Episode Title: The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be
Original Airdate: 10-23-16
Last night was rough, y’all. I went into the Season 7 premiere with a ho-hum attitude, and an hour later felt as though someone had ripped my soul in half. A bit dramatic? Sure, but this episode did not let up, and by the end I was physically and emotionally drained.
We returned to our cliffhanger plot of Negan killing someone in Rick’s group of eleven possibilities, though from Negan’s last lines in the Season 6 finale, it was obvious his victim was neither Rick nor Carl. Well, we still didn’t find out for 20 minutes, as Rick swore to Negan he would kill him, eventually, and an angry Negan dragged Rick into the RV to go for a little drive into Walker infested fog. Negan threw Rick’s ax onto the roof of the RV and demanded Rick bring it back. While on top of the RV, Rick remembered the hell he just witnessed and we finally learned whom Negan beat to death…both of them.
His first victim was indeed Abraham, as many fans speculated over the grueling six month wait thanks to clues left by Kirkman and Gimple in the finale. It was sad to see Abraham go, but not surprising at this point. What happened next, no one was counting on. Negan said he’d only kill one of the Group as payment for killing so many of his people. With Abraham gone, it was easy to assume it was over. Then Daryl jumped up and punched Negan for what he’d done. Negan, impressed by Daryl’s reaction, did not punish Daryl outright, but instead tooks Lucille to an unsuspecting Glenn…
But it didn’t stop there. Once Negan took Rick back in the semi-circle of death, he tried to force Rick to chop off Carl’s arm to prevent his men from killing all of Rick’s people. Right as Rick was about to bring the ax down (after an intense few minutes of waiting and begging), Negan put a stop to it, so Carl didn’t end up one-eyed AND one-handed. Negan and his men drove off, taking Daryl as a hostage and promising to be at Alexandria’s gates in a week to collect their 50% Apocalypse Tax. The Group carried the bodies of their beloved to the truck to drive home for a proper burial, thoroughly broken.
On the one hand, I have to praise the show for managing to stick to the source material and still surprise everyone. As stated above, Abraham’s death was generally expected at this point (or even a “lower tier” character), especially considering Denise “took” his death from the comic just two episodes prior. I assumed they would be saving Glenn, either for a later death or forever, instead of his comic death, so when Lucille made contact with his head, I audibly gasped. It was a well played maneuver that I appreciated and did not leave me feeling manipulated.
That being said, I feel this episode was too extreme in the intensity and violence. Between the two very explicit deaths and forcing Rick to (almost) cut off Carl’s arm, this episode bordered on torture porn, which is not something I’ve ever enjoyed watching. However, it was made far worse by the fact that I care deeply for these characters. I also feel I’ve watched too many things lately where characters are getting their heads bashed in, and that death makes me physically sick and sticks with me in the worst kind of way, so the timing of my viewing didn’t help. Plus watching the reactions of everyone who survived was another gut punch (or ten) piled on to a heap of emotional suffering.
As for our fallen brothers, there’s not much more I can add to fan-wide outcry, other than they will be missed. Abraham was a lovable, tough, crazy ginger with some fabulous quotable curses. I assume they had to get creative with “Mother Dick” and “Bitch Nuts” since most of his cursing from the comic wasn’t allowed. He was finally going to start planning his future with Sasha when he met his end, but he went down in the only way Abraham possibly could, with a defiant “Suck my nuts.”
And I pretty much already eulogized Glenn this time last year when we saw his fake-out death by the dumpster. His death hurts like no other has since I can’t remember. Maybe the worst for me so far. Not only was he one of the longest running characters, but everything he had going on in life was drastically changed by his death. And Maggie’s suffering just gets worse. Laugh all you want, but it’s almost like finding out an old friend died.
So now that we have a resolution to that awful cliffhanger, I don’t feel any better. It’s going to be a very dark season, and I’m not sure I’m prepared to handle it.