It’s hard to know where to begin a review after such a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, sickening episode of television.
The Walking Dead returned with its Season 7 premiere and finally revealed the victim at the other end of Negan’s bat, Lucille. However, most of us were not prepared for the devastating loss that followed.
I was incrediblyÂ frustratedÂ by the cliffhanger during the Season 6 finale, but after watching “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” I officially take back my words. Leaving the audience guessing all summer which character would meetÂ their end was the right call.
There is no use kidding ourselves. This was aÂ brutal hour of television. So as much as we might not want to, let’s get into it… [Warning, the following pictures are graphic and may be upsetting to some readers]
The episode began with the aftermath of Negan’s terror. Little did we know that Negan was far from done with Rick. After heÂ made the mistake of threatening to kill Negan one day, Rick was immediately taken for a not so friendly joy ride in the RV.Â As Rick was taken away from the group, I couldn’t help but groan at the thought the writers would keep us in suspense for the majority of the episode.
Negan is unlike any villain our group has come face to face with. This guy makes the Governor look like a sweet baby panda. Negan drove Rick back to the bridge where the Saviors hung the man from last season’s finale. Negan threw his axe outside of the RV where there were tons of walkers, and basically told Rick to go fetch.
It’s here where Rick flashed back to the earlier events of the evening, and we finally got the answer we were all waiting for… and then some.
My theory was indeed correct that Abraham would be the victim. Even as he was meeting his painful end,Â I couldn’t help but be annoyed that the writers made us wait all summer for this death. I don’t want to take anything away from the loss of Abraham, but the prolonging of his death didn’t make sense to me.
Abraham went out exactly as I expected him to. He was brave, he was defiant, and he got one last jab in.
Abraham: Suck my nuts.
After Negan was done bashing Abraham’s skull in, he waved around his blood soaked bat in glee. Making the whole situation much worse, he yelled at Rosita to look at the bat as he held it in front of her face.
This is when Daryl couldn’t control his emotions any longer and struck Negan across the face. This is when I knew Negan would take a second victim. Unfortunately, I was not ready for the emotional toll it would take on not only the group, but on us the viewers.
Negan not wanting to make his introduction one that they would forget or underestimate, he told everyone that Daryl’s outburst wouldn’t be tolerated. He then immediately struck Glenn on his head. He hit him so hard that his eye popped out.
Glenn’s demiseÂ in the comics is the most memorable death, and it firmly established Negan’s status as a man not to be reckoned with. The image of Glenn looking at Maggie with his head smashed in and his eye popping out is one taken directly from the comics.
Listening to Glenn struggle to speak was a dagger to the heart, but the knife was twisted even more when he managed to utter his final words to Maggie. That was it. My emotional heart was spent.
Glenn: Maggie, I’ll find you.
With Glenn’s fake-out death last season, many fans were convinced the writers wouldn’t follow through with killing him like in the comics. Even though I am devastated by Glenn’s murder, this memorable death is only fitting for him. This moment in the comics is the catalyst for the storyÂ that comes after. Glenn’s death changes everything and everyone.
This is why my opinion about last season’s finale has changed. If Abraham had been the only victim, I would still thinkÂ the cliffhanger was not needed. However, if we had watched Glenn be murdered and then the screen cut to black, I think we all would have been outraged.
Losing a beloved character like Glenn needs immediate reaction. We need to see the aftermath or else the emotional impact would be cheapened. Not only did we watch theÂ agonizing look on Maggie’s face, but we watched everyone else realize that there was no defying Negan.
This entire hour was dedicated to destroying Rick’s spirit. Despite killing two of his men and throwing him out to the walkers, Negan was still convinced Rick hadn’t learned his place yet. So he decided Rick would be given the chance to prove his submission by cutting off his son’sÂ arm.
This is the moment Rick truly broke. Negan wouldn’t entertain Rick volunteering his own arm. It was either Carl’s arm or everyone else’s life. Andrew Lincoln sold me 100% on his fear and utter failure as a leader. Rick was finally resigned to cutting his son’s arm off when Carl told him to do it.
Thankfully for everyone involved, and those of us hyperventilating from our couches, Negan didn’t need Rick to follow through. He just needed to see the look of compliance on Rick’s face. He needed to see the face of a man who knows he’s been beat.
The rules of the game have changed. They now belong to Negan. After ordering Dwight to load Daryl in their van, Negan and his people left our group. The image that followed was a startling one: our group of survivors sitting speechless, dejected, and hopeless. Where do they go from here?
Maggie then told everyone to go back home. It’s clear she blamed herself for everything since they were all trying to help her get to the Hilltop. Everyone was quick to tell her that wasn’t the case, and they still wanted her to get medical attention.
We were left watching the group pick up the bodies of their loved ones and flashed to a future that will never come to be: Everyone gathered at the dinner table, including Glenn and Abraham, smiling.
I’m sure there are already discussions about the ultra-violence. Did the show go too far? That’s a difficult question. One camp ofÂ people may feel there was no need to see skulls bashed in or eyes popping out. The other camp will say the show was following the imagery of the comics and needed to be shown in order to establish the level of Negan’s villainy.
I’m not settled in either camp. Was it overly gory? Absolutely! Did it show me exactly what kind of man Negan is? Absolutely!
What I am left with is the feeling of having my heart ripped out. While both characters were integralÂ to the show, Glenn’s death has left me in the metaphorical fetal position. I don’t want to say Abraham’s death meant less, but Glenn has been the heart and soul of the showÂ since the beginning. His loss will reverberate for seasons to come.
When you’ve caught your breath, check out a sneak peek of the next installment titled, “The Well.”
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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