Major spoilers from Sunday night's (November 13) episode of "The Walking Dead," "Service," lie ahead.
When "The Walking Dead" filmed "Service" months ago, they couldn't have known that, days before its air date, things would happen in the United States that would make the episode — which featured Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) arriving in Alexandria as its new, unwelcome, super-macho tyrannical ruler — hit just a little too close to home.
As Negan's insufferable, abusive, baby-man inner circle tore through Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) tight-knit community and ruined everything they'd built together — as Negan made jokes about sliding his dick down Rick's throat and threatened to rape Maggie — it was hard not to dwell on the fact that, for the first time ever, the horrors on "Dead" were beginning to mimic the horrors of real life:
So lest we dwell on Negan's holy reign of terror too much and get even more depressed, let's just break it down into six major things we learned before digging in to the night's major twist.
1) Negan emasculated Rick by forcing him to carry Lucille while he robbed Alexandria blind; even going so far as to burn their mattresses so they have nowhere to sleep.
2) Rick lied to Negan about Maggie being dead; she's actually hiding safely (for now) at the Hilltop Colony with Sasha. This will undoubtedly lead to major issues down the line.
3) Michonne, and especially Rosita, seem to already be sowing the seeds for rebellion against Negan. The latter is hiding guns and relying on Eugene to make bullets, while the former just seemed really fucking pissed off (as opposed to Rick, who is beaten) at Negan's mattress-burning antics.
4) Daryl is a shell of his former self, but he still won't kneel to Negan.
5) Negan, like the rest of us, thinks Father Gabriel is creepy as shit.
6) Deanna's remaining son/Rosita's current boy-toy, Spencer, is openly trying to step to Rick and will inevitably die very soon.
The big moment of truth, however, had nothing to do with Negan — instead, it came when Rick revealed to Michonne the secret of Judith's parentage.
For years, "Walking Dead" fans have speculated that Rick's daughter with his dead wife Lori, Judith, isn't so much "his" daughter as his also-dead former best friend's, Shane (Jon Bernthal).
Rick never acknowledged this on the show until last night, when he told Michonne in a moment of desperation — he was acquiescing to Negan because he couldn't handle losing another person; especially Shane's daughter.
"I know Judith isn't mine, I know it," Rick said. "I love her, she's my daughter, but she isn't mine. I had to accept that, I did, so I could keep her alive. I'll die before she does so, I hope, I can raise her and protect her and teach her how to survive."
I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready for "Walking Dead" to move PAST the Negan abuse phase and straight into action.
As I've said before, the show has thus far done a terrible job introducing Negan as a flesh-and-blood, nuanced villain. On the plus side, "Service" did make me realize why Negan's Saviors hadn't killed him after last week's installment, "The Cell," made it seem like all of his men truly hated him — we just hadn't met the truly vicious, hyper-masculine terrible ones yet.
(ASIDE: The episode also did Dwight a major disservice by turning him back into a cartoon villain one calendar week after adding some depth to the character, but who am I to expect consistency from the show that made Carol stop killing people last season?)
On the minus side, walking Negan monologue through at least half of yet-another episode was borderline unbearable. The show is going to have to do some major work, pronto, if they want fans to buy Negan as a real dude and not a giant, bat-swinging plot device ... and if they don't, here's to hoping Rosita (who is finally a character, yay!) gets her hands on those bullets sooner rather than later. The act is getting old.