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NEGAN & MAREK: 'NO ESCAPE' FROM 'THE WALKING DEAD'

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the deadly & caustic Negan on WALKING DEAD
Jefferey Dean Morgan isn't exactly a replica of Dennis Hopper's ultra-violent and equally sarcastic villain from the unfairly maligned WATERWORLD...

But Stuart Wilson, from the Ray Liotta b-movie NO ESCAPE a year before, most certainly seemed like he could have been an inspiration for Hopper's overboard character: And another hands-on dictator who's far more intelligent and underline-classy than his hillbilly followers, Morgan's newest WALKING DEAD villain has proved to both the audience and Rick that he's the real deal: Mostly by using a barbed-wire baseball bat, named after B.B. King's guitar, on one character who many thought was one Alpha Male too many, and another who served as the show's Romeo to an overly sappy Juliet: Like most already know, the brains-bashed duo turned out being Abraham and Glenn...

One of the best-worst baddies ever as Stuart Wilson hams NO ESCAPE
This post isn't exactly a review of THE WALKING DEAD Season Premiere, which was, from last season, anticipated with the question of: Who will Negan kill?

Which was answered with a twist upon the pontificating madman killing one more person than was expected... One character not many cared about was hardly a twist that would merit a year's wait, so one of the core members had to go to equal the immense (and downright annoying) buildup... And, honestly, Glenn had been pretty dull the last few seasons, and was highly predictable and just too perfect: Long, long gone are the days of people like Shane or Merle during the rudimentary seasons under Frank Darabont's watch — as particular characters were far more interesting being conflicted and borderline antagonistic. Sure, Rick has been given to bursts of self-doubt and loathing, but he's always the stalwart hero — we could always trust that no matter what inner-conflict he suffers, Rick will always come around... And he always does... One reason Glenn died could be: How many Ricks do we need? And what caused Abe to bite the dust was perhaps an answer to — isn't one tough guy Daryl-type enough?

Dennis Hopper keeping an eye out in WATERWORLD
The reason for this quick writeup is to say — for starters, the Season Premiere was a decent episode for what seemed like a script written in ten minutes — on a shopping list. The best sequence had Rick and Negan alone, away from the circle of tear-soaked survivors that will now call Negan their Lord and Savior, or else limbs shall be lost like what almost happened during the forty-five minutes of glorified gratuitous violence — with some dialogue thrown in...

What's perhaps least important but most noticeable, at least to this viewer, about Negan... making him a dead ringer for Stuart Wilson's NO ESCAPE wilderness warden... are the perfect teeth. Oh what beautiful chompers on that guy! It's not quite clear: Should we fear the newest WD foe or kiss him? Obviously, somehow, a local dentist got the wits scared outta him as well, because Negan the King, not the Governor, is his best customer. And so, do the lovely pearly whites make the newest DEAD heavy any less of a threat?

We knew you on 90210, Abe
Certainly not. But like Hopper in WATERWORLD and Wilson in NO ESCAPE, he's a bit too silly, sarcastic, hammy, and, despite the shabby clothes and penchant for Medieval  torture and violence, clean-cut for his own good — at least to thoroughly fit within a show as intentionally dilapidated as a world gone amok could possibly be. But, as SPINAL TAP guitarist Nigel Tufnel said, "That's nitpicking, isn't it?" Well it most certainly is. So we'll end with a more pointed, in-closing critique:

Negan shouldn't be so written... His monologues are already old, and seem timed and staged. As a cult actor from WATCHMAN, his mere presence on the show seems the result of a Hollywood mansion party: "Hey Jeffrey, I've always been a fan... Do you want to be in THE...?" Well maybe it will all become more natural, which could make this season a good one, and not just a prolonged, one-note, bloodbath sympathy.
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