The Walking Dead 909: Why was Negan in Judith’s room?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead revealed a lot about where the show is going in 9B, but there’s still confusion about Negan’s first stop.

After Negan’s big escape in the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead you’d think he’d hightail it out of Alexandria. Instead, in the mid-season premiere he took his sweet time before he left. After enjoying a vine-ripened tomato he did something really puzzling…he went to Michonne’s house and went into Judith’s room. Why would he do that?

Under the cover of darkness Negan made his way to Michonne’s house and ended up in Judith’s room, which was very well appointed given the whole zombie apocalypse thing happening outside Alexandria’s walls. The former leader of the Saviors spent time looking at the drawing over her bed before taking her compass.

Negan once compared the window of his prison cell to a television, and he made it clear he really liked television “when that was a thing.” Clearly, Negan knew that Michonne and Aaron were gone because Gabriel told him about Rosita and Eugene. Negan’s a savvy guy and he no doubt kept tabs on what goes on during the night around the community because he took his sweet time leaving. But why risk going to Michonne’s house?

Honestly, it’s a mystery. It’s pretty obvious that Negan is impressed as all get out by the plucky little girl, and the respect he has for her is real. Maybe he wanted to thank her for listening to him and being the only one to be real with him. Or maybe he felt that he owed it to her to say goodbye rather than disappearing.

This wasn’t the first time Negan was in Judith’s room, of course. The first time came back when Negan brought Carl back to Alexandria in season 7’s “Sing Me a Song.” That episode, directed by the phenomenal Rosemary Rodriguez, featured a glimpse at a softer side of Negan. During his tour of Rick’s house Negan came across Judith’s bedroom despite Carl’s attempts to hide her. Negan was delighted to see the little girl, and he proceeded to hold her on the porch while they waited for Rick to come back.

It was an odd moment because until that point Negan was only seen as the hardened badass who killed Abraham and Glenn. Seeing him smiling while gently holding Judith, and acting in such a paternal manner with Carl, indicated that there is another side to Negan and that he’s much more complex than he appears.

Fast forward to season 9 and Negan and Judith have a unique relationship. He considers it a friendship while she sees him as someone to talk to. Judith stops short of calling him a friend, but she seems to have at least a modicum of fondness for him as he’s the only one who treats her with respect, just as Negan expressed his respect for Carl and treated him like a man. The reality is that Negan simply could have wanted to say goodbye.

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We’ll probably never know why Negan risked going into Judith’s room that night. He was certainly after something, but in the end they ran into each other and now they’re on their way back to Alexandria.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.