This article contains spoilers for the fourth episode of The Walking Dead, "Service."
What does Negan want?
"Service" burrows deep into the question. Our new villain doesn't just crave power -- he already has that over the Saviours and the dominion they control -- he hoards everything. When the necessities of survival are scarce, it always pays to have more food and medicine and ammunition in ample supply. But material wealth isn't the reason he's doing this. No, what motivates Negan, what drives him, what really gets him off is nothing less than total domination. He wants to brutalize, humiliate, torture, demean. He wants to mess with people. It isn't enough for Negan to just rule, as tonight’s episode painfully showed. Everybody else needs to suffer.
What now? For starters, he rolled into Alexandria a few days earlier than promised, catching Rick and company by surprise and terrifying those who haven't had the pleasure of meeting him. Negan and his surly crew pillaged the town for all it's worth, taking guns, medication, and even mattresses for themselves, leaving our heroes with only a pantry of food and the clothes on their backs. They bullied and intimidated innocent people, including teenage girls, and never missed a chance for random cruelty, as when Rosita was relieved of her favorite hat. Negan nearly killed someone over a minor accounting discrepancy -- a pair of pistols on a list where there weren't supposed to be -- and made it clear what the penalty would be for any such infractions going forward. And to top it all off, he made Rick thank him for the experience. It was a grueling 90 minutes of debasement and abuse.