the job done.
Who you gonna call?
❤ ❤ Rick Smash!Rick Smash!Rick Smash! ❤ ❤
These communities are sick of giving up half their shit (and then some), only to be informed (once again) that they’ve come up short of their quota.
IT’S NOT FUCKING FAIR..
Like, it’s ALREADY the zombie apocalypse.
Shit sucks, shit smells, and everyone remembers, and misses, the good ol’ days, when there was shit like like hot showers, and wine, and coffee, and tv, and everyone’s had to do some crazy shit to survive this long. There’s no guarantee that anybody will survive to see another day, and everyone’s hungry all the time, and all the good shit is always in short supply.
Anyone still living is working their asses off to stay alive, let alone thrive, and nowadays, any time anyone gets anything good going, something is guaranteed to come along and fuck it all up…it could be an epidemic, or a horde of walkers, OR it could be THAT TIME OF THE MONTH when NEGAN and his sycophantic asshole squad, THE SAVIORS, come along and take all of everyone’s BEST SHIT (in exchange for the Saviors’ supposed “protection” of the community, but the only thing Negan and the Saviors seem to be protecting anyone from, ever, is their prosperity and happiness.)
THEN, after taking way more than half of all a community’s SAID BEST SHIT, those Savior ASSHOLES are sure to turn around and inform SAID BELEAGURED COMMUNITY that “your quota’s come up short,” YET AGAIN, and so NOW everyone’s gotta get on their FUCKING KNEES, YET AGAIN, and WATCH as yet another poor random from their community gets bludgeoned to DEATH by NEGAN, wielding LUCILLE, and then NEGAN and his asshole SAVIORS leave with even MORE OF THEIR SHIT, and leave the traumatized, grieving community to DEAL WITH THE BODY.
And, now, dear readers, somewhere between my own private shame-spiral, and a rebellious, “I may care for the devil” attitude, I must confess that, for me, the easiest part of watching TWD’s Episode 616 was watching this guy:
I have a crush on the Big Bad Wolf.
I know, I know. I’m a bad, bad lady.
At least I’m owning that shit. And, I know, dear readers, that I’m not the only one who has the hots for the man wielding the barbed-wire bat, am I right?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
I mean, how can we help it? It’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan, for chrissakes. We’ve all had a major crush on that guy for, like, forever, since back in the day when he played Denny on Grey’s Anatomy. We all watched that devastating scene and cried, hard, when Denny lay dead on the hospital bed with Izzie sobbing on his chest.
And who can forget Jeffrey Dean as the Comedian on Watchmen?
Never to forget, Jeffrey Dean. Never to forget.
Look, gang, I don’t know why it feels so, sooo good to be so, sooo bad, but it’s the way it’s always been, since the dawn of time.
All I know is seeing Jeffrey Dean Negan making one the most badass entrances in the history of television, and completely owning those last 15 minutes of Episode 616 had me thinking crazy chick thoughts, like, “But, I bet I could save him.”
Of course, I was devastated for Rick, and the sweet gang, but, I cannot lie…watching that scene, I wasn’t sure what was more lethal: Lucille, or Jeffrey Dean Negan’s dark eyes twinkling with evil mirth, or that blinding smile, or those damn dimples.
Watching Jeffrey Dean Negan dominate that scene, I thought to myself, “Jesus, it’s no wonder that guy has like 10,ooo people blindly worshipping him.”
So, Jeffrey Dean Negan, on behalf of barnfullawalkers, I would like to award you the coveted Deadie for Best Badguyand welcome you to the ranks of my own personal “Bad Boy BF’s,” a crushworthy collection of some of my fave felons from movies and television.
Their transgressions range from being morally ambiguous/socially outcast,to being sociopathic murderers and/or monsters, but if loving them is wrong, well, then, I don’t wanna be right:
Now, some of you may be wondering about my inclusion of Predator in this gallery of hot bad boys, and yes, I must cop to developing an immediate, id-deep fetishy crush on Pred, as I affectionately refer to him, right from my first watching of Predator, back in the day.
