'The Walking Dead,' season 7 premiere: RIP to all of us
It's all going to be okay.
AMC promised a brutal and heartbreaking season premiere of The Walking Dead, and it delivered twofold.
The cliffhanger at the end of last season was torture. Not only did we see Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) beat someone to death with a barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat named Lucille, we were left hanging for almost 7 months as to who actually died.
But Sunday night's premiere was borderline sadism. I love horror movies and slasher shows, especially ones that feature zombies. It's different seeing something that's already dead get killed again.
But watching someone bash in the skulls of two other people is just sickening.
And Negan smiled and laughed while he did it, spewing vile words like "taking it like a champ" and "was the joke that bad?"
This guy makes Game of Thrones' Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton look like innocent babes.
Aside: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a flawless Negan. Seriously, if you haven't read the comics yet, read them for his character. I promise you will love him.
The elaborate theories attempting to explain who died by Lucille have been churning on the web for months. No matter how many people claimed to have spoilers or bragged about how they connected the dots to who died, none could have predicted this much horror.
The first to go was Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). His last words to Negan "suck my nuts" would have been funny if we didn't see Negan turn his brain to pulp seconds later.
The second to go was Glenn (Steven Yeun).
We didn't see this coming. We thought it was all over after Abraham. But Daryl (Norman Reedus) lashed out at Negan when Negan was taunting Rosita (Christian Serratos) to take a gander at Lucille, which was covered in Abraham's blood. For a terrifying second it looked like Daryl was going to be next. But Negan made Glenn pay for Daryl's outburst.
Glenn's last words wouldn't be funny in any context: "Maggie, I'll find you." He choked these words after the first crushing blow from Negan, his face half smashed in, covered in blood and one eye popping out of its socket.
I'm honestly surprised AMC allowed such brutal scenes.
I don't even have the words to describe the look of horror and grief on Maggie's face and she struggles to breathe and make sure her husband's body is taken back to be buried at the end.
After witnessing two of his closest friends get beaten to death, Rick is dragged into the RV by Negan, who takes him on a little drive. Apparently, Negan didn't like the way Rick kept looking at him, "like I s**t in your scrambled eggs." Rick needed another lesson in who's boss now.
In the middle of the street near the overpass where Rick and the group saw walkers dangling from nooses, Negan tosses Rick's axe outside the RV and tells him to go fetch.
It would've been a lot easier if they weren't surrounded by walkers and dense fog.
After all that gore, seeing Rick fight off walkers was almost calming.
Negan still isn't satisfied with Rick's choice of facial expressions once he retrieves the axe and gets back to the clearing.
The final step in Negan's twisted game is commanding Rick to chop off Carl's left hand. I don't think we've ever seen Rick break down like he did in this moment. Andrew Lincoln did a glorious job.
Luckily, Negan sees the face he wants to see from Rick, and Carl's arm is saved.
What happens next? Well, the group is down two people, they're grieving, horrified and probably thinking, "how do we move on from this?" If watching Negan obliterate Abraham and Glenn wasn't bad enough, it was pure torture seeing Maggie, Sasha and Rosita try to do something with the bodies of the men they loved.
Oh, and Negan took Daryl back with the Saviors. Because he "likes him." Unless Rick and his group rally together to save Daryl, we might not see much of him through this season.
The seventh season premiere was unlike anything this show has put on the table before. Sure, there were game-changers before — the Governor, Gareth and Terminus, the Wolves, the undead people trying to eat everyone — but Negan and his Saviors represent a dramatic shift to a new world.
The chaos of the zombie apocalypse has settled, and factions of people are creating new communities and lives for themselves. And not everyone wants to leave in peace and harmony.
Why is Negan doing all this to Rick and his group? Because they crossed him. They thought they could outmaneuver him and his Saviors. They underestimated him.
Negan is a cold, calculated and sadistic villain. But he's also taking advantage of what the apocalypse has given him — the ability to completely control people through fear.
Rick and his group have always been the top dogs wherever they went. They're smart, they know how to fight and, above all, they care about each other.
Negan just broke whatever fighting spirit they had.
In his world, "You answer to me. You provide for me. You belong to me."
This was just a taste of what Negan will do on this season of The Walking Dead. Buckle up.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.