- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead: Dead City.”
- Season one, episode three, “People are a Resource,” reveals what happened to Negan’s wife and child.
- They weren’t killed off. Negan sent them away while on the run, avoiding a cliché “fridging” trope.
Sunday’s latest episode of “The Walking Dead: Dead City” finally answered a lingering question that fans have had since learning about the Maggie and Negan spin-off: What happened to Negan’s wife Annie and their unborn child?
Set an undisclosed amount of years after the events of “The Walking Dead” finale, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) reluctantly recruits frenemy Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to help find her kidnapped son.
But when she finds him, Annie (Medina Senghore) and their child aren’t anywhere to be found. Instead, Negan is mysteriously traveling with a mute teenager, Ginny (Mahina Anne Marie Napoleon).
When we last saw Negan on “TWD,” Maggie welcomed him and his family to stay at the Commonwealth community.
Negan decided to quietly depart after Maggie told him she couldn’t forgive him for killing her husband, Glenn (Steven Yeun), in front of her on the show’s season seven premiere, explaining why it’s difficult to be around him despite knowing his efforts to try and be a better human.
When trailers for “Dead City” appeared to omit Annie and their child, some fans were concerned the “TWD” universe may have killed off Negan’s wife, potentially as a way to evoke empathy for the character.
Negan’s long redemption arc since brutally killing Glenn has often been a sore spot for “TWD” fans.
But that’s not the case.
Annie is likely in Missouri
In the first season’s third episode, “People are a Resource,” Negan finally broaches what happened to Annie and their child — a boy, Joshua. They weren’t unceremoniously killed off-screen.
Negan recounts to Maggie how Annie was assaulted and robbed by a group of men long after the birth of their son, Joshua. In retaliation, Negan hunted down and killed those men. When Negan became a wanted man, he sent his wife and son off west to keep them safe.
This is how Negan explains what happened to Maggie: “A few years ago, Annie, Joshua, and I were living in this little cabin outside of New Babylon. One day, Annie decided to go into town to do some trading. When she wasn’t home at nightfall, I knew something had gone wrong. I went looking for her. I found her. She had been robbed, beaten, and —.”
Negan alludes that Annie may have also been sexually assaulted, but never says the words.
As Negan pauses a few times while telling the story, it’s inferred that something terrible happened to Annie.
Negan continues his story, telling Maggie that he decided to put Annie and his son’s safety first.
“She begged me not to do something stupid. The hell, you know me. I found ’em. All five of ’em. Some shit drinking hole. Honestly, I don’t think I even wanted to kill ’em. After that, we were on the run, and it was very hard for Annie,” he says. “So I put ’em on a wagon train to Missouri, and I said I’d be right behind ’em. I stayed. I think about them every single day. I hope to god they are okay, and maybe I have no right in hoping that.”
Keeping Annie and Joshua alive was the right choice
Killing off Annie and a small child off-screen to draw some sympathy points for Negan would’ve been gross, falling into the lazy “fridging” trope in which a woman’s killed off to advance a man’s plot forward.
It also would’ve been lazy writing to allow Negan to liken his suffering to that of his victims. The final episodes of “TWD” already did a perfect job of giving Negan a glimpse into Maggie’s headspace when his wife was nearly killed in front of him in a deliberate callback to his murder of Glenn.
He lives with that.
“Being in the lineup himself and being able to have those parallels between what Maggie went through and him thinking his wife was gonna die, I think it opened people’s eyes a lot,” Morgan told Insider ahead of “TWD” finale in November of Negan’s growth.
“A lot of the progress, you wonder is he playing bullshit games? And I never thought he was, but still it’s a long road and I think what we’ve all learned is everybody kind of loses their shit in the apocalypse and has done some horrible things,” he said. “Negan was no different.”
Though keeping Annie and Joshua was the right move, the current “Dead City” storyline feels a bit contrived.
Strangely, Negan wouldn’t have accompanied his family. It’s even stranger he abandoned his child only to start traveling with and looking after a different kid. Now, Negan’s off saving someone else’s child, Maggie’s. It seems like Negan’s there for any children who aren’t his own, even though he believes he did what’s best for his son.
New episodes of “Dead City” air Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. It’s also streaming on AMC+.