WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS about last night's "Walking Dead" midseason finale and storylines from the "Walking Dead" comics.
If you didn't tune into AMC's new show, "Into the Badlands," after "The Walking Dead" last night, you may have missed an important clue from the second half of "TWD"'s sixth season: The very first mention of Negan, the notorious villain from the "Walking Dead" comics who's set to join the show soon.
The clip, which AMC released online shortly after it aired last night, features Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham driving the abandoned fuel truck Daryl found in the woods, on their way back to Alexandria after getting jumped by a mysterious gang. That group returns to antagonize them once more in this scene, blocking the roadway with their motorcycles; one of them demands that they turn over everything they have -- including their truck -- because "Everything belongs to Negan now."
As for just who this mysterious Negan is, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was recently cast to play him, though word on the street is that he won't actually show up until the season six finale in May. So just what makes him so bad, anyway? Comics fans know him well, but for the uninitiated, it boils down to this: Negan leads with violence, and instills fear in those around him. He takes what he wants -- forcefully -- under the guise of providing security to surrounding communities. And he's also known to wield a barbed wire-bound bat, dubbed Lucille, which he uses in the comics to kill one of the original members of our Atlanta gang.
In the midseason finale, Alexandria is completely overrun by walkers, and its people are completely lost. They could be desperate -- and stupid -- enough to turn to Negan's group for help (a theory I posed in my finale preview), setting up yet another showdown between sheriff's deputy Grimes and a big bad guy.
We'll have to wait another 10 weeks until we know more. "The Walking Dead" returns for its midseason premiere on February 14.
Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC