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The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere Review


It’s hard to describe how I felt after watching the season seven premiere of “The Walking Dead” on Wednesday night, but I think one super-fan interviewed during the post-show program summed up the sentiment pretty well. “Empty,” he said.

Anyone that watches the show will tell you it’s not for the faint of heart. “The Walking Dead” has been a gut-wrenching ride since its first season, featuring gory zombies, graphic violence and emotional — often brutal — character deaths. However, last night’s episode tested even some of the most hardened of fans’ limits as to the amount of emotional distress that they could handle. The premiere of the hit AMC drama left viewers dazed, upset and downright traumatized.

The last time we saw Rick’s group of survivors in the sixth season’s finale, they were lined up, kneeling at the mercy of sadistic Negan and his weapon of choice, a wicked baseball bat named Lucille. Eleven main characters’ lives were at stake, but viewers weren’t shown who got the bat, leading to six long months of speculation as fans weathered an agonizing cliff hanger, arguably one of the most frustrating in TV history.

Twenty minutes into last night’s episode, when I thought that maybe the secret of who got the sharp end of Lucille was going to be drawn out for the entire episode, the first character death was revealed. Abraham was, quite tragically, the first victim of Negan’s extreme sadism.

I somewhat saw Abraham’s death coming, as he was a character that was relatively new to the group, joining in season four, and it seemed like an obvious choice for the writers to take. Not to say that his death wasn’t horrifying and emotional, but the scene as a whole was extremely well performed by all of the actors.

It was the death of Glenn, one of my favorite characters since his first heroic moments in season one, that was truly devastating. Not only was his death scene shocking and upsetting, it left me with a bad feeling. For all the times that Glenn has escaped death when it was literally infeasible …. to have him die in such an ugly way seemed almost like an injustice to his character. I felt our last view of the selfless, courageous Glenn should not have been him with his eyeball popping out of his head. It seemed almost as if the writers were going to great lengths to try to prove they have the guts to kill off beloved characters.

The misery did not let up after these horrible scenes; it got even worse, if that’s possible. Negan, unconvinced of Rick’s willingness to give up his power as leader to someone else, nearly forced Rick to chop his own son’s arm off. Of all the scenes in the episode, I thought that was the most pivotal, as we finally see Rick at his breaking point. This episode’s emotional scenes were played out through Rick’s point of view, and Andrew Lincoln did an incredible job of conveying Rick’s arrival at the edge of his limits. I have to commend Chandler Riggs, who plays Rick’s son, Carl, as well. When he said, “Dad, just do it,” I think I could hear hearts across America breaking.
In the end, I almost can’t decide whether this was the best episode of “The Walking Dead” I’ve ever seen, or one of the worst. In terms of emotional response, this episode provoked the most emotion I’ve ever felt while watching this show. As for the plot, it’s hard to see how the sheer brutality will somehow work itself out into a plot that doesn’t totally revolve around the grieving process of the characters. I’ve heard chatter that the premiere episode was somehow intended to “wipe the slate,” bringing the characters down to their most vulnerable, powerless levels yet, and rewiring the trajectory of the show. Although viewers cannot currently see how the devastation of the season premiere will affect the future plot, it’s undeniable that the group will not be able to recover from these losses quickly. However, focusing the entire season on such a depressing topic might start to be a drag for viewers.

On the bright side, the show introduced an incredible new villain. Negan became the most hated character on TV within a half hour, and something about his nonchalant commitment to sadism makes even the Governor, season two’s villain, look tame. Exploring Negan’s personality and how he came to be such a merciless person could prove interesting for subsequent episodes of this season.



User Rating 9 ( 1 vote)
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The Walking Dead S07 E01

9.7

Excellent

While the writers have a tough path to forge, trying to reign fans back in that were disillusioned by Glenn’s death, I think season seven of “The Walking Dead” might be one of the most gripping yet.


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All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.
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