Negan killed a would be rapist on The Walking Dead but that doesn’t make him a good guy

Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in Episode 15Photo by Gene Page/AMC The Walking Dead
Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in Episode 15Photo by Gene Page/AMC The Walking Dead /

In The Walking Dead’s second last episode “Something They Need” Negan killed Savior Dave when he came close to breaking Negan’s rule about rape. That doesn’t make him a good guy.

Sunday’s The Walking Dead revealed that Sasha was caught on her mission to go inside The Sanctuary and take Negan out. But instead of killing her immediately Negan had her put into a cell. Savior Dave decided to take advantage of that and up close and rapey with Sasha. It was uncomfortable to watch.

So it was kind of a relief when Negan burst into the cell and accosted “Rapey Davey” and reminded him that one of Negan’s rules is that there no rape in The Sanctuary. Negan made one of his signature speeches before jamming a large knife through Dave’s neck.

Negan then apologized to Sasha and ordered one of The Saviors to get her a new shirt because Dave had ripped hers. He flipped into charming mode to try and convince her to join The Saviors. He also let her know that he knows that Rick is planning an uprising and he’s going to shut it down.

But his apparent concern for Sasha’s well-being and his punishment of Dave for attempting to rape her have very little to do with Sasha really. What Negan is really concerned with is keeping control and maintaining his power. Dave broke the rules, so Dave had to die. If Negan allows people to break rules without punishment he looks weak. And weak leaders get overthrown.

The Illusion of Consent Isn’t Consent

Negan’s rule is that the woman has to say yes. If she says yes under duress that’s not consent, but that’s consent enough for Negan. Just before Negan burst into the cell Dave was trying to force Sasha to say yes. If she had panicked and said yes Negan would have allowed it. But he saw Sasha’s torn shirt and decided Dave crossed the line and punished him for that.

Negan coerces his own wives to say yes to marrying him. Theoretically they could say no. But in reality if they say no either they have to go without medicine or something else they need. Or one of their loved ones who can’t work or needs medicine will suffer or go without that medication and possibly die. They can’t truly consent. And that doesn’t matter to him.

Negan only cares about the illusion of consent. Not actual consent. He’s not a nice guy and he doesn’t respect women. He pimped his wives out to Eugene as a reward. That’s not how a man who respects acts. If the standard for being a good guy is only that he doesn’t allow forcible rape that’s a pretty low standard to hold men to.

Negan Wants To Keep His Power

Negan didn’t kill Dave on The Walking Dead because he was worried about Sasha. He killed Dave because he has to maintain his control over The Saviors. Some of The Saviors fight for Negan because they true believers. Some do it because know that they have a shot at a comfortable life by doing it. And others do it because they like stealing and bullying others.

In order to keep the truly morally deficient Saviors in line Negan has to make them afraid of him. If he’s not seen as the baddest of the bad he will have people challenging his authority constantly trying to take over.

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He killed Dave to drive home the message that he is in charge and challenging him or breaking his rules means death. His over the top punishments have a purpose but it isn’t to protect the women of The Sanctuary. It’s to protect his own authority and keep control of The Saviors.