So, after six months of speculation and waiting, we finally know who Negan killed with his trusty barbed wire bat. But the way the internet was going on about it, you would have thought that The Walking Dead was the first TV show to have a fucking cliffhanger.
Does nobody remember that epic moment when Riker ordered Worf to fire on a Borgified Picard?
Or, that time when Ross said Rachel’s name at the altar?
The 90’s produced some of the best cliffhangers and I know I like to go on about how great the 90’s were but 2016 sucked, 2015 sucked as well. Hell, 2014 was rubbish and so was 2013, 2012 and 2011. In fact, 2010, 2009 and 2008 was shit. 2007 And 2006… meh.
2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002 were fucking awful and don’t get me started on 2001!
Maybe 2000 didn’t suck but then we were so full of optimism, weren’t we?
Big Brother had relatively normal people in the Big Brother house, things were new and fresh.
There were no real, tangible social media.
No Facebook, no fucking YouTube.
Do you remember a time when hipster-wankers weren’t begging for money on Patreon so they can turn filming themselves into a financially viable occupation?
In 2000, humanity reached a plateau and we all became flaccid caricatures of our former selves, we forgot all that we learned from the awesome 1990’s and suddenly the very idea of television cliffhangers was relegated to the loft with your forgotten Beanie Babies and Pogs.
We became unaware that it wasn’t us that caste our shadows but rather, it was the other way around. And so, we became culturally stagnant and now we wander the earth as soulless entities within a media vacuum. Fast forward 16 years and we have the very epitome of a flaccid caricature running for President of the United States of America.
And why is that?
If this was 1999, we could have blamed Satan or Metal music but then, all we had to worry about was high school shootings and the varying quality of Star Trek Voyager.
And as The Walking Dead eradicates Asians and Gingers from their respective universe we’re left to ponder… wasn’t this supposed to be a review of the fifth episode of Twin Peaks?
No, I thought I’d mix things up a bit and I’ve decided that maybe I should fill this blog with more than just Twin fucking Peaks. The fifth episode review is in the pipeline so don’t worry, it’s coming.
By the time of writing, the second episode of season 7 of The Walking Dead had already aired and Negan was nowhere to be seen. Instead, we were treated to the continuing misadventures of Carol Peletier and Sol from the Guy Ritchie movie’ Snatch. But I don’t want to talk about that, I want to talk about Negan.
He had been touted as the latest villain or “big bad” of AMC’s most popular TV show but regardless of how brutal he was when he murdered fan-favourites’ Glenn and Abraham.
I can’t possibly accept the notion that he is this shows’ antagonist.
Surely, I’m supposed to buy that he is big overbearing force of nature and all he wants is to control our survivors, but as Negan actor’ Jeffrey Dean Morgan said in an interview; “If we followed Negan’s story for the last seven years, he’d be our hero, and someone like Rick, who rips the throat out of people, would be the bad guy.”
Now I know that’s a mighty big nasty pill to swallow but swallow it you most certainly will… said Negan in both the comics and the show but let’s look at things subjectively.
Above image was taken from thewalkingdead.com.
So, in chronological order and thanks to the Walking Dead Wikia, here is a list of every character Rick Grimes has killed throughout the series. Bear in mind that I haven’t included zombies;
There were Dave and Tony in that bar in season 2, this was prior to shooting Shane. Then some dude called Tomas, Thomas, Lou, Joe, Dan, Alex, Mike, Albert, Gareth, Bob Lamson, Pete Anderson, Carter, Gabe, Primo, Jiro and those are only the named characters! He also killed 5 unnamed characters from Woodbury, 6 unnamed Terminus residents, 5 unnamed members of the Wolves and 6 unnamed members of the Saviours.
He’s actually murdered 40 fucking people!
But how many has Negan killed? It’s hard to tell but it is safe to presume that he made an example of at least one person from the Hilltop and one person from the Kingdom (at the very least).
We can also gauge an estimate from the number of polaroids that Glenn saw at the Saviour’s outpost. Lovely bit of foreshadowing but since I’m a fan of the comic, I felt that was a bit too on the nose if I were being honest.
