During the fourth episode of The Walking Dead: Dead City, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) gets a blast from the past when he comes face to face with The Croat (Željko Ivanek). Negan’s welcome from The Croat is not quite what viewers expected. Ivanek explains some of the relationship between The Croat and Negan in a Q&A session with AMC Talk.
The fourth episode of Dead City, “Everybody Wins a Prize,” saw Negan, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and the Tribespeople put their plan to rescue Hershel (Logan Kim) and kill The Croat into motion. This episode also featured an exciting flashback scene, back when Negan reigned as the leader of the Saviors.
The scene looks back to when The Croat was still a member of the Saviors in his role as torturer. This flashback also featured Steven Ogg in a reprisal of his role as Simon, who for a time was Negan’s right-hand man.
The Walking Dead: Dead City – The Croat and Negan
Negan shared the story of The Croat with Maggie in a previous episode. He was thrown out of the group for torturing a young girl, discovered to be a scout for the Kingdom, against Negan’s direct order. The Croat got the information from the girl but killed her in the process. Negan told Maggie after this incident he would shoot The Croat, missing and only taking off his ear.
Flashforward to Dead City present day, Negan and The Croat meet, and instead of a fight, The Croat is overjoyed to see Negan and show him that he has created the Sanctuary 2.0. He is like a child, so proud to show off his achievements to his father. This scene also highlights his showmanship characteristics, greatly influenced by Negan, leader of the Saviors.
In the interview with AMC, Ivanek explains more about this relationship and The Croats actions toward Negan.
"You know, he’s like a child. Negan was the first person that wrapped him up in safety after all the stuff that happened to his family. He just kind of wandered until he wandered into Negan’s world, and that was the first place where he had any sense of safety again, any sense of belonging. The showmanship that Negan ran the place with was all very romantic and enticing, and he’s trying to recreate that. He has his own versions of things that are all about bonding the group. So, in The Croat’s eyes he’s a brother, but also almost like a father figure. It’s almost like he thinks, “Here’s the person who will protect me. Here’s the person I can count on.” Because for all that he’s established himself, I think there’s still a hole in there that Negan fills. He thinks, “that’s the person that I can rely on that can protect me at the end of the day — being in his orbit is what will save me.” There’s something very parent/child about it to me."
By the end of the episode The Croat realizes he and Negan are no longer on the same page. Ivanek teases that The Croat didn’t expect this reaction from Negan and will have to use force to bring Negan into his world. He believes Negan will come around and change his mind.
The Walking Dead: Dead City returns to AMC on Sunday, July 16, with the penultimate episode of season 1, “Stories We Tell Ourselves.” AMC+ subscribers can watch this episode beginning July 13.