Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan on AMC’s The Walking Dead season 10.
Season 10 has been quite the ride, but I may have just watched one of the most epic episodes I have ever seen (Season 10 episode 12) and part of that is because of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s beyond brilliant performance as our antihero, Negan.
**Please note MAJOR spoilers are ahead if you are not caught up on the series.**
Jeffrey Dean Morgan knows how to play a villain well. He’s ruthless at times, but he also has so much charisma and humor, really making him someone you love to hate and eventually transforming into more of an antihero rather than a villain. While I can’t forgive some of Negan’s actions that shattered TWD, I have been a fan of his for a while and I have enjoyed witnessing his character growth. Negan played the villain well, but he absolutely flourishes as an antihero.
Negan has many layers and he is no stranger to performing some unspeakable acts, but sometimes you need a villain to take down another villain and so our long con was created. Alpha is another villain who has been beyond ruthless, but Negan recognizes a lot of himself in her. Alpha talks about her decisions in terms of survival and destiny, but Negan also recognizes a vulnerability within her that Carol is determined to use to bring her down once and for all.
While many of the other characters on the show keep their moral compass steady, Carol has really lost her way after what happened to Henry and is completely driven by revenge. Carol recognizes that doing things the right way doesn’t always pay off and does what she has to do in order to bring down her enemy.
In season 10 episode 12, everything is revealed, as Negan approaches Alpha and explains that he has Lydia held up in a shack nearby. It has been obvious for quite a while now that Lydia would be Alpha’s ultimate downfall, even though she has been so obsessed with getting rid of her daughter in order to stifle this weakness within her.
Alpha clearly became somewhat intrigued by Negan and their tryst in the woods still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think in a lot of ways, Negan truly did sympathize with Alpha and probably did connect with her on some level. However, Negan has always had a strict code about not harming children and we have witnessed his interactions with Lydia and Judith, suggesting that he would never let anything actually happen to them.
Negan’s long con works to perfection as he leads Alpha to an empty shack, immediately slicing her throat to put her down quickly before bringing her reanimated head back to Carol. Even though Negan did what was necessary, he tries to do so with compassion, holding Alpha gently while her life pours out of her, proving that Negan is not the same man anymore.
I thought that Negan’s discussion with Alpha about his own wife and how he shut down after her death was so important for his character growth. We have been witnessing the changes in Negan, but I think this may be the first time he actually sees it for himself and expresses it out loud. Negan certainly still has a long way to go until redemption, but I think taking down Alpha was a huge step in the right direction.
What’s next for Negan? It will be interesting to see how the rest of the group receives him now that he has taken down the other big bad wolf. Will they accept that Carol released him from his cell or will they still be cautious around him? I’m not sure, but I think it’s safe to say that we are done putting Negan behind bars.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the team-up between him and Carol and hope to see this dynamic duo get some more screen time together to take down the rest of their enemies. You have to admit, they make a pretty unstoppable team!
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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl
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