The Walking Dead season 8 is about to wrap up its "All Out War" storyline with a finale that sees a final battle between Negan's Saviors and Rick Grimes' coalition of survivors, with the winner thereafter saddled with the responsibility of leading the world into a new era. The now-dead Carl Grimes used his last day of life writing inspirational notes to his father and Negan about the need for peace, but given everything that's happened in this war, it was made clear that there's no going back, and no peace to be struck - not before a lot more blood is spilled.
These last few episodes leading up to season 8's finale have slowly but surely started sneaking in a subplot that could explode into something much bigger: that all the death, violence, chaos and tragedy of the war with the Saviors has been Rick's fault.
Well, during a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan once again echoed the sentiment that, if you step back and truly judge the characters of The Walking Dead by their actions, Rick is way more "evil" than Negan:
While Jeffrey's character Negan might be widely considered the villain on "The Walking Dead," he made the argument that Rick is actually more evil. "What do you think the kill ratio is?" Jeffrey asked Howard and Robin, both devoted "Walking Dead" fans. "Rick killed 50 of my people while they slept."
And while Howard and Robin pointed to Negan's sinister personality and the innocent people he's taken out with his barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille, they conceded that Jeffrey's character has seen his fair share of injustice from Rick and his crew.
As The Walking Dead continues to unfold, it has gotten harder and harder to deny the extreme turns that Rick's life has taken - and the extreme reactions Rick has had to those twists and turns. There is definitely a fair argument to be made for the fact that the entire All Out War arc is indeed something that, if not started, was definitely exacerbated by the decisions Rick made. That includes the aforementioned pivotal turn in season 6, where the Alexandria group raided what they thought was a Savior base, and killed everyone there in their sleep in order to liberate the Hilltop. That darkly violent and morally deplorable act is what brought Negan down on their heads, finally, resulting in the brutal deaths of Glenn and Abraham in the season 7 premiere.
It could be argued that everything done after the satellite outpost attack was retribution on Negan's part - or that, were the roles reversed, Rick would've lined up all of the Saviors on their knees like Negan did to his group, and then show them all down like dogs, instead of killing a few to subjugate the others. After all, you don't hear Rick often saying stuff like 'People are a resource,' which is a particular mantra of Negan's, as of late.
Morgan elaborated on his thoughts regarding the Rick and Negan world views in another recent interview, stating:
"If we had been following Negan for eight years, we would be on Negan's side and Rick would be horrible. I mean, look at the stuff these guys have done, they're at least as bad as what I've done."
The question of how we, the audience, perceive both Rick and Negan is going to become much more important in season 9, if the show follows the comic book sotryline, by making Negan Rick's secret (or not so secret) prisoner, hidden away in the bowels of Alexandria. After recently meeting with Morgan and seeing the epic "prison-style beard" on his face, we've got to wonder if that's indeed where things are headed. If so, then The Walking Dead itself may make the "Rick v. Negan" philosophical debate a thematic center of season 9, as the two leaders try to find the common ground that eventually made them allies in the comics.
Do you think Negan is "more evil" than Rick - or has the show just framed him that way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.