Alright so coming up on The Walking Dead Season 7 and the two biggest thangs on everyone’s minds:
1. Who did Negan kill?
2. How much of a badass will Negan be?
Well thanks to the cliffhanger from the last episode of season six we are left wondering about point number one. The quality of the lead up to the ultimate moment is what makes us really obsess over the fact. The continuous roadblocks that trap the group inside of a circle of Saviors-people that obviously know the geography of the area more than Rick’s group-was very well executed. In those final moments we felt like we were actually part of the group (something the creators had done an excellent job of throughout the season).
Moving on to point number two. Negan. The most talked about character since his name was introduced in season 6 episode 9. I mean I had even heard of him a while ago after reading up on the comics in the wiki. So hearing his name finally mentioned for the first time in the show was like hearing of a mythical individual. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s monologue as the villain was no doubt impressive because it showed us the reality of this man in the story. Well alright great we heard the man say some crazy stuff for the last 15 minutes of the season. We know he is going to be ruthless. The problem now is that his marketing for the greater part of the year has been about how ruthless he is going to be-like “this is just the beginning and we haven’t seen anything yet”. There is a rule in writing called “show don’t tell” and although we have seen fifteen minutes of intensity, the telling of this ruthlessness has stretched far beyond that. By definition we are overhyping him and setting up expectations that are so high that if he doesn’t reach them, he will be considered a failure. So I propose (and I may be saying this a little too late) that we not talk about him anymore and allow ourselves to be surprised-that’s probably the most effective marketing strategy for the character at this point.
At this point, I’m thinking of the kind of man that smiles as he lunges towards two zombies and rips their heads off with his barehands and then uses them as cannons to bombard other communities. I’m thinking of a man that actually prefers the zombie apocalypse to the normal world. If the creators can’t beat these expectations then Negan will be a failure.