Warning: Spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead” Season 8 Episode 15!
In Sunday night’s penultimate episode of “The Walking Dead” Season 8, an epic showdown erupted between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and (not Rick!) his right-hand man, Simon (Steven Ogg).
And, spoiler alert: Negan took out Simon with his bare hands in a no-weapons wrestling match to the death. And it was a doozy.
TheWrap caught up with Ogg to discuss his exit from the show, and the actor said Simon actually died “on his own terms.”
“I never took Simon to be a man with regret,” he said, explaining that’s why earlier in the episode he didn’t bow his head when Negan asked him to get on his knees.
When Negan finds out about Simon’s mutiny plan from Dwight, the leader still has some respect for “that psychopath that went out and did that at Oceanside and wiped out everyone — and the heapsters.”
“I don’t think it’s necessarily like a power thing with Simon or like he got to take over from Negan, so it’s like, ‘Mom and Dad are gone, let’s have a house party!'” Ogg said of the Savior’s plan. “I don’t think it was that. It’s just he stepped up and decided to do things his way.”
Part of why Simon wanted to oust Negan is because old tactics stopped working.
“They had tried with Negan all these things and nothing had happened,” Ogg said. “It wasn’t about going against Negan so much as just doing his own thing and going back and asking for forgiveness.”
And forgiveness seemed to be granted early on in Sunday’s episode. At a meeting with several key Saviors, Negan told Simon to get on his knees, and it seemed like he was about to bash his head in with Lucille.
“He was ready to take what Negan was gonna give him,” Ogg said of that moment. “I mean, he had to assume that that was going to be the bat.”
But Negan decides to extend a little mercy and keep Ogg alive. Of course, until a few minutes later, when he proposes a fight to the death to determine who leads the saviors.
Ogg said that there’s “mutual respect” in a gladiator, man-to-man fight.
“It was sort of reciprocating that respect in a sense,” he said. “OK, we’re gonna go at it hand-to-hand if you beat me, you beat me; if I beat you, I beat you.”
Simon, according to Ogg, wanted Negan to have to watch him die; he was ready to accept his fate.
“So that was sort of Simon’s thinking, that he was ready to go on his own terms with his own sense of honor or whatever one wants to call it.”
“The Walking Dead” Season 8 finale airs April 15 on AMC.