Coming out of last night’s tense, yet overly satisfying episode of The Walking Dead – the show’s 100th instalment, no less – series showrunner Scott Gimple has addressed the tense exchange between Negan and Rick Grimes.
As the fallout from “Mercy” continues, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Gimple to glean some additional insight into season 8’s super-sized premiere. With that in mind, we should warn you that the remainder of this post is riddled with potential story spoilers, so if you’ve yet to catch The Walking Dead‘s latest episode – particularly for those of you located in the UK, where Fox screens TWD a full 24 hours after its debut in the States – bookmark this page and return at a later date.
Still with us? The scene Gimple refers to here involves Rick Grimes issuing a desperate plea to the Saviors. Essentially, Andrew Lincoln’s series mainstay offers Negan’s lieutenants one last chance to walk away, otherwise they’ll be caught up in the line of fire.
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True to character, Negan laughs off Rick’s suggestion, leaving our hero with little choice but to retreat. But as many viewers pointed out, Andrew Lincoln’s protagonist had a clear shot to take Negan out, but doing so would have been a “shortcut to the war,” as Gimple tells THR:
What shouldn’t be glossed over is Rick is offering surrender to everyone else. He wants them to, more or less, be on his side after that. If he just shot Negan there, that would have been a shortcut to the war. He was making a play to not be in full violence with these people because you see what happens after that. The next step for everybody is pretty heavy and intense. If in fact Negan’s other lieutenants had given up, it would have been over.