For those not versed in The Walking Dead universe, one might assume the monsters are the zombies, but that’s just not true. Like in Bambi, the monster is man, the true villain is always man. In a world gone mad, man must fear himself most. One of the most dangerous villain from the Walking Dead comics is a man called Negan, and in the last episode of The Walking Dead, some six months ago in the most frustrating and tense cliffhanger of the year, the monster was about to kill one, or some, of our heroes from the show. Finally tonight, we find out what kind of monster Negan truly is, and who will be joining the read dead on the series… Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on what happened… warning, there will be spoilers…
In the comics, Negan first shows up in issue #100 of The Walking Dead, a sociopath further damaged by the zombie apocalypse. After that initial introduction, he remains to rain hell on Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors for several years, as perhaps their most persistent and dangerous adversary, even more so than The Governor. Negan and his group called the Saviors in their hostility and fight for power indirectly cause other communities to unite in all out war against them. As always, who cares about zombies, when you have man doing what man does. And I’m not even going to mention the psychological damage Negan inflicts on Carl…
In Negan’s first appearance, as in the television show, he captures Rick’s crew and has them tied up outside a van. He walks around the campsite playing ‘eenie meenie miney moe’ with his barb-wire-wrapped bat he calls Lucille after his dead wife. Negan means to select one of them to die, to learn a lesson, to pay for what they did to his group, the Saviors. That’s just what kind of effed up psycho he is, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (no stranger to comics roles, having previously been in both Watchmen and The Losers) plays him to the hilt. The question is… who will he kill?
Again, in the comics, Negan chooses and kills Glenn, but as folks who are both viewers of the show and readers of the comic know, these are two different universes with two different timelines. Just because it happens one way in the comics, doesn’t mean that’s how it plays out in the television series. Notably, Rick still has both hands on TV, and there is no Daryl Dixon in the comics. Among Lucille’s targets in the cliffhanger from April are Glenn, Rosita, Aaron, Abraham, Eugene, Daryl, Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, Carl, and Rick.
Here are my pre-show thoughts briefly. I like him, and we share a name, but the odds-on favorite is Glenn, who Negan does kill in the comics. Then there’s Abraham, who Negan indirectly kills later in the comics. I’d count Rick, Michonne, and Daryl out because they are our favorite characters, and this isn’t Game of Thrones. Carl I hope would be used as he was in the comics just to antagonize Rick. Maggie is a favorite too, so I’d say she survives. So that leaves Rosita, Aaron, Eugene, and Sasha in Lucille’s thrust. Of those four, I’d say only Eugene has a shot at making it out alive.
A supposed script leak earlier in the week suggested that Abraham, and then Glenn will meet their doom at the end of Negan’s bat Lucille, but time will tell… In the first moments of tonight’s “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” we’ll hopefully get our answer… spoiler warnings away…
They sure made us sweat to find out who it was, through a tense chat between Negan and Rick, through the credits, and several minutes of commercials. Fifteen minutes in, Negan makes Rick fight a sea of walkers, with our protagonist flashing on all of his friends who could have met their end by Lucille, and we still don’t know. It’s a full twenty minutes in before we’re shown who it is.
Abraham. Negan went logical, taking out the one who looked strongest and biggest. Daryl jumped to his defense to give us all a shock that he might be next, but the monster shows a sick kind of mercy and moved his rage to someone else. Glenn. Negan is just getting started. Then he drags Rick to the camper for mind games.
Forced to fight zombies for Negan, while he makes Rick think of what could happen, our hero sees the deaths of the others in his mind, and therefore does what his captor demands. Negan thinks maybe he’s broken Rick, neutered him, and wants him to work for him. Rick has snapped before, but somehow, despite his behavior, I don’t think that’s the case this time.
Negan doesn’t think so either, and so, there’s another test. Back at the campsite, Negan puts guns to the back of everyone’s heads, and has Carl lie down next to Rick. In an ironic nod to the comics, Negan demands Rick cut his son’s arm off. If he doesn’t, Negan will Lucille the kid. Rick is about to do it – that’s when he snaps – Negan stops him, and that’s when the monster wins.
The New Deal
Team Rick now works for Negan, they are now owned by him. Negan takes Daryl prisoner and promises that if anyone gets out of line, pieces of Daryl will be delivered to him – or better yet, make Rick do it for him. The monster has truly won. As the Saviors leave the campsite we get a last hint of how evil they are as one takes a Polaroid of what’s left of one of the dead.
Maggie snaps once the Saviors are gone. While holding on to her and her fragile sanity, and props to Lauren Cohen for her performance here, the group takes care of Glenn. We close on a bittersweet look at what could have been, a feast with Glenn, Abraham, and Glenn and Maggie’s son. Things have completely changed.