"Lay-low" Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) goes for a stroll with Carol (Melissa McBride) in the opening minutes of The Walking Dead's season finale, "Here's Negan." Now that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Hershel Rhee (Kien Michael Spiller) are calling Alexandria home after an undercover Negan helped Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers burn down the Hilltop earlier in Season 10, tensions are at an all-time high. Negan murdered Alpha and gifted her zombified head to Carol, quenching her thirst for revenge and holding up his end of their deal: in "Look at the Flowers," Carol gave her word she would "make sure" the Alexandrians remember Negan for killing Alpha. Now he's cashing in the favor.
"You may have noticed things with Maggie and I are a little bit tense. I don't mind being 'lay-low Negan' for a bit, but hell, there's only so far I can go to get out of her way," Negan tells Carol during a trip outside Alexandria's walls. "You know, I was thinking maybe — maybe you'd put in a word for me? Smooth things over, at least kind of get the ball rolling. Given our recent history, I kind of figured you owe me that much, right?"
Carol takes Negan to a creaky old cabin set up with enough supplies for one. His leather jacket is draped over a chair.
"The Council's voted to banish you," Carol tells him of the Alexandria leadership that includes Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). "What you want just isn't going to happen. It's not possible. I know it's not what I promised, but given our less-recent history, it's better than you deserve."
Negan has to ask: "Did the Council really banish me? Or is this more of a 'Carol seizing the reins' kind of situation?" She smiles and chuckles softly, giving him his answer.
Carol hands him a rabbit as a housewarming gift and leaves Negan behind. What will follow is a trip to the past — 12 years earlier, before the start of the zombie apocalypse — where Negan recalls memories of his wife Lucille (guest star Hilarie Burton Morgan) and the events that led him to this point. By the end of "Here's Negan," the former bat-swinging bad guy will come to a conclusion about his future.
"Getting Hershel to Alexandria is so important. They've had no safety net as a family, and despite the challenge of Maggie being face-to-face with Negan again, nothing is more important than whatever she can do for her son," Cohan said in a behind-the-scenes video about Maggie's decision to live behind the same walls as Negan earlier this season. "I definitely would love for people to draw their own conclusions about what Maggie may be thinking when she and Negan come face-to-face again. There's a long road ahead, there's a lot to be done. He's in trouble."
"Here's Negan" premieres Sunday, April 4 on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.