If you weren't sticking around after "The Walking Dead" to watch "Into the Badlands," you might have missed the two(ish) minute long "prologue" for the next half-season of the show. Essentially a post-credits scene, it also gave us out clearest indication outside the real world that the baddest Big Bad in the history of the Grimes Gang is coming -- and very, very soon.
Picking up after the end of "Always Accountable," Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) -- who were otherwise absent from the mid-season finale "Start to Finish" -- are driving along on the road to Alexandria when they're stopped by a gang of bikers. Not a biker gang, because that's a different thing altogether.
"Daryl?" Abraham asks when he spies the bikers in formation in their way on the road.
"Yeah, I see," Daryl says, leading Abraham to respond, "What in the holy s--t?"
"Why don't you come out?" the biker's leader says.
After a few barbs back and forth, they do, with the leader saying, "Hand over your weapons."
After a beat, he corrects himself. "Well, they're not yours," he says listing other things in the car, from mints to magazines, to "emergency napkins... None of those things are yours."
The natural question, of course, is who they belong to. The answer?
"Your property," he responds, "now belongs to Negan."
Can I get an "oh s--t!" from the audience?
For those of you not familiar with the character from Robert Kirkman's comics, he'll be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan ("Supernatural," "Grey's Anatomy") on the show, and makes David Morrissey's Governor look like a cuddly bunny by comparison. He curses up a storm, carries a barbed wire bat named Lucille, and leads to one of the goriest deaths in the history of the books.
More importantly, as teased here and in "Always Accountable," Negan is essentially running a protection racket, taking what he wants in exchange for keeping people "safe." Except you're about as safe wandering through a group of the undead covered in guts as you are taking protection from Negan.
We'll definitely find out more about how the TV version matches up with the comic version when "The Walking Dead" returns in February.
And in case you missed it, watch the prologue right here, right now: