“Little pigs, little pigs, let me in,” yells Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as he bangs on the gates of Alexandria days earlier than he had said he would, ready to take what he decides is his in season seven episode four of AMC’s horror/drama series The Walking Dead.
As the episode begins, Michonne (Danai Gurira) gets up early and sneaks out to go hunting, taking with her a sharpshooter rifle along with her sword. She arrives in a field and is just enjoying the quiet and sun on her body when she hears something. A walker approaches in the distance and she uses the scope on her rifle and fires but misses. She does this several more times until finally getting fed up. The zombie’s close now so she uses her sword to slice his head in half. It seems as a sharpshooter Michonne stinks.
Back at Alexandria, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Spencer (Austin Nichols) are just about to make a food and supply run when who should come knocking at the gate…Negan, joined by a large party of his people and Daryl (Norman Reedus). Negan is there to take anything his group desires because Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people work for him now. They let them in and the taunting and bullying begins immediately, with Dwight (Austin Amelio) taking Rosita and Spencer’s weapons and ordering Rosita to get him Daryl’s bike. (It’s back where by the railroad tracks where they had that gun fight in late season six.)
Negan spends most of his time at Alexandria gloating and staying in Rick’s face about how he needs everyone on board. He tells Rick that even though they got off on the wrong foot, he thinks this will be a promising relationship. Rick tries to talk to Daryl who’s wearing what looks to be a big sack with the letter A on the front. As soon as Rick tries to say something to him, Negan shuts him down, telling him that Daryl is nothing more than the help and he is not to be spoken to.
As the day goes on, Negan and his Saviors take the mattresses, most of the medicine, and basically anything they feel like. Negan asks Rick where the sick-looking woman who lost her husband on the night he used Lucille on Rick’s group, and Rick gets a look on his face that seems to indicate she didn’t make it. Negan is disappointed by this, saying he was going to ask her to come back with him. This is when Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) startles Negan by asking him if he would like to pay his respects. He takes them to the graveyard and shows them a grave with Maggie’s name on it. Negan says it was a shame that he had to kill the first guy to show who was boss and in revenge for all the Saviors Rick and his people killed, but Maggie’s husband Glenn’s death is on Daryl. That’s when they all hear a gunshot and head over to see what’s going on.
Carl (Chandler Riggs) is trying to stop one of the Saviors from taking all their medication, and is threatening him with a gun. Negan laughs but actually is quite annoyed that Carl feels he can stand up to his people and to him. Negan tells Carl that he decides what half is and asks if he needs to remind him how things will go if he does not comply. Carl, knowing Negan will kill someone in Alexandria if he doesn’t back down, gives the gun to Rick who has been pleading with him to do so. Negan decides because of Carl’s actions that he can’t allow Rick and his group to have guns so now they’re going to take them all.
While they’re at the armory, one of the Saviors discovers that two pistols are missing. Olivia (Ann Mahoney) is in charge of keeping the records at the armory, so if the guns are not found Negan says she will have to die – even though he claims to hate killing women. Rick tells him that he’ll find them and gets most of the town in the church to try to convince whoever is hiding the guns to give them up. “Let me make this as clear as I can. I’m not in charge anymore…Negan is,” says the whipped and scared ex-sheriff. This is when Eugene (Josh McDermitt) notices that not everyone is at the meeting. Rosita and Spencer are still out looking for Daryl’s motorcycle.
Speaking of those two, they’re in the woods and have reached the tracks when Spencer starts doing all the work loading up Daryl’s bike. He’s running off at the mouth about how everything is Rick’s fault and how they should have made a deal with Negan and the Saviors earlier so some lives could have been saved. Rosita doesn’t seem to be listening and goes off into the woods to take down a group of walkers. She seems to have two goals in doing this. First, to work off some frustration by killing walkers. And secondly, looking for a pistol which is on one of the zombies who used to be a Savior. It’s unloaded but she keeps the gun and tells Spencer that Negan and his Saviors are going to take all their firearms, something she figured out when Dwight took their guns before they left. As she gets ready to go back to Alexandria, she acknowledges that she she heard Spencer’s complaints, saying, “This is not our life,” referring to his closing sentence that obeying Negan was their life now.
