Walking with Season 7
Written by Asha McCarty
With all of his charisma, is Negan really enough to revitalise the The Walking Dead’s repetitive and worn “something-goes-bad-and-then-the-group-fixes-it” format? How does this season compare with the comics?
Between the taunting smirks, the objectifying remarks, and the charming, yet dangerously predatory pacing and holding of Lucille, Negan truly is terrifying. I shiver when I think about the true evil of this character. Negan does not have to try too hard to make phrases like “pee pee pants city” make a character sob and stare at him in absolute horror. This is not surprising, seeing as he is the leader of a group of post-apocalyptic ravagers.
Negan is a character the audience is supposed to despise for obvious reasons, yet he is such a fascinating villain that it almost makes him a little hard not to like (even just a little bit.) His charismatic attitude and quick wit gives him a humorous element, and sometimes it’s hard not to laugh at one of his absolutely ridiculous catchphrases. His overuse of swear words doesn’t fail to grip your attention, either. Negan may be by far the biggest bad in the TWD series thus far, but he sure makes it difficult not to completely hate him.
He’s interesting, he’s funny, and he has qualities of a villain we haven’t seen in the show or the comics. As soon as Negan is shown on the screen, you can’t help but watch with your full attention and grind your teeth a little bit. Negan is about as irritating as they come, and his boldness makes you want to ask him “did you really just say that?”. Despite all of Negans evil and annoying qualities, Negan is perhaps one of the most entertaining and captivating characters seen in the series. His appearance is something that isn’t leaving the show anytime soon — his entrance changes the course of the story permanently.
In regards to the series following the comics well, this season has some definitely notable moments. Beginning with the traumatizing season premiere, Negan’s physical appearance stays true to the comics excellently, except for a little bit of facial hair. His classic leather jacket, boots, and beloved Lucille remain by his side in the show.
What also remains the same in the comics and the show is the reason that Negan did what he had done. Rick and his group of survivors had made a comfortable home in Alexandria, and made contact with the Hilltop community. Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop, made an agreement that pitted Rick’s group against the Saviors. Rick proceeded to kill off many of Negan’s Saviors, leading to Negan then track the group and their leader down to get revenge. And we all know where this one goes, which brings up yet another similarity.
In issue #100 of the comics, sweet Glenn meets Lucille with a good brain-bashing.
Fans of the show and the comics had always expected Glenn to die in the show by the hands of Negan and Lucille, but the show had included a twist: it was going to kill of two characters instead. In the beginning of the episode, it was only Abraham who met his demise, which led every viewer to jump with joy over the safety of Glenn. That, however, did not last too long. Following Daryl’s outburst, Negan decided that one more person need to be executed. And this person, very sadly, was beloved Glenn Rhee.
I’m going to skip most of episode two, because frankly, it did not interest me that much. It was by far the most boring of the four episodes premiered so far, but it still had its charms. King Ezekiel is as eccentric in the show as he is in the comics, and his oddball qualities make him quite likable. His pet tiger Shiva remains by his side, making the duo seem a little bit scary. But there’s no need to worry — Ezekiel is actually one of the good guys, and will eventually team up with Rick’s survivors to plot Negan’s downfall.
Going straight into episode four, the episode plays out almost exactly like the comics. In the comics, Negan finally arrives for payment at the gate of Alexandria, and is greeted by Spencer who asks who he is. Negan scoffs and asks Spencer to find Rick for him.
Meanwhile, he and the Saviors get attacked by a group of walkers, but end up easily taking care of business. Rick shows up to greet Negan, and Negan hands him good old Lucille to carry for him while Rick shows him around. The only difference between this scene in the comics and in the show is that in the show, Negan and the Saviors weren’t really attacked and they arrived early for their weekly raid of Alexandria.
The raid of Alexandria overall was identical between the comics and the show, only the circumstances differed. In the comics, the Saviors loot Alexandria while Negan pulls Rick aside to assure him he won’t be taking any of their food. Negan reminds Rick how “reasonable” he is and Rick retorts something backhandedly sassy. In the show, the Saviors loot the armory while Negan pulls Rick aside, ensuring they won’t be taking any food and confronts Rick about how he should speak to him with more respect and maybe thank him for not taking more than they are.
Spencer is just as sketchy in the show as he is in the comics. Without giving away too much, Spencer is really the only Alexandria resident who questions Rick’s recent decisions . He asks himself how Rick could let things turn into a living nightmare so quickly, and Spencer rejects the idea of Rick leading Alexandria into any sort of hope.
Overall, the season follows the comics as well as it can. Because of the show’s addition of important characters such as Daryl, following the comics too closely is challenging. Season seven will certainly prove to be the most intense yet.