Is everyone okay? Have you caught your breath? The Walking Dead kicked off its seventh season in strong fashion, and truly underscored that we haven’t yet seen a villain the likes of Negan (unless, of course, you’ve spent some time reading the comics that the series is based on). It was a brutal, tense episode, and showed a real threat to our favorite survivors. It also allowed us to learn who was holding the camera in the final scene of last season.
The tense moments flowed through the episode, much of which was centered entirely on two characters who are reflections of what each could be. Let’s be honest, had Rick not continued to find a well of compassion for others, and instead used his skills to benefit himself and those willing to be subservient to him and only him, he would look a lot more like Negan than he is probably willing to admit. If the Governor was a reflection of the darker aspects of who Rick was, Negan is the reflection of the darkness that Rick fought to keep at bay within himself. The world has definitely changed for our survivors, and it’s beyond clear that the biggest threats moving forward are not coming from the reanimated dead.
Of course, this episode wasn’t without it’s foolish choices. Naturally we’re going to talk about those, because The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be. What won’t you be? Not entirely sure, but my best guess is watching this show, and reading this blog. So let’s go!
5. Rick, Michonne, et al.
Alright, maybe this is being a little harsh, but man, it’s hard to put together a list of 5 bad decisions when the show focuses so much time on two characters, and handles them the way this episode did. In fact, the sheer impetus behind the group trying to stop Maggie makes sense, but there was literally nothing they could say that was going to dissuade her from her plan. She clearly feels responsible for the group being captured by Negan in the first place, and it was only Sasha stepping forward saying that she was going to ensure her safety that Maggie relented in the slightest. Don’t mess with Maggie, because, while the decision wasn’t the wisest one, you certainly can’t tell me that anyone else wouldn’t have done the same stuck in that location. Sasha seemed to be the only one who saw that.
4. The Audience
Don’t get me wrong. I love the audience for The Walking Dead. I’m clearly PART of the audience for The Walking Dead. But my goodness, people, can’t you wait at least until the next morning before blurting all over the internet what happened? Mere moments after the big reveal, people were posting left and right about the incident. Some admittedly were trying to be cryptic and vague, but enough cryptic and vague put together points to some pretty obvious clues. Not that we need to really investigate too much, because the ratio right now seems to be about 5 cryptic posts to 1 EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED posts. You don’t see Kevin James get that kind of spoiler effect online.
You just watched Negan introduce the business end of Lucille to your group. You know how cold-blooded he is. You heard him make a terrible “vampire bat” joke (side note, anyone complaining about how bad the joke was, please remember that Negan did himself. It was an intentionally painful joke). Why on earth would you decide that was the best time to show off some big ol’ brass ones, and mutter that you’re going to kill him for what he did. Points for having a response right away, instead of days later, but points taken away for not using your brain at all before MAKING that response. This is how you get thrown into an RV, taken on a joyride, and being forced to retrieve an ax from a madman while fighting walkers in a fog. Next time, Rick, just bite your tongue (which you admittedly did admirably of when you returned). I bet there’s a deleted scene where Rick is sitting back at Alexandria realizing, “Oh, I should’ve said this instead”.
Speaking of big ol’ brass ones, let’s hear it for our boy, Daryl. He showed that he isn’t one to be cowed easily, but let’s not forget that he isn’t 100%. Let’s also not forget that Lucille had just met her (spoilers!) first victim. So when Negan was showing off his handiwork to Rosita, Daryl just had to step in and take a swing. He was showing his honor, and his respect for the people he has been living with, but the wisdom of the moment would have been to try and remain silent, plotting for a better opportunity at another time. True, Daryl was just kept captive, and separated from those he knew, but the reason behind that is twofold; first, Negan sees something that he hopes to be able to mold within Daryl, and second, Negan’s personal honor code (if he IS similar to the comics version) wouldn’t allow him to remove a wounded piece from the game board. Instead, Negan had to make the group pay. That second death is entirely on Daryl’s hands, and who knows how this will affect him moving forward. Just remember the aftermath of Beth…
Okay, maybe it wasn’t stupid. But it was damned irritating. Remember how season 6 ended? Of course you do. Even if you didn’t, you got to relive that moment. It was right in your face. Then, with the premiere of season 7, the big secret of the summer was admitted to, and (spoilers, although if you’ve read this far, you had better have seen the episode) Negan had not introduced Lucille to just one character, but to two. It was also two characters that could have been guessed through any number of different reasons. So why am I throwing a dig at the powers behind the show? The cliffhanger ending was irritating, and largely because it was such a dark moment for our heroes (yes, Terminus was also a cliffhanger, but with the gang together, and not under immediate threat, it didn’t feel as cheap). With the fact that we said goodbye to two characters, think of how much more impactful it could have been (no pun intended) to show us who Lucille took out first to provide that big bang of an ending for season 6, only to keep the second death where it was located within the episode? It would have built up plenty of buzz for the premiere, in a good way, and started the audiences wondering just how cruel and sadistic this Negan guy actually was.
That closes out our look back at the season premiere for the seventh go around with Rick and his crew. The Ricktator is no longer, and is no more of a Rickpuppet (Ruppet?) needing to push aside his own needs at the behest of Negan. We’ll be back next week to take a look back at The Well, which promises to fill us in on the details of some of our other favorites. It’s a big world, and it just got a little darker for our survivors.