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What You Need To Remember Before The Walking Dead's 'Here's Negan' Episode

Few characters have solidified their position in pop culture infamy quite like The Walking Dead's Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The once-proud totalitarian leader of the Saviors, he bushwhacked his way through countless Walkers and into viewers' hearts with his charismatic personality and his spiked "vampire" bat, Lucille. Even when the character's presence was reduced to a trickle, Negan remained popular thanks to the mark he left on the show — and a guest spot in Tekken 7. But at long last, he is reclaiming the spotlight– albeit temporarily — in The Walking Dead.

To follow up the Carol and Daryl-centric episode Diverged, the series will dive into Negan's history with "Here's Negan." The upcoming episode will reveal how he became the man audiences love to hate, but he's been through so many ups and downs that some viewers might need a refresher. After all, it's kind of hard to enjoy the story of what drove him to become a jovial madman if you don't remember what he did as one.

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine

The Walking Dead built up Negan before audiences saw him, so when he finally appeared, he left quite the impression. More importantly, he made it clear that he was not someone you trifled with. Anyone who defied him would get a bat to the brain, but anyone who obeyed him — and handed over their supplies — received his protection and never went hungry. Plus, those who showed strength and bravery would reap more benefits. But, to be fair, Negan honored his word to people who showed him respect — or kowtowed to him, to be more accurate. This was enough to make Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) follow Negan, albeit reluctantly.

Throughout seasons 6 and 7, Negan spent most of his time displaying his twisted sense of honor, raiding nearby settlements, punishing those who disobeyed him, and mentally torturing Rick. But since Negan lived by his own code, he began to respect Rick, although he didn't see it that way and sowed the seeds of rebellion.

By the end of season 7, Negan declared war on the Militia, a ragtag group of survivors led by Rick that refused to bow to him.

Pride goeth before a fall

Season 8 of The Walking Dead opened with Negan's war, but he also took time to finally explain his philosophy. Apparently, Negan followed an extreme form of tough love — he wanted to make the world strong, and he gladly abused and killed people to this end. Negan had no reservations about what he did. To him, being cruel and killing a few people would prevent more deaths in the future, hence why he subscribed to a "kill one, spare the rest" method of revenge instead of "an eye for an eye."

Throughout the war, Negan became fixated with Rick, confident that he was the glue that held the Militia together, and that without him, the other settlements would fall. Negan refused to accept that his crimes are catching up to him, but more importantly, he started to betray his own code. He was more willing to slaughter entire towns to stop the Militia, and the more desperate Negan became to end Rick's uprising, the more blind he was to potential betrayals from within.

The war between the Saviors and the Militia officially ended when Rick slit Negan's throat. However, Rick didn't let him die. Instead, he had Negan sewn up and transported to Alexandria.

Negan finally sees the error of his ways

Despite losing the war, Negan did not lose hope that he was right. Season 9 began with a time skip that showed how he had wasted away in prison — while growing quite the spectacular beard. However, he remained confident that Rick's peace wouldn't last. He also assured himself that when everything went to hell, he could pick up the pieces and continue his post-apocalyptic regime.

However, as Negan remained in prison, he broke down, revealed part of his backstory to Michonne (Danai Gurira), and begged Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to kill him. Ironically, even though Maggie originally wanted Rick to let Negan bleed out, she realized that he should live and suffer for his crimes.

Eventually, Negan was let go from Alexandria on the promise he wouldn't hurt anyone (who was alive, anyway), so he took the opportunity to engage in some much-needed soul-searching. He visited the spot where he first met Rick, as well as his old base of operations, which was now infested with Walkers. Surprisingly, this sojourn did Negan some good, as he willingly returned to his jail cell. Unsurprisingly, nobody believed he'd seen the errors of his ways, but following one blizzard and his rescue of Judith, the local Alexandriaites started to come around.

Negan's a changed man, but he ain't sorry

While Negan's daring blizzard rescue ingratiated him to many Alexandriaites, they wanted to keep him on a short leash during season 10. Still, he at least got to step outside every once in a while, stretch his legs, and help kill Walkers. And, while Negan paid back this kindness by watching over a blinded Aaron (Ross Marquand), he refused to apologize for his past actions.

Negan continued this uncharacteristic streak of kindness when he protected Lydia (Cassady McClincy) from attackers, but things quickly went south when he accidentally killed one — and because they didn't want to actually hurt Lydia, just scare her. This landed Negan back in hated territory, but he escaped Alexandria and made his way to Whisperers' land.

Unfortunately, all of Negan's progress was seemingly undone in the Whisperers' camp. He gave the group Alexandria's secrets and joined in an all-out attack, corralling a horde of Walkers. However, when the Whisperers' leader, Alpha, tried to kill Lydia, Negan killed Alpha and revealed that everything he had done up until then was a long con to kill her at Carol's request. While this act of murder convinced several Whisperers to elect Negan as their new leader, he surprisingly rejected the offer and killed them, claiming that Alpha took her leadership role too far. After all, Negan might have been sadistic, but he never killed children.

Audiences last saw Negan helping pull a cart.