Now, do I want to kiss that mouth? Fuck, no.
But, this is not about kissing…it’s wayyy more primal than that.
First off, Pred’s alpha AF. He’s got that total confidence of one who can completely dominate in the battle jungle. Confidence like that is rare, and it’s sexy.
Pred’s also got mad style. That body armor, and those broad shoulders. Mmmm, mmm. And, he’s super tall, so a gal could wear her stillettos.
I think we can all easily imagine Pred living the VIP life of the intergalactic mogul that he most obviously is: Private jets, sleek, high-powered spaceships, limos, yachts, posse. Red carpet,couture body armor, 10 chicks deep, each arm.
Predtakes sexy-ugly to a whole new level. And,who knows what tentacle porn talentsPred’sdreds may possess?
I can’t fully explain it, but when it comes to Pred, I’m in.
Just keep the mask on, buddy.
Anyway, welcome to the fold, Jeffrey Dean Negan. ❤ ❤
Ok, loves, it’s that time.
Let us hold hands, and jump in together, as we revisit the Last 15+ Minutes of TWD Episode 616,“Last Day On Earth.”
“Good, you made it. Welcome to where you’re goin’.” (Ominous opening words from Negan’s current head flunkie, who most likely got promoted after Snidely got blowed the fuck up by Daryl. This guy looks like his name should be “MitchHandlestache” or some shit like that. His tall, rangy style reminded me of some 70’s or 80’s- era bad buy, like a bad guy from some Clint Eastwood movie. Anyhow, mad props ontheretro bad guy style, Mitch Handlestache!)
As the gang’s weapons are collected, Mitch Handlestache looks down at the pistol that he has taken off Carl, the one with the image of Lucille carved into the wooden handle. He looks up at Carl.
“That’s yours, right?” Carl says nothing, glares in reply. The two hold each other’s stare for a brief moment.
“Yeah,” Mitch H. says, softly, peering more closely at Carl.
Still holding Carl’s stare, Mitch Handlestache flicks Rick’s deputy hat.
Carl does not move, or flinch, at this.
Mitch H. then stands, turns to address Rick and the others. “Ok, let’s get her down, and get ya all on your knees.”
As some Saviors approach Maggie, Abraham bristles, speaks out.
“We got it.“
Mitch holds up his hand, staying the men. He’ll allow it.“Sure.”
Abraham and the others lower Maggie gently down, and help her come off the stretcher.
Maggie is clearly ill, pale and sweating, as Abraham and Rick gently help her to her knees.
After helping Maggie, Rick stands, looks over, and sees Eugene, who has been roughly shoved over towards the others, and forced down onto his knees, Eugene has been beaten, is bleeding, crying, watching them.
The full import of what is happening seems to be hitting Rick…
…as he looks down at Eugene, kneeling there.
Rick looks up to see that Mitch Handlestache has stepped up to him…
“I’m gonna need ya on your knees,” Mitch Handlestache informs Rick Grimes.
Stricken, Rick looks towards his son…
…who gapes, unbelieving, at his father.
(Uggghhhhh.…this. is. really. the. worst. EVER.)
Rick looks back at Negan’s head flunky, as the Bear McCreary score rattles like a rattlesnake. His hands are tied. There is nothing he can do but submit in this moment.
As his son, his people watch, Rick slowly comes to kneeling.
😦 😦 😦 😦
<Watching this, I was all like: :0 > “Noooooooooooooo!>
We then see this recurring image of Ep 616, of light pouring through slats, bullet holes, of what looks like the inside of a box, or a cage. We hear breathing, and heartbeats pounding, and we see what looks like the silhouette of someone’s head. Outside, we hear Mitch H.’s voice barking some orders, about getting “The other ones…right now!”
Mitch H.barks out, “Dwight!”“Yeah,” a voice replies. “Chop, chop,” Mitch orders, brusquely, and we see Dwight step forward from the back ranks of the Saviors.
