Back to the main plot and Jesus and Karl have decided to smuggle themselves into the Saviour camp. Jesus, being competent, is now all hidden and stealthy and going to do stuff later
While Karl, not being competent, opens up with a machine gun, kills a couple of extras and is duly captured by Negan.
Since Negan has some delusions about being a nice guy or just likes to hear himself talk or sees something in Karl so decides to give Karl the guided tour. There we see the average Saviour grovelling and kneeling around Negan and with Negan playing random head games with people. It’s clear everyone is constantly on edge around him, waiting for him to lash out with one of his sadistic games.
That includes his “wives” including Frankie who actually speaks back to him several times. But in the end, like everyone else, she is under Negan’s thrall and is forced to tell on another of his “wives”, Amber. She has been “cheating” on Negan with her actual lover. He is offended that any of his wives are scared of him as he has never ever hurt them. Which is an excellent depiction of how ignorant and shallow so many people’s understanding of abuse is. He tells Amber that she can leave him at any time – but we all know there are consequences, we all can see how utterly terrified of him she is
Frankie puts it into words – when he protests he never hits them she points out they all know there’s worse than that. Negan is an abusive rapist – and the fact he never lays a violent hand on a woman doesn’t change that.
Of course, as punishment for “breaking the rules” her partner Mat has his face burned with a red hot iron. Which pretty much tells us Frankie and Dwight’s history. Both of them are clearly torn being lieutenants in Negan’s regime
“How do you sleep at night?”
Throughout all this, Negan switches between scaring and playing head games with Karl and trying to impress him. Negan has a weird relationship with Karl – seeming almost impressed by someone who, in his own words, should be battling teenaged angst but instead is so dangerous. He hears about Karl having to kill his mother and forces Karl to take off his eye patch and expose his empty eye socket. Karl alternates between being tough-as-nails and slightly scary and being scared and vulnerable – even Negan feels bad when he sees how upset Karl is when he describes how disgusting his empty eye socket is. Negan forgets he’s a teen but encourages Karl to embraced his badassery
Negan’s relationship with Karl is interesting – because he almost seems to view Karl as a son or heir – someone to respect. He refers to Karl as a serial killer in training. But how much of that is not just because he respects how dangerous and tough Karl is, but also because he does see Karl as harmless? Let’s face it, he wouldn’t tolerate Rick doing this. He’s tolerating it from Karl because he both is impressed but not threatened.
Karl also claims Negan wouldn’t dare harm him. But I think there’s a shard of truth here. I mean, Negan points to Daryl as broken – but Daryl actually speaks up to save Karl. And while Negan thinks Rick is under control (and through him his people), how long would that last if he killed Karl? Karl may not be immune, but Negan’s life is definitely easier with Karl alive.
Instead Negan decides to take Karl back to Alexandria where he has a tour after discovering Rick is on a scavenging mission with Aaron. He decides to hang around, insults Olivia’s weight then decides to make up for it by offering to sleep with her (she slapped him. Go Olivia) and ominously discovers Judith.
Meanwhile Michonne happily kidnaps a Saviour to make her lead her to Negan. The captured Saviour tries to fight free. Nope, ain’t happening
While Rosita wants vengeance on Negan and demands Eugene makes her a bullet. He, intelligently, tells her this is dangerous, this is going to have consequences and someone will pay the price. Rosita is willing to do this for Abraham – but Eugene rightly, again, points out she probably won’t have to. Negan’s MO is to make other people suffer as punishment.
Rosita shames him into acting – attacking him as useless as a coward, insulting him until he makes her bullet
Later she feels guilty and tries to take it back but Eugene rather excellently rejects her apology – she may regret saying it because she feels bad. But she believes it, she meant it. It’s her truth. Eugene’s verbosity makes for excellent call outs.
Oh and Spencer is the worst. He’s so often the worst that even GABRIEL calls his awfulness out. He even calls him a shit which must be against the priest code