When Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) finally made his debut on "The Walking Dead" after a season of build up, his impact was rather ... gory. But while the Lucille attack and his mental destruction of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) were interesting to watch and very graphic, they weren't necessarily scary.
Now, the fear and intimidation surrounding the character is back -- and that's entirely because Negan is keeping his cards close to his leather jacket. Since making his smashing entrance, the leader of the Saviors has been portrayed as a wise-cracking dictator who does very little of his own dirty work. Instead, he liked to pretend he's friends with those he's controlling -- and that's the most frightening possible position to put people in.
While a baseball bat-swinging maniac is a formidable foe, the Negan seen cradling baby Judith at the end of "The Walking Dead's" Dec. 4 episode is perhaps the most horrifying thing we've seen on the show yet. His threat to spend even more time in Alexandria should have just about everyone worried.
When Negan is at the Sanctuary -- which he runs like his own personal brothel and commune -- he rules with an iron fist. Those who break the rules pay the consequences. When an outsider like Carl (Chandler Riggs) opens fire on him with a machine gun, he gets taken under the wing of a madman.
The game Negan is playing with Carl, Rick and the rest of the group is equal parts intimidation and mystique. And it really freaks us out. For so long "The Walking Dead" had been pumping Negan up to be their most devious villain yet.
Now they're finally starting to deliver on that promise. Watching him kill Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) was a shock to the system but -- truth be told -- it's one we all knew was coming. Even those who didn't read the comics knew Negan was able to unleash some major carnage and horror.
Things have changed, though. Now it's almost as if he's quiet, trying to decide when best to strike. This isn't the crazed warrior we all thought he was. While Negan may seem like a lunatic, the things he's doing are cold, calculated and measured. He's plotting, slowly but surely.
With that comes the mystery of when he's going to explode next. It's going to happen but there's no telling where or how it's going to happen. And that is what makes this makes him so scary.