By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
Why Not Just Kill Negan?
This is a question I’ve seen many people ask since the first episode of this season. It came up again tonight as the Saviors rolled through the front gates of Alexandria, outmanned and outgunned. The question is usually accompanied by an attack on Rick’s character as he acquiesces to every one of Negan’s demands. I’m going to ignore this desire everyone seemingly has to make this a five-minute long show and address the logic of the actual question: it’s the wrong move. We know that Negan’s own men fear and hate him (at least some of them do), but no one in The Walking Dead universe knows that yet. When the Saviors go anywhere to collect things, the men put on a united front that suggests Negan is respected. They don’t show fear, and that distinction between respect and fear is an important one. The men go so far as to all claim to be Negan when confronted by outsiders. Rick has no reason to believe that killing Negan would result in anything but the slaughter of his people at the hands of the Saviors. The truth will come out eventually and a war will happen, but that day is not today. Just let the story play out.
This was another fantastic performance by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but let’s also credit the writers. Back in season three, they adapted the Governor to screen and chose to make him more charming. This was done to mixed reviews even though it was a good performance. They are not making that same mistake with Negan. From the first episode, there have been almost panel-for-panel shots of scenes with lines lifted directly from the comic. Aside from the missing f-words, this is the Negan we all expected but never thought we would get.
The Rest of Alexandria
I expected some resistance from the people that weren’t present for the murders of Abraham and Glenn, but I didn’t expect it from Rosita and Michonne. While they were seemingly broken in the first episode, we now know they were just biding their time until they could strike at Negan. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks. While Rick has admitted that Negan is really in charge, he’s still the leader of Alexandria. We may get to see that leadership challenged from within before the war against the Saviors actually happens.
Carl really pushed his luck in this episode, and he’s lucky Negan has a soft spot in that dark heart for children. We can blame him all we want for the Saviors taking the guns, but I’m pretty sure that was going to happen anyway. Carl needs to just keep on being Carl because it’s fun to watch as he grows and develops into a bad ass in his own right.
Thanks for reading!