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Thursday, July 20, 2023

Everybody Wins A Prize |1x04| The Walking Dead: Dead City

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neGAAAAN! You & Maggie have lossa `splainin to do! The Croat finally encounters his buraz, Negan, and it doesn't go quite the way everyone thinks! Maggie spots Ginny and chooses to stay and fight with she and The Tribespeople over ditching them for Hershel.
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David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:


  • Nobody actually wins a prize: the prize is death.

  • Bridget gave away 3 free months of AMC+ on her mediocre YouTube channel to folks who commented on her TWD Supply Drop unboxing video.
  • We're planning a telethon to raise money to fund Robin Overton's cancer treatment, but we need more subscribers on our YouTube channel to increase our reach: for this event, other charity events, and to create the bigger and better content you desire!

  • Have you at least seen our logo and art designs based on our TWD: Dead City discussions? Check them out!

  • Takeerah shares her overall impression of the episode, mentioning the anticipation of intense moments and emotional scenes. Ginny is very mistrustful towards Maggie Rhee throughout the entire episode, up until the moment she heads into the sewers with Tomasso & Amaia. Kera is holding a Connie doll (complete with Virgil's knife, used in the episode titled, On The Inside - TWD 11x06) made by Sherrandy's mom! Get their own custom dolls by DMing Sherrandy on social media or requesting a commission, here:

  • There's a lot of build-up and mystery over whether someone was possibly informing The Croat about The Tribespeople's plans against him. We lost many actual red-shirts, to boot, slimming down the whole of The Tribespeople to just Amaia & Tommaso. Marshal Pearlie Armstrong didn't know the plan but knew Negan was on the island, but The Croat's timing of their arrival seemed too perfect. Is there another group in the mix whom we haven't met yet? The Croat has absorbed or killed those who haven't joined him, afterall, but there may be someone above even him, too. Meanwhile, Tomasso's actual fate hangs in the balance since many think he's been bitten after we lose him for a little while.

  • We turn to the killer flashback, pre-Alexandria Safe-Zone, where we see Simon again, leading Negan to where The Croat tortured a scout from The Kingdom. The look on Negan's face clearly showed how distraught he was that he had tortured the little girl to death for information. Sherrandy interjects that this is the exact reason why Ginny might be a spy: the little girl who was killed looked somewhat like her in age and ethnicity. Another podcast had a theory that one of the men Negan killed, along with New Babylon Federation's magistrate, may have been Ginny's dad and that she may be secretly seeking revenge. Dave thinks her dad might've been mistaken for Negan and, when the NBF's marshals came to their farm in the dead of night, they issued the insanely cruel and unusual punishment that was meant for Negan, the aftermath to which she bore witness and made her go mute.

  • Dave had a terrible thought that doesn't make much sense: Negan had taken Luther's beeswax off of his body, but he might've taken more than just that. A zippo lighter was used to light the candle on the methane drums that would eventually explode to let all the walkers waiting outside Madison Square Garden (aka, The Croat's New Sanctuary) which were meant kill all The Tribespeople. Luther was seen in the last episode clearly holding up a zippo lighter before their meal: a totem to remember someone in his life who had fallen. Of course Negan has to ask Maggie for his matches because no one is supposed to know he has the zippo lighter. Negan's personal end game was already fairly unclear, but if he was the one who lit those candles, it throws us way off. Maybe he wanted to be the one to take credit for rescuing Hershel? It's possible that Negan's family is actually dead or, like Hershel, captured by The Croat. Both Negan and Maggie may be playing each other.

  • We talk about Maggie's decision to protect Ginny, rather than take the clear opening she had to rescue Hershel. Takeerah says she better protect Ginny, but Rachael would've personally gone for Hershel. At the end of the day, Hershel wasn't even on site, which is good for Amaia, Tommaso, and Ginny, since Maggie chose to fight with them. As far as Hershel's actual whereabouts, everyone believes Hershel is still alive and may be with another faction: demonstrating the practice of trading prisoners, similar to Native American tribes, which would make it more difficult to find him. It also makes Negan correct about what The Croat decided to do after Tommaso escaped the first time: take all the prisoners off-site.

