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After that brutal Season 7 premiere, the rest of the season has sped by, and “Sing Me a Song” — featuring some iconic moments between Car...

‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: We Are… the Saviors “Sing Me a Song”

After that brutal Season 7 premiere, the rest of the season has sped by, and “Sing Me a Song” — featuring some iconic moments between Carl and Negan that are ripped right from today’s headlines, er, 2012’s comics — leads us right into next week’s midseason finale. Here’s where Rick’s group members are, what they’re planning, and hints about who that midseason ender might go very, very badly for.

Carl and Negan
Carl and Jesus are both stowaways on that Savior supply truck headed towards the Sanctuary, and when they’re close to the Saviors’ home base, Jesus suggests jumping out and trailing them the rest of the way. Carl tells him to show him how first, and when Jesus jumps out, Carl stays in the truck and waves at Jesus as it continues to drive away. Carl really wants to kill him some Negan.

And he gets a chance; when the truck pulls inside the base, Carl sees the staked walkers surrounding the place, then selects a weapon — a big ol’ machine gun — from the stash the Saviors took from the Hilltop. He suddenly hears Negan’s voice outside the truck, just as one of the Saviors spots Carl inside. Carl shoots and kills him, then edges out of the truck and tells everyone to drop their weapons. “I only want Negan,” he says. “He killed my friends. No one else needs to die.”

Negan hears the commotion and comes over to investigate. “Damn! You are adorable,” he tells gun-totin’ Carl. “Did you pick that gun ‘cuz it looks cool? Kid, I ain’t gonna lie. You scare the shit out of me!”

Carl shoots another Savior, and Dwight tackles him from the side and knocks him to the ground. Daryl, who’s still attired in his sad A sweatsuit and who is working in the walker yard, comes over and realizes Carl is the one at the center of the ruckus. Negan offers Carl a hand to help him up, telling him he wants to show him around. Carl just looks at him, prompting Negan to tell him he does “the same damn stink eye as your dad, except it’s only half as good, because, you know…”

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Joshua Hoover as Fat Joey  (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Negan’s now ticked Carl won’t take his hand, and tells him he’s lucky he still has it, like his buddy Daryl, who’s still looking on. Negan warns Daryl his job fending off the staked walkers would be more difficult with only one arm, and getting the implicit threat, Carl takes his hand and Negan tells Dwight to take Daryl off to prep a snack for him. Negan laments that he’s not even going to have time to “screw any of my wives today,” though says he’ll make time for one, and looks directly at Dwight.

Carl asks what Negan has planned for him.

“Number one, do not shatter my image of you. You’re a badass. You’re not scared of s–t, don’t be scared of me, it’s a disappointment,” Negan says, in one of the character’s rants that is taken directly from the comic book. “Number two, you really want me to ruin the surprise? Screw you, kid. Seriously, screw you.” Negan takes Carl into the Sanctuary and whispers, “Check this out.”

Negan walks to a railing, and a large crowd of Saviors below dropped to a kneeling position. “The Saviors have gone out into the world and fought the dead and come back with some really good stuff,” he tells his people. “Some of that stuff can be yours if you work hard and play by the rules.” He tells them they’re all getting fresh veggies for dinner, no points necessary, and they clap.

“You see that? Respect! Cool, huh?” Negan says to a clearly impressed Carl. Which is nothing compared to Carl’s reaction when Negan takes him into the room where all his wives are hanging out. “Every woman here dresses like they do the books at an auto shop,” he quips to Carl about the short, tight, sleeveless dresses the women are wearing. He tells Carl to look at their breasts, that they won’t mind.

Taking a brief break from that creepiness, Negan calls Sherry — Dwight’s ex who appears to be Negan’s preferred apocalyptic wife — over for a private conversation. He asks her what happened with Mark and Amber. She refuses to answer at first, but then tells him Amber made a mistake, and that he should go easy on her.

“I ever hit one of you?” Negan asks.

“No,” Sherry says, “but I know you. There’s worse.”

Negan puts a bottle of beer in Carl’s hand, then chats with Amber. He reminds her she could reunite with Mark, and give up her life as one of his wives, which would mean returning to her old job. He doesn’t specify what that is, but the thought of it is enough to make her cry, apologize for “cheating” on him with Mark, and tell him, “I love you, Negan.”

“Of course you do, darlin’,” he says. “I don’t know why you’re crying… it’s all going to work out aces for you.”

Negan then tells Sherry to get Dr. Carson, and she calls him an asshole. “I know!” he tells her. “But the messed up thing is, you like me anyway. You know the truth, just like me.” The two kiss, a deep, passionate kiss that Sherry is into. Just then Dwight and Daryl walk in, bringing the food Negan ordered. Negan carries on with the kiss, aware Dwight is watching.

