"Lemonade"; AMC

The Battle Of The Ball-Busting Baseball Bats Pits 'Lemonade' Against The Walking Dead

Queen Bey takes on the King of the Saviors to determine the real Ace of Clubs.

The door opens and the powerful, almost mythic figure emerges into the open. The time has finally come to lay down the law -- not just with mighty words, but with a mighty Louisville Slugger as well. For a moment, the broad and winning smile on the attractive face allows you to believe that maybe everything will be all right. But then the bat begins swinging in righteous fury, and you know it never will be again. Eventually, a final blow to the camera mercifully blacks out our view of the carnage.

Are we talking about Negan in the season finale of The Walking Dead, or Beyoncé in the "Hold Up" segment of Lemonade? The answer is of course both. Just a few weeks after Negan used the barb-wire-wrapped "Lucille" to murder a series regular yet to be named, Beyoncé laid waste to a sunlit street scene with a bat labeled "Hot Sauce." For the last month, the internet has been abuzz with discussions of these pounding moments. The question is, between Lucille and Hot Sauce, which club has the most clout? Let's run it down.

Whose arrival was most effectively foreshadowed?

After our heroes on The Walking Dead had a run-in with some Saviors and confiscated their guns, Carl claimed one from the Alexandria armory. But not without noticing that the Saviors had marked the weapon by scratching a primitive drawing of Lucille onto the wooden grip. An ominous sign indeed -- for people who had read the comics and already knew what it was. Otherwise it just looked like a turkey leg doing rhythmic gymnastics.

On the other hand, Beyoncé's "Formation" video a few months back was a next-level departure for her. In a work packed with unexpected signifiers of black womanhood, her line "I got hot sauce in my bag" was a revelation to a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. And that's when we still thought she was only talking about a condiment. The true nature of Hot Sauce turned out to be a plot twist that The Walking Dead -- and really, any other TV show -- should envy.

Winner: Hot Sauce.

Which one is better customized?

Hot Sauce features a sweet wood-burned logo that looks like it came off a bottle. Negan doesn't have access to professional graphic design in the zombie apocalypse, so he makes due with covering Lucille in barbed wire. This is not only gilding the lily, it makes it easier for Negan to injure himself just picking the thing up and carrying it around. What good is ruling over the end of days if you give yourself tetanus?

Winner: Hot Sauce.

Which one is a more effective symbol of tough love?

This is a close one. Both Beyoncé and Negan are pretty pissed off by the time their bats are in their hands, and they both have a lot of words for their bats to back up. But even during Hot Sauce's reign of terror, Beyoncé sings, "They don't love you like I love you / Can't you see there's no other man above you." And Negan tells Rick and his group that he doesn't want them dead, he wants them working for Negan. And then he only kills one of them. The message in both cases is clear: you can add to my power, or you can be utterly destroyed by it. Take note, Rick Grimes and Becky with the good hair.

Winner: Tie.

Which one redresses the most grievances?

The whole first half of Lemonade is an exploration of the crushing betrayal of marital infidelity that's far too deep and heartbreaking to go into here, even if I had the skill to do so. But as far as we know, Jay-Z's people have not offended any of Beyoncé's inner circle by stabbing them in their sleep, blowing them up with bazookas, or biting their wieners. Of course, one of these situations is fictional and the other…may or may not be. But still.

Winner: Lucille.

Which one does the most actual damage?

Beyoncé's smashing of car windows, a fire hydrant, and a storefront is shown in loving, slow-motion detail. Between the property damage and the explosions blazing behind her, this couldn't have been a cheap sequence to film. Negan's bashing is more focused and restrained to a single target, but since Lucille appears to take a human life, we'll have to give her the win here. Even if that life turns out to be Carl's.

Winner: Lucille.

Which has the more intimidating support network?

Rachel Roy's ill-advised "good hair don't care" Tweet led to a predictable online swarming by the fiercely loyal Beyhive. So Beyoncé certainly has the raw numbers on her side. However, Negan's Saviors are not only also relatively numerous, but capable of strategically hemming in their enemies while simultaneously staging powerfully artistic vignettes designed to drive home Rick's growing helplessness in the face of the Saviors' limitless resources. You know, like Beyoncé.

Winner: Tie.

Which one is likely to have the most cultural staying power?

This is apples and oranges. The Walking Dead may be the definitive zombie narrative of our time, but the day will come, possibly in the show's own lifespan, when Lucille fades into memory like the Governor's eyepatch or Shane's contemptuous perma-sneer. Whereas Beyoncé is a cultural force that continues to grow stronger, as everything she touches becomes iconic. Of course some things she touches will become more enduringly iconic than others, and one of those things will be that bat.

Winner: Hot Sauce.

Verdict

Winner: While I would be wary of making an enemy of either of these formidable people, I'm going to choose the fake one. Hot Sauce wins.

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