Negan has an idea. On The Walking Dead this Sunday, the charismatic leader of the Saviors gears up for war with Rick and the Hilltop, and he’s got an idea courtesy of Eugene. But given the logistics of Negan’s plan, the idea doesn’t make sense if you consider what The Walking Dead long ago established about zombies.
Minor spoilers for The Walking Dead ahead.
At the end of “Dead or Alive” — an infinitely more subdued episode compared to the last few weeks of action and tension — Negan gathers his Saviors (plus Dwight, who reluctantly rejoined the Saviors to keep them off Daryl’s group) to reveal a trick up his sleeve: Spreading the disease. Eugene’s talk of medieval “catapults” gave Negan the bright idea to infect Team Rick with the disease. But how?
With the Saviors gathered, Negan goes on a long, wordy monologue that basically re-explains how walkers work. Negan’s plan — which he emphasizes by smearing Lucille with walker blood — is to infect anyone who gets in their way, dooming them to certain death. But will this work? Because any avid Walking Dead aficionado should already know it might not.
Consider the “hack” that’s used to get around hordes of walkers. Smearing oneself in walker blood, which is established to be non-toxic, cancels the scent of living flesh. This trick has been used since the very beginning in The Walking Dead and even the spin-off Fear the Walking Dead. Negan himself learned this trick earlier this season thanks to Father Gabriel, when the two were trapped in a trailer surrounded by walkers after the Kingdom came in like a calvary.
Because Negan spends most of his time chewing up the scene than laying out exactly how the plan works, it’s unclear to virtually anybody watching what Negan intends to actually do. If walker blood were as dangerous as their bites, Rick and everyone else will have turned a long, long time ago.
Still, not all is lost. Over at the Hilltop, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) struggles to be a fair and just leader when food rations run severely low. Exercising her right, Maggie cuts off her Savior prisoners. But she changes her mind when she finally learns about Carl’s death from Daryl, who successfully arrives with his group to the Hilltop. Now more sympathetic than she was 12 minutes ago, Maggie reverses her decision, allowing the Saviors a small amount of food and luxuries even though all of the Hilltop residents are starving. Hopefully, Maggie’s kindness will pay forward when Negan comes knocking at the gates with spoonfuls of guts at the ready.
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMC.