TV Review: The Walking Dead, “Service”

Published on November 18th, 2016 in: Horror, Reviews, TV, TV Reviews |

By Laury Scarbro


Service… with a smile? Negan arrives in Alexandria earlier than he was expected, with a heavily bruised Daryl in tow. He takes out a walker once the gates are opened, but things are all downhill from there. I am of the firm belief that the real reason Abraham had to die was because they didn’t want him upstaging Negan for one-liners.

As stated, Negan arrives early, and right from the jump, he and his men spread out and begin taking whatever they want. Daryl and Rick make eye contact, but Daryl keeps his head lowered and continues to blink rapidly. Or is he? There is some speculation about this being a morse code message, and it certainly does appear to be a message but I can’t make it out. I’m going to believe he said “I’m OK,”┬ábut I’m probably wrong. There was also a morse code chart in Rick’s house. That can’t be a coincidence.

Negan has Rick hold Lucille throughout his visit, and I can’t help but feel like this the equivalent of making Rick hold Negan’s genitals. One of the Saviors finds the video camera with Rick’s interview with Deanna and the differences in the two versions of him are startling. Father Gabriel approaches as Negan inquires about Maggie, and Negan’s reaction is completely hysterical. Father Gabriel informs Negan that Maggie didn’t make it (he faked her grave, brilliantly), and our villain seems genuinely remorseful. For about a half a second. Then he turns it into a weapon of guilt, but the moment is interrupted by a gunshot.

It turns out, Carl is refusing to let the Saviors take all of the medicine. With his “full-grown man balls” and his Pantene hair, Carl’s holding a group of Saviors at gunpoint. Also, how much longer is Carl going to be wearing that gauze eye patch? Anyway, it’s unclear if Negan had intended to take their guns or not, even after Dwight took Rosita and Spencer’s guns, but Carl’s actions seal the deal.

The armory is inventoried and all the guns are confiscated with the exception of two. Negan threatens to kill Olivia if the guns aren’t returned, so Rick holds a meeting to address the Alexandrians. Explaining to them the way things are now, that Negan is in charge, Rick exposes himself to further ridicule for getting them into this situation. It’s pointed out that not everyone is at that meeting, and also that “two guns aren’t a threat to them (the Saviors).” While that may be true, the threat lies in the fact that by allowing the Alexandrians to keep those guns, the Saviors would be setting a precedence of leniency, and it would appear that the Saviors don’t have full control.

A search of the houses results in finding out that Spencer was hiding the missing guns, as well as hoarding food and booze. Basically, Spencer being Spencer all over again. Negan warns Rick to get everyone on board or they’ll have to start all over. As the Saviors are leaving, Rosita and Spencer return, and Rick spots Michonne returning as well. He knows she had a rifle and coerces her into handing it over. Why she was allowed to keep her katana is anyone’s guess.

Before the Saviors leave, a walker approaches the perimeter and Negan kills it with a candlestick (insert Clue jokes here), while Rick grips Lucille a little tighter with a murderous rage in his eyes. It seems for a second that he’s going to let loose on Negan but changes his mind. Negan’s parting words to Rick just solidify the sort of person they’re dealing with. A foreshadowing of things to come is the Alexandria Safe Zone sign: Mercy for the Lost, Vengeance for the Plunderers. Speaking of plunderers, after the Saviors are gone Rick confronts Spencer about the hoarding. Rick calls him small and weak, so Spencer turns the blame on Rick, throwing Glenn and Abraham up in his face. Sullen, compliant, basically cuckolded Rick, chooses that particular moment to finally locate his jewels and threatens to break Spencer’s jaw and knock his teeth out.


Michonne points out to Rick that everything they have, they’ve had to fight for. There’s a fire raging inside of Michonne that I don’t believe even Rick can temper, especially when she finds the mattresses the Saviors took in a smoking heap on the side of the road. The episode ends with Rosita going to Eugene with the casing from the gun Negan fired earlier that day and asking him to make her a bullet. There’s a rebellion stirring within Alexandria, regardless of how many lives it may cost.

Why doesn’t Rick stand up for his people? Why doesn’t Daryl try harder to fight back? They’ve always refused to back down to anyone before, so have they finally been broken? I don’t think so. I think that this is part of a long game of making everyone believe them weak and non-threatening so that when they’ve had time to plan and prepare, they’ll be ready. Take the time and re-watch the episode objectively, and you’ll see sparks of rebellion in Rick’s face. I don’t, for one second, believe that he’s been fully broken. He’s just biding his time. Add to that the fact that our strongest characters are all separated (Carol and Morgan at/near the Kingdom, Maggie and Sasha at Hilltop, Daryl stuck with Negan, and everyone else in Alexandria), things look pretty grim. But everyone concerned has the potential to rally together and retake what belongs to them.

And now for an analysis of our villain: Our villain isn’t much of a bad guy, he’s basically an overly charismatic bully who’s convinced people to follow him. He’s good at smashing heads in, and he has the mental torment thing going for him. I do┬ábelieve that Negan loves to say Rick’s name (he does it more than 20 times). I suspect Negan may have a few self-help books tucked away, or at least some kind of neuro-linguistic programming books. Maybe both? He’s consistent in unmanning the men around him, but ultimately I don’t feel like he’s as much of a threat as he was built up to be. That’s no insult to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who does a great job of going from sneering, sarcastically congenial to deathly serious in the mere blink of an eye. Perhaps in the upcoming episodes we’ll get to see just what it is that makes Negan so terrifying.

One Response to “TV Review: The Walking Dead, “Service””

  1. Kathy McGilvray:
    November 27th, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Very well written. Great review of that episode!

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