Spoilers for The Walking Dead are below.
Over the years, The Walking Dead has delivered one threat after another for Rick & Co. to face and conquer before moving on to the next batch of threats. There’s the ever-present danger of walkers, of course, but it’s when living humans get involved that the more complex terror happens. From the Governor’s Woodbury sect to Terminus to those awful Wolves, The Walking Dead knows how to churn out vicious groups, and the most ruthless of them all has now become a part of the show’s fabric. Join me in properly welcoming The Saviors, would you?
At this point in the AMC drama, The Saviors have been shown to be a motorcycle-riding group of enforcers working beneath the mysterious and as-yet-unseen Negan, the psychopathic barbarian who is basically stealing goods and supplies from the Hilltop Colony (and possibly other places) in exchange for not having his men destroy these communities. (As well as some walker clean-up.) That’s basically how they were introduced in the source material, although in the comics, it wasn’t Daryl and an explosion that took out the first group demanding goods, but Rick, Andrea and Michonne.
Many of the Saviors were originally residents of the Hilltop Colony in the comic book, as was Negan himself. He headed a subsection of citizens that eventually overpowered not just the Hilltop but every other survivor community they came across, and the penalty for not complying with handing over the goods is, of course, vicious beatings or death. (Sometimes both!) Though Negan is obviously the mastermind behind the infestation of lost morals and avaricious pride, a good chunk of the Saviors are mentally shattered enough to trust in this lifestyle being the best option. Though not all of them, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
Everybody needs a place to call home. Even evil monsters. And the Saviors all bow down to Negan and lay their heads at a location called The Sanctuary, as seen above. It’s an abandoned factory that Negan turned into his secure kingdom, and it’s protected by not only a fence, but also a line of walkers staked to the ground, making it almost impossible to enter The Sanctuary by any route other than the single main entrance. It’ll be extremely interesting to see how the TV show handles what goes on inside The Sanctuary.
You see, the Saviors are divided into a hierarchy of sorts. Some are trusted enough to be Negan’s right hand guards and soldiers, of which he has quite a few, while the rest are part of a more general population that lives under a point-based bartering system that reflects their behavior and skills. As well, some of the Saviors are Negan’s wives, as the brutal bastard does love his sex, though he’d have a much harsher way of describing it.
The Saviors also have several outposts across the landscape apart from The Sanctuary, as evidenced by the compound that Rick’s group attacked in the episode “No Tomorrow Yet.” This not only helps them have followers spread out and more speedily able to show up wherever they’re needed, but it also makes it nearly impossible to figure out just how many Saviors there are out there. The TV show has already destroyed two sizeable sub-groups of Saviors, and we really haven’t gotten to know any of them just yet. But that’s not that much different from how it worked in the comic, where only a small handful of Saviors were distinguishable from the rest of the crowd.
Which loops us back around to Saviors that don’t necessarily share the rest of the group’s idol worship of Negan. In the comics, the second most notable Savior is Dwight, who is most recognizable for having half of his face burnt off. (Guess who was responsible for that?) Although he is loyal for a long time, Dwight doesn’t always feel that Negan’s point of view is the right one, which causes some controversy as time goes on. In the TV show, Dwight was introduced along with some other characters when they kidnapped Daryl and eventually stole his crossbow and motorcycle after he saved them from some random Saviors named Wade and Cam. Given Dwight’s fondness for the crossbow in the comics, it’s likely he’ll return to the show at some point to answer for his arrow-based theft, but it’s hard to say when, and it’s hard to say whether or not he’ll be a legitimate counterpart for the comic version if and when he does.
We’ve got another four episodes left to go in Season 6, with Negan’s arrival coming at some point during that span, when things are going to take an ugly turn for at least one person. But that’s not the only bad thing coming. In the comics, the days between the Saviors’ introduction and Negan’s introduction contain quite a few big events, including one character’s tragic downfall, and a lot of it has to do with Rick’s leadership decisions.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what Savior-related catastrophes are coming in the following weeks. The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.