The Walking Dead recreated a powerful comic book moment Sunday when Maggie (Lauren Cohan) confronted a jailed Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) for the first time since the gory murder of husband Glenn (Steven Yeun).
Following Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) failed warning against Maggie being allowed within Alexandria unchaperoned, the widow closes in on Negan's jail cell before she's impeded by Michonne (Danai Gurira).
What she's about to do is "not for me," she says, but "for others. For Glenn."
Michonne tries to talk Maggie down, evoking the memories of both Glenn and father Hershel (Scott Wilson).
Maggie is undeterred. Killing Negan and avenging the lives claimed by him and his cabal of Saviors is the only way to "start things over."
If it was Rick who was butchered, if Michonne were forced to raise a child alone, Maggie says, "he would've been dead a long time ago. And you know it."
"Stop acting like this is a choice. Stop acting like I can just turn this off," a teary Maggie says. "Because it's been a year-and-a-half and I can't."
Michonne has done all she can. "Can you live with what comes after?"
"I can't live with it now," Maggie admits.
Michonne hands over the cell keys without another word. Clenching the crowbar, Maggie enters and orders a blasé Negan to his knees.
Negan taunts her about his brutal and bloody execution of Glenn. How he mercilessly and gleefully turned Glenn into a puddle of brains and mush as a distraught Maggie watched helplessly.
He pushes and pushes, finally breaking down into tears. The broken Negan begs her to kill him.
Maggie, surprised, forces him to admit why.
"So I can be with my wife... I should be dead."
It has to be Maggie. He's tried.
"Please," he sobs, "please don't make me stay like this."
"I came to kill Negan," Maggie says, both repulsed and vindicated. "And you're already worse than dead."
Maggie leaves the withered Negan to rot in his cell.
A similar encounter played out in The Walking Dead #174, where a since-freed Negan is tracked down and caught off guard by an armed Maggie.
"It's a luxury in this world to live long enough to regret the things you've done... to have a quiet enough moment to allow the memory of your actions to horrify you," Negan says.
"I'm sorry for what I did. I won't fight back."
A surprised Maggie quickly grows furious, shoving her gun in Negan's face and accusing him of putting on an act.
He says murdering Glenn was what he truly believed he needed to do at the time, before tearfully admitting Rick showed him a better way forward.
Maggie, unstirred, tells Negan he ruined Glenn's memory.
"Every time I try to picture Glenn's face, all I can see is him screaming my name... with his skull bashed in and his eye hanging out. When I hear his voice, it's screaming my name — garbled, in agony — that's my memory of him. And with that... I see you smiling."
Maggie looks over at Negan's recreated Lucille, his cherished barbwire-wrapped baseball bat. Negan tells her he deserves to die, and being killed with Lucille would be "poetic symmetry."
When Maggie tells Negan she won't kill him, he presses the muzzle of her gun into his forehead.
"Do it. I can't live like this. I can't be alone. I can't... this is what I deserve."
"No," she says, yanking the gun free of his grip. "I'm not going to give you what you want. You have to live with what you've done."0comments
Negan, left alone and broken, dons his leather jacket. Then, lifting the half-finished Lucille 2 into the air, swings — and drops the bat into open flame, walking away as the bat and everything it represents burns into nothingness behind him.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.