THE WALKING DEAD: The Best Is Yet to Come

the walking dead

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I would be pretty impressed if you’ve managed to avoid them, but this article contains major spoilers for the Season 7 Premiere of THE WALKING DEAD. This past Sunday was the night that many of us have been both looking forward to and dreading for the past eight months. Yes, we finally saw the victims (emphasis on the “s”) of Negan’s barbed-wire baseball bat Lucille, presented to us in an excruciating and heartbreaking fashion. It is difficult to deny the disappointment of the cliffhanger last season, but what happened in this premiere made me forget all about it. In fact, it made me forget about almost everything, as it brought me into the world of the show more than any episode ever has. In what was certainly the strongest premiere the show has ever aired, and perhaps one of the strongest episodes of the series, THE WALKING DEAD showed some serious balls and set the stage for one fucked up season.

the walking dead negan

The first TV character to be the most hated man in America

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It might be hard for people to accept this as a great episode, because almost everybody finished it feeling pretty shitty. Glenn and Abraham, the two characters that we lost to Negan, weren’t just characters, they were like family to us. Glenn has been a part of the show since the very first episode, and many of us have grown up along with him for the past seven years. His bravery, quirkiness, compassion, and undying love for his wife Maggie truly made him the heart of the show. Abraham hasn’t been around for quite as long, but he is definitely a significant part of the show, particularly in this last season. He had just recently come to terms with the safety and comfort of the Alexandria safe-zone, and decided to start a new life with Sasha. THE WALKING DEAD without these two characters is not THE WALKING DEAD at all, and it is going to be hard to accept their absence. However upset their deaths made me, I was satisfied in that the show didn’t wimp out on us like they’ve done in the past. Glenn is the first original character to die since Andrea in Season 3, which shows that they haven’t given up on their no-holds-barred mentality.

the walking dead glenn

Sorry Glenn, I don’t think the dumpster is gonna save you this time

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After the finale last season, everyone wondered how the hell the show was going to keep the identity of Negan’s victim(s) a secret for the next eight months, as there are people out there who dedicate their lives to figuring out and spoiling this kind of stuff. While it was a big mystery for a while, there were some who eventually figured out that it would be Glenn and Abraham, and many went into the premiere expecting it. But it didn’t matter. The deaths were handled so well that it was just as impactful as it would have been without any prior knowledge or prediction. We were forced to suffer through the long and gripping build-up to Negan finally choosing Abraham and brutally bashing his brains in, which was already painful to watch. Then, we watch Negan sadistically yap on and on as we slowly recover from the extreme killing, only to see him turn around and swing the bat right into Glenn’s skull. It might have been in the back of your mind, but seeing it happen in front of you is an entirely different thing.

Even though Glenn and Abraham received abrupt and severe deaths, the writers actually managed to give them a proper send-off. Abraham spitting out “suck…my…nuts” to Negan seconds after the first skull-cracking swing of the bat was a strangely perfect tribute, as even a brutal death can’t stop Abraham from being awesome. After Glenn takes a couple blows from Lucille, he mutters “Maggie…I’ll find you” before Negan finishes the job, showing how even in his final moments he’s not thinking of himself. Clearly a lot of thought went into crafting the departure of these characters, and it effectively lead to a tragically beautiful goodbye.

the walking dead suck

Abraham died as he lived…telling people to suck his nuts

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The baseball bat executions were not the only impactful moment of the premiere; they were only one scene in a 42-minute episode. This was one of the greatest episodes of THE WALKING DEAD because every scene contributed towards a common goal. This episode was about us seeing Rick and the group truly broken for the first time. It was about us seeing this world for what it has truly become. And most importantly, it was about us seeing that Negan is not a man to be fucked with. Watching Rick, the confident bad-ass we have been following for seven seasons, break down and bawl after Negan tries to force him to cut off his own son’s arm was indescribably hard to watch. No series or film has ever made me feel so scared and shaken, as there was not one moment in this episode without underlying tension pounding in my head.

the walking dead rick

When you are low-key relieved that Negan didn’t kill Daryl

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This premiere didn’t feel like just any episode of THE WALKING DEAD. It felt like something much scarier, much darker, and much more ruthless. Some are complaining that it went much too far, but this is a positive thing. The show was in somewhat of a rut, raising the bar each season but not in a way that profoundly impacted the audience. With the arrival of Negan and the new world order, we are going to see an entirely different show, just like how Negan’s entrance in the source material brought readers an entirely different comic. Viewers should be ecstatic for what is coming next, because as comic readers will know, the rules have now changed forever.

Due to all of the emotional recovery that viewers need after this episode, it is easy to forget that we still have 15 more left this season. If you are still grieving over the loss of Glenn and Abraham, hold your loved ones tight, as the path of carnage does not stop here. It is going to be bloody, intense and heartbreaking, but hey — it’s what you sign up for when you watch THE WALKING DEAD.

Jordan is a student at Chapman University from Vancouver, Canada, and a Crossfader guest contributor. When he's not watching THE WALKING DEAD, you can probably find him…watching every other show.

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