Some links in this post may or may not be affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link I will earn a commission which supports this site.
Walking Dead Season 7 episode 1
Or as I will be calling it… Why? No…. stay down don’t do that!
Well… grab your childhood security blanket, snuggle up under a warm blanket big enough to cover your face cause things are about to get real in this episode and for the love of god make sure you have someone to console you after this is over. Like swimming I suggest you eat at least 20 minutes before viewing because whatever you eat while watching this episode will only bring back sad and painful memories. Sorry deep dish pizza but I think it will be awhile before we see each other again.
So we FINALLY learn who Negan kills and no amount of predicting or read crazy fan theories can soften this blow… errrrr too soon. I feel like it’s been decades since season 6 left us on that crazy cliffhanger, which I totally support the decision to end the season that way. I remember hearing an explanation that they ended season 6 on a cliffhanger because that season wasn’t about who Negan killed. For me season 6 was more of the group learning to accept and believe that there were nice people still left in the world, people who needed their help in learning how to survive. Rick always finds a way to rise to power but no matter how much leadership he gets I feel like he’s forever in this serve and protect kind of role, you can take the world away from the cop but you can’t take the cop-out of the world. But he wasn’t the only person to rise to some sort of leadership. We saw Deanna take Maggie under her wing and she became the voice. Which seems fitting for her.
Episode 1 was no less that a crazy ride of emotions, most of those emotions were sad and scared. But the episode was really about breaking the group and breaking Rick. All this time, and all this power just handed to him and Rick and the group have never really ran into someone they couldn’t figure out a way to rise above them… Until Negan.
So the first 17 minutes or so all we could say was what is going on, why is AMC dicking us around. You come back after what seems like an endless break and you want to know WHO NEGAN KILLED and yet we still don’t know. But really you can’t come back from a finale like that and come to an episode about breaking someone’s spirits and jump right into it, there needs to be some sort of slow fizzle to the main event.
The episode opens after the sad and brutal beating has already happened. You can see it in his eyes, Rick is already on his way to being broken. No matter who it was that found the wrong end of Lucille Rick, and the rest of the gang, just watched one of their friends get brutally attack by this crazy-dark humored guy. Negan has not only more charisma but also more authority and scariness than any of those Termites did and they ate people! Speaking of the Termites we get to hear Rick give one of his motivational speeches of maybe not today, or tomorrow, or even next week but one day somehow I’m going to kill you. Ok Rick, we get it but maybe it’s not always a good idea to lay all your cards on the table to the bad guys? Negan has a point he’s trying to prove to you and your people and your kneeling their threatening him in front of all his lackeys. Not only is he ruthless and a man of his word, as we see by the brains splattered all over the gravel ewwwww, but it’s clear he knows the quickest way to break people and he aims to take away any power Rick thinks he has left. Cause really who wants to follow a broken, crying, fragile leader?
Literally dragging Rick away from the group he throws him in the RV, ohhhhh… remember the happier days of Dale… and Rick and Negan go on the road trip from hell. The whole purpose of taking Rick on this awful trip where he let’s think he could have the upper hand and kill Negan, just kidding Rick guns trumps hatchet, but in the end Negan wants to show Rick that everything he had, everything he thought he had under control, all the power they had it’s all gone now. There is nothing but Negan. With that defiant glint in Rick’s eye Negan reminds him to remember what could have happened, what happened and what could still happen. Rick, his people and their weapons… they all belong to Negan and they would be best to remember that.
After a few more rounds of duck duck goose including individual flashbacks of happier times we finally see who Negan kills… and the 17 minute lead up didn’t ease the pain and surprise at all. While Negan is pointing Lucile at her possible victims it’s interesting to side note the way the gang is kneeling and their reactions to what is coming. The majority of them are scared, on the verge of a sort of crazy breakdown, tears about to explode from their eyes. And then there is Abraham standing stoic, brave and tall and Carl who is acting like a dog whose owners are about to be attacked and he’s ready to bite. I get more nervous. Even watching this episode a second time and knowing what was coming hasn’t helped make me less nervous and sad about what is about to come. I guess somewhere deep down I just hope that I was dreaming and none of this happened… but it did.
I have to say Abraham was on my short list of people I thought it would be. Even the way he stands tall and puffs his chest out at Neegan just screams what a strong character he is and has become for the group. But as that sickening crunch echoes through my room and the blood trickled down his face I couldn’t help but smile at his farewell words… “Suck my nuts”. Oh Abraham, you had the most epicly comical lines and I will forever miss them and you. You finally get a shot at true happiness but if we’ve learned nothing from the past 6 seasons happiness doesn’t equal a future in the zombie apocalypse. And sometimes bravery and loyalty is resulted in pain and sadness. In an attempt to defend not only his dead friend but also Rosita as Negan tries to shove his bloody bat in her face Daryl jumps up and sucker punches Negan. What are you thinking Daryl?!?! Come on this guy means business, we’ve clearly just witnessed that. Did the gun shot wound make you delirious, did you miss the brain smashing? A man of his word Negan responds to this with another gut wrenching blow!!! And my dear and beloved Glenn has finally meet a predicament that he can’t find his way out of.
