Not making a decision is a BIG decision. Lydia gently taking the gun away from Hershel Rhee’s palms shows the strange, borderline Stockholm syndrome lock Negan has on youngsters.
Negan murdered both of their parents but he’s able to talk his way out reasonably, time and time again. Cheating death & consequence. Henry in comparison, didn’t think twice about taking out Gavin for revenge.
This recap contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 14 (“The Rotten Core”).
Really, Negan’s methods haven’t changed all that much. Consider that Negan once told Rick Grimes that if he followed his orders no one else would have to die. What does Negan guilt trip Hershel Jr. with?
That if he goes through with his revenge, the gun shot will alert their enemies and the rest of the group will die. Hence, Hershel Jr. should follow Negan’s lead to save everyone else from perishing in the fallout… It’s the same end result.
Lydia’s Cognitive Dissonance
It’s no accident Lydia was chosen as the first one on the scene to end the mostly silent confrontation between Negan and Hershel Jr. If you recall back in The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 15 “The Tower”, Lydia screamed at Negan for admitting to liking Alpha after taking her life. “It’s not okay!”
Yet, even after pounding on Negan’s chest, Lydia allowed him to comfort her as tears streamed down her face. In essence, Lydia gave Negan another opportunity to play her father figure.
Despite claiming Negan was “all about himself” and “just trying to “look like a hero” moments before. Cognitive dissonance.
What really stopped Hershel Rhee?
Hershel Jr. got the confirmation from Negan himself that he was the “bad man”, his mother was always speaking about. The one that murdered Hershel’s father. So why did Hershel Rhee hesitate where Henry did not with Gavin? Again, cognitive dissonance.
It was only moments earlier that Negan came to Hershel Jr.’s rescue… The way he once did for Lydia when she was bullied and beaten. Leaving room for doubt and hesitation.
Is reform even possible with old faces?
While Maggie Rhee is beginning to trust Negan in The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 16 (“Acts of God”), it’s a matter of forced circumstance. No one else available for the job.
There is no erasing the past, the original sin always follows. The Governor attempted to restart his life post Woodbury and was mostly successful until coming across Martinez. An old face promptly erased Philip Blake’s hard work toward rehabilitation with one swing of a golf club.
Should one day, Annie Smith or Negan’s future children be threatened by Hershel Rhee… You can be certain that Negan and Maggie will go right back to square one, opposite side. Old habits will reignite. Years of reform work thrown to the wayside.
Glenn and Maggie’s son will ultimately act as judge and juror, no matter how long the case is delayed.
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