The Walking Dead: “Faith” Brings Negan Full Circle

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Khary Payton as Ezekiel - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 22 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

The end is near. The Walking Dead: “Faith” has just aired and now we just have two episodes left, despite AMC’s confusing marketing campaign which makes it seem like there’s an additional episode hiding somewhere. This episode was a true highlight of the season and perhaps, series so if you haven’t seen The Walking Dead: “Faith” yet, beware: this article will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned.

The Ballad of Eugene Porter Part 2

Eugene’s trial took place in The Walking Dead: “Faith” and the outcome was as to be expected: Guilty of murder, despite Yumiko’s best efforts. The trial tried to play on the public’s mistrust of Pamela Milton and those in power and it seemed to work. The citizens of the Commonwealth were seen in the courtroom visibly interested in the outcome and reacting as Yumiko hoped they would. But that didn’t change the final verdict.

Showrunner Angela Kang continued to double down on the show’s more political themes here, with Pamela Milton telling an absurdly blatant lie on the stand and expecting her lie to be accepted as fact. For some there is the trial—Milton simply saying that the recording wasn’t Sebastian’s voice, despite it obviously being his voice, was likely enough for them to accept it. The ruling class defines what the truth really is. For others, it added fuel to the fire and intensified desire for a rebellion.

Which seems to be exactly what we’re getting. In the closing moments of The Walking Dead: “Faith,” Eugene was being taken to his execution, bag over his head, escorted by many armed Commonwealth guards. This is when Mercer changed the entire narrative by taking Eugene’s bag off his head and telling him that it’s time to “f*ck some sh*t up.”

Eugene on trial in The Walking Dead: “Faith”

So Eugene’s life is once again going to be spared and Mercer is leading the soldiers in a mutiny against Milton. Does this mean that Milton will fall easily in the next episode? She should. Mercer is the most trusted public figure in the Commonwealth, and his turning against Milton means that everyone is coming with him. We could be looking at a scenario where the Milton story is wrapped up in the next episode and the finale moves on to answer larger questions. Maybe.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

In an episode where many of our characters had their faith tested, having Negan be central to a crisis of faith story was an interesting choice. Which is part of what made The Walking Dead: “Faith” such a powerful episode and perhaps an all-time great in the series.

Our characters were still divided: one group was captured by the Commonwealth. One group tried to rescue them, and the final group tried to reach Oceanside in an attempt to rally the remaining troops. The group being held by the Commonwealth troops was under the control of a new character simply called the Wardon who did harken feelings of Negan when he was originally introduced to the show, the cruel leader of the Saviors.

The story was a simple yet incredibly effective one. Our characters were trying to escape, were busted and someone was going to die for their sin of attempted survival. Negan, reminded of his past brutality by both the Warden and Ezekiel was prepared to sacrifice himself to save the group and especially his pregnant wife Annie. But our group would not allow that to happen.

In one of the show’s most powerful moments, Negan, sitting on his knees just like how he had our characters sitting in the Season 7 premiere before he killed Glenn and Abraham, was told he couldn’t be a martyr and Annie would be killed instead. We saw Negan panic, thinking that his plan was ruined and both his wife and unborn child would meet a cruel fate. Negan and Annie sat next to each other on their knees, again taking us back to the circle he had our characters in. The feelings were oh-so similar. The man who brought about much death and terror was now on the other side of it all, feeling what his victims had previously felt.

Enter Ezekiel, who stood in front of them as a human shield, followed by the rest of our group. They banded together to protect Negan and Annie, despite everything Negan had ever done, all of the pain he had inflicted, and the lives he had taken. He was one of them. Our group, who has been so fractured and divided, stood together as a family to protect someone they weren’t sure they wanted to accept until his life was threatened. The Walking Dead: “Faith” brought Negan full circle, from the one swinging the bat to the other saved by the people on the other end of the bat.

Where are the Children?

Parenthood was the other major focus of this episode. From Carol recounting her feelings on her deceased children, to Ezekiel telling Negan he didn’t deserve to be a Dad and Negan’s reaction to that, to Maggie crying over her feelings and Rosita desperate to find Coco, the children were widely discussed but still not found.

Taking the kids forces the characters to look at what they’ve put their kids through. Leaving them for long periods of time. Putting them in dangerous situations with dangerous people. Forcing them to grow up way too quickly and often, not putting their needs first. The parents in the show have their kids taken from them and are thinking about these things as we head into the final hours of the show, and it’s compelling television.

Which I think is a tell that fixing the Commonwealth so the children can have a better future is the end game. That the family needs to stay together yes, but not go back to Alexandria and try to rebuild a home that’s largely destroyed. The future is in the Commonwealth but it needs a new vision and new leadership. Which our people can provide.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Next week’s episode, the penultimate episode, seems like it has to pick up where The Walking Dead: “Faith” left off and see Mercer spring into action, taking out Pamela Milton and freeing our characters (and the children) so that the finale can be more about the future.

Mercer in The Walking Dead: “Faith”

Which begs the question, what is the future? Why do Maggie and Negan need to go to New York? Why does Daryl need to go to Paris? Why isn’t being together as a reunited family good enough?

It seems to me that the finale has to introduce new questions while also giving some of our characters some sort of happily ever after. We have to see why major characters are leaving and hopefully, tying into the larger mythology the series has established, making us want to continue this journey beyond the ending flagship series.

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Written by Andrew Grevas

25YL Media Founder

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