When The Walking Dead came back just two weeks ago, celebrating the 100th episode and the 8th season premiere, fans were ready for something big. After a traumatizing start to season 7, and the following episodes that further broke our hearts, the series had lost its spark.
It was true for fans at home, and for the actors and actresses on set, so when the light at the end of the tunnel began to grow brighter, it brought with it a renewed sense of hope. Especially for Alexandria, the Kingdom and the Hilltop – and the warriors that banded together for the biggest fight of their lives.
There’s a stark contrast between Negan in the first episode of season 7 and the very last one. His strength and confidence wavered, even if only slightly, but it presented an opportunity for the future to be just outside of his grasp.
Michael Rooker made a statement about Negan at Walker Stalker Atlanta and it really puts a lot into perspective when it comes to his reign of power.
It is easy to be powerful when your opponent, or whatever you see them as is already down. It’s easy to feel on top and in control when you’re the only one standing on solid ground. That’s not to say that Negan isn’t powerful, he is…it’s how he’s survived this long, but is that strength or is it a giant scare tactic that he uses to cover up something else?
Perhaps that something else is his lack of total power when he doesn’t know what’s coming next. We saw that so blatantly when Sasha came out of her coffin as a walker, ready to take him on. We saw it again when Shiva came out of nowhere and attacked his men, and we saw it when he looked around and realized that he wasn’t fighting a small group of people who felt powerless anymore, he was up against an army.
So maybe Rooker is on to something, however, we aren’t willing to bet on it just yet. The series is going to get ugly this season, and some big deaths are coming, so we’re assuming that Negan still has a hold on things. However, it’s not what it once was, and all it takes is a seed of doubt or a small window of weakness for that foundation to begin to falter.
It’s just a matter of time and opportunity now. What will Negan’s next move be, and will it be enough?