Negan Confronts His Tortured Past

The one fans have been waiting for. The Walking Dead season ten finale, “Here’s Negan”, begins with Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) walking through Alexandria. They sing “You Are My Sunshine” until Maggie sees Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) doing construction work. Carole (Melissa McBride) watches from her window. In the next scene, Carol and Negan are walking in the woods. Carol has caught a rabbit. Negan thanks her for “getting him out of Dodge”, and asks Carol to “try and smooth things over.” Carol leads him to a cabin.

Negan finds all of his belongings inside. Carol admits that Daryl helped her. She tells Negan that the “council has voted to banish him.” He doesn’t believe her and asks if this is just her “seizing the reins.” Carol doesn’t respond. She chuckles and leaves him the rabbit on her way out.

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That night, Negan drinks solemnly by the fire. He sees himself as “Savior Negan”, sitting on a nearby chair holding Lucille. “I told you so,” mocks Savior Negan. He claims to be the true personality of Negan. Savior Negan holds up the barbed wire laced bat, “You’re nothing without her.” Negan throws his glass into the chair.

The next day, Negan returns to the tree where he had his standoff against Rick. He hears Rick’s voice and remembers getting his throat slashed. He flashes back to his cell. He asks Michonne what happened to his bat, “She’s still out there.” Negan digs under the stained glass hanging from the tree. He digs multiple holes until he finally uncovers Lucille.

A caption reads “Twelve Years Earlier”. Negan is tied to a chair and covered in a hood. A biker (Rodney Rowland) removes the hood, while another man opens a cooler. “My wife…she has cancer. She needs it,” begs Negan. The biker scoffs while holding the medical supplies. They drove out to where Negan said he got the medicine from doctors. They were never there. Negan begins to unscrew a bolt under his chair. The biker punches him again. Negan swears the medical clinic was true. He had been tracking them for weeks.

A caption reads “Two Or Three Days Ago”. Negan, holding a pistol, sneaks up on campers in the woods. He screams “drop your guns” to the doctor (Miles Mussenden), but gets knocked out by Laura (Lindsley Register). He wakes up handcuffed in a camper. The doctor gives him microwave noodles. He comments that Negan’s gun was empty. “My wife has cancer,” Negan introduces himself as a high school gym teacher. He had been given a calendar of his wife’s cancer drugs and treatment regime.

A caption reads “Six Week Earlier”. Negan looks outside a boarded up window. He opens a fridge and removes a chemotherapy bag. He changes Lucille’s (Hilarie Burton Morgan) medication as she sits on a couch. She tells him the generator is making too much noise. Negan moves two bags to an ice-filled freezer with a temperature gage. He goes outside and turns off the generator. Walkers claw at the fence.

In the house, mannequin heads have different colored wigs. Negan reads to Lucille, who’s wearing a green wig. He goes back outside to “deal with a walker.” It’s a furious struggle before Lucille comes outside and shoots it in the head. She carried the chemotherapy drip, “Turn back on the generator. I want to watch a movie.”

Negan is seen sucking gasoline from abandoned cars. He returns home with a “stash” of weed to help Lucille’s nausea. He laments that there’s nothing left in the area. Lucille wants to move. They need other people. Negan responds that she only has “three treatments left.” Lucille cries weakly. That night they hold each other as she shivers in bed. He sings to her. A montage plays of her trying on different wigs and Negan treating her. She laughs when he wears a wig.

Negan turns the generator off. They have a candlelight dinner while eating dog food. Lucille, in a purple wig, gives him a present in a bag. It’s the black leather jacket. He thought she returned it. She apologizes for “making such a big deal of it.” He apologizes for “all the pain he put her through.” She wants to “smoke the pot.” They make love. The next morning, they awake to find the freezer dripping water. The ice melted and the drugs were ruined.

A frantic Negan remembers a group of doctors that helped a “kid with leukemia” nearby. He knows where they were going on the map. He packs his backpack to chase them. Lucille has something to tell him.

