"You can breathe. You can blink. You can cry. Hell, they're all gonna be doing that." - Negan, "The Walking Dead"
For a while now, we've known a reckoning was coming on "The Walking Dead." It's been foreshadowed and looming, largely due to the hubris of Rick and the others. They thought they knew who the Saviors were. They thought they understood Negan. They thought they could handle it. They were wrong.
It reminds me of an exchange between Alfred and Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight" regarding the Joker. Bruce is frustrated that he can't pin The Joker down based on his familiar methods. Alfred suggests it's because Bruce doesn't really understand his adversary. Bruce says The Joker is a criminal, and criminals aren't complicated.
Alfred responds, "With respect Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man that *you* don't fully understand, either. A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away."
When Bruce asked why someone would behave as the bandit, Alfred responds, "Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
Negan doesn't really just want to watch the world burn, but Rick under estimates Negan and the effect he's had on his followers. That was clear last night, as they walked into a deadly trap. We won't know until October who paid the ultimate price, but a price was paid.
Negan played the long game. He saw the sacrifices in his men, but he was confident in his group and his position. Rick, overly arrogant, believed there was no threat he couldn't over come. He was wrong.
Pride goes before a fall. Last night we saw pride and a fall. Now all that remains is how they move forward.