The Walking Dead: Did Carol Break Negan Out of Jail?

The Walking Dead 10x05, “What It Always Is,” follows a fugitive Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) on the run and in search of somewhere new after escaping the Alexandria jail. It was suspected Negan fanboy Brandon (Blaine Kern III) orchestrated Negan’s breakout, but it turns out even Brandon doesn’t know how Negan got free — and he’s not telling. After discovering Negan’s empty cell in 10x04, “Silence the Whisperers,” Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) reports the jail keys are missing, and Aaron (Ross Marquand) states the obvious: whoever took the keys set Negan free. Ex-Savior and Alexandria council member Laura (Lindsley Register) was on watch, but Gabriel believes her when she claims innocence. So who is Negan’s secret accomplice?

Former Whisperer Lydia (Cassady McClincy) takes responsibility, saying she freed Negan after he saved her from attackers Margo (Jerri Tubbs), Alfred (David Shae) and Gage (Jackson Pace). But Daryl (Norman Reedus) points out Lydia never left his sight the night of Negan’s escape, proving her innocence.

When he finally catches up to a lone Negan in the woods, we learn it wasn’t Brandon who set Negan free despite idolizing the former Savior leader. “So you’re really not gonna tell me how you got out of that cell?” Brandon asks to no answer.

“That is to be revealed,” showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW when asked how Negan escaped. Kang then confirmed Lydia was not responsible.

A scene between Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride) in 10x04 could hold the answers. There Daryl and Carol talk while Negan awaits a vote determining his fate over the accidental slaying of Margo.

When Carol tells Daryl she heard about the attack on Lydia, Daryl says he believes Lydia when she says Negan is in the right this time. “Everybody’s talking about Negan again,” Carol says. “It’s like time never moved.”

Carol then says the situation with Negan is a distraction from what she suspects to be coordinated attacks on Alexandria and Hilltop by Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers. Daryl replies they can’t be sure the communities’ walker troubles were caused by the Whisperers, but Carol tells him, “Our real enemy is out there.”

Mourning the loss of son Henry (Matt Lintz), one of many victims murdered by the Whisperers, Carol is obsessed with taking her revenge on Alpha. When Carol came face-to-face with Alpha for the first time since Henry’s death in 10x03, “Ghosts,” she nearly got a shot off at Alpha before it was deflected by Michonne (Danai Gurira), who is begrudgingly abiding by Alpha’s border and the laws she’s imposed on Alexandria.

Those rules were first called into question by Carol in 10x01, “Lines We Cross,” and the attacks on the communities may have been enough to push Carol into unleashing Negan — possibly in the hopes of provoking a fight between the two sides.

When McBride was asked on a recent episode of Talking Dead if Carol might be trying to start a Whisperer war, she said with a smile, “Maybe.” The tease came after McBride hinted Carol might meet Negan for the first time in Season 10.

Sicking Negan on Alpha would be pitting “the biggest evil against the biggest evil,” McBride said on an April episode of Talking Dead. “Is this a way for him to redeem himself to take her out, for the people that he has come to perhaps really, really like?”

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Answers could come in 10x06, “Bonds.” Per its official synopsis, “Carol and Daryl go on a mission together while Siddiq struggles to solve a mystery.”

New episodes of The Walking Dead Season 10 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.