Batter up: The Walking Dead reveals the story behind bat-swinging bad guy Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his beloved baseball bat Lucille in "Here's Negan." The namesake of Negan's dead wife, Lucille (Hilarie Burton Morgan), the blood-stained "vampire bat" was used to murder Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) during Negan's first appearance in the Season 6 finale. Negan wielded Lucille when he was the leather jacket-wearing leader of the Saviors, but the bat was left to rot after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) defeated and captured Negan to end the Savior war years earlier in Season 8 Episode 16, "Wrath."
When "Here's Negan" flashes back to the first seven months of the zombie apocalypse, Negan desperately hunts for chemotherapy drugs needed to treat his wife's pancreatic cancer. He spends six weeks tracking a group of doctors and their mobile clinic before Negan finds Franklin (Miles Mussenden) and his daughter Laura (Lindsley Register) — who viewers will recognize as a future lieutenant of Negan's Saviors.
Negan's armed hold-up ends when Laura bashes Negan with a baseball bat. He comes to in the medical trailer, where Franklin treats Negan for exposure, exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. When Franklin asks why someone in his condition would try to rob doctors with an empty gun, he learns Negan taught himself how to give Lucille her chemotherapy and that he's been "trying to keep her going."
Laura gives Negan a cooler with the drugs Lucille needs, taken from a warehouse in an undisclosed location. They have a lot of supplies and they want to help. When Negan points out Franklin and Laura have asked for nothing in return, Franklin tells him, "We're good. What goes around comes around."
They part ways, but not before Laura hands over the plain baseball bat to replace his empty gun and the hammer he broke on the way here. He'll need a weapon in case he runs afoul of the motorcycle gang that owns the roads at night. "Damn, girl," Negan says, admiring the wooden slugger in his hands. "You pack a wallop."
After he's detained and beaten by the Valak's Vipers gang, Negan gets home too late: he finds his wife has died and reanimated. Negan clips barbed wire from a fence, wraps it around the bat, and kills for the first time when he attacks the Vipers hangout with the blood-thirsty Lucille.
"There's something about her, especially when there's blood dripping off her. There's a certain beauty that she has. And for me, it's an extension of Negan," Morgan previously told Entertainment Weekly about Negan's relationship with his baseball bat. "They become one in these scenes together. It's his d—. I mean, for lack of a better thing, it really is. It's how he walks differently with her, he holds her, and it's a part of him. He uses her to emphasize certain points, not just 'I'm going to kill you.'"
The Negan actor added, "There's a thing that he has with Lucille, and it's as close to love as maybe Negan will ever have. He loves Lucille. She's a character of her own. I mean, she really is, and I love the way he talks about her and he feels about her and how he treats her."
The Walking Dead's Final Season premieres this summer on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.