The imagery was gut wrenching, his final words just pushed the sword further through my heart… “Maggie, I’ll find you.” I have to hold back the tears just thinking about it now. But oh no it doesn’t just end there. Playing a little more cat and mouse with Rick, Negan has more of a point to prove because he can still see that look of defiance in Rick. That quiet look saying this guy is going to underestimate me like all the other baddies have and that’s when I’ll have my chance to revenge my fallen friends. But unfortunately for Rick, Negan sees right through this and to further drive in his point that he is the new ruler of this kingdom he has his men put their guns to the back of the gangs heads and then pulls not so baby Carl to the front. Cut of his arm or everyone dies, and then Carl dies only to have Rick live out his days thinking about how he was the cause of all his people’s deaths. As a parent how do you even begin to process that demand! I couldn’t and I was just watching the show. Not to mention that Carl was practically spitting in Negan’s face as he pulled him in front of the group. But of all the bad things Carl has done to his group, whether it was because he was just being a dumb kid or because he was just completely oblivious to his surroundings, Carl finally has a moment of redemption. As Rick has a crazy ugly man cry breakdown Carl lays on that ground, still proud and showing no sign of defeat even though he has one eye and is about to lose his arm. “Go ahead.” Oh Carl… thinking of the better good of his family.
After some extreme freaking out and perhaps I might have been crying out ‘Not Carl he’s just a baby’ a few times, I never thought I would be so concerned for Carl’s safety especially after the Dale incident, I was finally granted a moment of relief. Negan finally saw that snot bubble he had been waiting for Rick to blow and he called off the hand chopping. A big huge sigh of relief there, I don’t know if I could have handled more loss. Rick is then forced to out loud succumb to Negan and essentially say that Rick and his group and have been bought and are the brand new property of Negan and his gang. Negan says jump they say how high. Gasp, that can’t possibly be a good thing. The town was just getting on their feet and what’s Morgan going to say about all this? His peaceful let’s cage them and rehabilitate them first way of thinking doesn’t seem like it will fly here. I don’t think there is any rehabilitating Negan, he seems pretty stuck in his way.
So Negan bids adieu and his gang leaves Rick and his group to pick up their broken pride, emotions, sense of safety and their friends. But let’s not forget the jerk taking a Polaroid of poor Glenn’s body, for shame dude for shame. Way too soon. So as the group sits on the floor still reeling from what happened mere hours ago Maggie is the one who steps up. Poor already half dead, now fatherless baby, Maggie steps up and takes responsibility to the death of her friends. She tells them no one would have been up there if it wasn’t for her. But that isn’t true at least Glenn and Daryl would have already been held captive by Negan so maybe no matter where Maggie was this would have been Glenn’s death.
Maggie is the only one with her head in the game. She tells them all they need to go back to Alexandria and prepare… prepare to fight. Though they might be beaten now and they might not see a light at this extremely dimly lite tunnel Maggie can see an end game where they fight for their freedom and to revenge the death of their friends and loved one. We get one final tear-jerker moment when Negan’s voice is in the background asking if they thought they were going to grow old and happy together and gather around the dinner table and in the foreground we see exactly that and to boot a happy Abraham and Glenn and Glenn holding his toddler like child. Big tear right there. I could barely hold it together. Final moment of the night Rick goes and picks up the axe and steps over to the RV, a lone walker finds his way out of the forest and Rick doesn’t even give it a second glance or even bother to kill it. Now, in this world the walkers aren’t the most dangerous thing. The thing that threatens their happiness and lives are the humans.
Can we really fully hold it against Negan that he killed these people we’ve essentially grown with? Sure Glenn has been around for 7 years and is like a brother to us and Abraham made us laugh at inappropriate times but the group did go and murder all those Negan followers. Is that so much different from what happened to our guys? Would we feel differently if we had been following Negan’s story all these years instead of the Grime tales? Well we haven’t been following Negan’s story and as charming as I find him I can’t help but completely hate his character too. So conflicted!! It seems like Rick is easily willing to lay down his fighting gloves and follow Negan’s orders but he also thought he could raise piglet and we saw how well that worked for him. Can Carl and baby Judith really be safer under this new regime? What will Carol say about all this, will she go hunting to get back Daryl? She did pretty much single-handedly take out the Termites so maybe Maggie needs to go and find her and slap some sense into her and get her on board this lets kill Negan train. Seems like the Carol that use to be was the only one with enough cahones to do what needed to be done to save the group, well her and Abraham.
Next week looks like it will be a much less emotionally draining episode filled with this Kingdom place, a King and a tiger… ohhhhhhh. Someone is finally putting the animal population to use in this world. But then… how did he get a tiger to be his right hand man so well is this like some sort of Sigfried and Roy kind of guy? Will we see Morgan trying to talk Carol into coming back home, into being the person she use to be? Only next Sunday will tell us.