I want to like Negan in the way that I like Cyberdyne Systems Model 101. But somehow, even though they both wear cheesy leather jackets and, were it not for taking shit from other people would be bareass naked, the Terminator is still more likable.
Maybe it’s because the Terminator is an actual machine, but the fact that he has one setting (Murder Death Kill) doesn’t bother me. Negan, however, bores me. I get it: he’s a sociopoath and a ruthless killer and shows no mercy and….
[divider type=”space_thin”]We learned nothing new about Negan this episode. There was no nuance added. No backstory offered. He shows up dressed like an extra from The Outsiders carrying Lucille and being ironically shiny and happy while threatening to kill people. Just like he did when his character was revealed. Just like he did in every scene he’s been in since. He’s one dimensional, counting on his charm and bullying to carry him through – and to some extent it does.
The night of the Abraham/Glen batting practice, we see the Grimes group shook. Carl literally told his father to chop off his hand (as Negan commanded Rick to do) because that seemed better than the alternative which was Lucille. Rick had an axe in his hand in the random RV ride and didn’t kill Negan (which is exactly what Negan wanted). We watched the group get their spirit and skulls broken. While I wasn’t in love with the torture porn that was that episode, I know why the writers did it. We’re establishing a new(ish) world order where Rick ain’t even a beta-level leader.
But I guess I stumbled into the Broadway production of The Walking Dead because this week’s episode was just a reprise of that. I must have missed it when half the nation stood up and screamed “Encore, do you want more?” Because I didn’t. This was 90 minutes of Rick doing exactly what Rick did in the season opener which can best be summed up as this look:
… and Daryl did exactly what he did in last week’s episode. He’s imprisoned and is being dehumanized (some more) and looked like this the entire last two episodes:
Speaking of last week’s episode, Dwight’s actions didn’t reflect any of the humanity we got from him last week; what little of his softer side that was revealed was, once again, veiled. And, this, I can see as contributing to some ongoing subplot that (please, god) ends in Negan’s death. But Dwight was more than just compliant this week, he was just a straight creeper in every interaction he had with Rosita which undermines the hard sell from last week in which his ex-wife’s continuing sexual enslavement was forefronted to highlight Dwight’s total submission to Negan. Nope, he’s still an asshole and her story still shouldn’t just be about him and his super special feelings [looks at coldly White Feminists (TM)].
Since we’re on the topic of forgettable episodes, why no one in Alexandria mentioning Carol or Morgan? Does anyone other than Rick realize they’re gone? Does anyone care? Nope? Yeah, me neither.
Back to “Service,” maybe it’s because I watched this 90 minute episode more than once, maybe I’m just still in a bad mood (and likely will be until at least 2020), but after I got over my initial boredom with Negan, I started to get angry – truly angry – at the episode. Are we really trying to sell Rick’s submission as a kind of noble strength? Maaaaaaaaan, please. Nope. No. Nah. Not here for it. Not this week. Not after Tuesday.
So we can maybe skip how Negan’s dominance game is on point (I mean, it should be; it is literally all he does).
When Rick submits to the reign of terror that will be Negan, we’re supposed to sympathize with him.
Rick is a leader. Rick can’t be anything other than a leader. That is a heavy burden to bear. But it is also not just for the convenient times. Now, when the Alexandrians need him, he’s chafing because of fear. Valid fear. Fear that he may die. Fear that his son may die. Fear that his daughter may die. Fear that his love may die. Fear that his few remaining friends may die. And by “die”, I obviously mean be killed.
But the risk of willingly submitting to oppression in the name of order and surviving is so much greater than the risk of death in service of one’s own freedom.
His answer? “This is how we live now.” Nope, Rick, it isn’t. It doesn’t have to be.
This sociopathic, narcissistic waste of air is trusting that you will be so demoralized that you won’t fight back. That you’ll think: this is the new world order, that the die has been cast, it’s over and there’s no use in fighting.
Because it’s so much easier to defeat someone who believes that the fight is already lost.
it’s not. I know it’s not because my friends and loved ones are already mobilizing, already calling (in addition to emailing, tweeting, and writing letters) to their representative to fight back against one of the worst mistakes our country has ever made.
So I want to say that this wasn’t the perfect visual equivalent for how I felt on Wednesday, but you know it was:
They lit the country on fire out of spite, fear, and archaic racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, islamophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric. But fuck if I’m gonna be Rick. Because I know who Rick voted for.
Oppressive forces expect us to concede to a worldview that states that they are inherently and essentially better than us, but I’m not with that.
I’m in Camp Carl (a sentence I thought I’d honestly never say with a sincerity).
Carl had to be convinced by his defeated father to give in. But what if he hadn’t listened to reason? What if had shown that pompous and erratic man how dangerous he really was? I’ve been told a few times this week that protesting isn’t an answer, that change never comes from anything besides peaceful and respectful attempts at convincing a man with his heel on your neck that you’re human. People are once again out here quoting MLK like he wasn’t shot. Nah, fuck that; fight back.
I won’t waste your time by showing you how black women showed up for the country this week because you already know. I will say that I’ve always been on Team Michonne, but now more than ever.
She’s scared. She saw Abraham die. She saw Glenn die. She saw Maggie feverish with grief and pregnancy complications. But she is early to rise to practice sharpshooting because she knows what’s coming and she’s going to teach herself how to fight it. It’s not ideal, but it’s what’s she left with. It’s what she can reasonably do in the face of a problem this large and unwieldy.
And then there Rosita, an oft underused character. This week, she not only endures Dwight’s creepy close-talking, retrieves Daryl’s motorcycles, kills zombies in order to get her hands on the last possible gun, but then she trolls the shit out of Dwight
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’m angry. I want to say I’m disappointed but I knew my racist ass neighbors wasn’t shit before. Tuesday just let them say it out loud. I keep circling the idea of fighting and what that means for me. What that might mean or look like for my friends. Somehow I know that it requires this kind of resourcefulness, this kind of dogged persistence not only in the face of those who actively hate me and my kind but those well-intentioned but tone deaf who think they’re on my side. I’m already tired, but then I think of this and I know that tired doesn’t let me off the hook. Now I figure out how to make me a bullet.
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