Photo: AMC

Negan comes over and picks up a piece of food from the tray with a toothpick, and Daryl speaks for the first time, asking why Negan has Carl there. Negan tells him it’s none of his business, and threatens to put the toothpick through Carl’s only remaining eye. Daryl’s ordered to go mop, and Negan tells Dwight to fire up the furnace. “Time for a little déjà vu,” he further taunts “Dwightie Boy.”

While Dwight’s readying the punishment tools, Negan takes Carl to his bedroom, telling him he wants to get to know him better. Carl asks if all those women are really his wives. “I always wanted to screw a whole bunch of different women,” Negan proudly explains. “Why settle for just one? Why follow the same old roles? Why not make life better?”

Related: ‘The Walking Dead’ Star Jeffrey Dean Morgan Says Some Fans Are ‘Oddly Sexually Attracted to Negan

He tells Carl he knows how smart he is, that he was ambitious enough to come after Negan. But he’s also smart enough to know Negan can’t let him get away with killing two of his men. Then he switches tactics, ordering Carl to unwrap the bandage around his eye wound. Carl refuses. “Do you really wanna piss me off?” Negan warns. Carl, now visibly rattled, removes the bandage to reveal an empty eye socket. “Christ! That’s disgusting,” Negan yells at the teen. “No wonder you cover that up!

“Have you seen it?” he continues. “Have you looked in the mirror? That is gross as hell. I can see your socket.”

Carl’s crying now, and Negan tells him it’s easy to forget he’s just a kid. He says he didn’t mean to hurt Carl’s feelings. Fat Joey comes in at this point to bring Lucille to Negan. He forgot his trademark weapon outside, and after making a foul joke about the bat and female genitalia, he dismisses Joey and tries to play the nice half of his head games with Carl. “You look rad as hell,” Negan says. “I wouldn’t cover that shit up. It may not be a hit with the ladies, but I swear to you, no one is going to screw with you looking like that, no sir!”

He tells Carl he’s been busting balls, something Rick should be teaching Carl about. Then he switches to Bad Negan again, and tells Carl he wants him to sing a song. “You mowed down two of my men with a machine gun… I want something in return for that,” Negan orders. “Sing me a song.”

Carl says he doesn’t know any, but Negan tells him to sing something his mom used to sing it him, or something he heard while in the car with his dad. And as Negan stands up and begins swinging Lucille around the room, Carl tearfully begins to sing “You Are My Sunshine.” Lucille likes that, Negan reports. “It’s the only thing she lives more than bashing in brains.”

Negan asks Carl about Lori, where she is now. When Carl’s silence offers an answer, Negan asks what happened to her. Carl says he’s the one who shot her. Negan: “Damn, no wonder you’re a little serial killer in the making.”

He tells Carl that was an example of breaking balls, by the way, and tells him they’re going somewhere else, because “it” should be ready.

The iron, he means. When he and Carl join the Saviors — and Daryl — kneeling around the furnace, Carl sees a man, Mark, tied to a chair. Negan tells everyone what is about to happen will be hard to watch, and he wishes he didn’t have to do it, but he does. “Why?” he asks of his people.

Photo: AMC

“The rules keep us alive!” they all shout in unison back at him.

“We survive. We provide security to others. We bring civilization back to this world,” Negan says. “We are… the Saviors. But we can’t do that without rules. Rules are what make it all work.”

Daryl and Dwight look at each other, with Daryl realizing what had happened to Dwight after he and Sherry stole Daryl’s motorcycle.

Dwight passes off the hot iron to Negan, who puts it against the side of Mark’s face, near his eye. Mark screams, and soon mercifully passes out from the pain. Negan makes fun of Mark for wetting himself, and orders Daryl to mop up the mess. He calls Mark the P-word (the word that is used way too often in primetime, just sayin’) for passing out, but says everything is square now. He reminds his people that this is a lesson about following the rules, and tells Carl they need to go figure out what to do with him.

The two head back to Negan’s room, where he demands Carl not redress his eye yet. But Carl’s regained his composure and his sass. He tells Negan he doesn’t think he’s going to do anything to him, not punish him at all for killing his men. “If you knew us, if you knew anything, you would kill us,” Carl says. “But you can’t.” Negan says maybe he’s right, and puts Carl behind the wheel of a supply truck. Daryl’s nearby, and Negan tells him he seemed worried about Carl, so he’s taking him home. “If you do anything to him…” Daryl starts, and Negan yells for Dwight to give Daryl a time out in his box. As Daryl walks by the back of the truck, he looks up, where Jesus is hiding out on top. When Carl pulls the truck away, Jesus is gone.

