SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from Season 8, Episode 7 of The Walking Dead entitled “Time For After“. Proceed with caution.
The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead Season 8 is imminent, and preview footage suggests that Negan regains the upper hand. But he can’t possibly win out over Rick and the gang, can he? In the comics, we’ve seen that there’s still plenty more to come from Negan. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that the TV show doesn’t always follow the comics, having diverged from the comic narrative on numerous occasions.
There’s plenty of fans of The Walking Dead that want to see Negan dead, and they’re not alone. So do plenty of the characters in the TV series – and they’re not all on Rick’s side.
So who are the most likely characters to finish off Negan? Let’s take a look…
Rick has vowed time and again that he will kill Negan. And it sort of feels like if it’s anyone else that finishes him off, Rick will have been robbed of the chance not only to avenge the deaths of Abraham, and Glenn in particular, but also to repay him for the threats he made against son Carl. Oh, and for forcing him to the point where he was about to cut his own son’s arm off. As viewers, we want Rick to get his very satisfying revenge for all Negan has put him through, including reducing him to a shell of a man after pushing him to breaking point.
Why didn't Rick shoot Negan when he was 5 ft from him and was unarmed after repeatedly telling him" I am going to kill you"
— NE Fan (@BabaOTownshend) November 28, 2017
However, Rick seems to be softening. In the season premiere, we saw Rick red-eyed and deeply upset – over what we don’t yet know – but he was also muttering about mercy prevailing over wrath. Echoing the words spoken by new character Siddiq, he seems to be re-evaluating, and trying to find an alternative to killing in order to survive. He wants to preserve his humanity, and has already demonstrated he’s against Daryl’s plan to attack the Saviors in a way that results in the death of innocents. This suggests he might yet be lenient when it comes to Negan. If he’s faced with the opportunity to kill a defenceless Negan, right now it feels like Rick might not take it.
Daryl has his own personal reasons for wanting revenge against Negan. The ruthless leader of the Saviors imprisoned him and subjected him to torture in an attempt to break him. He had to listen to that earwormy “Easy Street” song on loop for goodness’ sake. Enough to drive anyone to murder? It’s no surprise that Daryl is taking a hard line when it comes to the Saviors right now. He’s lived under Negan’s rule, and knows it ain’t pretty. For Daryl, there is no mercy and if he gets half a chance, he’ll take it.
In a face-off between Negan and a Daryl hellbent on retribution, we don’t fancy Negan’s chances much.
In Episode 7, we were reminded that Eugene was asked by Tanya and Frankie, two of Negan’s wives, to manufacture suicide pills which they planned to use to take Negan out. It would likely have worked, but when Eugene discovered their true intentions he refused to hand them over. He later gave them to Sasha, of course.
But was the reason he wouldn’t hand them over because he was scared? Probably. Eugene has always been a big scaredy cat, afraid to step out of line. Episode 7 spent time focusing on Eugene, and exploring where his head is at right now. The outcome? Yes, he wants to survive and is partially driven by selfish motivations, but he is also keen to save others. We saw him sticking his neck out in order to save people – he was ultimately prepared to risk Dwight shooting him in order to press ahead with his plan to lure the walkers away and save the many. He’s certainly a tortured man, haunted by what happened to Sasha. He’s a man that’s turned to drink in order to quiet his mind and sleep through the night. There’s still a chance that this man in turmoil could do something unpredictable.
Make Sasha proud, Eugene.#TheWalkingDead
— The Walking Dead World (@TWalkingDWorld) December 4, 2017
If it came to it now, could he end Negan’s life? “I am Negan” may trip off his tongue but if it was for the greater good, could he redeem himself by killing Negan? Quite possibly. He’s definitely braver, more capable, and more confident in his capabilities than he used to be. And maybe he’ll need to sacrifice himself to do it.
Dwight has gone from Negan’s right-hand man, and a man we detest, to a sympathetic character prepared to stab his leader in the back. Or head. Ahem.
— Penny Proud (@BeautyNtheChic) December 4, 2017
But will he need to be the one to kill Negan in order to prove once and for all to Rick and co. – Daryl and Tara especially who have very specific reasons to hate and distrust him – that he’s on their side? That he’s not the villain they thought him to be? And if he is, will he have to lose his life in order to get redemption? He did kill Denise after all, and he’s been wearing Daryl’s leather gilet since forever. If those aren’t grounds for dying in order to be redeemed we don’t know what are.
Rosita, like Rick, has also sworn to kill Negan. In fact, she tried once and came a cropper. It turns out she’s the unluckiest assassin ever. The bullet, which she had Eugene make for her, was on target – but it rebounded off Lucille. Rosita is still understandably mad at Negan for brutally murdering Abraham, the man she loved, and she has vowed revenge. And though she ruled herself out of Daryl’s reckless plan that flies in the face of Rick’s wishes, she could still prove to be a thorn in Negan’s side when push comes to shove. And she’d probably be willing to sacrifice herself in order to avenge the death of Abraham, right?
Because of Negan, Carl has almost lost an arm at the hands of his father and almost lost his life too. Were it not for Shiva jumping in at a critical moment, Carl would be dead right now. Not only that, he’s seen his dad driven to breaking point by the cruel dictator, and has even spent time in his company at the Sanctuary – where Negan made fun of his missing eye. Carl has been made to feel small and powerless by Negan, and has more reason than anyone to seek revenge. Having already once gone on a mission to kill Negan, Carl could easily do so again – especially if the people he loves are under real threat.
Catch the midseason finale of Season 8 on December 10 in the US and a day later in the UK.