(Spoilers ahead for the March 11 episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and, potentially, a future episode of the show)
So that was a pretty strange note to end on, with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) taking inspiration from a bad idea Eugene (Josh McDermitt) had about using catapults to throw walker parts and other assorted gore over the walls of the Hilltops to freak out those inside.
Negan isn’t gonna do exactly that, though. because he wants to do more than scare the folks at the Hilltop — which at this point consists of pretty much all the good guys now that Alexandria and the Kingdom have fallen.
At the end of the episode, Negan assembles the Saviors in front of three chained up walkers and rubs his barbed wire baseball bat all over one of them, getting blood and other general grossness all over it. And he talks about using this weapon to destroy their enemies by inviting them to join the club of the undead.
What he’s suggesting, in case it wasn’t entirely clear because it’s a pretty strange idea, is for the Saviors to coat all their weapons with zombie gore — aside from bullets obviously, but since they’re running short on those anyway they’re gonna have a disproportionate number of folks wielding melee weapons and bows. And supposedly if they do this then they’ll be infecting anyone they hit, dooming them to become a walker themselves.
This is a thing Negan does in the comics just ahead of the Saviors assault on the Hilltop — which happens to be where we are on the show as well. And, yes, coating their weapons with walker blood definitely does infect those they wound with them.
From this point I’m going to talk about the true plot significance of this plan, at least according to the comics. This weird gore plan is key to how one of the big season-long subplots plays out. Though, as with all things “The Walking Dead,” how it works in the comics may not be how it works on the show. But potentially I’m about to spoil an upcoming episode, so I just want you to be warned.
So in the comics, the Saviors bring a bunch of chained up walkers to the Hilltop with them for the battle, so they can use them to keep their weapons fresh with the zombie blood and gore. But in general this tactic is not all that important to how the battle plays out, though a few minor characters end up infected because of it..
It is, however, very important to how Dwight’s storyline plays out. Dwight (Austin Amelio) is back with the Saviors as of this week, seemingly committed to his role as a mole for Rick and co. His cover is intact for now, but he ends up blown because of this zombie gore plan.
What happens is that during a key point of the battle Negan and Dwight end up facing off with Rick (Andrew Lincoln), and Dwight shoots him with a crossbow as Rick flees from the confrontation. But Dwight does not use a bloody arrow to shoot Rick, so he isn’t infected. And later on when Negan discovers that fact he knows that Dwight betrayed the Saviors.
I’ll avoid going through what happens next for the sake of not wallowing in spoilers, but that’s what you need to know about what Negan’s plan could mean in the upcoming assault on the Hilltop by the Saviors.