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On today’s Walking Dead #TBT, we reminiscence about the time Negan had but a simple question for ole Daryl Dixon, “Who are you?”

Picture Daryl Dixon laying helpless on the ground like a maimed buck freshly hit with a round. Crossbow-less and therefore dehorned, being kept alive against its will, past an honorable expiration date. Filth highlights every corner as a bittersweet symphony blares across the room’s speakers on repeat. Dante’s Inferno playing a Liquorice-scented encore again and again with no crowd request. “We’re on Easy Street and it feels so sweet!” The only ticket out suddenly flips ajar, it’s rival Dwight serving up lunch sans the chef hat. Dog food. Yet, Daryl has eaten worse and indulges with no hesitation.

The Walking Dead’s “The Cell” asked viewers the question, does dignity have a price? How many in the same mentally deformed situation as Daryl would have thrown in the towel? For as much fan backlash as Eugene later took on social media… He did what 99% of people would have done. It was the mirror reflection back that haunted viewers and brewed resentment. An uncomfortable looking glass. The gritty reminder they would not rise above either given the predicament.

They too would likely say whatever a despotic regime demanded. Not even paying empty lip service but fully embracing its foundations. Engaging in the belief and rationale… That you are Negan.

Negan’s juxtaposition of Dwight to Daryl

From the onset of “The Cell” Dwight is seemingly living the good life in the heart of Sanctuary. Luxury food, premium items like cigarettes, his own secure room and board. Not to mention the honor and respect of being a prime-time Savior lieutenant. A made man one can say from the outside compared to his Alexandria-bred counterpart. Demeaned, dehumanized, stripped of all decency.

Negan recalling the origins of Dwight’s membership into Sanctuary to Daryl was obviously no small talk. It was meant to convey that the past can stay in their rearview mirror. Negan has always been about looking forward and maximizing his roster’s talent to the benefit of the team. The Savior team that is.

Telling the plight of Dwight and how he sacrificed his loving marriage was meant to foster two goals. Willing camaraderie to the fact that the team always comes first and obvious intimidation of what can happen when a member falls out of line. In Negan’s words’ you know how Lucille is a stickler for the rules!’ Thus Dwight had to give up half of his reflection as punishment for abandonment of the rules.

Easy Street requires Easy Words…

At the same time, Negan promised rewarding good team-oriented behavior. Those who fall under the umbrella of Negan enjoy the grander things in life. They get to see daylight whereas Daryl sees walls. They get to enjoy dijon so-to-speak while Daryl receives tinned pet food. Even rising up the hierarchy is an option on the table for Daryl if he just speaks the all mighty exit words.

The defining pardon that will end Daryl’s hardship and bring the beam of the sun through a newly built window. Emphasis on new. Negan believes in forming new relationships, new partnerships and new team seasons. A one time rival can become a teammate through roster trade or free agency to Negan. Last season was last season, there’s a new championship to build towards this year.

“Who are you?” Negan asks expecting to hear the answer he’s heard a thousand times before. Yet, one strays. This buck still has the vigor of life in it and is willing to endure. Its memory of a greener horizon where it lives free intact… Even through excruciating pain. The specter of riverbeds, fertile soil, and most importantly, its treasured herd. The wounds might fester but this buck will never give the desired signal to its captor.

“Daryl.”

Fun Fact: “The Cell” was penned by current Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang! The Kubrick-esque episode was directed by Alrick Riley, who also directed episode 13, “Bury Me Here” in season 7.

Check out The Walking Dead #TBT: Nicholas says ‘Thank You’ to Glenn Rhee to revisit more ground of the show’s all-time mementos.

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The Walking Dead

Would Rick Grimes have spared Negan if he knew parole was possible?

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Rick Grimes Vs. Negan on The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale "Wrath" - Pictured from left to right: Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln - Photo Credit: Gene Page / AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

If Rick Grimes had known Negan would be free to go in his absence, free to play dad to Judith while Michonne replaced him with Ezekiel… Does he still spare Negan?