A caption reads “Seven Months Earlier”. Negan plays video games in the basement. Lucille, holding the black leather jacket and a receipt, yells at him. He spent “$600 dollars on this Happy Days bullsh*t.” He swears he has two leads for a job. She continues that he can’t be a gym teacher anymore with an “assault record.” Lucille swears she’s returning the jacket. She calls her friend Janine and complains about him. She explains that he “beat up a guy who had it coming.”

At dinner, Lucille tells Negan she has an appointment for an MRI and needs him to pick her up. He replies that he has to meet his probation officer. Lucille gets the tragic news from the doctor. When she gets back to her car, she can’t reach Negan. She tries Janine, but gets no response either. Lucille then calls the probation officer and discovers he lied about the meeting. Lucille looks at her phone. She realizes they are having an affair. When she starts her car, the radio warns of the zombie threat.

That night, Lucille waits for Negan with a gun. She shows him the cancer pamphlets. We then flash forward. Negan cries as Lucille tells him she knew of the affair. He broke it off after her diagnosis. Lucille comforts him, “You have more than made up for it, and you can stop.” She wants him to stay, but he refuses. They are “so close”, he will not give up on her. He swears “to find the doctors.”

Back in the medical camper, Negan finishes his story. Laura brings the cooler filled with medicine. They hand him back his empty gun. She also gives him the bat she used to knock him out. Back in the bar, the bikers are tired of hearing his story. They put a gun to his head. He finally relents and shows them where the doctors are on his map. They lock him in the storage room.

Negan is released the next day. They give him back the cooler. As he leaves, he sees the doctor’s camper. He hears Laura screaming from the inside, but rides away. When he returns home, he finds a note on the locked basement door, “Please Don’t Leave Me Like this.” He opens it to find Lucille in bed as a snarling walker. She tied herself to the bed, swallowed all of her pills, and then put a plastic bag over her head. Negan weeps as he approaches with the bat, but he can’t kill her.

“Your Are So Beautiful” plays as Negan removes the plastic bag. The bald, snapping Lucille tries to bite him. He goes outside and cuts down the razor wire from their fence. He wraps it around the bat. Then pours gas all over the house. He looks at Lucille one last time in bed as he starts the fire. He emerges from the flaming house in the black leather jacket and holding his new weapon.

The bikers beat the doctor as he’s tied to a chair. He refuses to talk. They threaten to bring out Laura. Negan savagely beats the guard at the door to death. He shoots another one. The doctor finishes unscrewing the bolt that Negan had loosened earlier on the chair. He frees himself as Negan shoots another biker. The lead biker is knocked over by the doctor. Negan gives him the gun, “Find your daughter, make sure she’s okay.”

Negan props up the bloodied biker. “You know…I never killed a man before tonight,” says Negan as he looks at Lucille. He then tells the story of why he got fired from his job. Negan defended his wife in a bar, but eventually got sued over the attack. He monologues about his raging anger, “I now think I am capable of anything.” Negan beats the biker to death.

In the present, Negan looks at Lucille under the tree. He kills a walker that lunges at him. The barbed wire dripping with blood once more. Back in the cabin, he holds Lucille in front of the fire. He apologizes for not being there for his wife, and “naming a stupid bat after you.” He professes his love for her. Then puts the bat in the fire.

The following day, Negan returns to Alexandria. Carol, Maggie, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are stunned to see him. “What’s the A-team up to?” asks Negan. Carol approaches him. He asks for a cart to bring his stuff back. “If you stay here. She will kill you. I just didn’t want your death on my conscience…and now it’s not,” smiles Carol. “Fair enough,” says Negan as he walks on. Maggie looks at him with pure hatred.

Season ten comes to a decent ending after a pitiful last three episodes of filler. Negan’s character arc feels complete after learning about Lucille’s origin. The coronavirus took the punch out of the Whisperers storyline. The break in filming led to a cobbled together conclusion. Maggie’s return, and Negan’s decision to stay in Alexandria, builds solid tension. We still have no clue what happened to Rick, where Michonne went, and who’s hunting Maggie. There are a lot of loose threads to resolve when The Walking Dead returns for its final season this fall on AMC.

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