The Walking Dead: Negan wasn’t entirely wrong about Rick

Negan - The Walking Dead - AMC
Negan - The Walking Dead - AMC /

Negan had some harsh words for Rick in The Walking Dead “The Lost and the Plunderers.” While it’s hard to hear, was he way off base with what he said?

The Walking Dead episode 810, “The Lost and the Plunderers,” featured a very difficult conversation between Rick and Negan. The two enemies shared an awkward but poignant moment together, but it was short lived when Negan took things a step further and criticized Rick’s parenting. It was a sharp jab, but was he entirely wrong?

Rick called Negan on the walkie-talkie because Carl had written a letter for the leader of the Saviors. Negan was visibly shaken upon learning about Carl’s death, to the point that he offered Rick a heartfelt apology and mentioned that he saw Carl as the future of this whole thing they’re working towards. Rick still wants to kill Negan, and Negan seized the moment to tell Rick that his anger is what got Carl killed in the first place. In my opinion, he’s not far from the truth.

When Carl was on his deathbed he told Rick about the kid he killed back at the prison. If you think back to the time spent at the prison, it was a really tough time for Carl because he had lost his mom, gained a baby sister and had to deal with a dad who had gone off the rails. Carl didn’t agree with Farmer Rick’s newfound porcine hobby, and the loss of his mother pushed him to find other outlets for his anger. Rick wasn’t there for Carl in those moments, and the lack of parental supervision led to Carl taking his anger out in other, more self-destructive ways.

It was incredibly harsh that Negan chose that moment to take a jab at Rick’s parenting, but he has a valid point that was delivered in his own egotistical “I’m right and you’re wrong” message: The truth is that if Rick had been in Alexandria, Carl might not have died. It’s a slippery slope, to be sure, because Rick didn’t want to stop for Siddiq when they first encountered him and instead shot at him to keep him at a distance. This means Carl could have gone against his father’s wishes and snuck out on his own anyway. However, if Rick wasn’t focusing on the war, maybe he could have been more accepting of Siddiq, and he might have welcomed him so Carl wouldn’t have had to seek him out on his own. 

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Negan also knows what happened with Lori, and though Carl didn’t tell him the details behind his mother’s death, it looks like Negan put the pieces together and saw that the only reason Carl had to kill his mother was that Rick wasn’t there, either.

The reason Negan and Carl had a connection was that Negan listened to Carl. He saw through Carl’s bravado and saw the kid’s pain, just as Carl saw through Negan’s tough guy act. Negan knows that Carl was missing structure because his father wasn’t around the way he should have been (or as much as one can be during an apocalypse) and that’s what Negan seized upon when he criticized Rick. The criticism was messed up, yes, but that doesn’t make him wrong about what he said and that’s partly why Rick is so upset: He knows Negan is making a valid point.

Blaming Rick for Carl’s death wasn’t cool. Saying that Rick should surrender because Negan is right isn’t cool. But Rick needs to take a step back and calm down because what Negan is saying isn’t wrong, and when Rick goes off bad things tend to happen. Carl wrote Negan a letter because he wants peace between these bitter enemies, but both men need to step back and reassess the situation before going off and causing more problems.