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In contrary to their namesake, the Saviors are extortionists: they resort to murder and brutality to coerce other communities of survivors (such as Hilltop) to provide a steady stream of food and other goods. They also have a reputation of being ruthless and uncompromising. They do not employ the scorched earth technique used by the Wolves, and there is no evidence that they are cannibals like the inhabitants of Terminus. The Saviors (or at least its leader) are even opposed to rape, according to one of their members Wade. However, their violence is still extreme: On several occasions, the Saviors have clubbed people to death, and one known group has taken polaroid-style photos of these victims' gruesome head wounds and kept them in their rooms. One such victim was a 16 year old boy named Rory, who was beaten to death to force the servitude of the Hilltop community. Most of Saviors are shown as sociopaths: they do not show any remorse toward killing others, nor do they show satisfaction. Some although they are quite humorous, and will usually taunt their victims. Additionally, according to one of Negan's lieutenants, Bud, it is common practice for Saviors to shoot one person when they encounter a group of strangers on the road, before stealing supplies from the rest.
While individual Saviors don't seem to be particularly dangerous, as each member of Rick's group has been able to overcome multiple Saviors quite easily, their massive numbers enable them to overwhelm other groups and employ psychological warfare on a large scale. The Saviors are the largest group of survivors shown and are divided into smaller groups. The largest group ever encountered consists of at least 100 people, and it is assumed that there are still hundreds of other members. It is possibly that the Saviors are capable of luring other survivors into their group to keep it from getting smaller. Individual members of the group have a habit of identifying themselves as Negan, or claiming that they collectively are "all Negan". This implies that the Saviors, or simply just a few groups, are a cult. In Season 7 it is revealed that Negan has created a cult of personality around himself, and as a sign of their loyalty to him, various members of the Saviors, particularly high-ranking ones, refer to themselves as "Negan".
Like most survivors of the undead apocalypse, their lives before the outbreak are largely unknown nor if any members knew each other. It can be deduced that many of the Saviors were formerly residents who lived around or near the Virginia/Maryland area.
The Saviors are based somewhere in Virginia/Maryland and are led by a man named Negan. They have a number of outposts scattered around the area, allowing them to extend their sphere of influence. Their primary base is an old factory known as "The Sanctuary". According to Dwight, the Saviors were founded close to the beginning of the apocalypse and originally seemed to be a good group of people. As time went on and their numbers grew, they became increasingly authoritarian and ruthless. They became feared by many established communities in the area. One of the survivor groups they extorted was Hilltop Colony, where they clubbed a boy named Rory to death to make an example of him. In exchange for half of Hilltop's supplies, crops and livestock, they stated they would do no further damage. They also extorted from a large group of survivors with whom they eventually slaughtered all their male members, including young boys after they attempted to fight back. The surviving female survivors fled to Oceanside to avoid being extorted from the Saviors further. They also made similar arrangements with The Kingdom and another community living in a library, the latter of which was eventually pillaged and the survivors killed for trying to fight back.
The first time the Saviors appear, a group of them are waiting in ambush to capture three escaped members: Dwight, Sherry, and Tina. Instead, they see Daryl Dixon on his motorcycle and a car containing Sasha Williams and Abraham Ford, and ambush them instead. At least three of them open up with assault rifles; they then pursue in vehicles. Two of them inside a green sedan are shot to death by Sasha and Abraham. Elsewhere, Daryl is separated from his friends, crashes and injures his arm, but gets back up on his bike and speeds away. Two Saviors in a red sedan inadvertently wreck their car near some zombies in their pursuit, and other Saviors in a grey Jeep completely lose track of Daryl.
Daryl soon meets Dwight, Sherry, and Tina, who mistake Daryl for a Savior and capture him for a time. Daryl is present with them when they are confronted by Saviors Wade, Cam, and at least two others in the charred forest. From hiding, Daryl lures Cam near a zombie, which bites the man's arm. Wade hacks off Cam's arm to save his life, then calls off the search for Dwight and the women, stating that their leader "only wanted to take this so far, and he only wants ass that's willing".
After Tina's death, Dwight and Sherry make the decision to return to the Saviors, and force Daryl to give over his motorcycle and crossbow before leaving.
Later the same day, Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham are stopped on the road by eight heavily-armed Saviors on motorcycles. Their leader, Bud, commands them to get out and give them their weapons. When they ask he why, he states, "Your property now belongs to Negan."
Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham are forced out of their truck and disarmed by Bud and seven other Saviors on motorcycles. Bud verbally antagonizes them, announcing everything they own now belongs to Negan, and sends one of his lackeys named T. with Daryl to the back of the truck. Bud continues his tense exchange with Sasha and Abraham, but when he finally motions to shoot them, he and the other Saviors are blasted to pieces in a sudden, fiery explosion. As Sasha and Abraham collect their faculties, they discover it was Daryl, who had quietly killed T. behind the truck and then opened fire with an RPG. One of these men was the boyfriend of another Savior named Michelle.
Two months later, The Saviors deem one of Hilltop's "drops" to be too light, kill two of their residents, and take one hostage named Craig. They then give an ultimatum to Craig's brother, Ethan, to kill Hilltop's leader Gregory in exchange for Craig's safe release. During the ensuing scuffle, Rick Grimes, the leader of another community whose group has come to establish trade with the Hilltop, kills Ethan, rescuing Gregory. Rick, Maggie Greene, and the other visitors from the Alexandria Safe-Zone learn about the horrible crimes committed by the Saviors, including the bludgeoning of a boy named Rory. Hearing the name "Negan" they now realize that the dangerous men Daryl was forced to kill on the road with an RPG were Saviors. They reason that it is only a matter of time before they discover and target Alexandria, so Rick proposes a pre-emptive strike. Soon Maggie negotiates a deal with Gregory whereby the fighters from Alexandria agree to completely wipe out the Saviors in exchange for supplies.
Using intelligence from Andy, a Hilltop resident who has been inside the Saviors' base for a drop-off, Rick orchestrates a raid. The element of surprise is the key; their goal is to seize the Saviors' armory. Most of Rick's fighters, Jesus and Andy from Hilltop, and several "native" Alexandria residents participate. Before dawn, Andy is given a decapitated head of a zombie which somewhat resembles Gregory to distract the guards.
Andy parks outside the compound: showing them the head, he claims he is there to fulfill their deal to secure the safe release of Craig. The guards believe him, and one goes inside to bring out Craig. Daryl sneaks up from behind and slashes the throat of the first guard. A moment later, the second guard appears (with Craig) but is impaled by Michonne. The group then swarms the compound quietly.
Rick finds a sleeping Savior, and according to plan, kills him in his sleep (by stabbing him through the head). Glenn Rhee and Heath similarly find themselves together in a room with two sleeping Saviors. With great reluctance and obvious emotional turmoil, Glenn stabs one to death; this is the first time he has killed a living person. Heath is immobilized by the task in front of him, but Glenn intervenes and kills the other sleeping man too. They see a series of polaroid-style photographs on the wall showing individuals whom the Saviors have killed. All of them have their faces and heads bashed gruesomely into completely unrecognizable pulps.
Still in silence, Sasha and Abraham find a locked door and believe it could be the armory. As they attempt to open it, a Savior sneaks up on them to stab them. Sasha stabs the man repeatedly, but he manages to pull the fire alarm. Now a furious shootout begins. With his assault rifle, Rick shoots down three men who charge to join the fray. Aaron shuts himself behind a door, but is attacked by a Savior whom he stabs to death. Aaron then opens the door and surprises a second, larger Savior, who turns to open fire on Aaron but is himself shot through the head by Rosita Espinosa. Outside the compound, a man and a woman attempt to flee but Tara Chambler kills the woman and wounds the other with her pistol. Back inside, the melee escalates: Sasha shoots one man, Daryl bludgeons another with the butt of his shotgun, and Glenn and Heath sprint for their lives into the armory with Saviors in immediate pursuit. Glenn and Heath shut the door to the armory as it is being perforated with bullets, then, they return fire blindly. When they open the door, there are at least six bodies splayed right outside the threshold. Suddenly, one of them unexpectedly stirs and takes aim with a pistol, but before he can shoot, he is killed by Jesus. Outside, the gray-haired Savior injured by Tara is confronted and eventually shot by Father Gabriel Stokes.
At sunrise, at least 21 Saviors are dead. While their attackers have suffered psychological damage, they have no fatalities or serious injuries of their own. Suddenly, a lone survivor named Primo attempts to flee. Rosita shoots him from the motorcycle, which Daryl recognizes to be his own. As they interrogate the captured Savior, they get a threatening message over his radio from an unseen woman who has captured Carol Peletier and Maggie.
