Spoiler warning for the latest episode of The Walking Dead, titled "Still Gotta Mean Something."
Since coming across Rick's group, Negan hasn't exactly had the most relaxing and pain-free existence. He most recently found himself to be Jadis' unwilling junkyard hostage, and despite being strapped down most of the episode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan once again delivered a performance that made Negan feel like a human being with feelings. It all came across as the calm before whatever rage-filled storm is about to be unleashed at the Sanctuary, and that storm will likely have something to do with whatever mystery character Negan picked up on the side of the road.
Luckily for Negan, Jadis decided to release him back into the world to punish those responsible for killing all of her fellow trash-pile survivors, and all without turning Lucille to barbed ashes. So his return to the Sanctuary was extremely charged even before he found his new passenger, who probably stoked an even bigger fire within Negan, considering that person was oddly nowhere to be seen upon Negan's arrival at the Sanctuary's gates. But who was it that he picked up? Here are a few of our guesses.
Besides Heath, who is likely never coming back, The Walking Dead's most intriguing missing character right now is the Savior Laura, who was last seen in "How It's Gotta Be." In that episode, she learned of Dwight's double-crossing and shot him in the arm before running off, making her a ticking time bomb of extremely dangerous information. Since her return would need to come at the most inopportune time for Dwight, it would make sense for Negan to find her on his way back to the Sanctuary, since her story could possibly make Dwight an even bigger target of Negan's ire than Simon.
And since Laura's news about Dwight would be proof of deception within his underlings, hiding her from the other Saviors (possibly in the car's trunk) would keep everyone in the dark on Laura's current whereabouts. Negan doesn't know who to trust anymore, meaning Dwight would be in for an even bigger surprise than the return of Negan himself.
Another one of this show's intriguing characters-gone-absent is former Savior Sherry, who high-tailed it for her second time (in Season 7) after setting Daryl free and leaving Dwight a farewell letter. For all intents and purposes, Sherry could and should be in a different state at this point, having put Negan's disgusting version of wife-dom in her rear-view mirror. But because of how often we've seen Dwight reflecting on his lost love, I can't help but think Sherry will show up again before it's all said and done.
Not to downplay Sherry's ability to survive on her own, but would anyone be surprised to learn that she went through seven levels of hell after last departing the Sanctuary? She could very well have been injured and unable to find a steady source of nourishment, causing her to rethink her choice to leave behind any kind of safe haven, no matter how deplorable its rules may be. Negan might not be so nice to Sherry upon finding her again, but he might have an idea for how to use her to hurt Dwight in the future.
Dwight's current situation is complicated at every single angle, and it's only going to get worse. Last seen escaping the big Hilltop battle after shooting Tara with a non-poisoned arrow, Dwight could very easily have gotten separated from Simon and the other Saviors -- either accidentally or on purpose -- which could lead to him huffing it back to the Sanctuary on foot. And if Dwight gets Negan alone before the big boss man talks to Simon or Laura, then you know Dwight is going to take full advantage of the situation.
For one, he'll definitely throw Simon and the others further under the bus for killing off the junkyard folks, and he'll almost certainly blab about Simon's passive coup to attain control of the Saviors. The mustachioed second banana is not only dead-set on killing off every other community, but he also publicly condemned the Hilltop's Savior prisoners to be potential casualties of war, which is a double no-no. Though Dwight has plenty of secrets to hide from Negan, he might be able to buy himself an olive branch by hard-selling Simon as the biggest threat to Negan's rule. And Dwight's continued survival would make this moment that much more explainable. (UPDATE: The preview for the next episode seems to prove the Dwight theory wrong, sadly, though perhaps Dwight was super drunk and totally forgot about all of it?)
There are obviously other characters that Negan could have saved from a mosquito-filled walk beyond just Laura or Dwight, but those would seemingly be the two who could fuel Negan's vengeful fires the most. Maybe Negan discovered Morgan out there, tearfully wandering around and talking to hallucinations, though the front seat likely wouldn't have been offered to someone as dangerous as Morgan. Maybe Negan did find Heath out there, or Georgie. Or some character we've never even met yet. (It better not be that last one, though.)
Negan will likely be in the mood to deliver some brutal justice within the Saviors' ranks whenever next week rolls around. Be sure to watch The Walking Dead's final two episodes on AMC on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out how the episode turned Rick into a monster, as well as what the helicopter might mean. And for all the shows that will be popping up on the small screen in the near future, bookmark our midseason premiere schedule and our summer premiere schedule.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.