Photo: AMC
When Negan’s truck and another Savior supply truck reach Alexandria, Negan knocks on Rick’s door. Olivia answers and is terrified to see who’s on the other side. He walks in, with Carl, and when she tells him Rick is out on a supply run, because they’re practically starving, Negan cruelly mocks her, aiming the jab at her weight. She turns and starts crying, and Negan tells Carl, “You people really don’t have a sense of humor.”

He turns back to Olivia then, apologizing for being rude to her. Since they have some time to pass before Rick returns, he says, “If you’d like, I think it would be enjoyable to screw your brains out. If you’re agreeable to it.”

Olivia is not. And she slaps him, hard, across the face. He’s rattled, briefly, but then smiles and tells her, “I am about 50 percent more into you now.” He asks her to be a lamb and make he and Carl some lemonade, and orders Carl to give him a tour of Casa Grimes in the meantime. In Carl’s room, Negan takes off his shoes and wiggles his toes in the carpet. And then he heads for a closed door, and Carl’s too late to stop him. It’s Judith’s room… Judith, the baby Negan knew nothing about, until now. He picks her up from her crib; “Look at this little angel.”

Outside on the front porch with Carl by his side and Judith on his lap, Negan tells Carl he was thinking about what Carl said earlier. “Maybe it is stupid keeping you and your dad alive. I mean, why am I trying so hard?” he says. “Maybe I should just bury you both down in one of those flower beds… and I could settle into the suburbs.”

He seals his thoughts with a kiss to Judith’s head.

Remember when Michonne told Carl she needed to think about some thangs before she decided if she could be fully onboard with Rick’s plan to go along with Negan’s demands? And remember when she told Rick she had not hidden any additional guns? Lies, all lies. Her big plan was to walk along the road she knows the Saviors drive on (i.e. the road where she saw they had dumped and burned the mattresses they took from Alexandria — nice callback), whistle to draw walkers from the woods, kill them, and pile up their bodies to build a barricade across the road.

When one of the Savior women, Isabelle, is forced to stop because of the little wall of walkers, Michonne pops up and puts her katana to Isabelle’s head, and tells her, “Take me to Negan.” They get into Isabelle’s truck, and she starts to drive, slams on the brakes and tries to wrest away the gun Michonne’s now holding on her, but Michonne regains control, cocks the gun, and repeats, “Take me to Negan.”

Has Negan pushed Dwight too far? Whether it was seeing Negan and Sherry make out, having to prepare the iron that did to Mark what Negan did to his own face after he and Sherry ran off, or simply coming to believe there can be a resistance to Negan’s way, Dwight appears to have had enough. When he and Sherry meet up in the stairwell to share a cigarette, he lets her know he knows she gave up Mark and Amber. He tells her he can’t sleep, being one of Negan’s minions. She says they made their deal with Negan, and that it was only supposed to affect them. “If you’re still standing, it’s always on someone else’s back,” he tells her.

Later, when Daryl is back in his box, a piece of paper is slipped under the door to him. It has a key taped to it, and the words “GO NOW” are scrawled on it. Dwight’s handiwork?

Rosita and Eugene
Rosita’s dragging Eugene off on a secret mission: to that bullet factory he and Abraham visited, so Eugene can fashion a bullet for the gun no one else but the two of them know she has. Once there, Eugene tries to get her to “slow your roll,” pointing out to her how dangerous, and suicidal, her plan to kill Negan could be. She tells him she’s willing to pay the price to make him pay for killing Abe, but Eugene points out that they’ve seen that the Saviors’ punishment isn’t always aimed at the one who ticks them off. Besides, he tells her, “It doesn’t matter if you’re stealthy, snipey, gun or knifey… Abraham was right, they have the numbers.”

That just angers her, and Rosita gets nasty with Eugene. “You don’t know anything. You don’t do anything,” she tells him. “You’re a coward, and you’re weak. The only reason you’re alive is because you lied and because people feel sorry for you. So for once, do something useful, and make me a bullet.” He does.

Later, Rosita thanks him, and apologizes for what she says, but Eugene rejects it, calling it insincere. “You meant it, you felt it, that’s your truth,” he tells her. “I’d like to take it back to awkward silence now.”

Austin Nichols as Spencer Monroe  (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Spencer tells Rosita they have to go scavenge goodies for Negan; it’s like paying taxes he says. He even tells her he thinks he could do better than Rick, and he and Father Gabriel set off in a car to bring back some of that tax payment Negan’s expecting during his next visit.

Rick’s threats and the fact that Spencer has whipped himself into a grudge against Rick for the death of his family leads him to ask Gabriel if it’s a sin to hate someone. Because he hates Rick. Gabriel, who certainly went through his own anti-Ricktatorship phase, defends his friend. “He didn’t just keep people alive,” he tells Spencer. “He brought us all together… he’s not perfect, but he’s a man who finds his way.”

Spencer’s having none of it. “Maybe the only good thing that could happen to us now is [Rick] never makes it back,” he tells Gabriel. Who isn’t having any of that. He makes Spencer stop the car, as he’s returning home. “What you’re saying doesn’t make you a sinner,” he tells Spencer. “But it does make you a tremendous s–t. For now. It doesn’t have to be terminal.”

Spencer continues on his mission, and finds a walker standing on a platform up in a tree in the woods. The walker has a bow, so Spencer uses rope to rig a system to knock the walker and the bow down. He gets it, and when he searches the walker’s pockets, he finds a note, written in Latin.

When we next see Spencer, he’s pulling into Alexandria with a car full supplies: food, water purifiers, all kinds of goodies. He runs into the returning Eugene and Rosita and explains he found a note that detailed, in Latin, directions to some guy’s hidden stash. He’s going to give it to Negan, he tells Rosita, and “I’m gonna do more than that.” Spencer has a plan… that can’t be good for anyone, probably for Spencer least of all, especially when they all see the Saviors’ trucks and note that Negan has returned to Alexandria as threatened.

Photo: AMC

Rick and Aaron
Rick and Aaron wake up in the back of a supply truck, determined to find some preparations for the next time Negan comes banging on the gates of Alexandria. “We have today, and only today, to find something,” Rick says. “They could be back by tomorrow. They could be back now.”

The two stumble upon an area protected by a wooden gate with a sign that warns them: “Keep going. Only thing here for you is trouble.” They do keep going, onto the forbidden property, where they get to another sign. “The only way that you have possibly read this far without being shot is that I am dead,” it reads. It also indicated there is food, ammo, and other supplies nearby, and as they walk further, they see where the supplies are: on a floating structure in the middle of a lake that is stocked with live walkers. There is a rowboat in the water, but…

“Today, and only today, right?” Aaron says

So, to recap our recap: Carl has survived killing two of Negan’s men, but has brought the enemy to his doorstep, and more frighteningly, to his baby sister; Rick and Aaron may have found a big cache of supplies, but are currently away from home when Negan is sitting on Rick’s front porch with Carl and Judith; Daryl has been given the key to his escape from the Sanctuary, while Michonne is headed to the Saviors’ lair; Rosita has a gun, but has cruelly dismissed Eugene’s good advice; and Spencer has supplies, but an unfortunate sense that he could be a better leader than Rick… All of that should make for an eventful midseason finale.

Zombie Bites:

* Michonne whistling “The Farmer in the Dell” to lure out her road hurdle walkers had to be an homage to Omar Little, given what self-professed fans of The Wire Robert Kirkman and other TWD writers — who’ve already cast three Wire alums on the show — are.

* There is so little to like about Spencer, but it is nice that he finally appreciates how great his mom, Deanna, was. An especially touching callback in this ep: he says taking Latin in school was a pain in the butt, but she told him at the time it was a pain that would be useful to him someday. Clearly, it was. It’s also the message Deana wrote, in Latin, in Season 6’s “Now.” “Dolor hic tibi proderit olim,” she penned on her plans for Alexandria’s expansion, which literally translates to “This pain will be useful to you.”

* Much of the great Carl/Negan interaction in the episode is taken directly from issue 105 of TWD comic book, which was published in December 2012.

* Without delving into spoilers, fans really anxious to get more of Negan’s backstory may want to check out the “Here’s Negan” comic in Image Plus magazine. We learn why he adapted his irreverent, funny guy ‘tude, and how Carl is not the first impressionable young man he’s shared his philosophies about women with.

— The walker from the platform in the tree, the one who appeared to be staking out something, the one whose bow and supply note Spencer snagged … do we think he might be the same guy who owns the supplies Rick and Aaron found at the lake?

* Where’s Jesus? Daryl spotted him on top of the supply truck Negan was in, but then he was missing when the truck pulled away… did he slip into the back? Or under the truck? In other words, are his much-needed skills heading to Alexandria, or stuck behind at the Sanctuary for the midseason finale showdown in Alexandria?

* Janis Martin’s “Bang Bang” is the song playing during Negan’s tour of Rick’s house.

O.K., Dead-heads, let’s hear your reactions to “Sing Me a Song”: Father Gabriel tells Spencer his current creepiness against Rick doesn’t have to be terminal creepiness, but anyone else not laying down big odds of Spencer making it out of Season 7 — maybe even the next episode — alive? Was that key slipped to Daryl in his box the literal key to his escape, or a trick? What will Michonne do at the Sanctuary? Will Rick and Aaron come back with supplies, and will they make it back before Negan wraps Lucille around the head of any other Alexandrians?