The Walking Dead Season 7 Opener Fails Spectacularly

AMC

AMC

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.

Close scene.

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!

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2 Comments

  1. I’m still shell shocked. I didn’t care much for last season’s finale or this season’s opener. Over the top, too much in too short of a time span. Everything seems like a jumbled mess right now. I know they have a pre-existing story line with the comic books. The scene with Glenn’s final moments followed that rather clearly. *sigh* I would never pretend that I could tell them how to do it any better and it doesn’t stop me from being a fan of the show. It does make me appreciate the non-tethered aspects of Fear the Walking Dead though.

  2. Well, I disagree with most of what you wrote.

    It was gruesome, I’ll give you that, but no more so than dozens of other episodes with walkers biting into flesh, or pulling out someone’s organs while they’re still alive, etc. TWD is known for the gore. And for Negan, this was a statement. Rick and his crew killed dozens of his men in their sleep. So he had to retaliate or risk losing control of his people. The bludgeoning was that statement. He’s also clearly a psychopath who gets off on it.

    I thought the way they held off on the reveal was great. I was right there, filled with anxiety, trying to figure out who was killed based on the limited clues they presented during that first fifteen minutes. Was I frustrated? No. Maybe I’m an outlier, but I prefer the anticipation. If the episode opened up and in the first 30 seconds we saw the 2 deaths, then where is the tension? By not revealing who was dead, the show made the audience wonder what was going to happen, in the same way Rick didn’t know what was going to happen next to him and his ‘family.’ Negan is this unstoppable force that (at least at this point) is holding all the cards, and by not giving us what we want (the identity of who Negan killed), the audience feels that uncertainty and lack of control that Rick is feeling. I think we as a society are too dependent on instant gratification. We don’t want to wait to find answers to our questions. We have mini computers in the palms of our hands so we never have to sit and think for 30 seconds of the name of the guy who played Lowell on Wings. We can just IMDB it. We binge watch everything and as a result we never fully contemplate the meaning of the things we see on screen. Sometimes its better to let things stew for a while so that we can appreciate it more. If we just get the immediate answer, where is the fun in that?

    I think killing Glenn as a result of Daryl’s actions is more terrifying than simply killing Daryl for hitting him. By killing Glenn, not only has Negan shown how unpredictable he is, but also leaves that “what if” out there to gnaw away at the remaining Alexandrians. Had he killed Daryl, everyone would have said, “whelp, Daryl did hit him.” But now the thinking will be, if Daryl had just sat there, then Glenn would still be alive. It adds regret and anger and blame to the equation instead of just an eye for an eye. And that “what if” will be there for the rest of these character’s lives…not just the bitter acceptance that Daryl got what he deserved because he punched the big bad.

    Why didn’t Rick kill Negan in the RV? I guess because the hundreds of Negan’s followers were pointing machine guns at all of his friends and his son. I doubt they would respond like the Wicked Witch of the West’s henchman and let them all go after Negan was dead. “The axe, may we have it?” – “Yes, and take it with you!”

    And finally, the Kodak moment. I noticed it. It’s disturbing, but its a callback to the photos that Glenn found when they killed all of Negan’s men. After Glenn killed one of them he looked up and saw the photos on the wall above the (now dead) man’s bed. These guys are bad news.

    Overall, I thought the episode worked exceedingly well. There was tension the whole time, you had no idea how or if they were going to get out alive. And this was the turning point episode for Rick. For 7 seasons he’s been the top dog, the man with the plan, and the toughest guy in the room. So for him to have to suck it up and cower down to Negan, to accept that he was at this psychopath’s mercy … that required more than a few minutes of screen time. It needed a whole episode, spanning just a few hours after a horrible event, for Rick to fully come to terms with what he saw and what he has to do to move forward to survive.