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Negan's First Kill On The Walking Dead Isn't Who You'd Think

Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 10, episode 22 — "Here's Negan"

When Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is introduced as the primary antagonist of The Walking Dead's sixth season, he becomes the biggest threat the series' central group of protagonists had ever faced. He remains a major threat until season 8, at which point he's defeated and imprisoned in the Alexandria Safe-Zone that the core cast calls home. Though The Walking Dead later adds its fair share of new antagonists into the fold, Negan remains one of its most memorable villains — if not the most memorable of all.

That said, the Negan of seasons 9 and 10 is something of a shadow of his former self. After more than seven years under the purview of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Negan is able to escape into the world at large. However, upon entering a new and unfamiliar world, he elects instead to return to the safety of the Alexandria Safe-Zone of his own volition. Since then, though Negan hasn't quite had a full-on transformation into a good guy, he's nevertheless abandoned the purely villainous ways of his former self.

The partially reformed Negan is the focus of the final episode of The Walking Dead season 10C, titled "Here's Negan," which features scenes from his past and present alike. A series of flashbacks ultimately reveal a number of formative moments for the Negan fans have come to know and hate, including his first time murdering another human being.

Killing in the name of

Much of the runtime dedicated to Negan's origin story of sorts in "Here's Negan" paints him not as a villainous man by nature but rather as a victim of personal tragedy. Negan's first kill reflects this. 

Prior to "Here's Negan," viewers has learned that Negan once traveled with his wife Lucille, who died post-apocalypse as a result of pancreatic cancer. Prior to Lucille's death, Negan constantly struggled to treat Lucille's illness, as he and his wife had to habitually scavenge for supplies to continue her chemotherapy treatment amidst a collapsed society.

"Here's Negan" reveals that on one of his outings to obtain supplies to treat his sick wife, a motorcycle gang stops and detains Negan. In the process of escaping from his captors, Negan kills one of the gang members guarding the area. Due to the circumstances of the murder, Negan's first kill is one of a more righteous nature than the outright villainy of his future self. The fact that Negan's murderous tendencies stem from his failure to protect his wife help paint him as — at the very least — not completely unsympathetic.