The light becomes blinding as the two doors open.
Dwight walks over and opens two back doors of a van, and inside, we see Daryl, Michonne behind him, as rough hands grab for Daryl and begin to pull him out of the van. Dwight prompts, “C’mon…”
“We got people to meet.”
Michonne and Rosita are then pulled roughly out of the van, after Daryl.
Rick looks on, horrified, as he watches Daryl, Michonne, and Rosita are pulled from the back of the van..
Glenn is the last one to be pulled out of the van by Dwight…
…who throws him roughly to the ground, to his spot in the circle.
Glenn then looks up and sees…
Glenn is kicked from behind by Dwight as he tries to go to Maggie..
Maggie cries helplessly as a Savior orders Glenn,“On your knees!”
“Al-right!” crows Mitch Handlestache.
“We’ve got a full boat!“
“Let’s meet the man.“ (Knocks on RV door)
(The RV door creaks open)
Our first look at Negan.
“Pissin’ our pants yet?”
“Boy, do I have a feeling…
“…we’re gettin’ close.”
“…it’s gonna be pee-pee pants city here…”
…of you pricks…
…is the leader?”
“It’s this one,”Mitch Handlestache tattletales, pointing at Rick.
“He’s the guy.“ (Handlestache, you goddamn suck-up.)
Negan looks down at the man kneeling before him, sighs, takes a couple of steps closer.
“Hi, you’re Rick, right?“
“And, I do not appreciate you killin’ my men.”
“Also, when I sent my people to killyour people for killin’ my people….”
“…you killed more of my people!”
“…not cool. You have no idea…”
“…how not cool that shit is.”
“But, I think…”
“…you’re gonna be up to speed, shortly.”
“Yeah, you’re so gonna regret crossin’ me in a few minutes.”
“Yes, you are!”
“You see, Rick, whatever you do…”
“…no matter what, you don’t mess with the new world order.”
“New world order is this, and it’s reallyvery simple…”
“So, even if you’re stupid, which you very may well be…”
“…you can understand it.”
“Here it goes…pay attention.”
“Give me your shit, or I will kill you.”
“Today was career day.”
“We invested a lot, so you would know who I am and what I can do.”
“You work for me, now.”
“You have shit, you give it to me.“
“That’s your job.”
“Now, I know that is a mighty big, nasty pill…”
“But, swallow it…”
“…you most certainly will!“
“You ruled the roost.”
“You built something.”
“You thought you were safe.”
“I get it.”
“But, the wordisout.”
“You are not safe.”
“Not even close.”
“In fact, you arepegged…“
“… more pegged if you don’t do what I want, and what I want…”
“…is halfyour shit.”
“And, if that’s too much…”
“…you can make, find, or steal more, and it will even out, sooner or later.”
“This is your way of life now.”
“The more you fight back, the harder it will be.”
“So, someone knocks on your door…”
“…you let us in. We OWN that door.”
“You try to stop us…”
“…and we will knock it down.”
“You…didn’t think you were gonna get through this without being punished, now, did you?“
“I don’t wanna kill you people. I just wanna make that clear from the get-go.”
“I want you to work for me. You can’t do that if you’re dead, now, can ya?”
“I’m not growin’ a garden.”
“But, you killed my people. A whole damn lot of them. More than I feel comfortable with.”
“And for that, for that, you’re gonna pay.”
“I’m gonna beat the holy hell outta one of you.”
“This…this is Lucille, and she is awesome.”
“All this…all this is just…”
“…so we can pick out…”
“…which one of you gets the honor.”
As Negan stops in front of Abraham, Abe straightens up, looks up defiantly at Negan, like, <“Pick me,motherfucker.”> (And this, this made my heart swell so big for Abraham. He really would volunteer, without hesitation, to take this one for his team, love for Sasha and all. Biggest props to Abraham Ford for being the bravest soldier, with the biggest heart. ❤ Much love, Abraham Ford. ❤ )
Negan’s eyebrows raise at this, and he marvels,“Huh.”
