Negan’s attempts to convert Daryl, Eugene and Sasha on The Walking Dead

Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in Episode 3, Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in Episode 3, Photo by Gene Page/AMC /
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Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Episode 15, Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Episode 15, Photo by Gene Page/AMC /

The attempt to recruit Sasha: a spectacular failure ending in disaster for Negan

How Sasha works

Among Walking Dead characters, Sasha is much closer to Daryl than she is to Eugene in the way she functions. She is also driven by fierce loyalty to her friends. She is a hardened survivor, who has gone through a lot and can handle hardship. She is not afraid to risk her life to save others. She is also characterized by her single-mindedness: once she has settled on a course of action, it is extremely difficult to talk her out of it.

Her suicide mission to kill Negan as revenge for what he did to Abraham is one example of this. Her willingness to do it alone and spare Rosita shows her ability to sacrifice herself for others. Just like Daryl, these characteristics make her a desirable recruit for Negan, but also a particularly difficult person to convert.

How Negan tries to convert Sasha: seduction coupled with an appeal to reason

Negan admires Sasha in the same way that he admires Daryl: for having guts, or for her “beach-ball –sized lady nuts”, as he elegantly puts it. Unlike Daryl and Eugene, Sasha was not forcibly taken by Negan, but rather threw herself into the lion’s den.

Negan’s approach with Sasha is again different from the ones he used with Daryl and Eugene. Although she is clearly in his power and in a very bad situation, he does not use threats or abuse. Neither does he try to “bribe” her as he did Eugene. He probably feels that Sasha is tougher than Eugene and will not care much for material comfort or privileges. Instead, he tries to seduce her with an idealistic vision of what his community should be, if everyone was to work together instead of fighting. “We’re not monsters”, he says.

Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), The Walking Dead / AMC via
Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), The Walking Dead / AMC via /

David’s rape attempt is almost too perfectly timed to allow Negan to play the knight in shining armor. It almost looks staged – although we can only assume that it wasn’t, unless David had not been told that he would end up with a knife shoved through his throat. Or maybe Negan knew of David’s tendencies and used him accordingly? We had already seen David act like a creep around Enid, and Negan may have seen this as an occasion to get rid of him in a useful manner.

In a stark contrast with the brutal methods used on Daryl to bully him into submitting, he simply gives Sasha a “choice” – “no pressure”, he adds. He tries to appear like a thoroughly reasonable man, and has a quiet talk with her about her options. He suggests that instead of dying, which would be a “damn shame”, she could save herself and “join the cause”. He also tries to defuse her emotional reaction to him by insisting that he understands her pain and anger at what he did to Abraham. He acts as if he genuinely cares about her feelings, repeatedly apologizing that she “had to see that” (meaning the violent demise of David the would-be rapist).

In the end, however, Negan is once again fooled into believing he has won, only to be completely taken aback when he opens the coffin only to get attacked by walker-Sasha.