'The Walking Dead': Will Negan finally die already?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Rodney Ho

caption arrowCaption
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Posted Saturday, April 14, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

I'm not even physically in this country and will miss the "Walking Dead" season finale as it airs. (I'm adopting a child!) But this won't stop me from writing this in advance. 

Negan has been a supremely divisive figure among fans of "The Walking Dead." While he can be amusing at points, this bad guy strikes many as ridiculous, a man built to pontificate from a big stage but seems more comic book over the top than a real human being.

Some blame the dragged-out Negan/Rick war story line for killing off millions of viewers. Ratings are down significantly since the end of season six and his arrival. (The season 7 debut drew 21.5 million DVR+3 viewers. The most recent episode? 10.6 million.)

Good news: the producers are promising the war between Rick's crew and Negan's Saviors will conclude come this Sunday.

Rick has been trying to exterminate Negan for some time now and has said so a few times to Negan's face. It's why others who have had the opportunity have failed, including his now dead son Carl, Rosita and Jadis. The script writers know it has come down to those two men, mano y mano.

Sure, there is a chance the producers might keep him around but why?

It really seems inevitable that Negan will be dead come Sunday. The writers have tried to humanize him. He told Jadis about his wife being named Lucille and the bat was the only reminder of her left. And he sincerely mourned Carl's death. Rick has made his fair share of noxious moves to balance out the equation to a degree, going all the way back to killing Negan's entire outpost crew season six while they were sleeping and without provocation.

But ultimately, the viewers have no choice but to side with Rick's group because that's our primary point of view.

Bottom line: "The Walking Dead" clearly needs a fresh story line. They've already teased a group with the helicopter (Good? Bad? In between?) and the trio who wanted records in exchange for helping build a new society.

Negan or not, the reality is the show is entering its ninth season. Very few shows feel fresh after that period of time.

Whether to pursue peace or war in the zombie apocalypse has been debated 100 times already. Thousands of zombies have perished via fire, via water, in air and on the ground, in grocery stores, in churches, in bars. Dozens of characters we got to know and love have died be it walker attack, pregnancy, illness, cannibalism and gun shot wound.

How much longer will enough people want to watch "The Walking Dead" before it finally expires? It can't last forever. Even zombies eventually die.


"The Walking Dead," 9 p.m. Sunday season finale April 15, AMC

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