The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: 10 Questions Raised By The Season 7 Premiere

Via: AMC

Warning: this post contains heavy SPOILERS for The Walking Dead Season premiere.

After months of waiting to find out which character was killed off in the Season 6 finale, The Walking Dead finally delivered the answer with a heart-wrenching premiere that really did change things forever on the long-running show. With the devastating loss of both Abraham and Glenn, Season 7 is positioned to be The Walking Dead’s most harrowing yet and it’s frankly difficult to know where the show might go next.

There are almost too many questions to ask right now about the upcoming season, but these are the ones I can’t stop asking following the season premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be.”

10. Will Rick Use That Ax To Kill Negan?

While Negan’s barbed wire bat Lucille took center stage in this episode when it came to inanimate objects that might as well be living, breathing characters, Rick’s unnamed hatchet was a close second. The ax was central to Negan’s plan for breaking Rick down: he threatened and teased him with it, ordered him to go fetch it, and then almost had Rick use it on his own son.

Given how significant a role the ax played in breaking Rick’s resolve and confidence, it would appear that the show is planning to have things come full circle and eventually have Rick use it to finish Negan off, but with Negan likely around for the long haul, it will be interesting to see if the writers even remember to keep the ax around long enough for Rick to use it (or if he’s even the one who ultimately kills Negan).

http://comicbook.com/thewalkingdead/2016/10/18/greg-nicotero-discusses-rick-losing-his-hand-in-the-walking-dead/ Source: Comicbook.com

9. What Does Negan Have Planned For Daryl

The premiere ended with Negan leaving the surviving members of Rick’s group to mourn the deaths of Glenn and Abraham … well, everyone except for Daryl, who got hauled off in the back of a truck bound for Negan’s home base of operations. This is an interesting turn of events, as Negan seems to have taken a keen interest in Daryl, aka the guy who punched him in the face and prompted him to murder Glenn in cold blood for reasons that remain somewhat vague (but more on that in a bit).

The most likely scenario is that Negan sees Daryl as someone he can convince to join his ranks rather easily and one who would make for a good ally given Daryl’s combat prowess, but there are many other possibilities as well, such as simply wanting to torture him in private. Given that Daryl is a made-for-TV character and has no interaction with Negan in the comics, he’s pretty much a blank slate when it comes to this story arc and his time as Negan’s prisoner(?) has the potential to be exciting stuff.

http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead/talk/2016/10/before-season-7-changes-everything-look-back-at-five-iconic-daryl-moments Source: AMC

8. Who/What Will Convince Rick To Fight Negan?

Although I had some issues with the way this episode was structured, I did enjoy the way Negan’s breaking of Rick’s spirit was handled. In particular, the situation involving Rick being ordered to cut off Carl’s arm was harrowing stuff and did a fantastic job of showing Rick’s resolve finally being broken by his new adversary.

As evidenced by Rick’s tepid response to Maggie’s assertion that Negan needs to be killed, it’s pretty clear that Rick Grimes is going to be a bit of a pushover for the next little while, as he not only deals with the loss of Glenn and Abraham, but also the loss of his confidence and status as top dog. I, for one, am curious to see what it’s going to take to get Rick to a place where he’s mentally ready to take Negan out because right now, he’s all but given up.

Via: AMC

7. What Is Life Like At Negan’s Home Base?

Like pretty much everyone else who tuned in to the season premiere, I hate Negan with a fiery passion and can’t wait to see him get his comeuppance. At the same time, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is doing such a great job with the part that I want to see him stick around for a while, especially because I’m curious to see what life under Negan’s rule is actually like.

In particular, I want to see how Negan’s base of operations, well, operates, and how he’s been able to build such a powerful band of outlaws. What is life like for the women and children (if there are any) at Negan’s camp? Are they living in constant fear or do they feel safe because of Negan’s power? There is a ton of potential to portray Negan’s Saviors as more than just another boring band of violent outlaws and I’m interested to see how the show will handle its depiction of Negan’s followers.

http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/The_Saviors_(TV_Series) Source: Walking Dead Wiki

6. How Pissed Is Maggie At Daryl Right Now?

While Maggie undoubtedly has her sights set on Negan when it comes to exacting sweet, sweet revenge, you have to think that she is just a little bit ticked off with Daryl at the moment. If not for Daryl’s sudden outburst, Glenn would still be alive and while it’s not Daryl’s fault that Negan inexplicably chose to kill Glenn over him, he does share in some of the blame.

With Daryl now in Negan’s clutches, it will likely be a while before we see any potential fallout between him and Maggie over this incident, but if it ultimately comes to a situation where Daryl’s life hangs in the balance, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Maggie opt out of risking her own life to save him.

http://comicbook.com/thewalkingdead/2016/09/09/the-walking-dead-new-speculation-points-to-a-surprising-victim-f/ Source: Comicbook.com

5. Why Did Negan Kill Glenn?

In the abstract, I get why Negan kills Glenn (and no, it’s not just because that’s what the writers decided to do, although that does have a lot to do with it): Negan’s rules were broken and someone had to pay the price. However, as shocking as it was to see Negan suddenly kill of a second character, there are two things about Glenn’s death that don’t sit right with me. For starters, it felt a bit out of character for Negan to suddenly decide to kill someone else after he said that he was only going to kill one. For a character who seems so committed to his own worldview and set of rules, Negan sure seems to break them on the slightest whim.

