The Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 15 (March 26, 2017) had Sasha in the Sanctuary, about to be raped by Davey, one of the “Saviors.”
Negan comes in, gives a short speech about how rape is against the rules, and sticks a knife in Davey’s throat.
He then gives the knife to Sasha so that she can stick it in Davey’s forehead and prevent him from “turning” (into a zombie).
This gift comes with another short speech about how she can choose to stay with them and live pretty well, considering the times they’re in. How she will be better off in the end for doing so.
The writers of the show are not just telling a story, when they bring us the character of Negan.
They are constantly presenting us with a moral dilemma: What if the crazy man who goes off and throws people into ovens (think about the Holocaust symbolism here), is actually good for the people?
Of course Negan is not presented that way. He is presented as a terrible villain, in counterpoint to Rick and Michonne and the other survivors. Confronted with bandits, killers and rapists, this group somehow finds a way to survive, without taking more than they need to take.
But they are also weak, in the end, and in this season we see them struggling to overcome Negan. This is a character who commands forcefully, who makes decisions accurately and quickly, and who kills instantly and without reservation.
Negan can identify talent. And in Negan’s world, there is order — at least most of the time. Misery, too, and organized rape (forced prostitution), and humiliation, and when you will meet your end and how is as unpredictable as his temper.
But most of the time, there is order — and food. And as Negan frequently points out, holding his barbed-wire-covered-baseball-bat (“Lucy”), there are rules.
In a world full of ruthless and terrible people, who do you want in charge?
The charming and brilliant but insane dictator, who kills “Rapey Davey” without question?
Or Rick, Michonne, and the Council, who agonize over every decision that’s important?
The show’s writers feel compelled to tell you, through the character of Sasha, that this is a morally unambiguous choice.
As soon as she has any freedom, she will find a way to kill Negan.
Eugene the scientist, on the other hand, who choose to stay and work for him, is “a coward” — all of us know that.
But deeper in the script, and in the way the character of Negan is played, we see that things are not so clear for people.
They are, at the end of the day, scared — weak.
A strong leader gets their attention, and obedience.
Even if that will one day mean their own untimely end.
All opinions my own.
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