Instead of formally recapping The Walking Dead: Season 7 Episode 4, the episode has inspired me to write about something else this week. That being why Spencer Monroe has taken over the role of being the worst character on The Walking Dead.
Let’s backtrack a bit: The Walking Dead always has a 'worst' character. It’s whomever you’re itching to see get torn apart by walkers, as soon as possible. Looking back, I think the earliest of these would be Ed, Carol’s (former) husband. He was an easy target for viewer hate. As an abusive husband/father and overall terrible person, everyone was quite happy to see him get bit. But, from there viewer hate took an interesting turn. It primarily shifted to Lori Grimes, our female lead. She became 'the worst'. The fan hate could stem from her cheating on our central character Rick, or perhaps we were all just upset that actress Sarah Wayne Callies wasn’t as badass in this show as she was in Prison Break. Whatever it was, Lori carried that torch until her demise (and reclaimed it in a brief stint as a ghost vision).
Several characters have taken up the moniker of 'the worst' since Lori and (almost) all have rightfully been eaten right off our screens. In Woodbury, the fans turned on Andrea. After Terminus, Father Gabriel, a man equal parts creepy and terrible, took over. When our heroes arrived in Alexandria, a few candidates vied for the title: Jessie’s husband Pete, Jessie’s son Ron, and of course everyone’s least favorite dumpster shield Nicholas. It was even satisfying to see little Sam get eaten (that family really was terrible). With a cast this big, there’s always someone to rally against. But, heading into Season 7, I was unsure of who would wear the crown. That is, until this week’s episode, which gave us an extra-large dose of Spencer.
The Case For Spencer
Not only did Spencer’s hidden stash of guns (plus the aforementioned food and liquor) lead to poor Olivia almost losing her life, but he takes a high-and-mighty stance about the Negan situation as a whole. While retrieving Darryl’s motorcycle with Rosita, he chastised Rick (behind his back) for how the Savior situation has unfolded. Yes, he did raise concerns about their compound ambush last season, but this “I told you so” is unnecessary and inappropriate. At the end of the episode, he even goes as far as confronting Rick about this, blaming the deaths of Glenn and Abraham on him. I was hoping Rick’s pent up anger would have burst and ridden us of Spencer, but instead, he used his words and put Spencer in his place.
Hold Up… Father Gabriel is Still Alive
I know, Father Gabriel is still with us; but honestly, he’s growing on me! It might be due to the writers acknowledging my opinion of the priest through audience-surrogate Negan (never thought I’d call him that). In the funniest moment of the episode, Negan called the local priest “creepy as s---; sneakin’ up on me, wearin’ that collar with that freaky-ass smile.” Couldn’t have said it better myself! But even outside of that, Father Gabriel has improved.
Last season we saw Gabriel set aside his peaceful worldview and become Alexandria’s own faith militant (but in a good way, not a High Sparrow way). He learned to shoot and carried a rifle around, looking totally badass the whole time. Rick even put him in charge of both Alexandria and Judith when the gang took the world’s worst RV Trip, at the end of last season. In this episode, the Father advised Rick and apparently created the 'Maggie’s grave lie'. Since he's in Rick's good graces (pun intended), I'm on board as well. Father Gabriel is no longer the worst, and I’m happy to have him around.
BuT, What About Negan?
I hear you, how can I say a character who's only crimes are stealing crackers and badmouthing Rick would make more satisfying walker meat than Negan, one who just turned two of our heroes’ heads into brain-flavored pancakes? Well, the problem is that Negan is amazing television. Do I hate what he has done to our heroes? Yes, of course! But, do I love the incredible dialogue he says while doing it? You better believe it.
Even if he is evil incarnate, Negan is wildly fun to watch. He taken over hilarious one-liner duty from the dearly departed Abraham and his delivery is perfection. Even the little looks and facial expressions Jeffrey Dean Morgan adds to the character make me giggle. Finally, The Walking Dead gives us a villain we love to hate and hate to love. I’m even not 100% against Negan’s crew-member Dwight, who I totally should be after his treatment of Darryl. I guess I’m just a little sympathetic due to him having to live and work under Negan (and the whole Negan stealing his wife and burning his face thing).
So When Does Spencer Get Eaten?
Hopefully, by now I’ve sold you on why Spencer would make the most satisfying walker-lunch, and you’re wondering when that could happen. Well, next week we are finally checking in at the Hilltop, which will show us how Maggie, Sasha, and the Hilltop residents are doing. Since this should set the table for all the characters we haven't seen since the premiere or last season (except Tara, remember Tara?) here on Scripted TV Hangover, I’m going to be on Death Watch. I'll list who I think are the most likely characters to exit on or before the midseason finale (fingers crossed for Spencer). Thanks for reading and see you next time!