Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Walking Dead's latest episode.
Just a short while after Negan got ambushed by car, had a brawl with Rick, and spent a day strapped to a cart in Jadis' junkyard, he spent most of "Worth" trying to restore order within the Sanctuary. Which included another bare-knuckle showdown, this time with Simon, and this time finishing off with a life-ending strangulation. Star Steven Ogg spoke with CinemaBlend ahead of the episode, and when I mentioned how downright frightening Simon's face was during that scene, the actor told me that faking the fight and choke-out so realistically was the most painful aspect.
For better or worse, TV and film strangulations tend to not be portrayed extremely realistically, unless the entire point is to focus on how uncomfortable and disturbing they are. The Walking Dead made the discomfort palpable, and Steven Ogg's face resembled Violet Beauregarde's near the end. Understandably, pulling off that haunting death mask meant Ogg had to hold his breath and strain mightily to bring all the blood to his head, authentically selling the scene. It wouldn't have been a picnic had Jeffrey Dean Morgan actually been crushing his windpipe, but it would have been a different kind of pain.
Similarly, this next act in the Saviors' downfall was justifiably unpolished. Steven Ogg shined a light on the fact that he and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are far from trained fighters, and their big fight to the death needed to reflect that properly. So instead of the tightly wound mechanics of a boxing match, this fight more resembled the drunken confrontations that follow tense family reunions. And since neither Ogg nor Morgan goes through physical altercations on a daily basis, going for broke while filming each take took a notable toll on the actors' bodies.
Steven Ogg told me that while it worked out well for the legitimacy of the scene that it wasn't meant to be a flawless brawl, it was still a big challenge to put that fight together in the short time allowed during The Walking Dead's production schedule. In the actor's words:
By the end of the episode, Negan had also put Dwight into an extremely unsettling position, having reconnected with Laura, who revealed Dwight's duplicitous actions. And rather than conning Michonne into thinking all that might be forgiven, Negan dropped the mother of all threats and laid the blame for the impending mayhem at Rick's feet. Negan should probably let some of his bruises heal before getting into more physical altercations with anybody, but I don't see that happening.
The Walking Dead will air its Season 8 finale on AMC on Sunday, April 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out what Steven Ogg told us about the other way he would have wanted Simon to die, and then head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows will be around when the walkers are on hiatus.