Season 6 of "The Walking Dead" seems so long ago now, especially the finale, "Last Day On Earth." Season 7 has so far given Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, almost as much screen time as Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln. The parallel universes of Negan and Rick collided in unexpected and fascinating ways that proved the show could grow in an organic route this season, despite a formula that could do well even if the producers handed fans an hour each week of zombie kills, bad guys, swordplay, gun play, rinse and repeat.

Morgan broke his code for Carol

Morgan was perhaps the recipient of some of the biggest growth this season and much of it thanks to his one time nemesis Carol. Not long last season after patching Carol up, Morgan found himself in a position to save her life by taking her to the Kingdom. Once in the Kingdom, Morgan was asked by King Ezekiel to help train Benjamin and, despite his hesitation, it centered Morgan to once again focus on something other than himself. It's hard to say if Morgan, left to his own devices, would ever start clearing again on "The Walking Dead." Who knows what might trigger someone who hangs on by a thread and has lost so much. Killing the Savior who threatened Carol made Morgan break the code he held so dearly that all life is precious, but it also reinforced that some life is more precious than others.

Maggie recovers at the Hilltop

Maggie has spent her season seven time at the Hilltop healing her physical and mental wounds. Maggie grows in the process and its become obvious that this growth will manifest itself in the near future. Maggie is the obvious leader for the Hilltop, a colony that is growing tired of the complacency of their lives under their current leader Gregory.

With Glenn and Abraham gone, the very pregnant Maggie has much to fight for, especially with her growing kinship to Enid. Maggie's new baby, who will have Judith to grow up with as long as Rick can keep her alive, will propel Maggie into a new growth phase of survival as a mother of the apocalypse. Deanna Spencer saw a leader in Maggie and, even though the entire Spencer family is now dead, Maggie can honor them all by being the guiding light that "The Walking Dead," and the Hilltop, needs in their most desperate hour.

Negan displays the killing power of Lucille

Negan has been the biggest catalyst for the growth that Rick has experienced in season 7 so far. More to the point, Negan's bat Lucille has been an intimidating and insulting character in itself, causing Rick an immeasurable amount of misery, anguish and drive to be a better, smarter and more violent adversary to his enemies. Many fans believe that we've seen Rick at his most brutal, most violent and most desperate moments after seven seasons of "The Walking Dead," but it's most likely the case that we haven't even begun to see the depths of brutality that Rick Grimes is capable of to keep himself and his loved ones alive as he grows old in the zombie apocalypse.