The Walking Dead remixed a pivotal scene from creator Robert Kirkman's comic books in Sunday's 1014, "Look at the Flowers," with Daryl (Norman Reedus) filling in for Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). After Carol (Melissa McBride) reneges on her end of a deal with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who she set free from jail as part of a pact to infiltrate the Whisperers and kill leader Alpha (Samantha Morton), the fugitive Negan is intercepted by Daryl, out to avenge an act of war that devastated the Hilltop. With Carol away in self-exile, Negan desperately attempts to convince Daryl he was the one who silenced Alpha.
"She is dead. She is dead, I killed her," Negan tells Daryl, handing over Alpha's mask as proof. "Her mask ain't her head," Daryl growls, unaware Carol placed Alpha's zombified head on a spike at the Whisperer border, finally avenging murdered son Henry (Matt Lintz).
"The whole reason I threw in with them was so I could get close enough to Alpha to slit her throat," Negan says. "Now you talk about silencing the Whisperers, I silenced the Alpha. Why the hell else you think your girlfriend let me out of that cell?"
In the comic books, circumstances were different: the Whisperers attacked Hilltop after Alpha was killed, not before, and a then missing Negan — who was set free by Brandon Rose — was not present for the first battle in the Whisperer War.
After decapitating Alpha in issue #156, the fugitive Negan approaches Alexandria while carrying Alpha's head in a bloodied sack. Ex-Savior Dwight wants him shot on sight, but Magna refuses the order, knowing Rick wants him returned alive. In a meeting with Rick and partner Andrea, Negan hands over Alpha's head.
"If I wanted to get my revenge, think about the opportunity I just passed up," Negan tells a suspicious Rick. "I was with them for barely a week... and I got close enough to do this." Like his counterpart, who is viewed by underling Whisperers as the new Alpha, Negan says he could have taken control of the group and used his ready-made army against Alexandria.
"Instead, I'm here offering up everything I've learned," Negan yells, "and I literally took the head off their organization."
Telling Negan he'll never live within their walls, Rick conscripts Negan to serve on the front lines against the Whisperers. If he upholds his end of the deal without slipping up, Rick says, Negan will be provided with enough supplies to survive alone in an outpost — away from Alexandria.
In "Look at the Flowers," Daryl is a composite of Dwight and Rick after Carol took over Rick's comic book scene when Negan gifted her Alpha's decapitated head at the end of "Walk With Us." Because Carol left him alone at the Whisperer border, Negan is left without the only proof he was acting on Alexandria's behalf.
"Just walk me through those gates so I can open up a new chapter in the book of Negan," he tells Carol, who says she can't yet return to Alexandria. "I go back there without you, there is a noose around my neck the second I step foot in there."
Negan's prediction comes true when he's captured by Daryl, who never finds Alpha's head because it's already been retrieved by Beta (Ryan Hurst). Staring down Daryl's crossbow, Negan explains: "You didn't kill her. I did. It took a minute. I had to get her to trust me, because I wasn't on a half-cocked suicide mission!"
Daryl is only convinced Negan is telling the truth when he saves him from being killed by Whisperers who identify Negan as their new Alpha. "I'm not bullshitting you," Negan tells Daryl.
"When your people locked me up, I lost everything. Seven years spent staring out that little window. Man, it sucked. It got so bad that even my memories had bars painted on them. So when Alpha took me in, I admit it, I liked it. It was nice feeling like I mattered again, like I was respected," he confesses. "But she took it too far. You don't kill people that don't deserve it. And you never kill kids."0comments
"That supposed to make me like you?" Daryl asks. When Negan answers in the negative, Daryl tells him, "Good."