Did you forget Negan was in charge?
Probably not, but the leader of the Saviors made sure Rick and his crew didn’t forget by making a personal visit to Alexandria on The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 4.
And this was a tense 90-minute episode that flew by in gripping fashion.
It’s usually pretty fun to get a little extra time added to an episode, meaning more of the series’ particular world and more time with the characters.
But The Walking Dead has used the 90-minute episode before, and its last two times (The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 4 and The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16) didn’t need the extra minutes. They probably would have worked just fine with the regular run time.
I can’t say that this particular episode required more time either, but it never really dragged, leaving the audience in suspense as to what was going to happen during Negan’s tour of Alexandria.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan continued to be the standout as Negan. He’s delivered The Walking Dead’s most terrifying villain. The character loves to talk, and he loves his power over others, especially in someone like Rick.
Making Rick carry the bat that killed his friends? Demanding Rick hand over whatever he wants to take? Gloating about how he probably could have hooked up with Maggie despite killing her husband?
This is one nasty dude. And he loves every second of being the guy in control, of emotionally toying with those beneath him.
But we’ve seen him backup his talk, too.
So when Olivia’s life was on the line over the missing guns, I wasn’t sure if she would survive. Sure, she’s an ancillary character to the likes of Rick and the main crew, so it was a stronger possibility for her to die than say someone like Carl, but the events of The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 1 made her being punished seem very likely.
There’s that feeling that pretty much any character might get it, save a few exceptions, of course.
I even thought that after Negan learned who was hiding the guns that he might force Rick to use the bat on Spencer to teach him a lesson.
It’s tough watching the once-fearless leader following orders. Sure, there were those moments where the episode wanted you to think Rick might take that bat to Negan’s head, but I was sure it wasn’t going to happen.
Rick’s been broken down to the point where he’s willing to do whatever it takes to survive and keep everyone else alive. If that means giving all the guns (and I even thought Rick might have hidden some, so I’m glad that was brought up as well), then he’s willing to do so.
And I liked his speech to Michonne about Shane, about acceptance, even if I wish that wasn’t the route Rick would take. We want him to stand up and fight back (the Kingdom might just be the place to help in that area), but for now, he just can’t do that.
Andrew Lincoln also has done a phenomenal job as Rick, especially in showing those emotions, those fears, those hints of anger and frustration. And it probably helps that he can play off Jeffery Dean Morgan, who really brings that charisma and fright during their scenes.
There are some real fireworks of intensity and tension between those two, even with Negan in the driver’s seat of power.
And Negan’s final words to Rick before leaving? Man, if that wasn’t a verbal smack in the face.
In case you haven't caught on, I just slipped my dick down your throat, and you thanked me for it.Negan
You just want Rick to step up and fight back. When that time comes, and hopefully it will, it will be such a sweet moment.
It also was good to see the effect Negan has had on everyone and to the varying degrees. Rosita was willing to risk her life for a gun without bullets (cue Eugene), and Michonne refused to accept the new world order of Negan. Even Spencer, who wasn’t at the murder of Glenn and Abraham, was dealing with this new leader in his own way.
It was even tough to watch Daryl be relatively subservient, despite his statements at the end of The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 3. You wanted him to plead his case, to rejoin the others, and yet he wouldn’t. Someone needs to break him out of the hell he is in at Negan’s place.
And while Dwight showed more to his character on The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 3, he was just a vile guy in Alexandria. I definitely didn’t feel the same empathy for him during this particular episode.
But I can’t help but wonder why everyone wouldn’t just pack up and go to a new location, a new state far away from Negan. I know it would be a tough journey, and Negan would likely be on their tail for part of it, but Rick and company have traveled before. They’ve lived on the road.
Is that really not a viable option? To run? There’s got to be another place like Alexandria elsewhere, far away from Negan’s domain, right?
I know that’s not going to happen, so I’m interested to see how the characters do adapt to living under Negan's order. Plus, how will their interactions be with the other communities in the area?
Thankfully, no was killed off on “Service,” but the tension and possibility felt high. This was an engaging episode that further illustrated the power the Saviors have and how Rick and the survivors are dealing with it. And with such a captivating character in the despicable Negan, I’m looking forward to seeing what steps the survivors take to undermine or even rebel against the new “boss.”
Though, I definitely foresee there being some deadly consequences for future choices…
What did you think of Negan's visit? Do you agree with Rick's decision about the guns? Sound off below, and watch The Walking Dead online at TV Fanatic!
NOTE: The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 5, "Go Getters," airs Nov. 20 at 9 p.m.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.