The Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) feud heated up quite literally in this week's episode of The Walking Dead, and if we're keeping score here, we got Rick making up some serious ground in this ongoing beef.
The two respective heads of their troops found themselves duking it out mano a mano in a dilapidated building, exchanging blows both physical and verbal — "Hey, pRick," was a perfectly sophomoric and so-easy-it's-awesome barb from Negan — in close quarters. It was the most these two have tussled since they first laid hateful eyes on each other, and even though we knew there was no way they would end the battle once and for all right then and there — not halfway through this second half of the season, not like this — their fight was still a thriller.
But easily the best part came when Rick humiliated Negan with some style points by making things extra personal: Rick grabbed Lucille, Negan's prize barbed-wire bat. He put his hands on Negan's woman! It's few and far between that we get to see Rick smile, but as Rick happened upon Lucille, who got lost in the chaos of the chase, Rick actually let out a little bit of a laugh. He knew this would stick in Negan's craw, and it was a joy to watch.
"You can't save anyone because you don't care about anyone, you use people," Rick taunted Negan, as he held Lucille in his hands. "To bring you food, to sleep with you, to protect you. The only thing you care about is this bat, you can't even save that. I'll make you a deal, I'll let you kiss her goodbye."
"Don't you touch her!" screamed Negan.
This is the Rick I love to watch, the Rick in control. And given how many times Negan has made Rick look like a fool, it felt long overdue. Consider it payback for Rick, who had to sit by idly while Negan took Rick's son Carl (Chandler Riggs) hostage for a bit last year. Since, Negan has used his relationship with Carl to mess with Rick's head, telling Rick how much he cared for his boy and how Rick failed him. It was Rick's turn now.
And get this, not only did Rick swing that lumber like a roided-up Barry Bonds, he set her on fire. That got a 10 from the judges. "Come and get her," Rick teased, as he thwacked a fiery Lucille into a barrier holding back walkers and beckoned Negan out of hiding into a fight.
Negan tackled Rick to the ground, and it was all mayhem after that. Rick even gave Negan a good smack with Lucille, before needing to turn his attention to the walkers filling up the room. Zombies were on fire, Rick was swinging Negan's woman around, and Negan was wondering just how crazy Rick was... it made this one of the season's better scenes.
Negan eventually got Lucille back and escaped before waking up in a car with a gun held to his head by a particularly pissed-off Jadis (PollyAnna McIntosh). The big question here is whether or not Lucille made it out with him. Would Jadis have picked the bat up and thrown it in the backseat? Probably not. Could Lucille be gone for good? The show is going to need to explain this really fast.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.