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'The Walking Dead' recap: season 7, episode 4 ('Service')

This was posted on Sunday, November 13, 2016 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Rick is being forced to eat humble pie with a bit of poop thrown in for good measure, courtesy of the always-on-a-stage Negan.

That was the theme of tonight's episode: the Grim Re-education of Rick Grimes.

It's obvious Rick isn't really taking this supplicant role well mentally because it goes against his very nature. But after what Negan did to Abraham and Glenn and his son Carl, he feels he has no choice. The Saviors led by Negan are too numerous, too powerful, too mean. Compromise is not exactly Negan's strong suit.

Negan comes to Alexandria a week after the crapfest that opened this season and pillages the joint just because he can. And Rick - not wanting to see more deaths - accedes to everything. Negan's crew takes all their guns and meds and whatever else they wanted - including most of their mattresses.

Again, Negan is one part charm, two parts smarm, three parts nasty. He says things like "easy peasy lemon squeezy," "a little freaky deaky" and "hot diggity dog!" He insults Gabriel for being "creepy as s***." He creeps out Rosita. He asks about Maggie, who he thinks he could seduce. "Widows," he says, "are just so empty inside... But not for long!"

Fortunately, Gabriel had created a fake headstone for Maggie, who Sasha had taken to the Hilltop to get treated. That was a smart move to divert Negan.

When one of Negan's Saviors tries to take drugs away from Carl, Carl raises a gun and even shoots a bullet that draws the attention of Rick and Negan. Negan comes in and surprisingly does not punish Carl for this teen-infused transgression. But he definitely wants all their guns. At the same time, he wants them well fed so he says he won't ask for any food. What a magnimonious guy!

When the weapons inventory comes up two guns short, Negan threatens to kill mousy inventory manager Olivia if they aren't found.

Rick gives a speech to most of Alexandria's residents pleading for the person who has the guns to give them up. "Hiding a couple of guns isn't the answer," he says. "Not anymore. We don't have to like it but we need to give them over... We give them what they want and we live in peace."

And when someone pushes back, Rick shows his hand. "I'm not in charge anymore," he says. "Negan is." 

Before Negan leaves, Rick asks for Daryl back. A sullen Daryl has been helping out with the confiscation. Negan isn't keen on returning Daryl but asks Daryl himself to plead his case. Daryl, racked with guilt over Glenn's death, says nothing. So he goes back with the Saviors.

To show how scared Rick is of Negan, he even convinces Michonne to give up a bonus rifle that wasn't even part of the inventory. He's afraid if the Saviors find the gun, they could very well kill her or Carl. She even offers up a deer she shot earlier with said rifle as a way to appease Negan.

Negan says he's expecting something "interesting" next time he comes by, without being specific. But if Rick doesn't satisfy him, someone will die.

Then he gets Rick to actually say "thank you" for the extortion.

"Thank you for being so accommodating, my friend," Negan then says to his non-friend Rick. He leans over and whispers, "In case you didn't notice, I just slipped my d*** down your throat and you thanked me for it."

Also noted: he had Rick carry Lucille the entire time he was there. And while Rick a couple of times was tempted to use it, he didn't.

Negan is a truly joyful sadist.

While Rick is later laying out a new sleeping arrangement (no mattress or frame, just blankets), he asks Michonne to try to accept the new reality for the sake of the community. He even tells her about Shane for the first time and that he knows Judith is actually Shane's baby - not his - but he's had to accept that the best he could. "I'm not losing anybody else."

She loves Rick so she said she will try- reluctantly.

Later, Michonne is sitting in her quiet place on top of a rusty vehicle in a field when she sees smoke. She goes over and finds all their mattresses burned to a crisp. Yup, it's not like the Saviors needed the mattresses. They took them just to be cruel. That isn't going to make Michonne accept this reality any more, that's for sure.

Rosita is also in a fighting mood. Dwight asks her to retrieve Daryl's motorcycle. She goes with Spencer. Spencer at first is all about abiding by Negan's Law. But she isn't listening. She battles off a bunch of Dwight's dead zombie buddies in search of a gun, which she saves for herself. She also asks Eugene to make a bullet or two for her for a future battle.

Later, Rick confronts Spencer about the guns he hid. Feeling emasculated by Negan, he takes his anger out on Spencer, calling him weak. Spencer says none of this would have happened if he had made better decisions as a leader (true that), that Abraham and Glenn would be alive. Rick boils over and says he will knock Spencer's jaw out if he says something like that again.

Later, Spencer tells Rosita he kept those spare guns because he didn't trust Rick's leadership. And he still doesn't. That's obvious. Then he decides status quo is not something he wants either. Oh, Spencer. The future does not look bright for you.


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.