One day, when we look back on 2016, we'll realize that the death of Glenn Rhee at the hands of Negan and Lucille was the moment when The Walking Dead went completely off the rails. Or maybe it'll be the point when we meet a CGI tiger. Or maybe it will be this episode, which found Negan and Carl bonding like some kind of bizarro reverse son and dad. Because this season so far is subpar, and it keeps going lower week after week.
The main issue -- and this episode highlights the problem -- is really is that everyone is off on their own, doing different things. We open on Michonne walking down a trail, whistling. Two walkers follow her like she's a pied piper. She calmly takes them out with her katana in a truly gnarly sequence. Then Rick wakes up. He's with Aaron. They're doing something. We don't know what. Elsewhere Eugene and Rosita are on a mission. He's made her a bullet, but they argue about how to use it to get revenge for Abe. "You owe me and you owe him," says Eugene. Oh, Father Gabriel and Spencer are also on a mission. Spencer, Deanna's son, blames Rick for everything, setting up Gabriel for the best non-Negan line of the episode: "What you're saying doesn't make you sinner. But it does make you a tremendous shit." Carl and Jesus are still stowed way on Negan's truck -- they're getting close and Jesus says they should bail out. He does, but Carl stays onboard. He gets into Negans's compound and shoots a bunch of his guys, demanding Negan, but he's captured. Negan seems impressed with him. "C'mon kid, let me show you round."His base looks like an old factory with walkers chained up outside. "You do the same damn stinkeye as your dad, it's only half as good because you're missing an eye." Daryl watches the whole thing, in a pen with walkers. Negan offers Carl his hand. "What are you gonna do to me," Carl asks Negan. "Number one, do not shatter my image of you. You're a badass. Number two, do you ant me to ruin the surprise?" From there, we get a lot of Negan and Carl scenes. Negan wants to see him without his eyepatch. "That is gross as hell. It may not be a hit with the ladies, but I swear to you, no one is gonna screw with you looking like that." Done. Negan wants Carl to sing him a song. Done. Negan gives a sermon to Saviors assembled on the factory floor. Done. Negan threatens a guy who brings him Lucille. Done. Negan shows Carl his roomful of sister-wives, who look dead inside. Done. Negan gives another sermon to the savoiors after someone has committed a transgression. "Rules are what make it all work." He gives Carl Lucille to hold while he puts a hot iron on a guy's face. And this show has officially become torture porn. Done and done.