The Best and Worst ‘Walking Dead’ Characters This Week (Feb. 26)

Gene Page/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter

There really are no “best” characters at the Savior compound. Since The Walking Dead cut viewers off from the larger group to focus exclusively on the Sanctuary once again this week, the pickings for a best list were slim. Options for the worst, on the other hand were plentiful. Even characters like Negan’s wives, who are the victims of tyranny, squander some of their right to sympathy with unnecessarily complicated plans to free themselves. Every failed Negan assassination on the show hammers home a point that’s probably the opposite of what’s intended. Instead of demonstrating any sort of legitimate toughness or cunning on Negan’s part, each flubbed plot just confirms the incompetence of the people standing against him. Negan has no business being as big of a threat as he is, because he would actually be really easy to kill by someone who wasn’t so bad at it.

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Since “best” is off the table this week, here’s a list of what we’ll call the “least worst” and “most worst” denizens of Negan’s place.

Least Worst

Negan’s Wives
The wives Negan sent over to Eugene were trying to make the best of a bad situation. Their willingness to take action against Negan was admirable, even if their means of attack, like most plans against the Saviors thus far, seemed a bit overwrought. It’s difficult to say why they felt the need for a specially crafted poison pill cocktail to do Negan in, when there are much less technical ways to murder someone in his sleep. It’s a case of good idea, shoddy execution, but they get some credit for trying…kind of.

It’s clear where Dwight’s storyline is going. He’s taking his time getting from diehard Savior to anti-Negan convert, but he’s at least moving in the right direction. Sentencing the doctor to death by fire to cook up a cover story that would protect himself and Sherry seemed a little harsh, but Dwight’s willingness to turn on a Negan loyalist is an important character trait to reaffirm. Dwight’s breakdown at the safehouse where he brought the beer for Sherry was also a necessary bit of character development, assuming it sticks.

Most Worst

Negan is pretty much the worst by any metric, as a person in general or as a villain. Even when he’s actively murdering, he manages to come across as clownish more than intimidating. This week’s episode was fairly tame by Negan standards. He treated Eugene unusually cordially, he only did that weird lean thing a little bit, and he only tossed one throwaway character into a furnace. But still, this season is suffering from some serious Negan fatigue, and despite dialing it down a little, he’s still the worst.

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Eugene’s one-liners can border on charming when they’re contained to just one line, but an entire episode a string of awkward mullet jokes and inappropriately timed D&D quips does not make. It’s not totally clear yet if Eugene has truly become Negan or if he’s playing at some kind of long con, waiting for just the right moment to get back to Alexandria. If it’s the former, he’s a weasel whose whole growing-a-spine character arc with Tara and Abraham has been nullified. If it’s the latter, he’s an idiot for not taking the wives up on their relatively easy and safe plot to cut the head off the Savior snake by poisoning Negan. Either way, his whole Big Bang Theory low-hanging-fruit-nerd-references shtick is wearing extremely thin.