As far as plot progress goes, it’s been kind of slow-going on The Walking Dead this season. Ever since the horrifying and emotionally scarring Season 7 premiere, things have essentially slogged along — or so it seemed. But the reality is that the AMC series is following the comic books closely, and no story arc is better suited to illustrate that purpose than that of Negan and Carl’s.
We’ve speculated before about how Carl’s fate might unfold, and whether or not it would mirror the strange interest Negan takes in Carl in the comic world. And, well, it would appear we have our answer.
In this week’s episode titled “Sing Me a Song,” we saw several encounters between Negan and Carl unfold just as they did in the comics… basically verbatim.
First, there was Carl’s arrival at Negan’s camp. According to Cinema Blend, the way things played out with Carl hiding in the truck and taking out two of Negan’s men before being tackled by Dwight held very true to the comics. Predictably, though, Negan’s, erm, colorful language and explicit one-liners were toned down for TV.
Another memorable scene in this week’s episode occurred when Negan sat Carl down in his study and made him unravel his eye bandage. Then, after mercilessly making fun of the boy, seemed to have a rare apologetic moment. Of course, mere minutes later, he made a crying Carl eke out the words to “You are My Sunshine” while he practiced swinging Lucille nearby.
And finally, there’s the symmetry between the comic book portrayal of Negan searing Mark’s face with a hot iron and what happened onscreen. Suffice it to say, it was disgusting in print and film. This disturbing “punishment” played out practically the same in both mediums, underscoring just how much power Negan has in this new Walking Dead world.
Another brutal scene, another faithful adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic writing.
It goes without saying that none of the scenes in which Carl and Daryl interacted were true to the comics because Daryl simply doesn’t exist in the comics (for shame, I know). There were also several key differences between how the comic handled Carl’s homecoming and how the show framed it.
Still, this week’s episode overall paid homage to the comics through Carl and Negan’s scenes. So what does this mean for Rick’s progeny?
Well, one of two things, likely. The first scenario would be precisely what it would seem after this week — that Carl’s arc on the show is going to follow his arc in the comics. That means that Carl will attempt to take Negan’s life several more times throughout the course of the show.
But it also means that the strange symbiotic relationship between the two will continue to develop, and Negan will show a weakness for Carl that is unlike his relationship with any other character in The Walking Dead world.
The other option is that AMC and Kirkman are just trying to make us think they are going to follow Negan and Carl’s comic arc religiously, when in actuality they are setting up a surprise death for Carl in the mid-season finale.
At this point, sticking to the original comic arc seems more likely, but with ratings dropping every week, would it be wrong to hope they go with the latter?
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.