The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 Episode 2 Recap – How does Negan know the Croat?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 26, 2023 (Last updated: February 28, 2024)
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The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 Episode 2 Recap - How does Negan know the Croat?


In its second episode, Dead City begins to feel a little too reiterative. It isn’t clear what it’s doing with its ongoing relationships, and its philosophizing is familiar at best and tedious at worst.

This recap of The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 Episode 2, “Who’s There?”, contains spoilers.

Well, that was tepid, wasn’t it?

I thought the Dead City premiere was okay. I liked the vibe and the central relationship between Maggie and Negan, which felt a little truncated in the main series finale. These things remain high points in “Who’s There?”, but it’s also hard, in such an exposition-heavy installment, not to feel like we’re retreading a lot of familiar ground.

The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 Episode 2 Recap

There’s still some freshness to New York as a setting, I think. Music is used to contain walkers to certain areas, everyone navigates via zipline, and the survivors eat pigeons, brandish power tools, and see right through Maggie’s made-up story about how she and Negan got there. They have a forthrightness and – in the case of the elderly, Hebrew-speaking Esther – a shabbiness that feels right. You could imagine her pushing a shopping trolley around and talking about the Rapture.

It is weird, though, how Maggie is so suddenly inept. When she and Negan are essentially captured by Esther’s friends Tommaso and Amaia her cover story is so obviously bogus that it betrays the background of a character who has been instrumental in developing multiple post-apocalyptic settlements. Negan has to tutor her on basic communication, which feels weird.

How does Negan know the Croat?

That’s not the only thing that feels weird in this episode. During some downtime, Negan explains how he knew the Croat, who was the Saviors’ torturer back in the day. According to Negan who was too evil even for him, torturing and killing a young woman against his orders, at which point Negan tried to kill him and failed.

Sorry, not buying this at all. I get that The Walking Dead has tried earnestly to redeem Negan over the last few years, but he was an outright villain for several seasons, took great delight in smashing Glenn’s head to mush, and was absolutely not the type to take a moral stand against unfair treatment of captives.

We’re all adults here, Dead City. We can accept that Negan has learned his lesson – there’s no need to pretend he was decent all along.

Is Negan still crazy?

But this is all in service of another wonky ongoing subplot, which is that Negan is still bonkers and Maggie is right to mistrust him and refuse to forgive him. This is undermined by a couple of things, though. For one thing, I really don’t recall the last time we saw Negan go properly postal like he does when he disembowels the Burazi henchman here. It’s a gnarly scene, but it also feels like we’ve inexplicably reintroduced Savior Negan after ages spent developing him beyond that.

Plus, it’s hard to imagine Maggie as some kind of moral puritan. Like Negan challenged her last week, how many husbands and fathers has she killed at this point? She stamps on someone’s head in this very episode!

The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 Episode 2 Ending Explained

Elsewhere, Negan’s new ward Ginny is taken to the new Hilltop community, where she’s introduced as being from Oceanside, and later runs away. In a flashback, we see how Maggie was struggling with Hershel before his capture. He was skipping combat training – bo staff practice, an essential survival skill – and being all morose about things. And, finally, Perlie Armstrong is captured and then embraced by the Croat and his people – an alliance seems to have been formed.

After Negan’s show of uber-violence, Tommaso and Amaia are willing to help him and Maggie get to the Croat. It seems that his presence in Manhattan is becoming a blight on everyone, and the dwindling numbers of their group are his responsibility.

You can stream The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 Episode 2, “Who’s There?” exclusively on AMC and AMC+.

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