The Walking Dead: Negan’s speech in 1009 offers fresh insight

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Thora Birch as Gamma - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Thora Birch as Gamma - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC /

Negan fans have been asking for more of his back story on The Walking Dead, and the mid-season premiere delivered some fresh insight.

One of the most important moments in Negan’s story thus far on The Walking Dead may have been overshadowed by that other moment from the mid-season premiere that had fans talking. Before he and Alpha got down and dirty, Negan gave an impromptu speech that revealed a lot about his motivation for becoming the leader of the Saviors.

Negan has been painted as a villain in The Walking Dead Universe, but some fans believe that if the situation had been reversed, Rick could have held the mantle of the villain for any number of deaths he caused.

Evil in the world of The Walking Dead is largely a matter of perspective and at this point everyone has blood on their hands. On the other hand, Negan will always be known as the guy who killed Glenn and Abraham, so no matter how many good things he does he still has to square with that.

When it comes to why Negan created the Saviors, he offered this bit of insight to Alpha before the freaky deaky commenced in episode 1009: “I made myself into a monster because that is what the world needed. I built something. I saved people. My name meant something.”

In Negan’s Machiavellian outlook on the new world, he had two choices: Become the leader who ruled with an iron fist, or succumb to the chaos. While his monstrous methods will always be up for interpretation, the fact remains that he was able to keep some very bad people in check for quite some time. Thinking back to when he was trapped with Gabriel in the storage unit he knew that bad things were happening while he was away because Simon was running around unchecked.

When he tells Alpha that his name meant something it’s a loaded statement because the Whisperers don’t use names aside from the few key players who have them, and they’re known more globally as a group by things like “skin freaks” and “skins” than anything else.

More than that, though, is the fact that though his methods might be suspect, Negan was working to make things better. He did help people and he did save people. The workers at the Sanctuary had what they needed. No one was starving. It might have been a little more like Communist East Germany, but there’s no denying that people were surviving.

Alpha is a whole other beast when it comes to leadership. She’s not trying to make the world better. She could care less if her people live or die so long as the Guardians are tended. She doesn’t care what Negan did or was trying to do. In Alpha’s playbook, death is the ultimate reward and people should be grateful to the undead for showing them the way to a higher purpose.

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The stark contrast between leadership styles is one that serves as a reminder that evil comes in gradations, and what we thought was bad before (Negan) can actually be so much worse (Alpha) depending on the circumstances.

What did you think of Negan’s speech in The Walking Dead 1009? Do you see him differently, or will Negan always be Negan no matter what? Let us know in the comments!