'The Walking Dead': How Will Rick and Negan Resolve Their Differences in The Mid-Season Finale?
Spoilers for the latest episodes of The Walking Dead follow.
The latest episode of The Walking Dead, "Sing Me A Song" was quite memorable in the least. Between seeing Negan exhibit some humanity towards an unexpected guest and Negan using a hot iron to burn one of the Saviors' face, there were several instances of The Walking Dead comics being mirrored on-screen in "Sing Me A Song". Apart from Negan's outlandish mannerisms in tonight's episode, it was his interactions with Carl that were of more interest.
How will Carl's meeting with Negan play out?
The last time we saw Carl was in Episode 6 "Swear", where he and Jesus were riding together in the back of a Saviors' van. The two have different reasons for being in the back of Negan's van but Carl is in the van to make an attempt on Negan's life. Carl has had enough of Negan's dictatorship and has decided to act on his own. He believes he can put an end to Negan so that the rest of his group will be able to survive in peace. However, Carl isn't prepared for the reception he'll be given by Negan. Carl assumes his mission is a one way trip to kill Negan and that the mission will end with his death but Carl isn't acknowledging the kind of sway Negan has over people, which will ultimately result in Negan disarming Carl and touring him around the Saviors' compound, the Sanctuary
In the comics, when Negan finds out that Carl has snuck into the Sanctuary, Negan chooses not to punish him despite Carl killing several of the Saviors. Negan is able to get Carl to hand over the gun and then leads Carl around the Sanctuary. While there, Negan introduces Carl to his harem of women, as well as the hot iron he uses to punish his Saviors. To cap off the tour, Negan demands that Carl sing a song to the rest of the Saviors in recompense for the Saviors that Carl killed but not before Negan does something to make Carl regret ever journeying out to Negan's Sanctuary.
Negan makes Carl show him his empty eye socket.
Before Carl is made to sing for the Saviors, Negan asks to see the empty socket where Carl's missing eye is. Carl is quite hesitant to remove the bandages but he does, per Negan's request. Once Carl has the bandage from over his eye taken off, Negan begins spouting off insensitive comments towards how grotesque Carl's eye hole is. At that point, the strong minded Carl breaks down in front of Negan. He begins crying hysterically when Negan asks to touch the empty eye socket but he quickly consoles Carl by excusing himself for his own careless comments.
Keeping the events of the comics in mind, the latest episode of The Walking Dead played out in a similar fashion. Between Negan touring Carl around the Sanctuary and causing Carl to break his mental reserve, "Sing Me A Song" was quite similar to Issue #105 of The Walking Dead comics. The episode was arguably a mirror image of what took place between Negan and Carl when they met in the comics since the episode depicted Carl breaking into the Sanctuary, Negan making Carl cry, as well as having Carl "sing a song" as compensation for the lives he took when he arrived at Sanctuary.
Regardless of what took place in "Sing Me A Song", Rick is still out on a run but when he gets back to Alexandria, he'll be welcomed by Negan holding baby Judith with Carl accompanying them both. For Rick, it'll be quite a terrifying sight to see so his reaction is very unpredictable at the moment.
Do the comics foreshadow how Rick will respond to news of Carl going missing?
In the comics, Negan returns Carl to Rick unharmed. Once Negan is done talking to Carl at the Sanctuary, he begins driving Carl back to Alexandria when Negan and his men are met by Rick and others from the Alexandria community on the way there. Rick immediately jumps to the conclusion of Negan doing something horrible to Carl when Negan makes half of a statement towards Carl's well-being, which throws Rick into an uncontrollable rage.
Rick responds by headbutting Negan, then demands to know where Carl is. While this commotion is going on, the Saviors accompanying Negan are preparing to open fire on Rick when Negan commands them not to. Negan responds to Rick trying to take him down by choking Rick out. The fight is then broken up when Carl jumps out of the back of Negan's van. Rick and Carl are then safely reunited despite Rick having an extremely emotional outburst against Negan. The scene ends happily in the comics but that doesn't mean the confrontation between Negan and Rick will conclude as amicably on The Walking Dead television series.
If you recall Negan's introduction to Rick's group at the beginning of the season, he made one thing very clear: he doesn't tolerate emotional outbursts. After Daryl struck Negan for antagonizing Rosita over killing Abraham, Negan responded by taking Glenn's life.
When we consider how Negan's standpoint probably hasn't changed since then, the instant Rick strikes him, it could ultimately result in another member of Rick's group being executed by Negan. And what better way to end the mid-season finale than to see another member of Rick's group killed due to Rick's careless actions.
Could the reunion between Rick and Carl end differently than it did in the comics?
Despite the scene ending peacefully in the comics, the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead could depict the same scene where Rick confronts Negan but the scene will probably differ from the comics' interpretation in terms of everyone surviving the encounter.
As to who the next victim could be is undetermined at the moment so anyone alongside Rick could wind up a casualty. Although, Negan could decide to kill Carl after seeing how Rick responds to him bringing Carl back unharmed. That in itself would be a great way to cap off the first half of Season 7. Another plausible conclusion could see Negan either killing or taking Rick's daughter, Judith captive. And the promo for next week's episode seems to hint at Rick losing one or both of his children, evident by the tears covering his face.
What do you think will take place between Negan and Rick when Rick returns from his trip?