During the night raid on the compound, Carol and Maggie stood guard outside. A Savior named Donnie spotted them and charged, but Carol shot first hitting him in the arm. However, they were immediately captured by three Saviors: Molly, Michelle, and their leader Paula. The four remaining Saviors watch in disappointment as their friend Primo is captured near the compound. After a tense conversation with Rick via a radio, Paula determines they are outgunned and flees with her two captives. She radios a scout group of more Saviors for backup, and travels to a safe house she identifies as "the break point".
The Saviors' safe house turns out to be a slaughterhouse infested with freely-roaming zombies. Donnie is suffering agonizing pain as his nerves die from Carol's gunshot, and his hysteria unsettles the group. Carol begins an extremely convincing ruse to look like a helpless, weak, religious person, and she reveals that Maggie is pregnant. Her scheme is so effective that Paula ridicules her beliefs while another captor, Michelle, even asks Molly to smoke her cigarettes in another room (to avoid harming Maggie's fetus from secondhand smoke). Paula correctly surmises that Rick and his group have tracked them, but plans to fight to the death if they arrive. Maggie refuses to tell Michelle where their home is, to protect Alexandria. She learns that Michelle's boyfriend was one of the men killed by Daryl's RPG strike.
Carol and Maggie escape their bonds and find out that Donnie has died of his wound. They string up his corpse so that after he turns into a zombie, he will bite the first captor that walks through the door. This turns out to be Molly, whom Maggie finishes by brutally pistol-whipping. In a hallway, Maggie and Carol are stopped in their tracks by a booby-trap of immobilized zombies. Paula arrives and, having seen Donnie and Molly both dead, runs out of bullets trying to shoot them. Carol has the drop on her, but is distraught and begs Paula to simply turn and leave. Michelle arrives and tries to stab Maggie, forcing Carol to kill her. At wits end, Paula rushes Carol and they struggle near the zombies. Paula is finally impaled on a spear and a zombie bites away a sizable portion of her face as she screams in agony.
When the scout group of Saviors arrives to rendezvous with Paula, Carol mimics Paula's voice and lures them into the slaughterhouse's kill floor. There, Carol locks the group (consisting of at least 3 men and 1 woman) inside, and burns them all alive with one of Molly's cigarettes in a trap of gasoline. Exhausted and emotionally overcome, Carol and Maggie finally meet Glenn, Rick, and the others. Rick confirms to his captive, Primo, that all the other Saviors are dead. He asks one last time if Negan was among the men they killed. Primo, in a statement very similar to one made by Paula and Molly earlier, states that he is Negan, and tries to continue talking but Rick interrupts by immediately executing Primo.
A week passes as things return to normal in Alexandria. having killed almost twice the largest number of Saviors seen by the Hilltop, Rick and the others assume that the Savior threat has been eliminated. While several Alexandrians are out on supply runs, a group of 12 Saviors, this one being led by Dwight, captures Eugene Porter offscreen and then ambushes Daryl, Rosita, and Denise Cloyd on train tracks. Denise is immediately killed by Dwight, who wields Daryl's crossbow and is now scarred on almost one whole half of his face, suggesting a punishment. They reveal Eugene is their hostage, and Dwight demands they cooperate and allow his group to plunder the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Dwight complains about the crossbow's kick and states that he wasn't aiming for Denise (implying his target was Daryl). He recognizes Daryl and is ungrateful for the help Daryl provided during their first encounter. Eugene spots Abraham by some barrels nearby, and exposes his position to the Saviors. While they are distracted, Eugene suddenly bites Dwight on the crotch. A shootout ensues, during which Abraham shoots two Saviors, Daryl slashes the throat of another, and Rosita shoots one who was stalking Abraham. Outmatched, Dwight shouts for a retreat. He flees with four surviving Saviors, but not before shooting Eugene. Eugene's wound turns out to be non-fatal, and the Alexandria group is able to retrieve and bury Denise's corpse within their walls.
As she flees Alexandria, a small group of Saviors led by Jiro stop Carol on the road. After pleading with them, Carol, who had sewn a gun in the sleeve of her coat, is forced to shoot them all. One survives and charges at her but is stabbed by Carol with a spear from her car. Jiro also tries to kill Carol by hiding behind the car, he attacks her with his knife but she manages to inflict a gunshot to his chest, he is ultimately killed by Rick who stabs him in the head after he fails to tell him of Carol's location. Only one is still confirmed to be alive and he sets off after her. Rick realises that not only were the Saviors dangerously close to Alexandria, but they are also greatrer in numer than previously thought.
