Hey everyone! This week we asked our fantastic new intern Stephan to write a post for the site, and man, did he deliver! Check out his comparison of The Walking Dead’s two greatest villains, and how Rick dealt (or would have dealt) with each:

Last week we wrapped up the “All Out War” story arc, but there are still plenty of unanswered questions. Is Rick making the right decision? Will Negan rise to power again? Will Carl “Bust-A-Carl” and do what he thinks is right? Although all of these will be answered in the future, some other interesting, less definitive questions come to mind in the aftermath of this power struggle. Why did Rick allow Negan to live? Would he have allowed the Governor to live given the opportunity? Were Negan’s atrocities less than the Governor’s? Did he pose less of a threat? Or was he a different kind of threat?

Brian “The Governor” Blake was in charge of the community known as Woodbury and died in battle at the prison. Although many of the residents thought of the Governor as a hero, their chosen leader who was providing safety and a life worthwhile, he lived a double life similar to the notorious serial killer Ed Gein, who is infamous for keeping severed body parts. He even kept his dead mother in his own home (Let’s not forget about that toothless Penny Kiss…)! Further more, people who knew him considered him pleasant and charming, much like The Governor. Blake, away from his community’s eyes, raped and tortured Michonne, and killed any new non-infected humans whom he crossed paths with, “turning” them to be used as entertainment. After being mutilated himself, he sought vengeance and launched an attack on the prison, ending in numerous deaths on both sides of the battle. This man was obviously riddled with emotional issues about his “daughter” and control.

Negan, the leader of the Saviors, used fear to rule over his community, enslaving the women to be his many “wives,” though perhaps the word “property” might be more appropriate. The Saviors were ordered to attack neighboring communities if an ongoing ransom wasn’t paid and savagely beat Glenn to death in front of the surviving members of Rick Grime’s unwavering group. However, despite Rick and the Survivors betraying and attacking Negan (including Carl’s Rambo flashback), he allowed them to live. Negan, unlike the Governor, is calculated and controls his temper. One could equate him to a dictator, ruling with fear, where his punishment and policy is well known to his people (look at Dwight and Mark’s faces.)

With these two extremes of ruling over a community, did Rick feel differently about the Governor compared to Negan? Much like the show, Rick wasn’t given a choice. Rick never seeks bloodshed, and in the comic, even states before the people of Woodbury attack, “We will be ready for them,” not “Let’s go kill the Governor.” Eventually the Governor does attack, and is killed by Lilly, not a member of Rick’s group, but if given the chance, it’s fair to say that Rick would have pulled the trigger. Whereas with Negan, he obviously was spared by Rick, a symbol of the humanity left in this desolate world. The main difference between these two villains is a difference of motivation. One was willing to kill for entertainment and sought to remain unopposed in the community he built, and the other killed to remain in control, for the betterment of his people.

However, it’s also clear that Rick has grown. He’s becoming a person who shows mercy, and has come a long way from the vengeful man we saw during the prison arc. But then again, only time will tell.

What do you think of this comparison of Negan vs. the Governor? Would Rick have definitely killed the Governor if given the chance? Discuss below!