When The Walking Dead returned for Season 7, the AMC series took fans back into a world where the biggest threat is no longer the hordes of walkers, but rather the few remaining living. And the Season 7 premiere reminded us of this fact more than ever when a whistling Negan swaggered onto screens.
Although Negan made his first appearance in Season 6, it was during Season 7 that he truly showed what a terrifying force he could be. Negan is proof that the collapse of society meant that anyone could reinvent themselves as they pleased — and become the most feared villain of this new world.
From breaking the strongest of fighters to burning off the faces of those who serve him, there's no doubt that Negan is the greatest villain on television. To celebrate the release of The Walking Dead Season 7 on DVD and Digital HD, let's revisit Negan's most villainous moments from throughout the past 16 episodes — are you pissing your pants yet?
1. Trapping The Group And Making Them Bow Down
If you're going to present yourself as a villain, you might as well come out swinging, and that's literally what Negan did in the Season 7 premiere. After forcing Rick and the group to take detour after detour while transporting a sick Maggie to Hilltop, eventually the group was forced into a corner by Negan and his Saviors.
After Negan had the entirety of the group exactly where he wanted them, he forced them to bend the knee and acknowledge that their asses now belonged to him. But not content with scaring the group, Negan really hammered the point home by taking out two key members, and then forcing Rick on the most terrifying RV trip of his life. Negan even convinced Rick that he'd be forced to cut his own son's arm off.
To be honest, the Season 7 premiere is filled with so many outstanding villainous moments that we could just end the list here, but that would be a disservice to Negan's creative villainy, so let's press on.
2. Keeping Daryl Hostage
After killing one of Daryl's best friends because Daryl took a swing at him, Negan decided that he'd actually quite like to join forces with The Walking Dead's toughest warrior — and took Daryl as his prisoner. From there, Negan placed Daryl in the care of Dwight, who subjected Daryl to some serious torture, forcing him to sit naked in a cell, listen to the same song on repeat (screw you, "Easy Street") and eat dog food sandwiches. Not to mention the beating Daryl received after refusing to kneel for Negan following his failed escape attempt.
While fans would've hated to see any of our survivors in these conditions, the fact that it was kindhearted and vulnerable Daryl forced to endure this treatment truly proved that Negan was a sadistic bastard.
3. Screwing With Rick Grimes
Rick's been our lead man since the first season, but over the course of Season 7 Negan managed to break Rick Grimes, leaving him a shell of his former self.
After killing two of Rick's friends, making him beg for his son's safety, and kidnapping another of Rick's friends, Negan then paid Alexandria a visit to pillage the community's supplies. But no supply run is ever a simple event, and during Episode 4 Negan left a stunned Rick at the gates of Alexandria after threatening to kill Olivia and taking their weapons, medicine, furniture and mattresses (which they later burned on the road).
Rick was already at his lowest ebb, but the Big Bad couldn't resist rubbing salt in the wound when he told Rick, "In case you haven’t caught on, I just slid my d**k down your throat and you thanked me for it." Ouch.
4. Burning Half Of A Man's Face Off
We'd already seen (and heard) how Negan punished the various surrounding communities, but it wasn't until Episode 5 that we learned how he punished his own men.
After Carl broke into the Sanctuary (mowing a few Saviors down in the process), Negan took him to the factory floor, where it was revealed that he keeps his followers in line with a strict set of rules. Unfortunately for a Savior named Mark, breaking one of Negan's rules comes with the horrific penalty of having half of your face branded by a red-hot iron, something the audience witnessed in graphic detail.
While a few of Negan's men — including Dwight — seem to have broken the rules, for the most part it seems like everyone follows them to a tee. And who can blame them with such a madman in charge?
5. Collective Punishment For Individual Mistakes
There's nothing crueler than punishing the innocent for the actions of others. Negan seems to particularly excel at this, hammering home the idea that unless everyone is loyal to him, no one is loyal to him.
This particular tactic resulted in some truly savage moments during Season 7, not only leaving some of our favorite characters dead, but also deeply messing with those left alive. People like Daryl and Rosita were horrified that their actions were directly responsible for the deaths of Glenn and Olivia. And that's exactly what Negan's intention was: systematically breaking down the group and making them subservient.
6. Taking Eugene Hostage And Making Him 'Negan'
While Eugene is never going to be the strongest fighter in the group, he is super intelligent and can offer a range of skills thanks to that big ol' brain hiding under his luscious locks. Unfortunately, his big ideas also caught the eye of Negan, who decided Eugene would become one of his greatest assets in the war against Rick.
After taking a terrified Eugene back to the Sanctuary, Negan messed with Eugene's head so much that Eugene became another Savior willing to call himself "Negan." While you may think that was purely due to Eugene's weakness, it also shows how terrifying and all-powerful Negan really is. After all, Eugene is just one of many people — who perhaps number in the hundreds — who have accepted Negan as the one man who can keep them alive.
It's reminiscent of the power that a ruthless cult leader wields over his flock, insisting on absolute loyalty, and dishing out harsh punishments for those who disobey them.
7. Declaring All-Out War
After rising tensions led to a massive battle in the Season 7 finale, there were numerous casualties on both sides. However, when Negan returned to his base — having been chased out of Alexandria by the newly united forces — it quickly became apparent that Negan was unwilling to back down, and declared war against the communities.
Rather than admitting defeat and leaving Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom to their own devices, Negan has instead put everyone's lives in danger. While the levels of his treachery in this war remain to be seen, you can be sure that Negan's intense and nasty moves in Season 7 will be nothing compared to what he's willing to do in the upcoming Season 8. We can't wait.
The Walking Dead Season 7 is available to buy on DVD and Digital HD now!
What was your favorite Negan moment from Season 7? Tell us in the comment section below.