Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 ahead. It’s officially on between Negan and the Whisperers on The Walking Dead. After killing his very own toxic fanboy, Brandon, Negan takes back his leather jacket and baseball bat Lucille and almost instantly gets caught by Beta in the woods but that was totally his plan, right? There’s no way he was loudly cavorting through Whisperer territory by accident. Negan is going to meet Alpha soon, and oddly enough, the meeting between the two Big Bads is probably good news for our heroes.
This should absolutely excite fans of The Walking Dead comics. Not only did Negan and Beta’s first meeting happen kinda sorta the same way in the graphic novel, in that Negan kind of walked into the middle of a group of Whisperers and encountered Beta first, but Negan’s time with the Whisperers is super important. He doesn’t team up with them; not really. He basically infiltrates the group and tries to take them down from within. (pssst: Negan kills Alpha in the comics, pass it on!) But while he is able to charm or intrigue many of the Whisperers, he never wins over Beta. Towards the end of the Whisperer war, by the time Negan has rejoined Alexandria, Beta is actually the one who “kills” Lucille by breaking her in half.
For now, however, Beta and Negan’s interactions will be… funny? That’s what actor Ryan Hurst, who plays Beta, teased. “It’s still very bloody, still very Walking Dead, but there’s more levity in that episode than in any that I’ve ever seen of the show,” he said, per Insider. They’re quite the odd couple. “Beta and Negan, they couldn’t be more diametrically opposite than anything,” said Hurst. “It’s this stone-faced immovable person and then you have his mouthpiece who just will not shut up.”
That said, one thing the AMC series has established that was never a part of Negan’s arc in the comics is his relationship with Lydia. On the show, Negan really cares about Alpha’s daughter. He protected her from bullies. This adds a totally new dynamic to his motivations for seeking out the Whisperers and Alpha in the first place. When he meets Alpha for the first time, he won’t be able to separate the two of them in his mind. It might make Alpha easier to kill, because he knows how she abused Lydia. It might also make it harder for him to orphan his friend, especially if Alpha opens up to Negan about missing her daughter.
It’s clear in the episode that Negan has done a lot of growing and thinking in his cell over the last few years. While he hasn’t completely ditched his old survival philosophy, he doesn’t want to go back to being the old Negan. He’s never going to completely redeem himself, or suddenly turn into the kind of hero that Rick Grimes was, but he can still do something good. If The Walking Dead has planned for Negan what it looks like it has planned, meeting Beta is just the beginning.
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