Dwight and the saviors from the previous day manage to capture Glenn and Michonne, who are searching for Daryl, who has gone looking for Dwight to avenge Denise's death. After Daryl fails to save Glenn and Michonne from captivity, he is shot in the shoulder by Dwight. Rosita, who had decided to go with Daryl, is also captured by Dwight's group.
A group of 8 Saviors led by Simon murder a group of survivors from a library off-screen for trying to fight back. They chase after the lone survivor and surround him in the woods. They beat him and drag him across the road while letting him know he will be made an example of. Rick's group encounter these Saviors while taking Maggie to the doctor at Hilltop, and Simon tells them to give them their supplies. Confident he is in control of the situation, Rick mocks the Saviors by turning their request back on them. With neiher side willing to negotiate, Rick's group leaves and they try to take alternate routes but each time they are stopped by increasingly larger groups of Saviors (8 to 16 to 40+) and the roadblocks become more elaborate and indicative of their vast manpower. The final roadblock consists of large burning logs. As they ponder their next move, and the library survivor is hung from a nearby overpass, and Simon verbally intimidates Rick, who by this point is quite shaken.
Elsewhere, Roman, the surviving Savior from Carol's attack holds Carol's rosary and follows the horse tracks. He later finds Carol and tortures her by shooting her and waiting for her to bleed out. Morgan arrives and after he refuses to surrender, shoots Roman to death, breaking his code to never kill a living human again
After abandoning their vehicle as a decoy with Eugene, Saviors hidden in the woods whistle and herd Rick and company towards a huge group of 100 Saviors whose combined whistling has become a deafening sound. A beaten Eugene kneels on the ground. Simon notices that Carl has one of their guns and he uses it to point at the group when they are told to kneel. The "man himself" walks out of the RV and introduces himself as Negan and explains to Rick that half of their supplies will belong to him and that is the "new world order." Negan explains that he is going to punish Rick and the group for killing so many of his people. Negan orders the Saviors to cut Carl's other eye out and feed it to Rick if anyone moves or talks while he slowly chooses a member of Rick's group/the Alexandria Safe-Zone to get bludgeoned to death with Lucille.
Negan cruelly chooses Abraham after a final random selection and he brutally bludgeons him in front of the survivors with his baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Negan starts taunting Rosita with his bloody bat. Daryl suddenly stands up for her and punches Negan for his actions. This causes Negan to make good on his promise to "shut that shit down no exceptions," and brutally beats Glenn to death with his baseball bat as everyone watches, horrified. After taking two brutal blows to the head, a bloodied Glenn looks at Maggie. He is a bloody mess; bleeding profusely from his slightly dented head and left eye almost bulging out of its socket. Glenn attempted to speak his final words to a horrified and crying Maggie. Negan, seeing this, held off for a moment to hear what Glenn had to say, expressing admiration for his perseverance. After a few moments, Glenn utters his heart-breaking final words, "Maggie, I'll -- I'll find you."
"No, exceptions!" Negan exclaims. Without hesitating, swings his bat across the bloodied Glenn's face. What follows is a prolonged and savage beating into Glenn's head, shattering his entire skull to pieces, and then into a bloody mush. Glenn's graphic and mangled corpse lies in a large pool of bloody brain matter, guts, and an eyeball. Glenn's dead hand twitches.
Unsatisfied with Rick's cooperation, Negan takes him on a journey back to the final roadblock, where he forces Rick out into a herd of zombies and subjects him to psychological torture. When they return to the clearing, Negan orders Rick to cut Carl's left arm off. With no way out, Rick breaks down, crying and hyperventilating. Before he can do the deed, Negan stops him and asserts his dominance over Rick and Alexandria. Finally satisfied that Rick is broken and subservient, Negan has Daryl taken prisoner and leaves the group a truck to collect their tribute, before leading the Saviors away.
Despite living a seemingly idyllic life, it is revealed that The Kingdom, a large and peaceful community Morgan and Carol discovered, also pay tribute to the Saviors. Soon after the arrival of the newcomers, a group of Saviors arrives to meet with representatives from the Kingdom. Gavin, the leader, counts the pigs on offer and is pleased to find that they’re bigger than the last shipment. Richard remarks that they fed the pigs well. When Dianne, a Kingdom member, starts explaining to Morgan who the Saviors are, he interjects, “I know who they are.”
