This review of the Walking Dead contains spoilers.
After many months since “The Walking Dead” Season 6 cliffhanger, the victim of Negans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) crushing blow with his barbed wire bat, Lucille was finally revealed in the Season 7 Premier. The cliffhanger from last season did not sit well with many, which I think partly had to do with the tricks the creative team seemed to play with Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) near death experiences, and it seemed the show was dragging on the inevitable. So when the time came for Negan to deliver his killing blow, fans groaned as we would have to wait some more to find out who the unfortunate victim was.
There were plenty of things some fans had threatened towards the show during this time. Such as, “If they wait until episode 2 for the big reveal, I’ll stop watching” or “If a major character doesn’t get knocked off, I’ll stop watching.” Well, I’m assuming that those people are still watching as the show took care of both. The Season 7 premier of “The Walking Dead” was one of the most intense episodes of the series.
So let’s get right to it. The big reveal finally happened and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) was the chosen one. It did make sense that Negan would take it out on the one who looked most oppressing, just to make a statement. When I found it was Abraham though, it was bittersweet. Abraham was growing on me so I did feel for the character. He was a tough former soldier who eventually was starting to soften up a bit and actually look to a future with Sasha (Looking to settle down is big mistake in a show such as this). However, at the same time, he was not a major character, like Glenn or Daryl (Norman Reedus), so there was a bit of annoyance as I felt the impact was not as strong with Abraham, but yet there was also a sigh of relief as it was not one of the core members. This bittersweet moment did not last long however, as to my surprise, the body count wasn’t over. After Negan noticed that Rosita must have had relation with Abraham, he tried to force her to look at the bat. This was too much for Daryl who quickly stood and struck Negan in the jaw. A big cheer goes out to Daryl here, but it was short lived as this actually was a big mistake as Negan is a man of his word and the fans quickly learned there was to be another victim. This time, it hurt.
As done so in the comics, the shows beloved Glenn was victim number two. Glenn’s luck of dodging death many times last season finally came to an end. The character with perhaps the most heart in Rick’s gang was bludgeoned by Negan and his bat, Lucille. Hearing Glenn’s last words to his love Maggie (Lauren Cohen), “I’ll find you”, did not help soften the blow. Glenn was dead and my heart sunk. So there it was. The victims finally revealed, and I felt horrible. To be honest, I really don’t think the show had to display the beatings as graphic as they did. Was it impactful? Sure. However, I think it could have been just as impactful by only seeing the body of the victim and then focusing on Maggie, Sasha, and the group grieving their loss of family and how they must cope. Sometimes it is best to not show everything and let the viewer’s mind take over.
The rest of the episode mostly dealt with Negan toying with Rick as immediately after Abraham and Glenn’s horrible deaths, Rick told Negan, “I’m going to kill you. Not today. Not tomorrow, but I’m gonna kill you” (which is a line taken directly from the comic). Tough words spoken by Rick and this did not sit well with Negan. The man with the bat must prove a point, so he dragged Rick off with a hatchet for some more fun. This is where the episode slightly dragged a bit as at one point Rick is seeing flashes of every one of his team getting hit by Lucille, which I felt was unnecessary from a story standpoint and felt it was more of just shock value for the viewers, and by the time Negan has had his fun with Rick playing with the undead, Negan dragged him right back to the semi-circle of death he was at previously with his friends still kneeling. Neegan was still not satisfied with the look Rick was giving him so decided to have Rick cut off his sons arm or everyone will be shot. If Negan really wanted to convince Rick of this, why didn’t he just do this in the first place? This makes sense, break Rick in front of his people. Rick was about to perform the unthinkable, but in the end, Negan stops Rick from cutting his sons arm off as Rick had finally broken.
Lauren Cohen and Andrew Lincoln did an outstanding job with their roles. Lauren Cohen was heartfelt with her grieving over the loss of Glenn, sobbing for about half the episode. As for Andrew Lincoln, the guy can really sell off being tough and eventually to a man who is broken. His face pale with fear and his emotions just pouring out from the thought of having to harm his son were incredible. What an emotional ride this guy must have been on.
Rick’s group is in a bit of a pickle. After this madness Daryl is dragged off as hostage to threaten Rick that they will send pieces of Daryl back to them if they don’t do what he says, which for now is to have the Alexandrians give Negan and his group half their stuff. At this point, Maggie still needs medical help and Rick has admitted that there is nothing they can do about Negan and his army. They must go through with Negan’s demands. The group is in one of the worst scenarios they have been in and it is going to be very interesting to see how they get out of it. My only thought off hand is that Morgan and Carol are with a new group now, which, if all goes well as I know nothing about them, could come unite with Rick’s team and Alexandria to help fight against Negan and his band of merry men. If so, it should make for a battle of the ages I’m sure. Also, let’s not forget about Daryl. If you recall, Daryl was already feeling responsible for Denise’s death last season. I’m sure he’s going to feel responsible for Glenn’s death as well, which is going to be a harder one to deal with as Glenn was like family. It will be interesting to see how he handles it. Also, I’m sure he wants revenge on the guy running around with his crossbow. Overall I’m excited for the upcoming season as Rick’s group was at a high point last season, before running into Negan, and they are now at their lowest and so I’m interested to see they are going to turn things around.
For now, we can only take this moment to reflect (as Rick did as seen below) on what possibly could have been if they had never run into Negan and the Saviors.