Fear' The Walking Dead' Proves The Problem With Negan’s Redemption!

Negan may be a changed man in  , but  exposes one villainous aspect the main series unjustly ignores. swaggered into  as quite literally the . Apparently, bludgeoning two beloved protagonists (Glenn & Abraham) to death while laughing gleefully is no way to endear yourself with new friends. Between  seasons 7 and 8, Negan behaved as badly as AMC's content guidelines would allow, before finally losing to the noble Rick Grimes and spending a little over 7 years behind bars.

Post-timeskip, Negan's  journey has been a slow crawl toward redemption. Saving Judith and Dog from a blizzard, killing Alpha, and choosing more appropriate moments to unleash cocky sarcasm have all strengthened Negan's in-universe reputation. After much chipping away, even Maggie found a modicum of forgiveness for her husband's killer in  season 11. Audiences are left in little doubt of Negan's reformation.

, however, isn't so sure. Though Jeffrey Dean Morgan doesn't physically appear in the spinoff, his presence looms large thanks to the cast additions of - two former residents of Negan's Sanctuary settlement. Their story reveals how Negan's victims still live with deep emotional cuts, but  season 7 also highlights an overall flaw in the villain's redemption arc.

Fear The Walking Dead Proves The Trauma Of Negan's "Wives"

Since Dwight and Sherry debuted in  (the former during season 5, the latter early in season 6), the specter of Negan has barely left them alone. Both characters are now constantly attuned to the sound of tyranny - for example, entering Victor Strand's Tower and immediately comparing his setup unfavorably to the Sanctuary's. Dwight and Sherry also found renewed purpose by standing for everything their former master didn't when they began operating as Black Rider vigilantes. 's husband and wife duo both carry the scars of years spent under Negan's sweaty thumb, but while Dwight's are burned onto his face,  has repeatedly proven Sherry's trauma runs deeper.

Sherry surfaced in  as a member of The Outcasts - a band of Pioneer rejects looking to shake Ginny like a Polaroid picture in revenge for dumping them. No  protagonist was especially fond of Ginny, but Sherry's trauma fueled a burning desire to kill the Pioneer chief at costs, channeling every iota of her rage into deposing this Negan-esque figure. More recently,  found a pregnant Sherry so terrified Strand would have the same effect upon her husband that Negan once did, she plotted to send Dwight away on a flimsy inflatable.

Since switching to , Dwight has found a semblance of closure and moved past his harrowing experience with Negan, whereas Sherry has struggled gravely with the weight of her Sanctuary days. Here,  proves the devastating, lasting emotional damage Negan caused his various "wives." Sherry was one of several women chosen by Negan to receive special privileges in exchange for joining his harem of lovers. These chosen ladies would loiter in Negan's quarters and were routinely objectified. There's a sexual element to the bargain too, of course, and the Savior leader even allowed followers to "borrow" these women as a reward. Sherry's constant fear of a "new Negan" in  demonstrates the poisonous emotional impact Negan inflicted upon his "wives."

Negan's Walking Dead Season 11 Redemption Ignored The "Wives" Issue

Negan's awfulness has steadily decreased since his  incarceration. A stint behind bars broke him down mentally, before a revealed the leather-jacket-wearing, baseball-bat-swinging persona was a direct response to the death of  wife, Lucille. Getting bested by Rick Grimes let Negan become the man he  to be. Jeffrey Dean Morgan's 's atonement story finally comes to a close in season 11's second block of episodes when Negan promises Glenn's fatherless son they'll settle their business in the future, finally gets the thumbs-up from Maggie, and starts a family with new wife Annie. To seal the deal, Annie even reveals Negan told her  about his murky Savior past.

Did he include the part about the wives, though? Negan's  redemption has apologized exclusively for his violent style of leadership. We've heard ad nauseam about Glenn, the Sanctuary's terrible conditions, the Saviors subjugating other communities, etc. Negan has, at times, maintained his methods kept people safe (".") Other times, the reformed villain has expressed deep regret about barbaric acts he committed.  has never once, however, properly grappled with how he sexually exploited Sanctuary women.

In a warped way, maybe the Sanctuary's strict rules and take-no-prisoners attitude toward other communities  help keep Negan's own people alive. That's the excuse  seasons 10 & 11 lean toward when transforming Negan from zero to hero, at least. Needless to say, bribing women to sleep with him doesn't quite fit that already-tenuous justification. The "wives" system simply meant Negan could force women into subservience, nothing else.  does its damnedest to overlook that uncomfortable truth, fading most wives into the background or forgetting them entirely after Negan's defeat, but Sherry's ongoing storyline in revives the issue by highlighting how a woman exploited and abused by Negan still fears those terrifying days will somehow return.

Can Isle Of The Dead Solve Negan's Redemption Problem?

Robert Kirkman's  comic books never faced this problem. The original incarnation of Negan only found redemption, never ascending to the dizzying protagonist heights Jeffrey Dean Morgan is currently enjoying. Comic-Negan certainly didn't need to become wholesome enough for a spinoff alongside Maggie.  currently in AMC's pipeline, and sees the unlikely pairing heading for zombie-infested Manhattan.

On one hand,  provides a perfect opportunity to address the vital missing "wives" chapter of Negan's redemption story. Hours of lonely road time with Maggie might prompt some proper acknowledgement of how Negan forced women into his bed by wielding the power and influence his position afforded. On the other, is branding Negan a rapist something  will desperately want to avoid? Killing other survivors is a brutal truth of the zombie apocalypse - even if Negan was quicker and happier to pull the trigger than most. Offering food, medicine and other privileges in exchange for "wife" status moves toward a realm of pure, abject cruelty that might prove too great a sin for any character to overcome.

With Negan virtually a hero heading into season 11's final episodes, and his  already set in stone,   may continue to ignore Negan's acts of sexual abuse by focusing squarely on Glenn, his brutal Sanctuary punishments, or other atrocities on his record. At least 's Sherry storyline offers a semblance of justice to the "wives" exploited by Negan, showing how the emotional scars inflicted upon these women are not easily left in the past.