In an exclusive clip at this Sunday’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) has a chat with incarcerated baddie Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and wonders whether or not there’s anyone worth helping deep down inside of him. It’s a tough question that the series is going to have to wrestle with as it clearly has plans for the bat-wielding maniac, especially now that Rick Grimes is gone and the rest of the survivors are set to face the threat of the Whisperers.
Season 9 of The Walking Dead has been an emotional affair, what with Andrew Lincoln's exit from the show (but not the franchise, as it turns out), and the understated departure of Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who is also gone, but not completely written out of the series. With two key players out of the main storyline, for the time being, there’s a void that needs to be filled, one that might be too big for heavy hitters like Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) to fill entirely. Perhaps, then, Negan will find himself working alongside his captors against a common enemy.
Readers of the comic book already have a good idea what lies ahead for Negan and the survivors as the Whisperers come to the forefront. But with Lincoln and Cohan’s departures creating some unexpected variables for the television series, there’s a chance the foul-mouthed character will find his role altered somewhat. Before The Walking Dead can answer that question, however, it has to tackle the notion of whether or not there’s something deep down inside Negan that’s still worth helping. Check it out in the exclusive clip below:
As Gabriel laments, Negan’s the sort of bully who taunts everyone with whatever he’s got on hand. Here, it’s the fact that Gabriel is tasked with cleaning up after him, and Negan takes no small amount of perverse pleasure in pointing out just how gross it is. Aside from having possibly been a fan of Elijah Wood in Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm before the world went to hell, his needling of Gabriel reaches a boiling point, one where the priest finds a shred of humanity in his prisoner. It’s a small one, but perhaps enough that Negan might one day be of some use to the survivors.
‘Evolution’ is the title of the season 9 midseason finale, and given the content of this clip, it stands to reason that title might be hinting at, among other things, the role Negan has yet to play on the show. Still, it's important to be patient. Though the midseason finale is this weekend, it may still be a long while before viewers see a new side of the bat-wielding baddie.
The Walking Dead continues this Sunday with ‘Evolution’ @9pm on AMC.