Grue-believers, WOW, just WOW!
The time we were all waiting for has come and gone. The season premiere of The Walking Dead Season 7 was in a word “Awesome!” It evoked a wide array of emotions from its audience as displayed in the premiere follow-up of The Talking Dead. The same can be said for my household. My wife, who does not watch the show normally, sat there drawn in by what can be proclaimed as a number of things including the best episode of the series and a pivotal point for a franchise that has been known to take risks. If you follow me on Facebook, you already know what the rating I’m giving it. So, let me dive in and explain why. But first, I would like to thank each and every one of you that took the time to give me their thoughts in no particular order: Jim Bittle, Jim Krupilis, Adam Thomas, Chaice Weatherwalks, Brian Winnington, Gail Yasson, Joseph Fittos Jr., Ronald G Gonzalez, Jeff Hernandez, Mike Hatfield, Dave Crossan, Rich Stianche, Craig Ferringer, Vito Chieffi, Tony Tambasco, Scott Reesie, Justin Stephens, Suzanne Lukac, Santos Ellin Jr., Nick Halfen, Jerry Dillon, Jeff Mohr, Kishna Woo-Hare, Joseph Perry, Allison McBride, Michael Shannon, Charles Steward and Tyler Brown. You guys all rock and are the reason I write these reviews.
Big spoilers ahead….
The premiere kicked off with the most recent trailer we’ve been seeing where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) says he’s going to kill Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan) right after he bashed in the unknown victim’s brains. Negan wasn’t to keen on Rick’s statement so he decides to drag him to the mobile home and go for a ride. Those that read the comics know that Rick loses his hand and a lot of us were wondering if this was the point in the show where it happens….stay tuned.
Negan takes Rick to the place on the road last season where the burning logs were blocking the road and a defenseless victim was hanged by the saviors. This is Negan’s way of establishing dominance and, after an intimidating pep talk, Negan proceeds to let Rick know that everything is his. This includes the ax that confiscated from Rick. Negan proceeds to take the ax and throw it out among the walkers telling Rick, “go get me my ax”. After some threats Rick goes out and retrieves the ax amidst a slew of hungry walkers. He makes his way onto the roof of the mobile home barely escaping some hungry jaws. As he lays there, he reflects on what has just transpired.
The reflection of what went down on the last episode we all saw leading up to much speculation was everything and nothing we wanted to see. There was much speculation as to who would be the one to get up close and personal with Lucille and this is where we find out. We see a recount of Negan’s slowly making his choice via a drawn out “eeny, meeny” recitation and we see he settles on Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). Abraham gets back up after the first thud of the barbed wire tool of death as Negan tells him he’s taking it like a champ Abe proceeds to tell him “suck my nuts”. Although Negan laughed about it, it triggered a ballistic bashing without censor as Negan beat Abe’s head into a bloody pulp. After finishing Negan began more lecturing and brooding which caused Daryl (Norman Reedus) to rush him and punch him in the face. He was quickly tackled by some saviors and Dwight (Austin Amelio) was all too ready with the crossbow to put an arrow in Daryl’s head. Many of Walking Dead fans collectively held their breath as this could be the end of their beloved Daryl causing a major revolt. Alas, Negan admires Daryl’s gusto. Although, impressed with the display, Negan says someone has to pay and does not waste much time bringing Lucille down on Glenn (Steven Yuen). A battered Glenn with his left eye bulging from its socket (looking much like he did in the comic) proceeds to choke some words out to Maggie (Lauren Cohan) telling her he will find her again. Negan proceeds to bash away as blood and brain matter are strewn about. As intense and emotional as this scene is, Negan provides a bit of comic relief with some quips and in explaining that Lucille is a vampire bat that is thirsty for blood.
Back to the present, Rick is jarred out of his thoughts by Negan yelling and firing a gun through the roof to get Rick to bring the ax. The only “safe” way off the roof was the one Rick took. He leaped onto the hanging walker, holding on for dear life the walker’s neck began to stretch eventually tearing away from its body dropping it, Rick and the ax to the ground. Rick frantically searches for the ax and finds it as walkers close in on him. Negan begins firing the gun and taking out walkers allowing Rick to return to the locked door. An enraged Rick begins chopping away at walkers until Negan brings him back in and they drive back to the site of the mutilation.
Upon their return, Rick gets drug out again and Negan still does not like his look so he comes up with an idea for Rick to prove his loyalty. He gives Rick a choice: cut Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) arm off or he will have every survivor left executed. Rick begins to plead with Negan as does Michonne (Danai Gurira) fearing for Rick and Carl. This only enrages Negan as he begins to count down from three and tells rick he wants it sliced nice, like a piece of salami. As Negan reaches one, Carl knowingly looks at Rick and tells him to do it. Just then Negan stops Rick, telling him he now has the look he wanted to see. After quips of shitting in scrambled eggs and nominating Rick’s group including the departed for a spirit award, Negan has Daryl thrown into a van and taken away. He leaves the group with a truck to bring him supplies and departs with the rest of the saviors but not before one of the groups snaps some pictures of Negan’s handy work.
Maggie is the first to rise to her feet as she makes her way to Glenn’s mutilated corpse, telling Rick to get ready for a fight. Maggie becomes a major leader in the comic and it seems like this may be where season seven will head. The group gathers with Maggie in a heart wrenching scene telling her they are all family. The group removes the bodies, leaving an overhead shot of Maggie standing between two blood stains. The next scene was very touching an even elicited an aww (out loud) from me. Negan spoke earlier in the episode about them never being able to all sit at a table together for a Sunday dinner. The scene was the whole group happily sitting around a large table with food and at the head of the table was Glenn holding he and Maggie’s son. Talk about showing you your heart after ripping it out! This scene was the trampling after the showing. The episode ends with the camera focused in on Rick’s tear stained eyes intently looking ahead in a combination of sorrow and fury.
What a way to kick off season 7! I don’t know how you can make the show any better than it was tonight. Huge kudos to writer Scott Gimple and director Greg Nicotero for crafting a vision the likes of which make this show like nothing else ever put on television. I know there have been some episodes that have made some people turn their backs on the show (without mentioning names….Shmantos Shmellin Jr.). This is the episode that will welcome you back with open arms displaying that The Walking Dead is here to stay! If you are an emotional person there is no doubt you cried and even if you are not that person this episode was touching and may have caused a sniffle or two. The acting was superb, the storyline was gripping and the effects were excellent, I could not be more excited to see what happens next.
The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 1 “The Day Will Come When You Will Not Be” (5 / 5) on the Thug Meter