Spoiler warning for anyone not yet caught up on The Walking Dead.
Last week, The Walking Dead viewers got to watch the live-action universe open up a bit with a trip to The Kingdom to visit King Ezekiel and his optimistic community. This week, the sunshine and fruit gifts gave way to physical beatings and terrible dinner plans, and we got our first look at The Sanctuary, another major location from the source material that offered up a wholly different slice of post-apocalyptic living. This first visit was an intimidating one, to say the least, and there's no better time to look back at the comics have told us about The Sanctuary and the Saviors within.
The Sanctuary Is Negan's Home
Negan is a villain with a personality as big as life, and so it makes sense that he would take refuge in the kind of shelter that is also extremely daunting and intimidating. The Walking Dead's TV universe was pretty faithful in bringing The Sanctuary to life. It's basically a big factory, which offers up plenty of interior space for the tyrannical leader and his flock to survive, and the exterior is surrounded by not only a big fence, but a wall of still-hungry walkers held up by stakes, sticks and chains. This barrier is not only for protection, but many of those suspended walkers were people that crossed Negan and the Saviors, so it's more of Negan's mind control games.
Food is being grown by the Saviors on the property, and they've always good supplies coming in from other communities, so Negan is mostly free to come and go as he pleases. And his presence rarely means anything good for those in his vicinity. I bet when Saviors set up outposts, they are just begging to leave The Sanctuary for a while.
Life Sucks For The Saviors
While day-to-day living isn't ever exactly cotton candy and Ferris wheels for everyone who has called Rick Grimes a leader in The Walking Dead, there are lines he would never cross. Negan, meanwhile, jumps up and down on those lines while wearing cleats, and he doesn't give a flying fuck about manners and etiquette in his efforts to keep his league of subordinates in their place. We get a hint of those conditions on the show, and Daryl's situation is far less rosy than most, but the comics have many more instances where it's extremely obvious that anything or anyone Negan doesn't like will inspire a punishment.
When Negan is walking around in your eyesight, you had better drop down to your knees in reverence, or bad things are coming. Everyone in The Sanctuary is Negan, in a reverse-Spartacus kind of way. If he wants your shoes, you give him your shoes. If he wants your wife, you give him your wife. In fact, Negan's relationships with women are at the heart of several ugly situations within The Sanctuary's walls. (As well as others' relationships with women, as Negan is very strict about certain things.) Never forget that if it happens on Negan's property, he knows about it. And it's all his property.
Life Doesn't Have To Suck As Bad For Everyone
Negan is 95% monster, and that's being generous, but there are some ways in which he can prove himself partly respectable, mostly in that he thinks one good turn deserves a slightly worse turn, complete with dehumanizing comments. Negan rewards loyalty, and those who do him well make up the highest-ranking members of The Saviors, which obviously includes Dwight and others. Dwight had a military background in the comics, which made more sense for him to be a solider for Negan. It could very well be revealed that TV Dwight was, too, but I dunno.
In the comics, The Sanctuary had a point system set up among those living inside, and doing good things gets you more points, and vice versa. Well, doing bad things does something far worse than taking points away; it sometimes takes skin away. So just as Dwight is proving on the TV show, it is not a fun gig being one of The Saviors, but it is a gig that allows one to live safely and somewhat comfortably, so long as one accepts identifying as "Negan" and doesn't mind genuflecting a lot.
There Aren't That Many Memorable Saviors
No one is going to outshine Negan on his own turf, and accordingly, none of the Saviors come close to having as much personality as the big bad, with Dwight getting the lion's share of the non-Negan story. In that respect, the TV show has already done a good job, making memorable turns of short-lived characters like Bud and Alicia Witt's Paula. Still, the comics did have a small selection of Saviors that pulled focus on occasion, and we can hopefully see some of that brought to live-action, either directly or with a spin (such as it went with the origin story for Dwight's scars).
There's Connor, seen above, who is another one of Negan's top guys. He's a mean sumbitch who had a memorable ordeal with Andrea in the comics, so it could happen with anyone on the show; it's technically possible the mustachioed Simon is the stand-in for Connor. There's a Savior named Tara who becomes more important later in the story, but her name will obviously be changed for TV if she appears. There's Mark and Amber, who go through a situation that Dwight is familiar with, and we will likely see representations of these two on the show to build up Dwight's dissatisfaction with Negan.
Times are tough all over, but the Sanctuary is particularly hard on a person. Make life easier for yourself by tuning into The Walking Dead every Sunday night on AMC. I dunno how it'll make your life easier, but it will. Head to our fall TV schedule for more ease of mind when it comes to your TV viewing.