(Warning: Spoilers for The Walking Dead comics and this week’s AMC episode will be found below.)
In this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Silence the Whisperers,” Negan continues to try and make friends with Alexandria’s other outcast, Lydia, but ends up in trouble with the council. It’s interesting that Negan’s two closest friends on The Walking Dead are the two youngest characters, Negan and Lydia, while he was previously close with Carl — he was a high-school coach, after all, so I guess his ability to connect with younger people has remained intact.
In any case, after a group of kids attack Lydia because of who her mother is, Negan comes to her aid. In pushing the ruffians off of her, however, Negan accidentally shoves Margo into a wall and she cracks her head and dies. Negan is immediately accused of murdering Margo, although Lydia comes to Negan’s defense. By the episode’s end, a few of the folks on the council determining Negan’s fate have come around to his side, but half the council wants to execute him. Father Gabriel is the decisive vote, but before he can make a decision, Negan escapes. Or more accurately, he is released from his jail cell.
The first question is: Who released him? Lydia claims responsibility, but Daryl knows that she didn’t do it because “I kept watch last night and you never left the house.” What’s interesting about that is, if Daryl actually kept watch the entire night, how did he not see Negan leave? The cell is right outside his window. In fact, maybe Daryl released Negan, because he was afraid that Negan would be executed for a crime he didn’t commit? Or maybe it was Carol, hoping that Negan would go out and do what she wasn’t allowed to do: Kill Alpha.
Of course, if you’ve seen scenes from next week’s episode, you already know who it is: Brandon.
Wait? Who the hell is Brandon? We’ve only caught a few glimpses of him this season. He’s been standing guard over Negan during his “work-release” program. (Comics Spoilers] In the comics, however, Brandon is “Brandon Rose,” the son of Tammy Rose, who is one of the heads on those pikes. He releases Negan in the comics because he’s furious at both Alpha for killing his mom and Rick for failing to avenge his mother’s death. In releasing Negan, his plan is to pit Rick vs. Alpha in the hopes that both die. Negan hears Brandon’s plan and kills Brandon.
I wouldn’t rule out a similar scenario here, but showrunner Angela Kang has been very good about offering twists on the source material. The Brandon here obviously wouldn’t have the same motive, unless he’s the son of, say, Ozzy, the leader of The Highwaymen, whose head is also on a pike. We haven’t been given much with which to work where it concerns Brandon, however. It is possible that someone like Daryl or Carol convinced him to release Negan, or maybe Brandon — who has been keeping a watchful eye on Negan all season — has simply developed a deep sympathy for him. Will that cost Brandon his life, as it did in the comics?
That remains to be seen. However, I do expect that Negan’s release will put him on a direct path to Alpha, as it does in the comics. It may end up being the showdown of the season. If Negan captures Alpha, however, I hope he leaves her for Carol to kill. She deserves this.