The writers of The Walking Dead are struggling to make do with what they have in Season 11 because there are so few characters left from earlier seasons. They want more heroes than villains or anything in between, and one of the most recognizable antagonists in the series must complete his redemption journey from the comics in order for them to get what they want. In Season 11, Part 3, Negan claims to be on the road to redemption, but this is barely believable.
In a contentious scene from the Season 11, Part 2 finale, Maggie said something out of character by telling Negan that she trusted him enough to take care of her son. Many people believe Lori Grimes was a terrible mother since she never kept an eye on Carl, but Maggie’s awful decision-making gives her a run for her money. Never mind that Negan tortured the main group out of pure glee while also murdering the father of Maggie’s child and compelling women to engage in sexual activity with him in return for avoiding hard labor.
The Walking Dead writers want him to have evolved by the end of Season 11, yet it seems improbable for someone with such a callous disdain for his past deeds to be forgiven in the eyes of those he injured. Negan is given the green light to conduct a rescue operation for the people trapped at the Commonwealth in Season 11, Episode 17, “Lockdown.” This is the same Negan who line-up the gang, battered Glenn and Abraham to death, never showed remorse, and recently said he would have murdered them all if he could.
Negan goes over to work with Carol to clean up the mess Lance made with the assistance of Daryl, who seems to have forgotten that he was tortured by Negan while a prisoner. Melissa McBride’s reactions suggest that Negan and Carol’s strange attachment to his newborn child was created by casting darts in the dark. An all-time low for The Walking Dead was reached when Annie was revealed to be Negan’s wife and the mother of his unborn child.
Since it’s the simplest way to elicit sympathy from Maggie for the man, a marriage and a child that were both conceived (metaphorically and physically) in the span of a few episodes off-screen constitutes cheating. Additionally, it is highly sexist to create a female character as a chess piece in Negan’s game of atonement. If Annie were to die, Negan’s story would be driven once more by her passing because she possesses no other traits other than being the mother of his child.
Aemma Targaryen was put to death by the writers of House of the Dragon in order to “strengthen” Viserys’ persona, making her another dead soldier in a man’s story. This problem also affected Viserys and Aemma Targaryen. Negan has no redeeming traits, other than the obvious “wife and unborn child are the key to redemption” problem. By increasing his snarky jokes (which he’s been playing out since Season 7) to 100 and having him try to establish himself as a type of god, “Lockdown” illustrates precisely that.
Even asking Sebastian, “Do you know who I am,” he exclaims. Yes, Negan, everyone is aware of who you are: an egotistical individual who is unaware of the irony of his current situation while everyone laughs at him. Negan’s rhetorical questioning of Sebastian’s identity ignores the fact that Negan has repeatedly failed to establish himself as a capable and feared leader.
When the authors fail to recognize Negan’s villainous nature, it’s challenging to appreciate him. Conceptually, Negan is a wonderful character when the authors let him be awful and don’t attempt to make him out to be something he isn’t. Negan is a caricature that prevents him from being who he truly is because of his role as a “protector” of children and unborn children (his sudden concern for expectant mothers only manifests when it’s his child, not Maggie’s or anyone else at the Sanctuary’s).
Negan is not desired by anyone. Nobody wants Negan to worry nonstop about being accepted by Maggie. The authors shouldn’t have devoted the entirety of the Season 11, Part 3 opener to trying to make the point that he isn’t deserving of that. Negan’s persona is further complicated by the knowledge that he and Maggie will be “teaming up” in their The Walking Dead: Dead City spinoff, subjecting viewers to yet another episode of Negan’s vain attempt to play the nice guy. The Walking Dead premieres new episodes every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on AMC and streams one week early on AMC+.