Tread carefully. Spoilers abound.
Three episodes into the second half of The Walking Dead‘s sixth season, Abraham’s very pertinent question, “who’s Negan?,” still hasn’t been answered.
In Sunday night’s episode, “Knots Untie,” however, fans were gifted a glimpse into who this mystery villain and his motorcycle-riding followers are through a visit to the Hilltop Colony.
In summary (a more in-depth version of the episode can be found here), Rick and company loaded up the RV with Paul “Jesus” Rovia to check out his settlement. They were very interested to learn that the post-apocalyptic world was home to more survivors, and even more happy to start trading. Rick and company haven’t yet been able grow any food, and their stockpile is thin. Desperation leads to a road trip.
The day turns about how you’d expect, since this is The Walking Dead. There’s a smooth-talking, incompetent leader named Gregory, who tries to “honey” his way out of negotiations with Maggie; Abraham struggles with lady problems; Maggie and Glen see a sonogram of their baby; and shortly after the group arrives, Rick kills a man who stabs Gregory, and ends up covered in the man’s blood.
The attempted murder was an order of Negan’s, who demands half of everything the Hilltop Colony produces. The following deal is thus reached: since we have guns, we’ll kill this “boogeyman” for you, and then our communities can scratch each other’s backs. But first, give us half your stuff.
This is a horrible plan. Of course, The Walking Dead is built from the ashes of horrible plans.
They only guess that Negan’s strength isn’t as formidable as it seems. They must rely on the intel of a stranger in order to pull off an attack. And they just barely licked their wounds after two assaults on their own settlement.
Obviously, this plot choice is typical Walking Dead fare — it’s guaranteed to fail and lead to more bloody conflict, will likely get a beloved character killed (and some people whose names we can’t remember) and cause even more problems in Alexandria. But The Walking Dead needs to keep things interesting.
Nonetheless, here are four, probably much better, options for Rick and company to consider before launching another ill-advised plan (like releasing hundreds of zombies from a quarry).
Take the Hilltop Colony Residents Back To Alexandria
The tour was brief, but the population of this little walled settlement seemed pretty meager. Since Negan relies on the labor and production of the people who live there, simply load them in the RV — heck, strap them to the roof — and get out of there. Of course, take the food and helpful antibiotics, and leave Gregory in his fancy bed. Seeing as there are no phones or email, the getaway wouldn’t likely be noticed until everyone is safe in Alexandria. The Walking Dead writers could surely come up with something to keep it interesting after that point (an attack on Alexandria, a traitor in the midst…)
Leave Them, And Prep A Deadly Negan Defense
Jesus admits that his people aren’t fighters and have no weapons. That’s hard to believe if these people have survived a couple years of the apocalypse, but nonetheless — they’re dead weight. Rick and his group should just say goodbye politely, armed with information, and head back home. Firstly, take another stab at those tomatoes (did they really try?) and then, prep a defense. Negan may not know Alexandria is even there (if Jesus and the others don’t tattle, that is), and if he does, won’t expect them to be ready for his attack. But that plan may be too reasonable and bloodless for The Walking Dead. This is easily solved if Jesus or Gregory rats out Alexandria as a bargaining chip.
Send In One Of The Ladies
This didn’t work so well when Andrea was supposed to kill the Governor after sex, but this is a different time. The women are tougher and more battle-hardened, and more likely to pull the switch. The biggest problem with The Walking Dead‘s current Negan strategy is that (based on the sneak peek of the next episode) it seems to require Alexandria’s strongest members (remember what happened the last time they left?). Instead, send in one brave lady as a spy to sweet-talk her way among Negan’s Saviors, sidle up to the dear leader, and draw a blade across his throat. Problem (probably, maybe) solved. Rosita and Sasha seem the best candidates, and there’s the bonus: it solves Abraham’s love-triangle problem. Revenge following Negan’s death could keep the conflict going.
Poison The Food
Another, pretty un-Walking Dead solution is the simplest and seems quite obvious. Negan and his Saviors rely on the Hilltop Colony for food, so why not lace the cucumbers and corn with a special ingredient — poison? There are many toxic mushrooms sprouting in the zombie-infested woods, just waiting to be plucked and sprinkled on the next delivery, after all. A “Purple Wedding” style feast could follow.
What are your thoughts? Were you satisfied with The Walking Dead’s current Negan-killing plan? Do you have any other ideas?
[Photo Via Gene Page / AMC]