Critics Corner: The Walking Dead season premiere

Sarah Graham, Chattanooga, Tenn. –  Season seven of The Walking Dead kicked off with a bang, or should I say whack, on Sunday night by reminding its viewers that the real threat in the zombie apocalypse is other people. Beware spoilers and the dead ahead.

After six months of anxious waiting and furious over-analyzing, it was finally revealed who got the short end of Negan’s bat at the end of season six. Lucille claimed not one, but two victims that night as the audience was forced to say goodbye to Abraham Ford and Glenn Rhee.         

When the victim from the cliffhanger was revealed to be Abraham, I had mixed emotions. I was both glad and disappointed that it wasn’t one of my favorite characters. Glad because hey, it means they get to stick around for one more episode but disappointed that all of that buildup left me feeling unsatisfied.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Abraham. I loved his vulgar witticisms and his strength of character, but it didn’t feel like I knew him enough to be devastated. He was only introduced back towards the end of season four and has very little back story compared to some of the other characters. I was sad, but certainly not sobbing like other season premieres had left me. The sobbing would come later, unfortunately.

Despite the sadness of losing a member of the group and not knowing if another would happen, I still thoroughly enjoyed the episode. I’ve been looking forward to Negan’s story line for a while now, and Jeffery Dean Morgan plays him spectacularly.

You almost want to laugh until you remember he just mercilessly beat a man’s head in with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire that’s named after his dead wife. The brutality didn’t stop there, though, and is certain not to stop anytime soon, thanks to the full introduction of the leader of the Saviors.

After making mashed potatoes out of Abraham’s skull (and now I can never eat mashed potatoes again), Negan kept viewers on the edge of their seats by throwing Rick Grimes into a foggy walker herd after an ax, then almost making him cut off his son Carl’s left arm with said ax.

Keep in mind that Carl is already missing his right eye, if he’d have lost his arm he’d start looking like a three-year old Mr. Potato Head. I’ll stop with the potato references now.

However, all of this delightful psychological torture was only after the second death of the night and the one that started the water works: Glenn Rhee.

Fans of the comics will know that this is Glenn’s original fate, but after the dumpster fake-out of season six, a lot of fans of the TV show thought that it would be ridiculous to trick everyone into believing he was dead, show him as alive, and then actually kill him not long after. It was, but that doesn’t mean I’ll miss the delivery boy that became the heart of the show any less, especially since it was revealed last season that his wife, Maggie, is pregnant.

 Overall, I think this is one of my favorite season premieres yet. After some slowness from season six, it really served as a reminder of how ruthless this world and its survivors can be in order to make it out on top. It was beautifully shot, and the flashback elements, as well as the jumping around of the timeline, reflected how disjointed and traumatized the group is after these fresh losses.

So where does this leave viewers for next week? Maggie is still facing pregnancy complications, leading the group to go to Hilltop instead of prepping for war.

My personal favorite character, Daryl, has been kidnapped and taken to Sanctuary as insurance for the first delivery of supplies to the Saviors in a week. He’s already been shot and, after punching Negan, who knows what kind of shape we’ll find him in the next time we see him.

There is also a sneak peak of the Kingdom, finally, so be on the lookout for knights and pet tigers. Here’s hoping this season retains its viciousness without ripping out our hearts too badly, yeah?

Addie Whitlow

Addie Whitlow

Assistant Features Editor

Addie is a Chattanooga native majoring in Communication with a minor in English: Writing. If she isn't reading or watching movies, some of her favorite pastimes include spending time on the lake, taking way too many photos of her dog, Ripley, chasing after sunsets, and eating pasta salad. To get in touch, email her or tweet her at @mirage_hall.

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