Had Rick Grimes peeked into a crystal ball and witnessed the dystopian-like future of Alexandria in his absence, would he undo it all? Every day Rick Grimes is not around his daughter is a day she forgot about him a little bit more than yesterday. Rick’s despised rival becoming her adopted father figure and who she looks to for guidance. Memory alone pales to immediate availability, and Negan is available and willing to play dad. Rick’s promise of a life sentence for Negan reduced to parole for good behavior. Negan has accomplished what Shane set out to do minus Lori.

For those who’ve watched The Walking Dead’s Season 10 Comic Con Trailer, it’s clear Negan will go free from his cell to roam Alexandria… Meaning, it’s only a matter of time before he rebuilds his influence like The Governor before him. Sure, he might take a beating from Daryl but nothing he can’t handle. In the end, Rick placing Negan in the cell will be largely meaningless as Sanctuary’s top guy rewrites his own history. Maybe even Rick’s history if he chooses to. For how much longer will Judith keep believing Michonne’s stories about Negan against her own experiences? Especially, once Michonne starts kissing Ezekiel.

Michonne isn’t even Judith’s real mom after all, and she’s just entering that teenage rebellious phase. Remember how difficult Carl was toward Rick at Judith’s age (and even later)? A moment will come when Judith has to choose between the viewpoints of Michonne and Negan, and vote for him… She’s already ignored Michonne’s wishes before. If Rick Grimes knew Michonne had accepted a replacement in his place rather than continue the search, how would he react? He’s already been in the scenario with Lori once before. So again, go back to the epicenter of it all, The Walking Dead’s Season 8 Finale.

Rick Grimes has an opportunity to vanquish his opponent in Roman Gladiator-like fashion. The Saviors have surrendered, the war is over. Yet, Rick relents and spares Negan from his fate. There’s a saying, ‘first thought, best thought’ or ‘always go with your gut.’ If Rick Grimes ignores Carl’s dream right that second, there might have been true unity by those who fought The Saviors. No forced unity between opposing former front lines who balked at the dream. 

The idea two sides imprinted with the memory of the war and its casualties could live in harmony was likely a utopian daydream. Daryl tried desperately to make Rick see that as his best friend. Whereas Maggie had already lost faith in Rick Grimes permanently.  

If Rick Grimes could see the future of his decision… Would he change it? Would you?

Relive The Walking Dead Season 8 with the Blu-Ray on Amazon!  Rewatch the moment that determined The Walking Dead’s entire future timeline with one action on Season 8 Episode 16 (“Wrath”).


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Lodge 49

TWD’s Pollyanna McIntosh debuts in Lodge 49’s Season 2 Premiere this Monday

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Lodge 49 - Clara (Pollyanna McIntosh) and Connie Wright (Linda Emond) in Season 2. Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

The Walking Dead’s Pollyanna McIntosh officially makes her Lodge 49 debut as Clara mid-episode on this Monday’s Season 2 Premiere on AMC.

Calling all Walking Dead Jadis / Anne fans, Pollyanna McIntosh is back on AMC Television this Monday (8/12)! McIntosh plays the posh British emissary Clara who meets Connie Clark on Lodge 49’s Season 2 Premiere. Clara appears high society and clean-cut, a definite contrast when juxtaposed against her junkyard self on TWD. The same when contrasted with her recent reprisal as The Woman in Darlin’, even her real life English accent is intact on Lodge 49. It’s honestly astonishing how a different accent can recharacterize and change perception of an individual instantly… Before you even get to know them! Makes you think.

While The Natural Aristocrat has to be mum on the finer details of this Monday’s Lodge 49 Season 2 Premiere… You can be guaranteed without any spoilers that Pollyanna McIntosh is seen at the half way point in the episode. In the Lodge 49 First-Look Photos for Season 2, McIntosh’s Clara and Connie Clark appear to be fast friends.

Lodge 49 Season 1 finale recap for Connie Clark

In Lodge 49’s Season 1 finale, Scott Miller revealed to Ernie that Connie has been suffering from brain seizures following their tussle. Connie confirmed to Ernie over the phone that her medical condition was indeed true but said, ‘not to worry.’ That she knows her clock is ticking but so is everybody else’s. Based on this, it’s likely Connie is growing open with revealing her medical state to others. Will she divulge the fine print to Clara or merely hint at it?