As they load up the trucks, Jared picks a fight with Richard. Ezekiel orders his people to lower their weapons and Gavin tells his man to stop punching Richard. Gavin reminds Ezekiel that the following week is a produce week. He warns Ezekiel that Richard will be the first to die if they deliver less than requested.
The Saviors are shown in their home, The Sanctuary, with Daryl as thier prisoner.
The Saviors will appear in this episode.
The Saviors secretly leads walkers flooding in through the front gate, drawn by the music. Simon leads a group of twenty Saviors into The Hilltop.
The Saviors stride into Barrington House. In the study, Simon tells Gregory they unleashed the walkers on The Hilltop to remind its residents that walkers are still a threat and the Saviors provide a great service by killing them. He informs Gregory that The Saviors at the outpost were killed. Gregory pretends this is news to him.
Government and Society
The Savior social class system is very structured with members of the community working under a hierarchy. At the top the power structure is Negan whose will is carried out through his lieutenants. Simon is the second in command and also maintains power over the lieutenants. The lieutenants themselves lead missions and have added benefits in the Sanctuary. Bellow the lieutenants are the individuals who work in missions, scout and fill the role of a military. Under them are the individuals incapable or unwilling to join the Saviors military. These individuals labor for points in exchange for supplies and comfort benefits. Any woman whom Negan finds attractive can offer herself off as a wife for him to escape the point system.
Negan himself is hailed as a cult personality. People must kneel before him whenever he passes as a show of respect. Lieutenants and military are seen as carriers of Negan's will, with lieutenants having to act similarly to him when dealing with another community. Punishments for escape and disobedience include using the iron as a mark of shame, torture, imprisonment and in extreme cases death. Philosophically, Saviors regard themselves as the protectors of humanity due to their successful preservation of several communities. Saviors also seem to highly value the lives of people as a work force and source of benefit. Military members tend to see each other as superior to members of other communities.
Savior society depends on the subjugation and exploitation of other communities. Intimidation and fear tactics are employed first hand to establish dominance. It is common to execute one or more members to establish a clear punishment for disobedience. However, reasonable methods take forefront if the community demonstrates itself as submissive or non-aggressive. For example the Kingdom reacted and incredible agreement of maintaining good trade and the community oblivious to the dealings. If the community attempts to retaliate a massive and brutal attack is made which could end with the extinction of the community.
- Negan (Leader)
- Simon (Second-in-command)
- Dwight (Lieutenant)
- Wade (Lieutenant)
- Gavin (Lieutenant)
- Arat (Lieutenant)
- Emmett Carson (Doctor)
- Paula (Lieutenant)
- Bud (Lieutenant)
- Jiro (Lieutenant)
- Primo (Medic)
- Hundreds of unnamed members
- Ethan (Indirectly Caused)
- Denise Cloyd (Accidental)
- Library Survivor (Alive)
- Abraham Ford
- Glenn Rhee
- Red Haired Man (Alive)
- Gordon (Alive)
- A group of library survivors
- Cyndie's mother and brother
- Numerous Oceanside survivors, including all their male residents aged 10 or above
- Numerous amounts of zombies and unnamed people
- Donnie (Alive and Zombified)
- Paula (Alive and Zombified)
- Neil (Alive and Zombified)
- Gordon (Alive)
- Red Haired Man (Alive)
- At least 42 Saviors (On-Screen)
- "Always Accountable"
- "Start to Finish"
- "No Way Out"
- "Not Tomorrow Yet"
- "The Same Boat"
- "Twice as Far"
- "Last Day on Earth"
- "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be"
- "The Well"
- "The Cell"
- "Go Getters"
- "Sing Me a Song"
- "Hearts Still Beating"
- According to Robert Kirkman who gave his description on this group - "I think the Saviors are dangerously organized. The Wolves were psychotic, the Hunters had a lot of weaknesses. When it comes to the Saviors, and Negan in particular, the way I've always thought about this in the comics is this is a group that's led by a guy who's had his morality dial a few clicks away from Rick toward the darker aspects of his personality, but is still an intellectual and capable leader who's kept his group alive against all odds just as long as Rick has. It's really the best encountering the best. When these two forces come head to head, things are going to get interesting. This is a much different group than they've ever encountered. The Saviors are a group they're not really prepared for."
- It appears that the Saviors use some kind of whistle to threaten and play with the people they're aiming to extort.
- The Saviors are the largest group encountered on the show so far. Their groups vary in size, and the largest group of Saviors seen so far consisted of over 100 people, alongside Negan, their leader.