The Walking Dead hints it was Carol (Melissa McBride) who freed Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) from jail in Sunday's 1011, "Morning Star." Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) captured Negan eight years earlier when ending the war against the Saviors, making the unilateral decision to keep the enemy leader alive despite his execution-style murders of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun). To honor late son Carl (Chandler Riggs), who envisioned a world where the survivors and Saviors worked together, Negan would be jailed as evidence of the civilization Rick would build with Michonne (Danai Gurira), making it something like what they had before.
But in Season 10 episode 4, "Silence the Whisperers," Negan's eight-year solitary confinement ended prematurely when Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) discovered an empty cell. The jail break happened while Negan was awaiting a vote made by the Alexandria council determining his fate after the accidental death of Margo (Jerri Tubbs), who was killed when Negan rescued defector Whisperer Lydia (Cassady McClincy) from a vicious assault.
Before Negan was freed, that same episode suggested Carol was the accomplice when she had a conversation with best friend Daryl (Norman Reedus) outside Negan's cell. Carol suspected the defacing of Alexandria with anti-Whisperer graffiti — it was later revealed Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) was the culprit when he was outed as a spy for enemy group the Whisperers — as well as the chaos with Negan were distractions from coordinated attacks on Alexandria and the Hilltop colony by archenemy Alpha (Samantha Morton).
"Our real enemy is out there," Carol told Daryl, meaning the woman who murdered Carol and Ezekiel's (Khary Payton) son Henry (Matt Lintz).
In Season 10 episode 11, "Morning Star," the fugitive Negan seemingly fully joined Alpha's ranks as one of her masked Whisperers, who marched on Hilltop for the fiery first fight of the Whisperer War.
Daryl realized Negan was with Alpha when recognizing a tactic used by Negan and the Saviors to trap the survivors in Season 6 episode 16, "Last Day on Earth," Negan's first appearance, where the Saviors blocked the roads when Rick and company tried to transport an ill and pregnant Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to Hilltop for treatment.
Cut off from their allies at Alexandria and Oceanside, Hilltop had no choice but to prepare for war against Alpha's Whisperers and her advancing walker army. Daryl visited the Hilltop graveyard — the resting place for Glenn, Abraham, and victims of the Whisperers, including Jesus (Tom Payne), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) — and Carol was shown silently visiting Maggie’s office, with the camera lingering on a painting of Glenn.
Carol studying Glenn's portrait could indicate she wasn't just reflecting on an old friend, but coming to terms with knowing she set Glenn's killer free when carrying out her increasingly reckless vendetta against Alpha.0comments
"It’s almost like she’s addicted to the idea of revenge against Alpha, and she’s been spiraling and going kind of darker. The thing with a story about vengeance is of course it’s really satisfying to think, 'Yeah, get revenge against the people who’ve wronged you and who’ve killed those you love' and all of that," showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW. "But vengeance is complicated and there’s got to be consequences to it because you can have blinders on. So that’s part of the story that we’re telling with Carol. Now in some ways, she’s motivated more than ever to try to finish this mission, because otherwise it was all for nothing. And yet she knows that she has things that she needs to repair. She knows that she's going to want to redeem herself at the same time."
If Negan was set loose by Carol and instructed to infiltrate the Whisperers, it would mean Alpha is marching towards her doom in 1012, "Walk With Us." The episode premieres Sunday, March 15 at 9/8c on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.