He makes a show of stroking his chin, as if considering, then muses, “I gotta shave this shit,” and walks on, leaving Abe untouched. Brrrrr…that’s cold, Jeffrey Dean Negan. That’s real cold.
Negan saunters up to where Carl is kneeling. “You got one of our guns,” he says, conversationally, before kicking the pistol to the side and crouching down to Carl’s eye level, to have a closer look at Carl.
Negan regards Carl with interest, remarks, “You got a lot of our guns.”
Carl says nothing, just continues to glare at Negan.
“Shit, kid,” Negan jokes.
“At least cry a little.”
With a laugh, and a last look at Carl, Negan stands back up…
…tucking the pistol in his belt…
…and continues his perusal of the kneeling gang.
His face is hard to read, just a little smile as he walks past..
…considering each one.
Negan stops in front of Maggie. “Jee-zus,” he exclaims.
“You look shitty.” (Watching this scene, I thought to myself, “If this is looking shitty, then I must look really shitty, like, all of the time.”)
Glenn watches this exchange, agonizing.
Flourishing the modified bat, Negan jokes,
“I should just put you outta your misery right now!”
“Noooo!” Glenn cries out, and tries to rush Negan, who hirls around, watches, as Dwight tackles Glenn down,
Maggie cries out, “Stop!” as Glenn is beaten down, subdued by Dwight.
Dwight draws Daryl’s crossbow on Glenn, waits for the word from Negan.
Negan takes this in stride, but you can tell he’s super pissed, like one who is never interrupted, or made to wait, or crossed in any way, shape, or fashion.
“Nope,” he says, testily.
“Get him back in line.”
As Glenn is dragged back, protesting, resisting, you can tell Negan is fuming inside.
(Rewatching this scene, seeing how pissed Negan is, I really thought that Glenn had just put himself at the top of Negan’s pick list.)
Glenn is shoved back to his spot, where he cries out in his helplessness. “Don’t,”he begs, miserably.
Negan looks at him, and laughs, silently.
“Don’t any of ya do that again.”
“I will shut that shit down…”
(Man, so many incredible shots of JDM in this scene, like this one, this profile shot. Totalpredator.)
“First one’s free…”
“It’s an emotional moment. I get it.” (Once again, that smile…made me wonder if Glenn was marked from that point on, plus the comic series precendent…)
Glenn, shaking, tries to compose himself.
Maggie gulps, manages to do the same.
Rick is reeling, shaking, really bugging, hard.
This moment is Rick Grimes’ worst nightmare come to life.
Negan sees this, Rick’s inner struggle, and his eyes, as he looks down at Rick, almost soften into something akin to sympathy, or, at least, recognition.
“Sucks, don’t it?” he says, softly, down to Rick.
“The moment you realize you don’t know shit?“
Rick, sweating, looks up at Negan…
…before staring ahead, and giving the barest of nods.
Negan glances over, and sees Carl watching this exchange intently.
As he and Carl lock eyes, Negan begins to realize…
Negan looks back at Rick, putting it together.
His smile widens as he points the bat first at Rick, then at Carl. “This is your kid…“
Negan looks back at Rick as he laughs, delighted…
And, leading with the pointed end of the bat, he walks towards Carl…
…for a closer look at the boy.
“Ho ho ho!”
“This is definitely your kid!”
“You stop this!” Rick grinds out, in helpless fury.
“HEY!” Negan shuts down Rick’s outburst.
“Do. Not. Make. Me…”
“…kill the little future serial killer!”
“Don’t make it…”
“…easy on me!”
“I gotta pick somebody!“
“Ev-v-verybody’s at the table…”
“…waiting for me to order!“
And, with that, Negan continues down the line…
Negan’s whistle stops, and starts, tunelessly as he walks on.
The whistle climbs two notes, drops two notes, dies out.
Negan turns away, as if grappling with such a weighty decision…
…laughs at his predicament…
…making a great show of being so undecided.
Then, he turns, as if he has been struck by a sudden inspiration.