Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Walking Dead's latest episode, titled "Worth."
Well, The Walking Dead killed off one of its most enjoyable villains, with Simon getting choked out by big bossman Negan. Interestingly, viewers also witnessed the shocking reveal that, on top of all the atrocities that we've seen the second-rung Savior take responsibility for, it was Simon who ordered the murders of all the Oceanside men (and boys over age 10). And while it wasn't fully confirmed within the episode's dialogue, it was lightly implied that the current Oceanside survivors were the former residents of the Sanctuary before the Saviors took over. Crazy stuff, absolutely, but does that new info actually matter?
Simon's Previous Massacre
During Negan's first board meeting following his return to the Sanctuary, he put Simon in the hot seat for consistently disobeying requests to not murder everyone. And in doing so, he specifically brought up Simon having killed "all those men, those boys, in that settlement so long ago." This was an easy reference to the massacre brought up in the Season 7 episode "Swear," where Oceanside's Natania and Beatrice told Tara about the community's bloody past, and for most viewers, it was just blindly assumed that Negan was the one responsible for all those deaths, even though that episode only referred to "the Saviors" without directly referencing Negan by name.
So we learned that Simon's execution of Jadis' junkyard crew wasn't his first kill-em-all rodeo, and that he's the true monster that the Oceanside women have been hiding from all this time. But does that change anything about where the story is now, or how it will move forward? Since Simon is dead now, any new light on his past indecencies only makes him look that much more villainous, which works for his legacy, but isn't very groundbreaking. It doesn't really affect how viewers should view the Oceanside residents' situation, either, since this is more of a clarification than a narrative-flipping twist.
In the long run, the only real way this reveal should affect anything is by taking some of the blood off of Negan's hands in viewers' minds. But how valuable is that? Even if Negan didn't order the murders of the Oceanside males, it's not like he's the poster child for gentlemanly innocence. The bulk of the reason Rick & Co. are so invested in this war is because of the heinous crimes that Negan himself committed, so it's not like them learning about the true history of Oceanside would do much to stop the revenge mission.
While making his big speech, Negan mentioned that Simon helped him take the Sanctuary, without saying who it was taken from, and it sounds like that happened before Negan's tyrannical way of life was fully formulated and put into action. Which would mean that Simon wouldn't have been acting against any leader's wishes by killing off wide swaths of survivors, as it went with Jadis' group. But beyond Simon, we're a bit more invested in the notion that the Saviors did indeed take over the location from another group, as opposed to finding it vacant.
Going back to the Oceanside community's introduction, we learned from Natania that their group vacated their old home after a battle with the Saviors, leaving with "just the clothes on our backs." It was also revealed in that episode that the Oceanside survivors were aware of the Saviors' outposts. So it stands to reason that Simon and possibly Negan had set up a few smaller hubs in the surrounding areas before coming across the Sanctuary and envisioning it as a larger, more permanent settlement solution. And if many others had to suffer in order for that to happen, so be it.
If it was indeed the Sanctuary that the Oceanside women used to call home, Simon's massacre could add further context to why Negan is so interested in allowing other communities to survive and thrive under his rule. He'd witnessed the kind of horrors and losses that come with forcefully taking over a community, and possibly made a decision then to provide "security" for other areas, while still maintaining the threat of a bloody takeover. He does see himself as something of a hero, after all.
With Simon dead, perhaps the Oceanside women will come together not only to celebrate, but to renew their fighting spirit to help Team Family eliminate the Saviors once and for all. Of course, that means the hunger-struck Aaron will need to do a better job of convincing the women to join the final battle(s), which is obviously easier said than done.
With possibly more questions than answers on the way, The Walking Dead's Season 8 finale will air on AMC on Sunday, April 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET, to be followed by Fear the Walking Dead's Season 4 premiere. To see what other shows are on the way, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer premiere schedule, and don't forget to bookmark our season finale rundown to catch up with everything that'll be going on hiatus soon.
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.
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