Things Have Changed
The season 7 premiere was aptly titled “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” and not only does this title apply to two beloved characters, but most likely 110% of the TWD fandom. Yes, that is right, AMC has left us devastated, and they started out season 7 with a bang…or rather, a swing.
The episode begins just after the brutal murders, and Negan is far from done with his taunting. He likes mind games, and Rick is the subject of these games after he promises to kill Negan…not today, not tomorrow, but someday in the future. After dragging Rick from the rest of the group and into the RV, he drives them into the middle of a horde and tosses his axe into the midst of the group of gathering walkers. Negan is in charge now, and he is proving this to Rick.
It is only once Rick has safely climbed to the top of the RV without successfully retrieving the axe that we learn what really happened. In arguably the most brutal scene in the history of The Walking Dead, Negan played his twisted game of eenie meenie miney moe, and Abraham was on the receiving end of Lucille. Things only went from bad to worse when Negan decided to hold a bloody Lucille in front of Rosita, causing Daryl to lash out. The first time someone had acted out was free, but there are no more exceptions and Daryl’s actions have consequences. Glenn is the second victim and the first Atlanta survivor to die since Andrea’s death in season 3.
Cut back to the present time, and Negan’s games continue. Rick has yet to retrieve the axe, and he is reminded of what could still happen should he refuse Negan’s orders. After a bit of a struggle he completes the task, and Negan is kind enough to allow Rick to keep it. Rick may have been in charge, but he no longer is, but according to Negan that doesn’t mean that he can’t still lead a productive life producing for Negan and the Saviors.
But the mind games aren’t over yet, and when they make it back to the rest of the group, Carl gets pulled into the mix. Rick hasn’t yet given up complete control, and Negan is determined to break him. He ties a belt around Carl’s left arm, creating a tourniquet, and orders Rick to cut his arm off using the axe. If he does it, there is a chance that Carl will still live. If he doesn’t do it, everyone will die. Just as Rick is about to follow through with the order, Negan stops him. Rick answers to Negan now, and so does everyone else. The Saviors take Daryl with them when they go, and they leave a single truck for Rick and Co. to use, stating that they will be back in one week to pick up the first offering.
The episode ends on a somber note. The group is left with two unrecognizable bodies. They are grieving, and Maggie blames herself for everything that they have gone through, including Glenn’s death. They were out here because of her. As the two bodies are loaded into the truck, we are left with an image of what could have been: the group gathered around a table eating, Maggie and Glenn’ child amongst them. Rick had been grateful in season 1, but Dr. Jenner had been right…the day has finally come when Rick isn’t.
- Enid is still in the closet. She’s been locked in there for over six months now…
- The episode’s title is a callback to season 1 when Dr. Jenner tells Rick that the day will come that he won’t be grateful…that day has finally arrived.
- Negan is the worst of the worst. We were all naïve when we thought that it couldn’t get any worse than the Governor.
- Daryl acting out and his actions leading to another character’s death…they just keep piling the guilt on Daryl. First with Beth, then with Denise, and now with Glenn. Are they really going to continue the same arc that he’s been having since season 5?
- Last words are always the worst, and I’m pretty sure that the last words spoken in the premiere broke all of us. “Suck. My. Nuts.” – Abraham (could it really get any more Abraham-esque than that?). “Maggie, I will find you.” – Glenn
- Yes, you read that right…Glenn Rhee is the first original character death that we’ve experienced since season 3. It makes it hurt all that much more.
- I’m pretty sure that all of the Daryl fangirls simultaneously died when he was taken hostage again by the Saviors.
- Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the support that Sasha was offering Maggie and Rosita even though she had lost Abraham, too.
- That episode was brutal. But did the brutality of the death scenes take away from the emotional impact?
- We’ve never before seen the group this broken. Will they be able to recover?
The gruesome brutality of this season opener did not take away from the emotional impact for ME. Much to the contrary. I’ll be honest, by the last scene where our beloved group is finally left alone by the ironically-named “Saviors” (at least for one week before they return to pic up anything and everything the group has scavenged and pillaged for them), I was in tears. So much brutality, so much loss, so much anguish, so much guilt. It was devastating, quite honestly, to watch as the group picked up the “bodies” (or what was left of them) and to see them as broken as they were.
We know (don’t we?) that our group at some point WILL find a way to retaliate and win back not just their freedom but their self-respect. It all remains to be seen HOW and WHEN and who else survives til then. But I found it ironic how in this episode the zombies took a backseat as the main bad guys. Sometimes, as my Mom always used to say, you have to be more afraid of the living than the dead.
And as a side note: In my opinion, the most brutal episode before this one, was NOT the one involving the Governor (though the DEATH of Maggie’s FATHER, Hershel, at the HAND of the Governor WAS, I believe, the most brutal DEATH). In my opinion, the most brutal episodes up until this Season 7 opener, was the one where the cannibals eat Bob’s leg in front of his very eyes which is also the same ep where they themselves get SLAUGHTERED BRUTALLY by our group in the Church (or, as it was aptly titled, simply “Four Walls and a Roof”) and the second most brutal ep to date was the one where Rick bites into the neck of one of his captors to save Carl from being sexually molested. Those two episodes, in my opinion, were very disturbing to watch, even though I admired Rick for doing whatever he had to to save his son.
Anyway, all we know is the Season 7 journey has begun….Let’s see where it leads us.