The Walking Dead — Season 7 Episode 1: The Day Will Come When You Won't Be
Review by a Malaysian Walking Dead fan
After questionable decisions in the previous season of faking Glenn's death and cliffhanger-ing the most iconic death scene in the graphic novel series, I never thought The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere would be able to live up to the hype they created. Pleased to say I was wrong. They gave the audience more than what they were expecting and on top of that, it all makes sense.
Although I've heard the leaked script (which I wasn't expecting accurate at all but turned out it was) and read the comic, it's still a very satisfyingly intense and shocking episode to me. I would say it also somewhat improves from the source material in terms of the realism of characters' reactions and emotions. It felt very convincing why Rick is completely defeated and broken down by the end of the episode.
Of course, just as many fans have expected, the season premiere didn't reveal who was Lucille-d right off the bat (pun borrowed from Jesus). Instead, the "I'm gonna kill you" teaser that allowed us to predict Abraham's death is actually the opening scene of the episode. For most parts of the episode, it was depicted in Rick's perspective to put the audience in his shoes and make us the audience go through the traumatic experience with him. Negan takes him on a ride, tests him and asks him to think about what happened to seriously reconsider attempting anything stupid. Rick's flashbacks show who got Lucille-d and what else happened back there.
So yes, the unlucky one to get picked at the end of Negan's eenie meenie is indeed Abraham. I bet many fans, when they watched this part, were like, "Okay, that's underwhelming." Besides, it was already expected. Abraham's death was brutal but it wasn't thaaat graphic 'cause the camera angle was sort of in Rick's POV. And Abraham did take Lucille like champ and went out in style with his last words telling Negan, "Suck my nuts," which makes Negan laugh as well while he continues to bash his skull to pieces. That's just such an Abraham thing to say. It was sick and hilarious at the same time. Negan's playful lines were almost as funny as in the comics. Especially the part when he suddenly calls Rick "prick".
Negan did clearly mention before that the first one's free, if anyone moved again, he'd have to take action. So he turns around, bashes Glenn's skull in with his "vampire bat" and from there it's almost exactly like how it goes in the comic. We get a clear shot of Glenn's head, one eye popped out and him struggling to say, "Maggie, I'll find you." Maximum shock value for those who never read the comic. Emotionally, it wasn't as impactful as it could've been. It would've been way more shocking and heartbreaking if this whole episode was at the end of the previous season (hence the complaints on the cliffhanger). Those who actually fell for Glenn's Season 6 fake death also probably wouldn't feel as sad as before 'cause they've already went through it and that was around mid-season. However, in terms of everything else, the episode definitely delivered in flying colours. I was very impressed with the production and surprised how much they managed to show without censoring. The graphic violent brutality and gore were just enough to make me lose my lunch appetite and have lingering thoughts of the Lucille scenes. Negan saying "pussy", a word which I don't remember hearing in the show. I wonder if the uncensored Bluray would also show Glenn's jaw being broken by Negan's second swing like in the comic.
That's not over yet. Negan still feels that he hasn't got his point across so he totally tears Rick down by forcing him to decide between chopping Carl's hand off himself or everyone else dies. The episode teases a few times that Rick's hand might finally get chopped off like in the comic (where it happened much earlier done by The Governor) but that doesn't happen and probably never will in the show (even if it does, it wouldn't tease us like this). Before this, I was so sure that they weren't gonna show a girl or a kid being brutalised on national TV but at this point after seeing Glenn's graphically disturbing death, I actually believed that Carl's hand was really gonna go. Well done. A very, very good season premiere and will probably go down as one of the most unforgettable episodes of the series just as it's expected to be.
Daryl, the fan-favourite character created only for the TV adaptation and doesn't exist in the comic, may have survived mostly due to his popularity but I believe the producers and writers have big plans for the character. Negan's henchman, Dwight, who shot an arrow through Denise's eye in the show (or Abraham in the comic), is actually a very similar character to Daryl and has developed into an important role in the comic. But since Daryl is now taken back to the Saviour's base The Sanctuary, I'm guessing Daryl will bond with the people there and might eventually kill Dwight to get his crossbow back and take over as the Saviour's new leader like how Dwight did in the comic. And since Negan said he "likes" Daryl, he might have that weird love-hate friendship with Daryl instead of Carl.
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