Back at Alexandria, Rick is frantically looking for the two missing guns in order to save Olivia. He’s searching Spencer’s house, knowing Spencer’s hidden items from the group before. Father Gabriel is helping Rick and tells him he has faith in him and that their people will get through this. Rick doesn’t believe there is a way out, but Gabriel reminds him that things change. “You and I are friends. That wasn’t always the case,” says the optimistic priest. Rick notices the floorboard making a sound near the vent and pries it up. He find food supplies hidden along with the two missing guns.
Outside, Rick hands over the guns to Negan who asks which person almost got poor Olivia (who is still crying and whimpering) killed. Rick says it’s not important but Negan tells him it is. He tells Rick that he expects him to get everyone on board about their little arrangement or it will go all the way back to day one, and he knows they don’t want that.
As Negan and his Saviors are heading out, Michonne has returned and is hiding in a house. Both Rick and Negan see her and Rick asks for a minute, which Negan denies him. Rick asks again using the word please and this time Negan smiles and says okay. Rick confronts Michonne about the sniper rifle and says they have to give it to Negan. She tries to protest but Rick tells her that if they find it someone will die and he won’t take that chance. Reluctantly, she turns it over. Negan laughs again when he gets both the gun and the dead deer Michonne killed by accident when she was shooting at the walker. (She really is a terrible shot.) He warns Rick that next time he wants him to have something special for them or otherwise Lucille, which Rick has been holding onto all day on Negan’s orders, will be thirsty again. Wanting to make sure Rick understands him and it’s clear, Negan says again, “Have something special waiting for me next time or someone dies.”
Rick confronts Spencer about what he did with the guns and supplies, telling him it almost got Olivia killed. Spencer doesn’t care and makes a comment about how lucky they all are having Rick in charge, especially Glenn and Abraham. Rick, who was walking away, stops but doesn’t turn around. You can hear the rage in his voice as he firmly tells Spencer that if he ever says that again, he will break his jaw. Rick then tells Spencer to acknowledge what he has just said, and being the selfish, spineless creep he is, Spencer does.
Later in day, Rick and Michonne have a talk and she encourages him to team up with The Hilltop and stage a fight against The Saviors, reminding Rick everything they have and how they got this far is because they are fighters. This is when Rick finally tells Michonne about Shane and his wife getting together when they thought he was dead and that he knows baby Judith isn’t his biologically but she’s still his daughter all the same. “I know I’ll die before she does. Hopefully not for a long time,” says the exhausted and emotionally drained leader of Alexandria. Rick tells Michonne she has to accept their new way of life, and to give the man she hopes to make a new life with some peace of mind she tells him what he needs to hear and says, “I’m gonna try.”
The last scene takes place later that night when Rosita knocks on Eugene’s door. When he opens it, she tells him she needs him to make her a bullet and shows him a shell casing from the shot Negan fired while testing the guns.
The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 4 Review:
Tense and uncomfortable, episode four titled ‘Service’ reinforces Negan’s power over Rick and his people and demonstrates just how broken Rick is over losing Glenn and Abraham. The episode shows that Negan is not a fool, showing up earlier than expected to make sure Rick never knows exactly what to expect from him. His early appearance at Alexandria also thwarts anyone in the group from coming up with a battle plan.
There are two stand-out performances in this episode. The first is Andrew Lincoln who shows just the right amount of fear and rage his character feels towards Negan. The scene where he grips the bat tightly and shows via his body language he’s thinking about using it on Negan is nerve-wracking. Also strong is the scene where he finally tells Michonne about Shane and his wife and how he feels responsible not just for Judith’s life and well-being but for everyone, confessing how desperate he is not to lose anyone else.
The second stand-out performance goes again to Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the show’s new major villain, Negan. His bravado and constantly switching from all smiles and obnoxious laughs to stone-faced killer is extremely effective and makes him the best villain since The Governor. The overall enjoyment he takes in letting everyone in Alexandria know that he is now their master, especially Rick, is sickening, infuriating, and terrifying.
With Rick seemingly broken, Daryl not willing to save himself yet, and Rosita looking to turn herself into a lone assassin, here’s hoping the eventual teaming up of Rick and the Alexandrians with The Hilltop crew doesn’t take too much longer this season to happen.