Second, and most importantly, is the question of why Negan chose to kill Glenn when it was Daryl who punched him in the face? It was certainly surprising to see Negan turn his anger on someone completely different, but it also didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Then again, not much does on The Walking Dead these days to begin with, so perhaps I’m just reading way too much into this.

http://www.tvguide.com/news/the-walking-dead-glenn-maggie-negan-kills-both-theory/ Source: TV Guide

4. Will Someone Just Give Maggie Some Meds Already?

Maggie was certainly the most sympathetic figure in this episode; not only does she have to sit there and watch her husband get his brains beaten out of him, but also has to deal with the fact that she’s—oh yeah—still suffering from a potentially life-threatening ailment and is pregnant on top of it all. It looks like Maggie is going to get better, as Sasha is taking her to Hilltop to seek medical treatment, but at the same time, I thought it was a bit odd that Negan didn’t offer her treatment.

Hear me out: Negan is a violent sociopath, but at the same time, he wants Rick’s people (well, most of them anyway) alive so that they can work for him. How does leaving Maggie to potentially keel over dead fit in with that scheme? We clearly see that Negan is aware of Maggie’s health issues, as he comments that she looks terrible, and he also makes reference to the fact that he has a great doctor on staff. Why doesn’t he let his doctor take a look at her? It would have been a great opportunity to show that he’s a tough but fair leader and while it wouldn’t have made Maggie hate him any less, it would have at least proven that Negan is potentially more than a one-dimensional villain.

Via: AMC

3. Why Is AMC Cool With Gore, But Not Profanity?

It’s fair to say that “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” is the most grotesque and violent episode of The Walking Dead yet, as we get all-too-familiar with what the insides of both Abraham and Glenn’s skulls look like (I’m pretty sure the image of Glenn’s eyes popping out of his head is going to permanently scar me). However, it does raise the question of why AMC is perfectly fine with showing highly graphic and violent imagery, but won’t let Negan utter an F-bomb.

Chris Hardwick joked about this during the The Talking Dead, which aired right after this episode, and it’s an issue worth thinking about. Let’s be clear: I’m not saying that The Walking Dead suddenly needs to start adding a ton of swear words to its scripts; it’s just that this episode in particular highlighted how absurd these sorts of censorship rules can be (plus, I’m just a little bit upset that we don’t get to hear Morgan sprout the same colorful dialogue as his comic counterpart).

Via: AMC

2. Why Wasn’t Abraham’s Death Shown In The Season 6 Finale?

While I think that the season premiere was a decent episode overall, I feel more strongly than ever that AMC’s decision to not reveal the identity of Negan’s (first) victim at the end of Season 6 was an absurd and wrongheaded decision. If the writers had decided to just kill Abraham off and spare Glenn, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Sure, it would have been the “safe” route since Abraham, while a likable character, isn’t important enough to elicit the kind of emotional viewer response that AMC would want, but it would have been serviceable.

The thing is, by having them shown back-to-back, Abraham’s death was almost completely overshadowed by Glenn’s, and this could have all been avoided if the Season 6 finale had shown Abraham getting killed. Fans would have had to stew over it for months as they anticipated the next season and also would have assumed that the rest of the characters were likely safe. Imagine then if the show returned and then we saw Negan kill Glenn as well? That would have been some seriously fantastic sleight-of-hand storytelling and would have made both characters’ deaths feel impactful. As it stands, I’ve already kind of gotten over poor Abe’s death because it was so grossly overshadowed by Glenn’s and that just doesn’t seem right.

http://images.amcnetworks.com/amc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/the-walking-dead-episode-606-abraham-cudlitz-1200×707.jpg Source: AMC

1. Is The Walking Dead Finally Done With The Terrible Cliffhangers?

The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere was a gripping hour of television, but it by no means justified AMC’s cliffhanger stunt. Even calling the whole thing a cliffhanger is generous, since cliffhangers are often much more rewarding and thought-provoking than AMC’s manipulative technique (“Luke, I am your father,” this is not). The whole thing just feels gross, as AMC used what should have been a shocking and pivotal moment in the series as an obvious marketing device to ensnare viewers and make sure that they had to tune in to find out the answer.

I’d like to think that we won’t see anything else like this for a while, but considering that the show made up an entire pointless cliffhanger with the whole Glenn dumpster dive plot last season, The Walking Dead may very well commit this serialization sin again. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/film-tv/9039/maybe-last-nights-major-walking-dead-death-didnt-happen/ Source: esquire.co.uk
Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

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