By the looks of their AMC photo, it seems a bond between Clara and Connie develops, whether on the Season 2 Premiere or in the future.

Pollyanna McIntosh’s upcoming films

Pollyanna McIntosh was originally confirmed by Deadline for Lodge 49’s second season back on February 27, 2019. Outside of Lodge 49 and this summer’s Darlin’, McIntosh has been announced for an upcoming, unnamed Walking Dead film with Rick Grimes, horror Western film The Moonshine Gang of Cheyenne (with Steven Ogg), thriller Revenge Ride, and German horror film Deathcember.

Get our Lodge 49 Season 2 Premiere live stream details, including a sneak peek of the episode! Catch up on Lodge 49’s first season on Amazon.

Be sure to check out our exclusive Pollyanna McIntosh interview on her film Darlin’ featuring her fellow TWD cast mates.

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Fear the Walking Dead

Austin Amelio talks Dwight’s return at Split Screens Festival (Interview)

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Austin Amelio as Dwight in Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC
Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC

The Natural Aristocrat spoke with Fear the Walking Dead’s soon to debut Austin Amelio (Dwight) at NYC’s IFC Center during Split Screen Festival.

Austin Amelio is about to make his Fear the Walking Dead official debut and relishing the opportunity to create ‘something deeper’ with Dwight. Amelio was in the Big Apple along with fellow Fear cast mates for the Season 5 Premiere at New York’s IFC Center and living in the moment. The Natural Aristocrat initially asked Austin off-camera how happy he was Dwight got to live on in Fear and didn’t get killed off by Daryl after all… Which Austin replied comedically deadpan, “Careful, Scott Gimple could be around here somewhere,” (shifting eyes from side to side) drawing laughs from Gimple and everyone around close by.

Austin would later comment at Split Screens Festival Fear the Walking Dead panel that when he was told he was riding with Gimple he was worried about having ‘the talk.’ The character end talk to be exact. Fear castmate Colman Domingo remarked, ‘Well you still have to ride in the same car with him back!’ which brought big laughs from the rest of the cast. The Walking Dead star and former Daryl Dixon rival discussed the initial pressure of being on the grand stage in the role, relaxing more now, and if he thinks he’s ever getting that vest back…

Watch the interview video above or read the full transcript below!

Interview with Austin Amelio on Dwight

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: Austin, how does it feel to transverse and do your own crossover? The first semi-villain to come over to Fear the Walking Dead!

Austin Amelio: I’m really excited about it because I get to keep playing with this character and create something a little deeper with him. So it’s been nice.

We spoke off-camera about how you’re afraid of Scott M. Gimple over there killing your character off!

Always!

(Gimple laughs in the background)

Are you guys always watching your back when he’s around?

Of course, it’s part of the show! (laughs) Whenever you’re turning the script pages, and you see a walker, you think “Oh no! This could be the episode where I go!”

How do you feel your character has changed over this season?

It’s changed a lot, that’s about all I can say. I don’t want to talk about it too much or give it away… But he leaves on a pretty emotional note and the troubles rise up on the show I’m on now.

Do you feel you prepare differently after you’ve gotten experience on The Walking Dead than when you first came on the show, acting wise?

Oh, a little more relaxed now. I was pretty stressed out the first couple of years but after playing the guy for a while… I just sort of sunk into what he’s about. So yeah, I’m not as stressed out anymore.

Why do you feel you were stressed out?

It was just such a big thing for me, it was a big show… It’s not like it’s just your grandma and grandpa watching, it’s millions of people. There’s a little pressure with that. But yeah, I’m just sort of relaxing now.

I’m wondering where you’re going to go forward with your career. Are you getting offers to do movies now in-between or after Fear?

No idea, I just take it day-by-day. This business is pretty unpredictable. So it’s just day by day and if something comes around and I jive with it, then great. Sort of where I’m at, no pressure.

My last question is… You ever going to get that vest from Daryl back?

(smiles)I don’t know. I think he took that for good! (laughs) I think it’s gone.

Thanks man!

Absolutely, thank you!

Be sure to follow Austin Amelio (@austin_amelio) on Twitter!

Check out The Natural Aristocrat’s interview with Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo ahead of Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 5 sophomore episode tonight!

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