Spoilers below for The Walking Dead's midseason premiere. You have been warned!
The Walking Dead set up a coupling for the ages in its Season 10 winter premiere, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan and Samantha Morton's Alpha engaging in a sexual escapade that I'm pretty sure even Eugene would hesitate to spy on. Viewers were no doubt agog to see two of The Walking Dead's most atrocious villains making out in their birthday suits (plus Alpha's Whisperer mask, of course).
Director Michael Satrazemis, who helmed the winter premiere along with a host of other Walking Dead eps, opened up to HuffPost about filming Negan and Alpha's big scene and how that notorious shot of their "nude" bodies came together. In his words:
When I read the script I went, ‘Oh, my God!’ It’s this thing that’s going to break people visually, and then I went into how do I shoot this for its largest impact. I mean, it’s going to air on TV and do this nudity. But I’ve got to talk to Jeffrey and Samantha and convince them to allow me to shoot a certain way, and I just went, listen, if I break up my cuts, it’s the last cut, super-wide shot in profile. If they were naked, you wouldn’t see anything that you can’t air, and in the corner frame, in both corners on the bottom, you’ll see their piles of clothes. And that last cut will give it the most impact and really sell what’s happening for the viewers. I had to call them both up and explain to them that we’re not doing anything for the sake of nudity, but for the sake of impact and telling the story in its strongest point. And they both agreed that it was a great idea and agreed to do it as well.
As far as selling the moment to viewers goes, Michael Satrazemis may have been entirely too successful. As it happens, not everyone who watched the episode agreed with all involved thinking that any of it was a "great idea" in the slightest. Take this viewer, for instance:
I can't quite imagine Kevin Hart joining the Walking Dead universe in any capacity, although if he did, he should definitely do the impressions that made his Jumanji: The Next Level performance so funny.
This was another reactionary perspective that quite a few fans had after watching Negan and Alpha getting ready to knock socks.
Regardless of how disgusted certain fans might have been with Negan and Alpha's story advancing so quickly and illicitly, the idea was inspired by Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead comic book. Granted, the two villains' situation took a far different turn in the source material, and it appears the TV show is stretching things out, but Negan and Alpha were always meant to share a few unique scenes together. It's just...they happened to be naked in the TV version.
We always felt like we needed some of the story of Alpha, Negan and their strange relationship. [Writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick] was like, 'Okay! Not quite sure how to get there! Let me work on it!' He came back with this whole storyline where Negan thinks he's about to be killed, but it turns out to be this other thing that sits within Alpha's animalistic philosophy; it's the way she sees exactly who Negan is. She's not wrong about him being a crass man. Negan being Negan thinks, 'Well, it's an opportunity for me!' It came together in this organic and fun way where the writer had a great take on the relationship from the comic book. We had a fun time coming up with a way to show this to our audience in a way that's safe for basic cable but also still surprising.
We're not quite sure what Alpha's sex life has been like as the Whisperers' leader, but the somewhat redeemed Negan was locked up in a cell for years before getting out and tracking the masked villains down. As such, he probably would have jumped at the chance to have sex with his own reflection. So getting an offer from an actual woman, as sadistic as she may be, was a no-brainer for Negan.
As far as how long that duo might last, the episode was likely laying out a huge clue when Negan asked if Alpha would take his head off post-coitus in the style of a praying mantis. Considering Alpha's penchant for decapitation, that moment may have seemed vaguely threatening for Negan, but comic fans know that things play out far differently on the page.
Check out what Angela Kang said about Magna and Connie's up-in-the-air fates, and don't forget to tune into The Walking Dead every Sunday night on AMC at 8:00 p.m. ET.