*Major spoilers for last week's episode of 'The Walking Dead'*
Tensions are higher than they've ever been in the world of The Walking Dead right now — and that's one hell of a high benchmark to live up to. Season 6 has been steadily building up to the massive finale that will mark the introduction of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan, the most formidable villain ever to grace the pages of the graphic novel from which the show is adapted.
It's been one blow to another for our survivors over the course of these past few weeks, from the loss of Dr. Denise (Merritt Wever) via crossbow to the massive cliffhanger ending of the penultimate episode East: Dwight of the Saviors (Austin Amelio) shooting fan favorite and TV show original character Daryl Dixon at point blank range.
As it stands, we don't know whether or not Daryl survived the shooting, even though the episode played out with Dwight's voiceover saying "you'll be alright." It's not too much of a stretch to hope that he has, I mean Carl (Chandler Riggs) survived being shot in the head, stranger things have happened on The Walking Dead.
But even if he does survive the shooting, it doesn't mean he's any safer from meeting the business end of Lucille when Negan arrives at the end of the season, in the very next episode.
Speaking of Lucille, did you catch the little Negan teaser in East?
We're almost out of time to put off the disaster that Negan is going to bring down upon the survivors, and Deadline caught up with Norman Reedus himself just ahead of the penultimate episode screening to get the rundown on the new villain. Of course the actor remained silent regarding Daryl's fate and whether or not he's going to survive the finale, but we did learn a little more about why Negan is so important to the show.
When asked how the arrival of the Big Bad will change the show — as Negan brings with him at least one major character death — Reedus responded by saying that the whole season has been building up to his introduction, and with it the dynamic of the entire show has begun to shift:
"There are new worlds now. Like others have said, it used to be a man vs. monster type of thing and a morality war going on. Now that morality war is changing. It’s becoming a fine line between who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, which I think is very interesting. Everyone in our group is killing people and that’s something we didn’t really do before. So, that fine line between good and evil is getting blurred."
Negan blurs that line most of all. Comic book fans will know that, despite his brutal and awful actions, he's not inherently an evil or outright psychopathic character. Rather he's a charismatic leader and brilliant strategist who protects his own. He's smart and savvy and nothing he does — no matter how brutal or depraved — is without reason. And that reason almost always involves protecting his interests and those of his people.
But don't let the blurred lines fool you, The Walking Dead season 6 finale is going to tear the group asunder and change the world of the show as we know it. Even Reedus was left speechless by it, and when Daryl is shocked, that's when you know shit's just gone beyond serious:
"I will say that the Season 6 finale is the most hard-core finale we’ve ever done, if not the best episode we’ve ever done. I mean I saw a rough rough rough cut of it way back when and I was speechless for at least an hour. So hold on for the rest of this, because it gets real crazy."
'The Walking Dead' Season 6 finale — 'Last Day On Earth' — airs Sun, 3 April. Check out the trailer and get your first look at Negan below!