“Welcome to a brand new beginning, you sorry shits”. I think Negan was talking to us just as much as the other characters following The Walking Dead’s explosive return.
Wow, I don’t think my emotions were really ready for that first thing this morning. The Walking Dead has been accused in the past of not being willing to take risks by killing off big and popular characters. Which is a valid point; you would imagine everybody in a zombie apocalypse would have an equal chance at succumbing to peril, regardless of popularity. Well, the show runners can’t be accused of holding back this time, they went all out.
At this point I’d like to throw in a big SPOILER WARNING, as I just need to process and discuss, so I’ll be talking about the first episode of Season 7 from here on out. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to ruin it, don’t read just yet.
For those of you who have stuck around, I’ll start by stating the obvious: We got two deaths for the price of one in this season opener. And they were big ones 😱 The opening to the episode was almost tortuous, dragging out the reveal to the point where I was screaming SHOW US!!! (Internally, of course. As I was sitting in a cafe watching before college, screaming wouldn’t be the best thing to do).
Even if they weren’t your favourite characters, Abraham and Glenn, were a huge presence on the show. Glenn most of all, as he has been there from day one, and his relationship with Maggie is one of the most loved on the show by fans. And his death happened in exactly the same iconic way it did in the comics, so that is sure to please the comic book purists. But if you’re invested in the series, it’s impossible not to be feel something at their deaths. To quote the dearly departed Abraham from an earlier season: “You’d have better luck picking up a turd by its clean end”.
Their deaths are sure to be a punch to the guts for fans of Glenn and Abraham but I liked the way they stayed true to their characters even in their final moments. Glenn has always put Maggie before himself, right to the end, even with blood pouring from his head and his eye-ball hanging out. Abraham on the other hand had always been a bad-ass who refused to play by any rules other than his own, even right to the very end when he told Negan to “suck my nuts”. I’ll miss Abraham and his one liners.
Many will likely balk at the graphic, gory nature in which Negan used Lucille to off Glenn and Abraham. I kind of did to. I mean, seeing a man being brutally beaten to death by a barb-wire baseball bat isn’t exactly going to be pleasant viewing. But at the end of the day, this is a show about people attempting to survive a world filled with zombies and evil people, so violence is going to happen. Shying away from the brutality achieves nothing but potentially harming the show.
Speaking of Negan, I don’t think I’ve had such conflicting feelings on a character in all the time I’ve been watching TV. I flip between loving him to hating him. Perhaps, it’s more accurate to say, I love to hate him. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is just an exceptional actor, and he has already made sure Negan will go down in history as one of the most evil, badass villains that has ever appeared on not only the show, but across all TV. And he did it with only one full episode under his belt. Up to this point, The Governor was probably the biggest bad that has been faced on the show. He was like a teddy bear in comparison. I’m excited to see where the series goes from here, and just how depraved Negan gets. Perhaps excited isn’t the best word to use, but you get what I mean.
I also think the change in Rick between the start and end of the episode is interesting. He of course does his usual ‘I’m gonna kill you” speech after Negan dealt his punishment to Glenn and Abraham. But by the end of the episode though, he is a quivering mess; with the death of two friends and the fact he was seconds from chopping his own son’s hand off (which, by the way, was a nice nod to Rick losing his hand in the comics. I also gained a lot of respect for Carl after he offered up his arm to save the group. Lets face it, Carl hasn’t been forever in fans favour over the years so it was a great moment for him), he’s a broken man. Negan proved that he is as much a psychological danger as he is a physical one, and it’s not going to be easy to overthrow him and get revenge.
I also found the last scene of the episode, where the group leave for Alexandria and Rick stops to watch an approaching Walker, another of its most memorable. It really hits home the idea that the Walkers are no longer the greatest thing to fear.
So where do we go from here?
Well first of all, Negan now has Daryl. So what will become of everybody’s favourite, lovable redneck? Daryl has had a target on his back for a while now, and a lot of people were convinced he would end up on the end of Lucille. I do think he is on borrowed time though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this season is where he finally kicks that bucket. I could be completely way off, but I have two thoughts on how I think this could happen. The first concerns Glenn’s death. After he killed Abraham, Negan proceeded to wave the bloody bat in a devastated Rosita’s face, angering Daryl to the point of punching him.
It seems that this is what spurs Negan to then kill Glenn. I could see Daryl becoming overcome with guilt to the point where he takes his own life this season, which would be a harrowing story line for sure, and sure to break a lot of hearts. Another thought I had was that Negan will torture and brainwash Daryl until he eventually agrees to serve him. This could then to lead to one of the Alexandria group having to take Daryl out for they’re safety. I acknowledge that this one is more unlikely, but it would certainly be a dramatic turn to see the group face off against a former ally, especially one who is so loved by the fans.
I think we will also see more of a push towards Maggie as leader that has been hinted at for a while now. She was pretty adamant that the others return to Alexandria and prepare to fight Negan, while she carried on to the Hilltop for treatment. With her also likely to lose her baby as well as having lost her husband, and her being in line to become leader at the Hilltop, it seems like everything is pointing to a very angry Maggie spearheading a campaign of war by creating an army with the Alexandria and, soon to be introduced, Kingdom groups, to take on Negan. This war was huge in the comics and will be sure to make for some exciting TV.
So I’m pretty excited for the coming episodes to see how everything plays out. Did the premiere live up to your expectations, or did you find it anti-climatic? Give a vote on the poll below and feel free to leave your comments if you like, I’d love to hear them.
Have a great week ✌🏻