Spoilers below for anyone who needs to watch The Walking Dead's latest episode.
Last week's Walking Dead episode took a detour from the main characters to follow Tara (and Heath, slightly), but "Sing Me a Song" returned audiences to some core survivors' current escapades. The majority of the episode's actions took place within the Sanctuary's walls, catching viewers up with Carl's Quest, which very quickly excised the Jesus potential. But that was just fine, because it let the show go straight to the comic source material to get most of Carl & Negan burgeoning relationship. In fact, here are 3 moments that were pretty much identical to the comic books, minus some language choices.
By the time the Saviors' truck rolled up at The Sanctuary, it was just Carl hiding back there, and he'd already found at least one big gun to use. Use it, Carl did, and he mowed down a pair of Saviors before he was taken down (but not out) by Dwight. Negan demanded Carl's life be spared, because he'd instantly taken a shine to the younger Grimes' audacity and bravado. This scene was an excellent rendition of how it happened on the page, and I sincerely hope the Season 7 Blu-ray has this entire episode with an uncensored track, as several of Negan's killer lines were neutered for cable. It's something of a shame that Chandler Riggs isn't as young as Carl was at this point, but it was still pretty great.
Negan had already gone off the deep end when it came to making viewers uncomfortable by the time he got to Carl's head wound. But wowzers, did the episode get even more cringe-worthy in this scene. The dialogue was very faithful to what Robert Kirkman originally wrote, although I'm not sure I thought Jeffrey Dean Morgan was quite as momentarily apologetic for making the boy cry. In any case, Carl's tear-stained version of "You are My Sunshine" wasn't one of the most grating things the character has ever done, and it transcended the words on page in how it made my eye twitch with a lack of situational envy. Not to bring up Chandler Riggs' age again, but how mighty his pre-puberty squeaks would have been here.
Carl just so happened to arrive at The Sanctuary right when Negan was having to deal with some inappropriate business involving his wife Amber (one of many) and her ex Mark. Having found out not long ago why Negan burned Dwight's face, viewers likely inferred from Negan's early-episode leering that harm would come to someone, and the big punishment scene was almost exactly as it was in the comics. People who hate gory special effects should be happy with how relatively conservative the nastiness was here, though it was still icky as hell. I'm happiest here that we also got to watch Negan hand off Lucille to Carl when making his big speech to the Savior masses. It's another milder-then-normal way to show that Negan has the Grimes in the palms of his presumably unwashed hands.
What Wasn't The Same
Though Carl's shit-talking to Negan was the same before they left The Sanctuary, comic readers did not get to watch Carl giving Negan a "touring Alexandria" montage, as Carl was delivered back to Rick elsewhere. (A confrontation happened there that was pretty hardcore, but it could also come later when the two characters meet again.) Negan does end up in Alexandria when Rick isn't around, so that's going to likely lead to the same kind of scenarios, but things have already gone slightly off-center, so who knows how it will end up?. As well, Carl never asked about Daryl in the comic, as he would have been asking about someone who didn't exist. And that's some "Rick talking to nobody on the phone" business.
With Negan now fully familiar and at home in Rick & Co.'s former safe haven, The Walking Dead is perfectly set up for next weekend's midseason finale. Check out our fall premiere schedule and our midseason TV schedule to see what you can look forward to when the walkers are hibernating for the winter.