Hello everyone and welcome back to The Walking Dead season 7! It's been a long off-season of guessing. We knew we were in for a stressful hour of television, but we still anxiously anticipated it for months. And WOW what a crazy episode. The show runners defended their decision to end last season where they did suggesting that this season would kick off a new ERA of The Walking Dead. Now that we've seen it I think I can understand where they were coming from. We worried if we'd be able to mentally get back in the intensity of the moment and be invested in who Negan took out. I think they successfully had me nauseous the entire hour. So, kudos to them! And big kudos to Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The man is a likable actor in pretty much every role he plays. You definitely want to hate him as Negan, but there's something about him that is just irrefutably charming. He's literally killing it as Negan. It's going to be an interesting ride this season and beyond!
I don't really know if there's much to recap after that grueling hour but I'll certainly jot down a few notes before we head into the comments. Let's dive in!
- I had been thinking all off season that we wouldn't find out immediately who was killed in those final moments of last season. I suggested we may get a little backstory on Negan and his crew leading up to that moment. Well, I guess I was half right. Instead they followed up immediately where we left off but left us in the dark on exactly what happened for half of the episode. We followed events from Rick's point of view and basically had to watch him come to terms with what happened in order to prepare for the next phase.
- Rick promised to kill Negan someday. And while that may certainly be true eventually, Negan very effectively broke Rick's defenses down this episode. In fact, it was his entire goal of the episode. Dragging him off in the RV into a dense walker infested fog and making him fetch "his" axe. Pretty intense stuff. Negan didn't want Rick to die because he needs him. So while wanting to hate him he did assist Rick in surviving shooting down dozens of walkers to ensure Rick made it back to the RV after he continued to process the recent events.
- They certainly teased the entire episode the removal of Rick's arm/hand. I am not a reader of the graphic novel, but I know enough to know that this was a big part of the comics. So, with everything that was happening in the episode they had me convinced it was going to happen. (Even to Carl)
- But, let's not drag this out any further. We all had our guesses to who would die. Very recently, I heard a theory on Abraham from a family member. They told me that they noticed the person took a hit and got back up to take another one. They suggested only Abraham could take that blow and keep going. I personally thought Abraham wouldn't draw the impact of an off-season cliffhanger that would put is in eternal mourning. Glenn was the victim in the comics and with everything he went through last season I didn't think they would go and take him out. Well, I guess we were all so set on one person getting killed that we never took the time to consider Negan killing 2 people! We didn't consider that one of our survivors would lash out at Negan making him angry. Well, that's exactly what happened. RIP Abraham and Glenn.
- Both of them went out in ways fitting to their character. Abraham got himself one more one-liner which I will not repeat in our "family" blog here. (that's right, people of all ages watch the Walking Dead! We just found out on Talking Dead someone grew up watching Glenn!)
- Glenn's death was drawn out and unbearable with his eyeball out of his socket and Negan's painfully hilarious commentary about how he kept on ticking. I wanted to laugh at Negan many times in the episode, but the events were so awful it was difficult to justify it. Glenn looked out to Maggie and said something like, "I'll find you." Soulmates to the end in this life and the next. It was pretty rough, it was very effective. It had to be a big loss to make this effective. To show Negan means business. The loss of Glenn and Abraham will be felt by all of these characters. And it will certainly affect Rick.
- Poor Darryl will have to live with the fact that him lashing out at Negan is what indirectly caused Glenn to be killed. And now he's going to be kept alive as leverage to ensure Rick and crew stay in order and collect for Negan.
- Negan continued to not believe that Rick was a changed man. Rick seemed pretty broken, but maybe there was a sliver of doubt. You knew that he must've been thinking in the back of his head, "let's just get out of this moment so we can collect our thoughts and take this dude out." Negan certainly saw that sliver of doubt and wanted to test him one more time.
- So, we had the Carl test. He drew a line on Carl's non-dominant left arm and asked Rick to chop it off. There was a 3 count long and drawn out with each number uttered showing the breakdown of Rick. The final straw was seeing Carl whisper the words, "Just do it Dad." What other choice did he have? If he didn't, EVERYONE would've died. At this point we had no reason not to believe Negan. Michonne plead out to reason with Negan. Rick asked for it to be him instead. But, this was the only way. In the end, we saw Rick prepare to cut off his son's arm and then Negan stopped him. He finally saw the look on Rick's face that he wanted to. Rick Grimes was broken down into submission.
- I think the worst part of the episode is when Negan and crew walked away leaving Rick's crew there defeated with no choices and a couple of friends/family members with their heads bashed in.
- There was lots of grieving in the final moments of the episode. Maggie was the only one that seemed determined to still take out Negan. My immediate thoughts were, "what does she have to lose?" Well of course she still is pregnant and she is in no shape to take the fight to Negan right now. But, these losses will certainly motivate Rick's crew. It's going to take awhile and the stage is set for the immediate aftermath. But surely, one day they'll see an opportunity.
- It was tough to understand Maggie through all the crying, but I think she was telling everyone to go back to Alexandria and she's going to continue on her way to Hilltop to the doctor. Sasha said she would help Maggie get there. (it was also noted that Negan has a good doctor, so maybe that will come into play)
- The shot of the family at the dinner table was a nice parting shot with Glenn holding his child and Abraham next to him with the rest of the crew. Of course, it was also bittersweet.