The Walking Dead: Dead City debuted the series on June 18 to favorable reviews, with some saying this is the best spinoff in The Walking Dead universe. While the main story focuses on Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), many new characters are introduced, including a man from Negan’s past, The Croat, played by Željko Ivanek.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, episode 1, “Old Acquaintances.”
The Croat is responsible for the abduction of Maggie’s son Hershel (Logan Kim). He did so after raiding Maggie’s new home, promising to return for more and using Hershel as insurance. Maggie discovered The Croat’s connection to Negan as the man used the Savior’s whistle, the same Maggie heard right before she met Negan for the first time. This was when she knew Negan would be the key to rescuing her son.
Negan would inform Maggie that he does remember The Croat, and although there were many psychos in his crew, “he [The Croat] always stood out as being an exceptionally insane son of a bἰtch.”
In an interview with EW, Morgan stated that The Croat is a man who took evil to places Negan never had. “Negan has born this monster in Željko’s character.”
The Walking Dead: Dead City episode 101
In the final scene of “Old Acquaintances,” viewers see The Croat, who has Hershel as his captive, tied to a chair. He talks to him about the man who killed his father and asks if he ever met him. As he leans in to speak to him, eagle-eyed viewers notice something very interesting about The Croat. His right ear appears to be melted, similar to the burn that Dwight (Austin Amelio) carried with him for trying to flee the Sanctuary.
Did The Croat make some type of mistake while living as a Savior under Negan’s rule resulting in a hot iron to the side of his face?
In an interview with The Messenger, Ivanek shed some light on The Croat’s plan concerning Negan.
"“[The Croat] is certainly from the Negan School of Evil People and learned from the best. He’s now trying to pull him back to the old Negan."
When asked if he will be successful in bringing Negan back to his old ways, Ivanek replied,
"I don’t know if season one will answer that, or if the hope is more so that we can get to the crux of that question. But his big hope is going back to that form of friendship."
It seems The Croat has a score to settle with his old leader or perhaps just wants to bring him into his new operation where he is the leader, and Negan will have to follow his rules.
The Walking Dead: Dead City will air new episodes weekly on AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. AMC+ subscribers can watch new episodes three days early on Thursdays.