Warning: This article contains spoilers from The Walking Dead Season 7.
The seventh season of The Walking Dead has hit the headlines for every reason you could possibly imagine. The incredibly violent season premiere resulted several fans complaining that the gore was unnecessary while others found the slow — and unnecessarily extended — episodes to be somewhat of a letdown.
This season has saw the storyline divide across several key characters, following Carol and Morgan to The Kingdom, Maggie and Jesus at the Hilltop, Tara discovering a new settlement and the rest of the group surviving under Negan's rule at Alexandria. We were all delighted when they reunited in the mid-season finale and thankfully, last week's premiere was a promising start for the remainder of #TheWalkingDeadSeason7.
However, one thing that really bothered me during the first half of the season was the constant focus on the Negan character. As awesome as Jeffrey Dean Morgan is as the terrifying bat wielder, I'm still tuning into The Walking Dead to see the survivors journeys and, unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of focus on Rick and the gang.
While, of course it was important to highlight just how evil Negan truly is, I feel that they already accomplished this through the Season 6 finale and the Season 7 premiere. If anything, the mid-season premiere highlighted just how great The Walking Dead can be without its major villain. Let's take a look at why, moving forward, a little less focus on the show's villain is exactly what the post apocalyptic series needs.
The Looming Threat Of Negan Is Just As Terrifying When We Don't See Him
I often find the best threats are the ones that we usually don't see. Negan is being featured so often on The Walking Dead that he has literally become a main character. The over-use of the character is allowing the audience to grow accustomed to the character and we're even becoming rather fond of him — or at least we're becoming fond of his hilarious lines and outrageous quips.
However, this attachment to the character will be rendered obsolete because, unlike the likes of Carol, there will never be a redemption for what Negan has done and ultimately he has to die — so making the audience grow close to the character and, to an extent, attempt to understand his methods is a little pointless.
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Moreover, we saw in the mid-season premiere that the Negan character can be incredibly threatening even when he is offscreen. In this episode, all three nearby settlements came together with one common goal — to take out Negan and the Saviors and, if I'm being honest, it was exhilarating to see Rick back to his old self, commanding the troops.
Similarly, when Negan spoke on the long range radio device while the group were stealing his dynamite, it added a level of anticipation and excitement to the scene and yet the evil tyrant never appeared. It's clear that Negan has gotten inside everyone's head and that in itself is terrifying — we don't need to see him physically looming over Rick in every single episode.
Craving more Walking Dead? Sink your teeth into these:
- Daryl's Presence At The Kingdom Will Bring Carol To Her Senses — But Will She Join The Battle On 'The Walking Dead'?
- The Walking Dead: Will Jesus Be Rick's Savior In Taking Down Negan?
- Here's Why Morgan Didn't Tell Rick And The Group About Carol's Whereabouts On The Walking Dead Mid-Season Premiere
How Much Worse Can Negan Actually Get?
Within minutes of his first encounter with Rick and the gang, Negan literally committed the most heinous act ever seen on the show, taking out Glenn — who had been there since the very beginning — and Abraham. It wasn't just the fact that they died, it was how he murdered them that shocked everyone — by beating them over the head with Lucille, his barb-wired baseball bat. Since then, he has humiliated Carl and, in the mid-season finale, he killed Spencer and Olivia.
As terrifying as he is, what more can Negan actually do? He's already killed some of our beloved characters, so if he takes out any of the others then the writers would more or less be recycling the same storylines. To be honest, Spencer and Olivia weren't hugely important characters, so their deaths didn't do much to make Negan seem much worse than before.
We've already seen the Saviors' sanctuary and it became apparent that a lot of Negan's followers are being forced to serve the villainous leader against their will — even Dwight — and that definitely doesn't indicate any sort of loyalty for their so-called leader. At the end of the day, Negan is just one man. If Rick gets the support of The Kingdom, then his army will have no trouble taking on Negan and the Saviors, especially if Negan's own people turn on him.
The mid-season premiere marked a turning point for The Walking Dead and with seven episodes left to go, things are set to heat up as Rick takes on Negan in the ultimate battle for leadership. The absence of the Negan character allowed room for the others to grow and build an army and I may be the minority but I really hope that this trend continues for another few episodes. Not only will this allow us to reacquaint ourselves with the show's original cast, but this lengthy absence will also make Negan's return more satisfying.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Were you glad for a break from Negan or do you want Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character in every episode? Tell me in the comment section below.