As AMC's The Walking Dead comes striding toward its Season 7 finale, things are looking pretty peachy for Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan. The baseball bat aficionado looks untouchable as the king of the apocalypse and leader of his own cultish following, the Saviors. However, with the various communities of the #zombie outbreak gathering their resources and Morgan's well-built prison cell currently sitting empty in Alexandria, those who follow the #comicbooks will know exactly who is about to become its solitary resident.
In a case of winner takes it all, #Negan's defeat is on the horizon, although how and when it will happen on our #TV screens remains to be seen. In recent weeks, as we have put violence aside for words, has #TheWalkingDead revealed a chink in Negan's armor, thanks to those who he holds closest? We have already seen his beloved Sherry tuck tail and turn, so who is next to decide it ain't always sunny in Sanctuary?
The Price Is Dwight
Austin Amelio's Dwight has remained a relatively backseat member of the cast until now, but expect the rest of Season 7 (and beyond) to see a big change in our melty faced menace. Dwight may have shot Denise through the eye with an arrow and butted heads with Daryl, but his wistful shots pondering into the distance are Scott Gimple's way of subtlety setting up Dwight's return from the dark side. The showrunner will surely remain true to the comics, with a storyline that saw Dwight not only change allegiance to fight against his BFF, but to also be the deciding factor in Negan's dethroning.
On the pages of #RobertKirkman's world, Dwight spent many issues working for Alexandria to give some much-needed information on Negan. Everything came to a head when Dwight directly disobeyed orders and shot Rick with an arrow that was supposed to be infected with deadly zombie cooties. A clearly not-dead Rick emerges to confront Negan and slit his throat; although not killing him, it does render the Savior/Safe Zone war over. While some of the storyline will probably play out in the same way, how else will #AMC mix it up to topple the tyrant?
Where the climax of the "All Out War" storyline saw Negan's army quickly disperse as a mass of unnamed followers, the show has expanded the Saviors into more relatable characters, meaning that Dwight is likely not the only big name to switch sides quicker than the swing of a baseball bat.
The Doctor Is Out
Tim Parati's (brief) role as Dr. Emmett Carson also pitched him as one of the more likable members of the Sanctuary, but sadly, the good doctor found himself cooking with gas when thrown into the Sanctuary's furnace. Carson from the comics had a slightly larger role as one of the men who helped Eugene escape Negan's clutches when teaming up with double agent Dwight. The BBQ session may have set alight any plans that Carson could help Alexandria defeat Negan, but that doesn't mean there aren't other like-minded people out there.
Carson lost his life thanks to Sherry's betrayal of the community and Dwight covering her tracks, but presuming Dwight will see the light, it can't be long before he starts showing his more honorable colors and goes knocking on Eugene's door. We know that Emmett's brother, Harlan, is the resident medical practitioner over at the Hilltop, so he could soon find himself captured for a new role over at the Sanctuary. However, we already know whose side he fights for. So, presuming that Eugene will escape from his time eating pickles and playing Yar's Revenge, someone else must surely be questioning their loyalties.
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Gav I Met You Before?
Another prime candidate for Alexandria recruitment is gloomy Gavin. Referring back to Episode 13, "Bury Me Here," it is interesting to note the dynamic between the Saviors. Where the Kingdom's Richard and Morgan clearly had VERY different views on how to handle an apocalypse, so do warring factions within Negan's group. We saw Jayson Warner Smith's Gavin close to tears with the reveal that Benjamin had perished when Jared shot him instead of Richard. The smug Jared was sent packing, while the scene showed that even the most hardened of Negan's troupe isn't without morals.
Gavin is clearly some form of high-ranking official in the Savior squad — you have to be pretty trusted by Negan to head out and handle blackmail negotiations with another community — so he could prove influential in what happens next. Elsewhere we have seen relatively little of Steven Ogg's Simon, who seems like your stereotypical out and out villain, but even he could be swayed by popular opinion. Where once the show divided its cast into good and bad, the more complex relationships of the apocalypse open up the likes of Gavin, Sherry, and Fat Joey, people who are probably just following orders out of fear and for an easy life.
The Army Of Tarkness
An army is only as strong as its weakest link, and with several of the Saviors slipping into a morally ambiguous gray area, when push comes to shove, who can really be relied upon? We have been here before, way back when in Season 4, when David Morrissey's Governor launched his failed second attack on the prison. It didn't take long for Guv's supporters to realize they had rallied behind a madman and soon defected. It was easy to forget, but Alanna Masterson's Tara was originally one of those who helped launch the prison attack before the alarming reveal she was on the wrong side.
With the Saviors having such large numbers, and with arguably more Taras in its ranks, could we see Prison Part. 2 with a mass exodus of Negan supporters? The comic books include one ghastly scene where a turned Holly is sent back into Alexandria with a sack on her head, launching a Trojan Horse attack. Rumors are tipping Sonequa Martin-Green's Sasha for a similar fate, and that is exactly the kind of act that would cause some to think "this guy, really?"
Presumably it would take some sort of cataclysmic event to cause such an uprising, so expect a big death from some sort of horrible act to spark it. With Alexandria containing several children and retirees, including one Baby Judith, it wouldn't take much for the Saviors to find out they aren't as innocent as their benevolent leader makes out. However, don't forget that Rick and co. aren't exactly angels themselves and will likely be the ones that try and strike first.
I have always said it, Rick Grimes himself is a villain in the making. Sure, he seems to fight for the good, but his entire group has been the cause of more than a few innocent casualties. One thing is for sure though, whether it closes Season 7 or moves on into Season 8, Negan's "All Out War" won't end with him cuddling up to Lucille under the silk sheets of his Sanctuary homestead. Thankfully, it is unlikely that Negan will also perish, so moving way ahead in the comics, we could also see #JeffreyDeanMorgan morph into a more sympathetic anti-hero of the piece rather than out-and-out supervillain. The Saviors may all currently bow before their master and all be "Negan," but how long is left for the sanctuary that is the Sanctuary?
Keep 'em peeled, Dead-Heads, there are only three episodes left to see how this all pans out, while there are "whispers" that a new chapter is just around the corner!
Check out the promo for Episode 14, and don't forget our poll below!
Do you think the Saviors are Negan's biggest weakness?
[Poll Image Credit: 'The Walking Dead' - AMC]