How The Walking Dead's Negan Plot Has Already Changed Rick

the walking dead rick season 6 finale

The cliffhanger of The Walking Dead Season 6 has had fans wondering for months about what the new big bad Negan will mean for Rick and Co. in the long run. Of course, one member of Rick and Co. won't have much in the way of a long run after being beaten to death, but Andrew Lincoln has revealed that Negan's effect on Rick began almost immediately. Lincoln had this to say about Rick's state of mind upon meeting Negan and moving forward into Season 7:

You meet a man who's powerless, terrified for his own life and his son's family's life, and everybody else beside him. And he realizes that there's a new world, a much bigger, scarier, and formidable world.

Although the focus of the final scene in Season 6 was definitely on Negan and his baseball bat Lucille, viewers got a pretty good look at Rick as he basically fell apart while on his knees at the mercy of the Saviors. Andrew Lincoln almost stole the show away from Jeffrey Dean Morgan as he showed a Rick who was watching his world fall to pieces around him. He had absolutely no control over the moment and couldn't have done anything to stop what was about to happen.

The people he loved and had led into this terrible trap were in a horrific situation, and he knew that one of them would not survive. It's no wonder that he was on the verge of collapse by the end of the season finale; Rick had not been quite so helpless ever since he woke up in the hospital to discover the zombie apocalypse. Andrew Lincoln's tease to EW about Rick's current mindset promises that the new status quo is going to leave Rick without many options.

Rick will almost certainly never again dismiss the possibility that other settlements could be more formidable than his own. His arrogance in assuring the folks of Hilltop that he and his crew could totally get rid of the Saviors despite not really knowing anything about the Saviors has rather spectacularly backfired on him. It should be interesting to see how his attitude has changed when he meets with representatives from other settlements in the area.

The big question now is: Which of Rick's crew was the one to get a face full of Lucille? We've always known that Carl and Rick were likely to survive, and Norman Reedus' presence on set seems to indicate that Daryl is sticking around. Still, we can't definitively say at this point who else definitely survived Negan's first brutal assault on their group.

Tune in to the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, October 23 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC to see how Rick reacts next to Negan and the Saviors. Check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Season 7, and don't forget to take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).