ALL CROPS: Chandler Riggs as Carl GrimesThe Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 7; 656204925 Josh McDermitt
Credit: Gene Page/AMC; Todd Williamson/Getty Images

“Sing Me a Song,” the latest episode of The Walking Dead, has so much packed in that is pulled straight from the comics, it might be in my top five favorite episodes of the series.

Carl (Chandler Riggs) is captured by the Saviors after killing two of them with an assault rifle while trying to kill Negan. I felt like Carl could’ve pulled the trigger and mowed down Negan. He didn’t; he’s a kid. He himself probably would have died had he tried that route. Maybe he didn’t want to die since things just got more serious with Enid (Katelyn Nacon) back home? “Yo girl, Imma go kill Negan right now. I’ll be back later to make awkward conversation, so, I dunno, maybe we can hold hands or I dunno what you’re doing later but maybe suck face again? I dunno.” That’s how I imagine Carl spits game.

And, honestly, I’m surprised Carl was able to kill two Saviors as he only has one eyeball. We saw him playing darts. His aim is terrible and that dartboard wasn’t trying to kill him!

The Carl and Negan stuff is ripped straight from the comics. This is such a great storyline. “What are you going to do to me?” “Don’t shatter my image of you. You’re a badass…” —Negan… always gives you a reason to like him. He’s so charismatic.

Negan takes Carl into the Sanctuary and looks over the crowd of people bowing down to him. I kept getting the sense that Negan basically was saying, “All this could be yours,” kind of like in the Bible when Satan showed Jesus (Not Tom Payne) all the kingdoms and their splendor and said it could all be his. I wanted Carl to say, “Away from me, Satan!” but he didn’t. His teenage angst is running so hot right now that he’s silenced.

Negan is like a bully that has a new friend come over. “Here, come look at all my cool toys. But you get to watch me play with them…” And after watching Negan with his six wives (SIX!!!!), we see Negan and Carl retire to his chamber. Negan is living great. What a cool apartment! Who wouldn’t want to be a Savior? You take the best of what’s left in the world and go from there!

There are only a few things from the comics that I hope the show does in each season and Negan making Carl take off his bandage is about eight of them. “It’s like staring at a birthday present. I wanna see what Grandma got me!” This turned out way better than I could’ve imagined. And Negan apologizes for upsetting Carl. This dude is such a manipulator, but at the same time you can’t help but think he actually feels bad.

It’s almost like Negan wants Carl as his own son, a little badass son who runs around without a bandage flashing that eye socket all over the place. Negan would never call him “Coral” and never ask where he is. Negan would be a much better father, right?

I hate to admit it, but I laughed really hard when Negan is in the background swinging his bat like an animal while Carl was singing “You Are My Sunshine.” Hey, kid, remember this? SWING!

And then Negan takes Carl back to Alexandria. The wolf is in the henhouse! Negan tries to sleep with Olivia (Ann Mahoney) and gets shut down pretty hard with a slap to the face. He is now “50 percent more into her.” This guy is so damaged. Everything is a game and he seems to get off when people stand up to him. Carl takes him on a grand tour that ends with Baby Judith in Negan’s arms as he sits on the porch drinking lemonade. I can’t wait for Rick to get back. This is not going to go over well.

Around every corner, Negan gives you more reason to hate him, but also love him. I hate that I love him. I hate it. I hate you, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Why do you have to be so damn charming?

A few other notes:

Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Spencer (Austin Nichols) are looking for supplies on a road trip from hell. The look on Father G’s face after Spencer says he hates Rick is, “Yeah, but I hate you right now. Why are you still talking?” Gabriel is the wrong person to talk to about not liking Rick or the way he’s handled things. Gabriel is a new man. We all remember how he used to be and he’s changed. He has a great way of looking at Rick and his contributions to the community. Seth Gilliam is quietly killing it as Father Gabriel and he might be my favorite actor on the show right now. He’s so good.

And then Father Gabe drops a giant truth bomb on Spencer. “We don’t know how things would be different. We can’t sit here and wonder. We’re here now and we can look to the future.” This is what people need to hear in order to move on and move forward.

One of the greatest exchanges between two characters on television is in this moment with Spence and the G-Man. Spencer says, “I keep thinking things would be better if he (Rick) just doesn’t come back.” And Gabriel has an amazing follow-up. “What you’re saying doesn’t make you a sinner. It makes you a tremendous s–t. And it doesn’t have to be terminal.” This is like the coolest episode of Taxi Cab Confessions I’ve ever seen. Father Gabriel should do all his confessionals in a cramped hatchback.

Spencer is in such a dark place right now and Father Gabriel seems at peace with where he is in life. He’s strolling down a deserted highway gazing at the treetops. Not a care in the world (except if Spencer sneaks up on him and starts sinning). This is a nice juxtaposition of darkness and light.

And then we get to everyone’s favorite character, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita (Christian Serratos). Eugene, as always, has a mouthful. Rosita doesn’t understand him because she’s so full of rage right now and cannot process words with more than five syllables… you know, “EugeneSpeak.” Maybe he knows this. He knows her better than anybody. When Eugene and Rosita open the door back at the machine shop, I know we wanted to mirror the same entrance he and Abraham had back in season 6. I thought that was cool.

This was so much fun working with Christian. We have such a strong bond, much like I do with Michael Cudlitz, and the three of us together are very tight. Without “Cuddles” (Cudlitz) around, we lean on each other a bit more. In a weird way, we are like security blankets for each other. So Eugene lays it all out for Rosita in that he doesn’t want to make the bullet because it’s a stupid and careless move. The Saviors have the numbers and we don’t. And it’s likely that someone is going to get hurt. Let’s stop the madness. But Rosita isn’t having any of it. She lays into Eugene like she has many times before calling him a coward and that he’s good for nothing. Does she actually feel this way? Who knows? She’s just trying to get what she wants and she knows how to manipulate Eugene into doing this for her.

So that’s it! Next week is the season finale for the first half of the season and it’s a doozy! It goes by so quick; I’m already counting down the days to February.

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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