Spoilers for The Walking Dead are below.

With three episodes left in Season 6 of The Walking Dead, viewers have a lot to think about in terms of what characters are where, and who’s facing what threats. (And why Heath is so criminally underused.) The one thought looming above all others, though, is focused on the impending arrival of Negan, who has a good chance of becoming one of TV’s most memorable villains.

Here are 5 reasons why Negan has already turned The Walking Dead into a better show, even though we still have yet to see his deviously grinning face or hear his expletive-spewing voice. It’s not a distinction that many shows can claim, but that’s abso-fucking-lutely the case here.

the walking dead
He’s Unlike Any Major Villains Before Him
In the almost-six seasons that The Walking Dead has been on the air, Rick & Co. have faced a revolving door of Big Bads and mini-antagonists whose ideas about survival run contradictory to those of the central group. Some of them are largely forgettable (like Hospital Cop Dawn) or underutilized (such as Terminus Gareth), with the most memorable and effective of the bunch being The Governor, and by a long shot. The Governor is also easily the closest point of comparison to Negan, as he too ruled over a community of people in immoral ways, but comic readers know that their emotional impulses couldn’t be more different.

But even if all you know is the TV show, you have a huge inkling of how different Negan’s power and command for respect are, as evidenced by how many of his saviors we’ve seen grouped up and loyally carrying out his thieving wishes, and without his supervision. Negan’s group is bigger than any that came before, and he’s got a stronger grip on them than Gareth had on Bob’s leg meat.

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