Negan and Maggie share one of the most tumultuous relationships in The Walking Dead universe. Dead City is no different and Maggie comes swinging out of the gates, literally. She has never lost a step when it comes to Negan. Years have passed but time does not heal all wounds. The minute she’s in his orbit again all those old wounds are reopened.
Maggie is reeling from losing her son you can see the sheer anguish on her face as she sets off to find Negan. He is the last man on earth she wants to confide in, but for your children, you do whatever it takes by any means necessary. Negan is the key to getting her son back. Her home had been raided and overpowered. A lot like how Negan overtook Alexandria years ago. If anyone can get into the mind of the psychopath that took Hershel it would be him.
When we first see Negan again he’s not alone, accompanied by a young girl named Ginny. She carries a strong attachment to the former villain. Ginny is not aware of his horrific past, she comes across as very comfortable and safe around Negan. You can tell she is an exceedingly lost soul. He’s very kind and gentle with her which is hard for Maggie to witness, seeing the man she despises being a father figure to another child so soon after getting hers ripped away.
It was probably no news to Negan he was a wanted man but he will never miss an opportunity for humor. When Maggie shows him his wanted poster he is very amused and prideful for looking so good for a wanted man.
Maggie needs him and Negan knows that and he has a little more fun with it than he should. Sarcasm and quick-witted humor are in no short supply here. The man loves to joke but there’s a lot of honesty in what comes from his lips. These two have no problem being direct with each other which makes for great conflict but it’s at times tedious. We’ve heard this song before.
It is not quite explained how each of them got up to New York. Hilltop has moved because it was under too much devastation. Which Maggie fully still blames Negan for. I however still think the lives that were saved are much greater than material things lost.
TWD: Dead City: Don’t bite the hand that feeds.
The first thing that jumps out at you is Maggie needs his help right now I don’t know if throwing repetitive jabs in Negan’s face is the best move. She may know because of his guilt he’s going to do it anyway for a child. He has proven that time and time again. But I don’t think she can continue to bank on that in the future. At the end of the day, he is still Negan and is only going to put up with so many beatdowns before returning the favor.
New York City is very dark and eerie due to being cut off from the military, it was once one of the epicenters. Sadly cut off from the world in hopes to contain the walkers there. But that still doesn’t take away the beauty of one of the greatest cities in the world.
The cinematography is some of the best I’ve ever seen for an AMC show. It’s at times hard to see because of the darkness but knowing the city was disconnecting from the world it explains why it wouldn’t be very illuminating. There is almost a sadness seeing Manhattan annihilated this way. But also a hopeful dream of what Manhattan could become again.
The walkers in Dead City are more terrifying than ever. It’s fascinating to see how much walkers have evolved from our first days of meeting Rick Grimes to now. The ones in New York are wickedly insane. It would not even cross your mind that walkers could turn into that. The creative vision raised the bar on this spinoff. Kudos to Eli Journe and writers Brenna Kouf and Keith Staskiewicz, and directors Kevin Dowling, and Loren Yaconelli.
If you like a big cat-and-mouse chase and high stakes action this is definitely the spinoff for you. Danger is lurking around every corner and they must put their faith in people they don’t necessarily trust. However, both of them are fish out of water in New York and must use whatever tactics are present to survive. Fake it till you make it. They are battling the elements of a city with little resources, the walkers, and the manhunt for Negan all at the same time. Hope is often grim but just like The Walking Dead it is centered around the love for family and the lengths you will go to to keep them alive.
TWD: Dead City: I know I am, but what are you?
One of the best lines of the show came from Negan right at the start. Maggie is always berating him for his past and he snapped back with a line that made me think when asking “How many husbands and fathers have you killed?” While Maggie doesn’t ever have to forgive him and probably shouldn’t, nobody’s hands are clean anymore at this point of survival. And you get the distinction that she’s never really taken the time to ponder on the heartache she has caused people. I don’t think she’s a selfish person, but her mind is still entirely focused on her hate for one man. Despite the cause, they are not as different as Maggie would want them to be.
Negan is as big of a fan at the zip line as all of TWD fans will be, and who can blame him? The pacing does start to become extremely slow in Episode 2. Between following who Negan calls the pigeon lady who stole their bags to Pearlie Armstrong’s back story.
There is a callback from the lineup. How that story has become worldwide knowledge is a little strange. Stretching to New York is quite a feat. One thing that did bother me is it was only about Glenn. Abe is always forgotten in the story. Maggie’s nightmares seem to persist the more she’s around Negan but it’s all nothing we haven’t seen before.
Negan makes in rain in episode 2 that is surprisingly satisfying and gruesome at the same time. Maggie seems horrifically disgusted but it’s one of the coolest moments up to that part. It gives you that pure feeling of The Walking Dead that makes your eyes light up and say “We’re back.” The man is only going to change so much, and he is never going to be someone you want to cross.
The shots of the skyline of Manhattan are nothing short of spectacular. And the intro for Dead City is hands down the best of The Walking Dead universe both past and present, and most likely future.
One thing fans will head over heels for is cowboy Negan in episode 3. Getting to see him in some new attire will be a special treat I was not prepared for. We all know those Jeffrey Dean Morgan fans are going to be weak in the knees.
Negan is the shining light of this new series. He’s the same old hysterically charismatic guy many have grown to love, and we get that again in abundance. For Maggie, we are getting more of the same. A traumatized mother that cannot get over the hurdle of her devastation. Losing Glenn is still very much on the surface and most of her life consists of always looking over her shoulder for a man who doesn’t even want to hurt her. All of that is hindering her relationship with Hershel now. I don’t think Maggie should ever forgive but she has to find a way to live her life before she loses everything in it over revenge.
Episode 3 was one of my favorite episodes, second behind the final episode. There’s a great cordial scene between Maggie and Negan. Negan gives her a gift for Hershel. I believe it’s something he did to give her hope in finding him because other forces think he’s as good as dead. Negan believes in their plan and will strive to do everything it takes.
In the same scene, he tells Maggie why he’s not with his family anymore and we get to learn what happened to Annie and his child. The story of this helps set everything into motion. In Maggie’s mind, she may feel vindicated for the fact he can’t be with his family after everything he’s taken from her.
What Worked in The Walking Dead: Dead City
- Neat evolved zombies. Some that are even embedded together causing one very cool kill.
- Maggie’s fighting style. She is one badass without a shadow of a doubt.
- Negan’s antics and humor.
- Negan is still paying it forward. He can’t be with his family but maybe with good karma that can change.
- Some more names for walkers: Fleshies, chompers, and groaners.
- The moments where Negan and Maggie talk to each other with some compassion and understanding.
- The phenomenal skyline of New York and seeing famous sites like the Statue of Liberty in that world.
- Negan and Maggie making one badass fighting team.
- The Ultimate Fighter cage
- A generalized team family callback
What Didn’t Work in The Walking Dead: Dead City
- Maggie’s constant physical violence with Negan, which she usually initiates.
- Inconsistent writing. There’s a line Simon says in the fourth episode that will make you question how much research the writer did.
- Maggie’s torture porn. We all know she’s been through a lot and lost more than most but at some point, she needs to find a semblance of happiness.
- The repetitive stabs Maggie keeps giving Negan. He’s a monster, he’s a horrible person, he’s the worst to ever live. Okay, but you are asking for this man’s help so maybe hold off on the bashing for now. If he was that horrendous he would not be helping you right now.
- More redemption. Negan doesn’t need to keep using children for more redemption arcs. This part is very recycled.
- Not many mentions of people of their past unless it has to do with Glenn.
- Not much emotion between Maggie and Hershel. It’s not the two we are used to seeing.
- Repeating history. There are only so many fights these two can have. It stopped being interesting the first 20 times.
- Not enough on Annie and their child.
One thing that is consistent throughout the series is Negan is still a changed man. You can see the old Negan shine through sometimes but that isn’t the man he wants to be and he’s afraid being in this situation will allow that Negan to flourish over what he has become. A man that he hopes Lucille can be proud of. He is disgusted with who he once was and what he did.
The Croat still glorifies their past and finds beauty in what they did. Negan is still very much ashamed of it which shows how far his development has come. There is a captivating story about how the famous Negan whistle originated. It’s a tale that you would not expect but will be pleasantly surprised with. You will see the definite contrast between Negan and The Croat. One has a heart and the other doesn’t even have a soul.
There are so many looks exchanged between Maggie and Negan throughout, but there is one particular moment in the final episode that had me puzzled. Those Neggie fans will love it I’m sure. It was a moment in the final episode of extreme intensity. There is definitely a gray area that they’ve barely tapped into. It’s still evident that Maggie can’t restrain her emotions around him.
While I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see more Negan and Maggie this spinoff was miles better than I thought it was going to be. And they’ve set up something very intriguing for season 2 I’m really interested in. Where we will get to see Negan grappling with his past and his present. Two worlds will have to collide and we will see how he comes out at the end of it.
There is anger, laughter, tears, and heartache. All things that make one stellar show. Times of nostalgia in quiet moments for Maggie that will rip your heart out. All the people she’s lost she still carries with her wherever she goes. She desperately doesn’t want to do that with her son, he’s all she’s got left. However, Maggie does come off as more of a villain than Negan. She is less than honest on more than one occasion. Negan is one of the few people in the show that is trying to do the right thing. All he wants is a safe place for Ginny to live. He has no selfish wants this time around.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan work well together and their characters loathe each other in a way that will leave some bored and some in satisfaction. The acting is great, the writing could be a little less recycled and biased for the sake of the characters.
The creative team did a superior job with the walkers and landscapes around the city. It was great to see a brand new atmosphere, new style of walkers, and brand new people our heroes interacted with on their journey. The Walking Dead Universe has a potentially bright future, and it’s only just begun.