HUGE SPOILER ALERT: Major plotlines for both The Walking Dead comic book Issues #103 and 104, plus Season 7 episode 'Service' are discussed here.
Lately, The Walking Dead has been extremely faithful to Robert Kirkman's comic books. If you thought the season premiere was pulled straight from the comics, 'Service' definitely topped it with the perfect combination of Issues 103 and 104. Negan's first visit to Alexandria helped put things in perspective once more, after our little trip to the #Kingdom and the #Sanctuary.
The Saviors went out of their way to remind the Survivors who's in charge, and #Negan put Rick back in his place once more — he even brought Daryl along just for kicks. Watching this episode was like seeing the comic book pages come to life on the screen, and here are some of those key scenes in comparison frame-by-frame.
"Little Piggy Let Me In"
Negan has a flare for the dramatic and, as always, he made sure his entrance was a big one. He bashed Lucille on Alexandria's gates and Spencer went all Abraham on Negan, asking who he was.
Of course, everybody in Alexandria — and everyone on the planet — knows who Negan is by now, but having that be the first interaction between Negan and Spencer just helped build up our expectations for Deanna's son.
This scene also served as Negan's first reminder to Rick about the state of play. Rick now works and provides for Negan, so leaving the new boss outside the gates of his new property wasn't an option.
"That's Some F***ing Service"
Time and again Negan makes the point that he and his men are actually reasonable guys, and that they're only getting "paid" — i.e., taking half of Rick's stuff — for protecting the community from Walkers. That's why Negan makes such a big deal out of killing that Walker by the gate; he believes he's justified in sacking Alexandria because he's keeping it safe.
Negan walks into Alexandria as the God he believes he is, and even the camera angle was comic-accurate in this shot. Since Daryl doesn't exist in the comics, the fact that Negan brought him along for the ride served as yet another twisted way to torment Rick.
"We're Not Taking Your Food"
Rick argued a bit against Negan taking any of their food in the comics, but he seemed fine with it on the show. Also, the guns got much more attention in the episode, since it served both as a means to downgrade the Survivor's defenses, and also to create yet another death threat for Rick to deal with.
Olivia barely made it — thanks to Rick finding Spencer's hidden weapons — and the Saviors took pretty much everything and anything they saw fit to take. In the beginning of the episode, Rick mentions they've already put aside half of their things for Negan, but it turned out that "half is what Negan says it is".
"You Said Half Of Everything"
The Walking Dead loves mixing and matching its changed storylines and, since Dr. Denise is already dead on the show, it was up to Carl to take her place and fight for the medicine. That's the second interaction between Negan and Carl and, if you're a comic book fan, you know it might not be the last.
Negan has a huge soft spot for Carl in the books, and the show seems to be going in that same direction — although Carl is a little too grown up to do some silly stuff like shooting Negan's men. That's a plot many a fan would like to see unfold, but if Carl does get some one-on-one time with Negan, it'll probably happen somewhat differently from the comics, since we've already seen inside the Sanctuary, and it wasn't through Carl's eyes.
"I'm Not In Charge Anymore...Negan Is"
It took losing two dear friends in a horrible way and a ton of humiliation for Rick to come to this point of seeing Negan as the boss. Personally, I think the show is doing a much better job of showing Rick as this broken man devoid of any hope, clearly relinquishing his leadership to Negan on every possible occasion.
Sure, there are times during the episode where we see Rick almost falter and go for Negan's head, but he does understand his new role and the responsibility that comes with it. Add to that the fact that Negan has Rick carry around the bat used to murder his friends, brings his right-hand man almost as a pet for Rick to see, and talks down to Carl in front of him, and you have a Rick that is broken and destroyed.
Rick Doesn't Seem To Have A Plan
This is the one thing in this episode which was completely different from the coics. In the books, Rick plays coy about following Negan to everyone in Alexandria, except from Andrea and Michonne; whereas in the show, he actually seems not have any fight left in him anymore. Andrea has to threaten to leave him in the comics for Rick to come clean about his plan — if only Michonne did the same on the show...
Instead, Rick goes on and on about Shane and how he knows that Judith isn't his legitimate daughter. His point is that even though he knows he was lied to, he lives with the lie because it means giving Judith a better life and a fighting chance. So, it's possible that he's telling Michonne he's simply biding his time for the greater good, until a feasible plan of attack comes along. (Come on, Jesus...)
More on #TheWalkingDead:
- Straight From The Comics: Which Comic Book Scenes Made It Into 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Episode 'The Cell'?
- How Daryl And Dwight Could Be The Perfect Weapon Against Negan
- Breaking Down The Promo Posters For 'The Walking Dead' Season 7: How Many Have Been Revealed So Far?
This week, The Walking Dead brought most of our beloved Survivors back — and even dug a grave for Maggie — in an extended episode. It was extremely hard to watch Rick and his loved ones being bullied to exhaustion (not even Enid got off unscathed), and it was devastating to see how much Daryl blames himself for what happened to Glenn — enough not to ask Negan to stay in Alexandria. Nevertheless, this was another straight-from-the-comics episode. One explanation for why we might be seeing so many comic-faithful episodes recently is the fact that each of them focuses on only one part of the story (the deaths, the Kingdom, the Sanctuary, Alexandria), which allows for some extra time for those precious Kirkman dialogues.