'The Walking Dead' lost another major character in the penultimate episode of season 8.
'The Walking Dead' has really been going through the motions as of late, but in this week's episode - which served as the penultimate offering of season 8 - put a focus on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors, and in particular Simon (Steven Ogg), who had been working to overthrow the Savior leader and claim the role for himself. With conspiracy and corruption running deep through the Sanctuary, Negan realised that something drastic would have to happen if he were to maintain control.
Steven Ogg stars as Simon in 'The Walking Dead'
Learning about Simon's plan in the most recent episode, Negan would take his trusty barbed wire baseball bat Lucille and force his former loyal friend onto his knees. Able to take him out with a few quick and brutal swings, Negan decided that he would give his ex-comrade one last chance to change. It turned out to be one chance too many.
Still conspiring against Negan, Simon would find himself in the unique opportunity of actually being given a fair fight against him. Inviting the entire Sanctuary to come and watch them do battle, they would face off in a no weapons trial of combat, in which they would fight to the death and the victor would claim leadership over the Sanctuary.
Chatting about those final scenes, which eventually saw his character murdered by Negan, Ogg told The Hollywood Reporter: "It was great. Initially, we were both kind of [hesitant]. We're not fighters. We're not 20 years old. We're not the type of actors with the ego of, "I have to do my own thing!" We were both like, "Oh my god, this is going to kill us." (Laughs.) But we both wanted to make it look good, and we both wanted to commit to it. As soon as we started doing it, I certainly got into it. Now, I wanted to sell it. We both got into it. Because at first? It's not that Jeffrey was wimping out, but it hurts to do this kind of shit. You have to continue to work, and he has another seven pages of talking to do! You have to pace yourself. But as soon as we started… we both stepped into it. It was lovely, giving it all, laying it all out in the Sanctuary octagon."
Though it was the only logical direction for the story to go in, in having Negan take out the biggest threat to his leadership, it does still sting a little to see Simon go. He's been cruel and nasty to fan-favourite characters throughout his run on the show, but always with a side of wit that put a smile on the faces of the audience whenever it was most needed.
Still, that's something that Negan also manages to do despite all of his actions. What comes next for him and his band of followers remains to be seen, but we think after such an aggressive and brutal show of strength, it's going to take some time before somebody within his own ranks tries to knock him off his perch.
'The Walking Dead' continues on AMC in the US and FOX in the UK.