The Walking Dead is back, and for us here at The Verge that’s an opportunity to examine just how effective the show can be in creating a complex villain. As played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, big bad Negan has always been violent. But thanks to his man-baby antics, he’s stubbornly remained a comic book thug, never becoming the nuanced character the show so sorely needs. Each week, I’ll be analyzing the show through its presentation of Negan: how he acts, how he delivers his jokes and threats, and most importantly, how his character develops in contrast to our supposedly-virtuous heroes. We’ll look at all the traits a villain is supposed to excel at, including those we detest, and boil it down into one single score on what we are calling the Neganometer™. A score of 10 means he’s the best, most complex villain we’ve ever seen; a score of 0 means he’s pretty much the same ol’ Negan he’s always been. Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Warning: There will be spoilers. This season of The Walking Dead has been one of its most challenging. Ratings have plummeted, the story has gone around in circles, and the show still hasn’t justified why it’s spending so much time on archvillain Negan — beyond the obvious debt to its comic book source material. That said, the show has demonstrated it can still be good when it wants to be, which is what makes the last two episodes before the mid-season break so crucial. They’re The Walking Dead’s final shots to prove that the season has been worth watching, and that the dead-ends and constant bottle episodes have been part of some grander, meaningful design. The show has been flailing ever since Negan’s introduction and Glenn’s death. If showrunner Scott Gimple wants to prove that there’s been a point to it all, then last night’s episode, “Time for After,” is the time to start doing it. Photo by Gene Page / AMC Eugene becomes a Savior The Walking Dead hasn’t paid much attention to Eugene this season, despite the large role he played in the lead-up to the Rick vs. Negan conflict. “Time for After” breaks that streak, delving into the role Eugene plays in the Sanctuary, and the naked sense of self-preservation that shapes every