Last night was the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead and anyone who watches the show has been waiting with baited breath to see who Negan was actually targeting when he played the most sinisted game of ‘eenie meenie’ with his beloved bat, Lucille.
The show teased us a bit, making us wait until after the third commercial break to finally reveal who would be Lucille’s victim, with Abraham being the unlucky winner of that contest. We all looked on in horror as Negan showed who he was and what our friends are truly up against as he bashed Abraham’s head until it was a pile of bloody pulp. Gory, absolutely, but also necessary to define who Negan is. But it was kind of a let down to see Abraham be the one killed, because as much as he was a fan favourite, he’s still a relatively new cast member and as such, somewhat expendable. I actually let out a sigh of relief when I saw it was Abraham. I mean, I was sad, but I think a piece of me knew that couldn’t be it, because after all the hype and all the warnings that we’d ‘be in fetal position under a blanket’ after watching, we knew that Abraham’s death wasn’t enough to create that kind of reaction. Sorry Michael Cudlitz.
And while us watching at home knew at that moment of sheer brutality and vengeance that Negan was the kind of man you don’t cross, Daryl obviously didn’t get that memo.
After Negan began to taunt Rosita after Abraham’s bludgeoning, Daryl did what Daryl does and jumped to her rescue, punching Negan in the face. Seriously, what kind of moronic move was that?! I mean, we all love Daryl, but anyone with 2 brain cells could read that situation and know that now was not the time to lash out and try to be a protector, especially since Negan was surrounded by what looked to be at least 100 of his followers and was still clutching a barb wire encased baseball bat that still had Abraham’s brain matter dripping off it.
Sure enough, Negan was quick to remind our friends of who they’re dealing with by turning around to murder Glenn. Glenn, who is expecting a baby with Maggie. Glenn, who just survived an ‘is he dead’ storyline last season. Glenn who’s been around since SEASON ONE IS DEAD, in one of the most gory, disgusting scenes I’ve ever seen since The Mountain crushed Prince Oberyn’s skull with his bare hands in Game of Thrones.
Sure, if you’ve read any spoilers or are a fan of the comic book, you knew Glenn’s time was up, but still you held on to a small hope that the powers that be would spare him and let someone else be Lucille’s victim, which is why when Abraham was first singled out by Negan, us Glenn lovers crossed our fingers. But Negan is a bad, bad man and we all knew it wasn’t going to end with Abraham, hence Glenn getting his head bashed in in front of Maggie, while Daryl has to watch what happened because of his inability to control himself.
But it’s not about Maggie or Glenn or even Daryl, it’s about Negan. We’ve seen other big bads on The Walking Dead before, but nothing like Negan. The Governor is probably the closest, but even he fronted as though he was all about the people and helping others, and it was his desire to save his daughter that led him to be who he was. But not Negan. No, Negan lives now, in the world they’re all living in, and Negan doesn’t ever say things twice. Negan is brutal and unsympathetic and calculating and cruel, because that’s what he thinks you have to be to survive the zombie apocalypse. There’s a new sherrif in town, and his name is not Rick Grimes.
Speaking of Rick, he decides to go all Rick-like and threaten to kill Negan, to his face, which is probably not the smartest thing to do since both Abraham and Glenn’s brains are still dripping off Lucille. Negan decides to teach Rick a lesson and grabs him and throws him in the RV to take him for a ride. Rick attempts to grab his axe from the table Negan thrust it in to to kill him, but Negan proves once again that he’s faster and smarter and has more resources than Rick as he pulls a gun on the former sheriff of bad-ass town. Once again Negan reiterates that everything Rick has ever known is now Negan’s, at which point he throws the axe out the door of the RV, which is quickly being surrounded by walkers, and tells Rick to go get it.
The next several minutes show Rick fighting off the Walkers while attempting to get the axe while Negan torments him. Rick climbs on top of the RV where he sees Abraham and Glenn’s murders happen before his own eyes and he imagines what if that happened to everyone else. He knows they look to him as their protector and their leader and he feels the weight of what has happened and what could happen.
Negan doesn’t care that Rick is having a moment because he starts to shoot through the roof of the RV, causing Rick to dive off and grab on to zombie that was hanging from the bridge (we saw Negan’s men throw him over and hang him during the season 6 finale).
Negan comes to Rick’s rescue once again, just to continue to torment him. When they get back to the others Negan still isn’t satisfied that Rick will comply and do as Negan says – as he shouldn’t be – so he basically tells Rick he needs to cut Carl’s arm off or else all his friends will die. Michonne tries to reason with Negan and Carl even tells his father to go ahead and do it, but Rick is now a snotty, crying mess, knowing he can’t get out of this without someone getting hurt. Just when Rick is ready to actually cut his kid’s arm off, Negan calls it off, happy that Rick finally understands his place in the new world order.
Negan leaves what’s left of our cast to sit and absorb all that has just happened to them, promising to be back in a week to collect whatever he wants. It’s then that Sasha and Rosita bond to carry Abraham’s headless body away, and the others remove Glenn, I’m assuming to bury them. Daryl has been taken by the Saviours because Negan likes his style, and probably to also ensure that Rick and his crew do what he wants. Maggie is the only one who truly has fire left in her eyes, vowing to walk to the Hilltop alone to get help from the doctor before returning to plot their revenge against Negan. While I love Maggie and all of her spunk, I was still utterly confused as to why a woman, who was previously being carried on a stretcher through the woods because she was so sick, thinks she’s fit to walk the rest of the way. I understand she feels responsible, since none of them would have been out if she hadn’t needed to get to a doctor, but her decision to walk, even with Sasha insisting on accompanying her, was just unbelievable.
Every season of TWD has a formula – we see our favourite survivors struggle to find a place to call home, then the resident big bad comes and the group rallies to fight them off with Rick eventually saving the day. I honestly see the same thing happening here, but not before Negan makes a serious impact on our favourite survivors.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of The Kingdom where Morgan brought Carol at the end of last night’s episode, since I don’t read the comics I don’t know how impactful this place it, but judging from the fan reaction during last night’s ‘Talking Dead’ when it airs, we seem to be in something good.
I’m fully invested this season, thanks to Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I’m looking forward to seeing just how crazy Negan can get.