It’s hard to believe, but this week marked the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Season 7 — next week we venture into undoubtedly nerve-wracking territory with the finale. So what did we learn in this next-to-last look at the zombocalypse? That there is still much more Negan in the future.
First things first, here’s your obligatory spoiler alert. If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of TWD yet, circle back around once you have. For those of you who have your life together and have already watched it, let’s discuss.
Obviously, the big arc of this season has been the minutiae of life before war. Sure, in a sense, the survivors are already at war — that’s the reality since Negan came along. But more pointedly, this season has been leading up to the battle to take down the nefarious barbwire-wrapped-bat-wielding villain.
It’s a safe assumption that, yes, people will die in the finale. We wouldn’t really expect anything less, right? TWD knows how to throw down where finales are concerned.
What is likely a less solid assumption is that Negan will go down in next week’s finale. In fact, he might not even sustain an injury. Hell, it’s entirely possible he won’t even show up for much of the episode.
What we can more safely count on is that the battle to bring down Negan will officially kick off in this season’s finale. The fight may mainly be fought with Negan’s Saviors as opposed to the man himself in the beginning, so brace yourself for some large spans of time sans Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
If you’ve read the comic series or feel confident AMC will largely follow the plotline set forth in the comics, you know by now that Rick doesn’t actually kill Negan when he overthrows the apocalyp-tator. Rather, he keeps him alive as a sort of prisoner of war.
Since we’ve already established that other people will very likely die in the finale, the absence of a Negan assassination means we’re probably looking at losing a character we’ve come to know and love.
At this point, the most obvious candidate for that unfortunate conclusion is Sasha — after storming the proverbial castle last week, she’s currently trapped in a tiny room at Negan’s compound. We don’t see her going down by taking the suicide pill Eugene slipped her, so we’re going to bet she finds a way to go down in a blaze of glory.
If Sasha isn’t the one to go, Eugene could be on the chopping block. If nothing else, he’ll be forced to choose a side once and for all when he’s staring down his former friends and allies during the big battle.
And while this may be an unpopular opinion, after this week’s episode, I’d rather see Eugene go than Negan.
That’s the brilliance of Negan. He’s a psychopath, but he’s so damn charming at times — almost noble even — that you start to try to bend your perspective to fit his narrative. Case in point? When he stopped one of his cronies from raping Sasha (and found the crime punishable by death).
So moving into the finale and ultimately next season, we’re going to get to see more of Negan’s layers. Who is he when there is a war being waged on the warped world he has built? Who is he when he falls and finds himself no longer in a position of power?
We glimpsed his chameleon-like charisma this week, and we’ll likely peel back another layer next week. One thing seems certain, though. Whatever we see from Negan next week won’t be the last.
Do you hope Negan sticks around for future seasons?
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