After a polarizing season finale left viewers in limbo with a frustrating off-screen death, AMC’s The Walking Dead returned with a bloody, gut-churning premiere that revealed that newly-introduced villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) killed not one character, but two.
The episode, entitled “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” slowly, agonizingly lifted the veil on the brutal scene that every viewer had been waiting for, ultimately revealing that Negan had chosen to bash the brains of the lovable ginger Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), who was a front-runner in many prediction pools prior to the episode airing. But Abraham’s untimely demise was only the beginning of the misery that was in store for viewers who tuned into the hour-long episode …
Thanks to a misguided, violent bit of protest from fan-favorite Daryl (Norman Reedus), Negan decided that Rick’s group didn’t quite understand the new world order and turned his bat on Glenn (Steven Yuen), the original victim from The Walking Dead comic. Many had assumed that Glenn would be safe considering a large section of Season 6 was spent teasing the character’s death, but it would seem that the show’s writers leveraged this fake-out against viewer expectations and decided to one-up the comics by killing Abraham in addition to Glenn.
While I still don’t feel like that cliffhanger was justified and was ultimately a poor decision on AMC’s part, this premiere did a good job of setting up Negan as an absolutely ruthless new villain and was easily the show’s most gruesome episode yet. I’m sad to see Abraham and Glenn go and honestly, the show will be more difficult to enjoy without their presence. Let’s hope The Walking Dead finds a way to fill the void left by their absence.