The Walking Dead returns for its seventh season next month, and AMC is rightfully ramping up its promotional campaign with photos and teasing clips. All the world awaits a head-bashing premiere — and don’t get me wrong, I’m as anxious as anyone to get back to the show — though I find myself a little wary of yet another murderous psycho group leader. Haven’t we been here before?
There was David Morrissey’s Governor and his particular brand of insidious crazy. He killed over fifty people, but most of them weren’t characters we cared about (save Merle and Hershel).
Not long after, along came Andrew J. West’s Gareth and his cannibalistic Terminus crew. For me, Gareth was by far the most terror-inducing whack-job; I don’t think I’ll ever forget that scene with people lined up to be smashed in the head and have their throats cut.
Gareth didn’t even kill everyone himself, but, together with his group, his extreme views and their solution for surviving the apocalypse might have proven our gang’s greatest threat … and yet our (Rick’s) group finally took him out.
After Gareth we were introduced to perhaps the least worrisome psycho, a female this time: Christine Woods’ Dawn Lerner. She wasn’t a great leader, more a victim to her own failings than anything else, and half the audience (probably) was relieved by the Greeneery she removed (Beth) from the world.
The Wolves filled in the most recent added threat (Walkers on their own just aren’t enough), but I suppose we could only go so long without a new charismatic psycho, so enter Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s bat-wielding Negan.
Was it terrible to see him waving around Lucille at the end of Season 6, most of Rick’s group on their knees for his threat? Absolutely. Are we aware that a “main” character — or possibly two — is about to be killed to teach us all that Negan is in charge? Yes, of course we are. But when we watch these teasers with Negan strutting around, are we really, truly scared anymore?
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) September 5, 2016
Eh, not really. Is it crass and terrible to realize that it’s very likely ***TWD Comic Spoilers ahead*** the show will follow the comic and (after that awful, BS dumpster fakeout) finally kill off Steven Yeun’s Glenn Rhee? ***End Comic Spoilers*** Is it possible that, just for good measure, they’ll take out our new favorite, Michael Cudlitz’s Abraham Ford? Sure, absolutely. But — and this is NO spoiler because I haven’t read Robert Kirkman’s series — don’t we think Negan will meet the same end as all his predecessors? Will he even last long enough to make an impact? Haven’t we seen enough of the deranged leader routine already? There is, of course, a matter of tension, and we’ve been promised victim resolution pretty quickly. After that, I expect Negan will pop up here and there, the threat of Lucille keeping most people in line. We know our group, though, and no matter which person or two Negan takes out, the remaining core is always going to find their way around his “law,” because that’s just who they are. More than that, because we’ve been witness to the Governor and Gareth, this brand of intimidation just isn’t that … intimidating. If I were Negan, I’d be much more afraid of Michonne, Carol, Daryl, and Morgan: their quiet and the silent unexpected attacks that will soundlessly drain his lifeblood before he even knows what happened is the bigger threat.
Meanwhile, I find myself merely waiting for the great and terrible Negan show to wind down quickly in deference to a very different character than we’ve seen before: Ezekiel, Shiva, and his Kingdom, and then The Whisperers, with their female leader, Alpha.
Catch y’all on AMC October 23rd.