There were 20 polaroids in that scene from season 6 by the way. So, we know he has at the very least killed 24 people, not quite 40!
Now, there is an argument for Negan having killed a lot more but let’s explore his character. What makes Negan’ Negan and why does he do the things that he does?
It’s very easy to assume that he is just a psychopath but in truth, he isn’t.
We can also assume that he is an absolute nihilist and in truth, this isn’t the case either.
What makes him a thoroughly enthralling character to read/watch is that he has a set of incredibly stringent rules that must be adhered to.
He utilises fear so that he can bring order to the zombie apocalypse and he does so with gusto.
Robert Kirkman introduced Negan in issue # 100 of the comic book. There were several plot differences but for simplicity sake let’s take a look at the lineup.
Also, it is worth acknowledging that Abraham was already dead at this point and Daryl never existed. Instead, we had; Rick, Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Sophia, Michonne, and Heath all waiting for a head-smashing.
Sophia outlived her mom’ Carol and Heath, though alive in the series is currently out on a scavenging run with Tara. Though, there are still some similarities even with the difference of numbers.
At this point in the comic series, things were starting to feel a little bit stagnant. There were some hints that Abraham might try to usurp control of Alexandria from Rick but other than that, there was no real conflict. Instead, we had issues where zombies hardly featured. The stakes were so low that they provided nothing more than a trip hazard. Obviously, Kirkman knew this and decided to introduce a character like none other in this series.
A little bit of backstory; Negan was a school gym teacher before the zombie apocalypse. His wife’ Lucille discovered that she had cancer. Negan ended up having an affair but then admits his error to his sick wife, deciding that he would rather stay by Lucille’s side. But then zombies kinda happened. Barricading himself in the hospital where his wife lays dying, she suddenly turns.
Venturing off into the apocalypse he discovers his calling and eventually forms the Saviours.
The Saviours reside in a large factory complex and there are families living there. So the parallels with the over communities is pretty obvious.
He maintains order with a point system, if you work hard then you get food etc.
Basically, he rules with an autocratic fist but at least he does so with candour.
He won’t lie, although he may jest (much like he did when he told Rick to cut off Carl’s hand) but you can be sure that what he says, he says it with honesty.
As sad as it was to lose Glenn and Abraham, you have to admit that the cult of personality that is Negan is refreshing for this show. Usually, people in the zombie apocalypse are all miserable and “woe is me”, but then Negan comes wading in with a smile on his face and it seems this man has found joy amid the horrors of this apocalypse.
He is also a man of principle, as demonstrated and if Rick was in Negan’s place I honestly don’t believe that anyone in the line up would have made it out alive. Rick had planned to murder all the Saviours but on the other side of the coin, Negan only wants to make an example, show who’s boss and ensure that Rick’s group work for him.
He would rather not kill everybody because where’s the logic in a dead workforce?
Going back to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s quote, we can easily see that Negan, like Rick, is the hero in their own head. Whereas Rick has meandered through psychotic episodes, Negan appears to greet this world with no fear in his eyes and a smile on his face.
He is the man that Rick wanted to be at the end of season 2, then after the Governor fucked up the survivor’s home, Rick practically became the Governor. He even adopted some of Shane’s sensibilities and as fans of the comic book may already be aware of, Rick has also taken some more cues from his nemesis.
If you’ve seen countless YouTube videos about Negan or read a load of articles, you’ll notice that what I’ve said has already been said before but there is also one parallel that nobody has mentioned and for good reason, it’s fucking tenuous!
I’m talking about the Prince of all Sayians’ Vegeta! Yup, the best fucking character in Dragonball Z.
He was introduced during the first saga of Dragonball Z and he was a right arsehole but he became an instant fan favourite. And whereas he was a villain, he is now an anti-hero in much the same way as Negan is (in the comics, at least) but maybe that’s for another article entirely.
Anyway, if this were a YouTube video then I would say something like;
Thanks, guys, be sure to like this and subscribe and be sure to give me some of your money because it is so hard to sit on my arse and type this shit. I might even endorse Loot Crate? Loot Crate is a monthly subscription service that literally sends you to shit you really don’t need.
How about I monetize this so that halfway through reading, you’ll get an annoying advert?