The Walking Dead first premiered on AMC in 2010, and ever since, the post-apocalyptic drama has continuously been one of the most-watched shows on a cable network. One of the key reasons for its success is the brilliant cast and complex characters. Though Negan did not join as a series regular until the season 6 finale, he is by far one of the most popular characters in the show.
Once a leather-clad dictator, Negan has evolved from a gleeful villain into a broken prisoner seeking a home. The Walking Dead is set to return on February 28th for six episodes, culminating in an adaptation of the standalone comic “Here’s Negan”. Until then, fans can revisit some of his funniest, saddest, and most spine-chilling moments by binging some of his best episodes.
The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be (7.01)
The most shocking cliffhanger in The Walking Dead happened in season 6’s “Last Day On Earth”. Audiences everywhere were horrified by Negan’s sinister introduction and had to wait months to find out the fate of their favorite characters.
“The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” continues immediately where the finale ended. Negan chooses which member’s of Rick’s group he will brutally murder, and continues the torturous night by discovering how he is going to keep Rick under his thumb.
Negan made himself very clear. Rick belongs to him, and what is Rick’s is his now. Negan pays his first visit to Alexandria in “Service”. Flanked by a small army of Saviors, he announces himself at Alexandria’s gates to make good on his promise to help himself to half of their supplies.
Part of what makes Negan a good villain is how happy he is while he’s doing evil things. He walks the streets like he owns the place, and spends a majority of the episode smiling and joking as his men ransack the struggling town.
Sing Me A Song (7.07)
Carl stows away in a cargo truck to kill Negan, but things don’t go exactly as planned. “Sing Me A Song” opens the doors of the Sanctuary, and lets the audience see the inner workings of the Saviors. It also emphasizes Negan’s unique relationship with Carl.
He is a ballsy kid, and he’s proven himself as a survivor. Negan respects that about him. He could have killed him on the spot for threatening his life, but instead, he shows him around the Sanctuary.
Hearts Still Beating (7.08)
In this mid-season finale, Negan brings Carl back home to Alexandria and waits for Rick to arrive. He makes himself at home, shaving, cooking, and introducing himself around town. His jovial nature is all for show.
A majority of the episode is spent with Negan casually asserting his dominance over the community and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it, but it wouldn’t be a Negan episode if things didn’t eventually come to a violent breaking point.
The Big Scary U (8.05)
Amidst a brutal attack on the Sanctuary, Negan and Father Gabriel hide in a trailer surrounded by a horde of Walkers. This episode is a significant turning point for the big bad. He hides behind his power and his jokes, but the façade slips in “The Big Scary U”.
Stuck in a stalemate, Negan lets his walls come down, just a little bit. He talks about the death of his wife and admits his biggest regret to the forgiving priest. Perhaps for the first time, the audience gets to see genuine humanity, rather than a cruel monster.
There have been attacks on both sides, but “Wrath” signals the all-out war between Alexandria and the Saviors. Both groups prepare for battle and Negan and Rick go head-t0-head, once and for all.
Rick gains the upper hand when he talks to Negan about Carl’s death. Genuinely upset from the news, Negan drops his guard long enough for Rick to slit his throat. Determined to set a precedent, Rick decides to spare his life, and it begins Negan’s long-term incarceration in the Alexandria jail cell.
The Storm (9.16)
A sudden blizzard upsets the lives of the separate communities, and Negan braves the storm to race to the rescue when Judith and Dog go missing. Over the years in jail, Negan has changed. His edges have softened, and he seems to no longer have a need for power.
Isolation has given him a lot of time to think about what he does need – a home. This episode truly highlights his bond with Judith, and his willingness to be a member of their community, even if they are not ready yet to accept him.
What It Always Is (10.05)
One of Negan’s old followers from the Sanctuary joins him on his journey after leaving Alexandria, and Negan struggles with the young man’s obvious obsession with him. Meanwhile, Negan bonds with a mother and son that they meet along the way.
“What It Always Is” is another episode that shows the stark difference between who Negan was and what he believed when he was running the Sanctuary, versus what he wants out of life now.
Walk With Us (10.12)
The Whisperers plan to attack Hilltop, and Negan follows through on his side of his deal with Carol. Negan has infiltrated the Whisperers, and it’s finally time to end it. Struggling with what he knows he has to do, Negan opens up about his past and the loss of his wife.
Hoping to stir something in Alpha, he pleads with her, but she is too set in her ways. Both action-packed and emotionally heavy, “Walk With Us” is not only a fantastic Negan episode, but it is one of the highest-rated episodes in season 10.
Here’s Negan! (10.22) – Airing April 4th, 2021
The series has touched on Negan’s past, but Robert Kirkman’s standalone comic “Here’s Negan” provides context to how he went from a snarky middle school gym teacher to the bat-swinging baddie that fans love to hate.
An episode of the same title is set to air on April 4th, and will be a combination of flashbacks to his past life and in real-time with Carol. Not only will audiences finally get to meet Lucille’s namesake, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s real-life wife has been cast in the role.