  • The irony of Simon criticizing The Croat for not listening to Negan when Simon crossed that same line after killing all the men and boys at The Oceanside not too long after. We find this out in TWD 9x03, Warning Signs after finding out that both Arat & Justin were murdered by Beatrice and co, avenging their brothers', fathers', nephews', and husbands' deaths. Emily is a little dismayed that TWD is attempting to retcon a lot of its history, but Dave believes that it all fits firmly in place: Negan, himself, had to keep doing more and more heinous things to maintain his power, eventually violating the ethics he claimed to hold. Negan may have eventually moved on to killing kids had he been allowed to continue down his path.

  • Why didn't Negan shoot The Croat? Would it have shown his hand or have been too risky? Maybe he was even paralyzed: Negan had told Maggie he was afraid of hearing a song he doesn't want to hear anymore, which might mean a lot of things: perhaps precisely the kinds of escalations we just described earlier - the heinous acts one needs to perform in order to achieve and maintain power.

  • There was a difference in The Croat's behavior towards the girl in the console room. The others found The Croat to be particularly creepy, since the vibe we get from him is that you never really know what crazy thing he might do next (and we have the knowledge that he tortures and kills children), but Dave found him oddly gentle and kind. Dave isn't convinced he's changed, though: just prior to this, Negan & Maggie stumbled across the body of a young man who looked like Hershel, tied to a chair, who was recently executed, indicating he was still capable of extreme barbarism. He's likely gotten worse, over time, without anyone to restrain him.

  • When Negan and Maggie do find that body, Lauren Cohan's acting was extremely incredible. The relief that it's not Hershel is short-lived, as the knowledge that Hershel could still be butchered crashes over her: the notion that she won't even be there when it happens is written all over her face. It reminded us of Glenn Rhee's numerous near-death experiences throughout the original series and how she and we felt throughout all of them.

  • The Croat's reaction to finally seeing Negan again is one of the best lines in the series, thus far. Some say that he's excited to see Negan because he can't wait to torture him, while others (even Executive Producer & Showrunner Eli Jorné) say he is genuinely happy to see him. To The Croat, Negan is more of a father-figure than a Buraz, seeking his approval: he saved him from going down a dark path and made him useful. It's possible that kidnapping Hershel was The Croat's plan to lure Negan to the island all along.

  • We discuss Jerome, a former member of  The Saviors (and perhaps even The Commonwealth? since a character with the same name is found in the comic book series). He seemed to know enough about All Out War to catch-up The Croat, knowing that The Widow (Maggie) was a key player throughout the conflict (Negan, after all, having done the widowing). In the midst of this, we ascertain that both The Hilltop and The Kingdom were under The Saviors' protection at the time, since The Croat seemed to have found one of The Hilltop's hidden weapons caches.

  • Maggie tells Negan the story about Amos, who refused to stop playing his harmonica in the middle of the night while Maggie was trying to get a crying baby Hershel to stay asleep at The Hilltop. Though Maggie had previously told Negan that The Croat was a monster of his own making, the story might've been an attempt to walk back what she had said: you tried to stop him after he didn't listen and whatever happens after that is not on you. Still, Negan is getting closer to a part of himself that he doesn't want to associate with. The ladies think what Maggie was merely trying to tell Negan was to finish the job and bury The Croat in the ground, much like she did Amos' harmonica. They also don't believe for one second that Maggie asked Amos nicely.

  • Lurkers (walkers that hibernate until humans make enough noise or expose open wounds) are present in the subway tunnels, which reminded us of the last few times we really noticed them: Acheron: Part I (TWD 11x01) & One More (TWD 10x19). Rachael wondered whether they could've strategically put them down quietly, but the risk versus reward seemed pretty high. It's not clear whether Ginny followed our gang and had to risk getting by the lurkers the same way Maggie et al had: after all, if she was a spy for The Croat, she'd know an alternate entrance. Sherrandy had also noticed the fencing around the stairs leading to the subway had spikes on top of them, which were probably added on to kill walkers with.

  • Where are all the variant walkers in this series? It seems there haven't been any, so far, with a possible exception in the octagon: while Maggie, Ginny, Amaia, and the scavenger where regrouping, some walkers can be seen reaching upwards and grabbing the links in the chain-link fence in a possible attempt to climb.

  • When it's all said and done, all of The Tribespeople are gone, save for both Amaia & Tommaso. Especially if both find out, somehow, that Negan killed Luther, they could easily turn on Maggie. If you think about it, they all stuck their necks out for Maggie's kid, which makes Luther right all along about not wanting his people to get involved in saving him. Though, Emily enjoys the possibility of Maggie and Amaya becoming girlfriends, prompting everyone else to prefer that #hatebang over the one with Negan and Maggie. Tommaso is pretty easy on the eyes, as well. Seriously, though, we do want Tomasso & Amaia to last (in a universe where love interests often perish).

  • The Croat speaking Croatian (a common language) and the culture he's cultivated binds his people to him. Warrant Officer Anne "Jadis" Stokes believed the same thing, when she revealed to Jennifer "Huck" Mallick that a common language she developed in the heaps quickly bound she and her comrades (revealed on The Walking Dead: World Beyond). This reminded many of The Office (US) where Kevin Mallone says, "Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick?" Their wardrobe/uniforms are almost mafioso, with their trench coats and spiky biker helmets.

  • Jumping to the aftermath of Negan saving Armstrong, it seems like that doesn't make a difference since Armstrong goes right back to his Marshal schtick, citing codes and wanting to bring him in for punishment. We doubt this will last long, but there may be a painful back-and-forth we'll have to endure in the meantime until Armstrong relents (if only a little?). Either way, this is super frustrating.

  • Do you think Željko Ivanek's portrayal of The Croat is a little over the top? We know that, in a way, he's imitating his big buraz, Negan (imitation being the highest form of flattery). All jokes aside, he's been highly effective in building a fairly well-organized, efficient group. With all the neckbeards and rat-tails flying around, though, Sherrandy expresses frustration with Ginny not putting her wild, long hair up for safety reasons, though the one perfect example we've seen of someone doing so happened to have her hair pulled in that episode: Charlie on Fear The Walking Dead's 2nd episode of Season 6, Welcome to the Club.

  • Sherrandy wanted to know if we caught more of a glimpse of the posters on the wall in what were being used as prison cells. The cells were originally ticket-teller booths at Penn Station for the Long Island Railroad: we are supposed to know this because of the sign just before they enter The Croat's Sanctuary indicating as much (even though the interior was filmed at The Meadowlands Area in New Jersey). She and Dave caught what was probably an NYC Marathon poster and, in the arena, you could see a UFC match was being held between Hugo and Gonzalez.

  • A bit of foreshadowing to The Croat's excitement over Negan's arrival, if you know Croatian: The Croat catches Negan scurrying past his peripheral vision and says "Moj si!" which means you're mine, said playfully. We get the impression he is worse and crazier than Negan, even though he clearly has adopted some Neganisms.

  • The cinematography: Watching Maggie descend into the sewers as the darkness engulfs her and the lighting, sound, camerawork, and visual effects in the arena. The more upbeat version of Proplakat će Zora Dave had mentioned in the last episode was playing in the area, which had a more polka-like, early 70s, not-quite-disco feel.

  • Was The Croat tossing Armstrong off the railing a test for Negan or was he genuinely surprised that Negan assisted him? It's important to keep in mind that Negan's left hand injury was bad enough just holding the harpoon-like hook-shot weapon, at the beginning of the episode. He had to use the same hand to help pull up Armstrong, potentially worsening his injury. Rachael takes a moment to actually express admiration for The Tribespeople's weapons, but also acknowledges that they can still be made fun of (a la toilet snake).

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