The Walking Dead‘s season 7 premiere (“The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”) failed.
Too over the top … too gruesome … too much character thrust at us in such a short period of time. The “too muches” in episode go on and on.
In last year’s season ender, Negan was introduced pretty effectively, more or less. And his character was established for the most part. You knew he meant business, you knew he was going to exact revenge for messing with his men and methods and that time of reckoning, whether you were ready for it or not, was nigh.
So … how did TWD fail from that final scene through this episode? Let’s count the ways:
- The Gruesomeness And Grandiosity: All that gore, the ongoing bludgeoning of Abraham and Glenn, none of it was necessary. A couple thwacks each to assure they were dead and that would have been more than enough. Understandably, TWD wanted to establish the nature of Negan’s character beyond what was introduced last season, wanting to define how much of a sadistic psychopath the man truly is. Instead, it was so over the top, the killings being languished over beyond the point being made, it toed the line of ridiculousness. In fact, it was deplorable, protracted and shameful of the producers to let it play out the way it did. We know Negan is vicious and perverse. That’s without question. To anguish over the bludgeonings of his victims was gratuitousness simply for gratuitousness’ sake. It did nothing to add to Negan’s character, not one single thing.
- Negan Himself: Atop the mentions above, Negan was showcased during the episode to the point you were done seeing him. The stare downs that went on forever he cast Rick’s way, sitting there sizing him up … they went on unabashedly. His mannerisms, and especially the way he changed subjects, was tedious and difficult to watch. Watching Negan, you’d think the guy was calculating, someone who had a firm idea on how things would play out before implementing action. And he has and does. But the over-reactions and lingering nature of his time on screen got tiresome quickly. Short, sharp bursts of his pretenses leaving questions in their wake would have been more effective.
- Who Died: Fifteen minutes into the episode and we still didn’t know who was on the business end of Lucille. Fifteen. Minutes. Again, another tact used by TWD to prolong and heighten the anxiety of what was unfolding on the screen (and which has been done many times previous to terrific effect) that did more to frustrate the viewing public rather than ramp up the intensity of the moment.
- Negan’s Guarantee: With Glenn’s outburst and Negan’s proclamation it not take place again with any of Rick’s group, Daryl’s haymaker surprise to Negan’s jaw naturally should have been cause for immediate action. And that action? It should have resulted in Daryl’s death right then and there. Negan failed on that count. Spectacularly. As all-powerful and ominous as he’d like to be known, that was an unforgivable backslide on his part, one that cannot be excused based on what he promised. A huge, floundering blunder.
- Rick’s Opportunities: Rick had ample chances to tussle with Negan during the drive to the bridge for the “little chat.” You mean to tell me the drive over didn’t afford Rick the opportunity to take that ax and whack Negan in the back of the head with it? That there was never a time Rick wasn’t able to tackle him from behind and wrestle him out of the driver’s seat? That Rick was so shell-shocked from the death of his two friends he didn’t have the wherewithal to do anything at all against Negan? Is that the Rick we know from the past six seasons?
- That Kodak Moment: Did you see the guy in the background who snapped that Polaroid of what was left of Glenn as Negan’s crew vacated the premises? Talk about the icing on the cake, that was one of the most ludicrous and nonsensical things TWD has ever done.
Yeah … we know Negan’s a bad guy. We knew someone was going to meet their end. We knew things weren’t going to be all unicorns and happiness and rainbows come episode’s end.
But the manner in which the creators laid out The Walking Dead on screen Sunday night didn’t play out well in the least.
Yes, there is a contingent of viewers and fans out there who reveled in the outcome of this very disappointing episode, probably one of the most disappointing in the show’s history.
I am not one of them, not by a mile.
There’s certainly another faction who viewed this season opener, threw up their hands and claimed they are done with the show. And you can’t blame them.
What did you think of the premiere? Did the producers go too far? Tell us in the comments below. We want to hear from you!