The Walkind Dead – Season 7 – Episode 1 Review

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Tonight saw the highly anticipated return of The Walking Dead. Fans were left with a huge cliffhanger after the last episode of season 6 as Rick and the gang were captured by Negan. They were all lined up and we knew Negan kills one of the group but who does he kill? *SPOILERS AHEAD*

Season 7 dives right back into the action, as we see Rick Grimes face off with Negan, saying, “I’m going to kill you… not today, not tomorrow….but I’m going to kill you”. Negan laughs it off and starts to show Rick the reality of his situation, he takes Rick’s hatchet, grabs him and takes him into the RV. Negan wants to show Rick what the future holds, and wants to assert his dominance over him and the group like he obviously has done before.

Negan sits in the front seat of the RV and allows Rick to reach for the hatchet and attempt to kill him. But this attempt is short lived, as Negan pulls a gun on Rick. This is all a ploy to make Rick realise that Negan is in charge. He drives off, and tells Rick to think about what just happened. At this stage we still don’t know who Negan has killed, and Rick begins to have flashbacks of each and every person in the group. Negan then stops the RV, picks up the hatchet once again, opens the door, and throws the hatchet out into a huge crowd of walkers, and orders Rick to retrieve it. In doing so, he once again shows Rick who the boss is.

Rick successfully gets past the walkers and up onto the RV, retrieves the hatchet, and then falls to his feet. The flashbacks start again, and we are reminded of Negan and his rhyme, as he decides who to pick as his victim. The filming is done extremely well and through the point of view of Rick. It goes through each character multiple times, and finally… it ends.

Abraham is ‘it’. He is the one chosen, and the group are made to watch Negan brutally bat him down, by repeatedly striking him over the head with his bat Lucille. The group suffer in silence as Negan threatened to kill them if they made a move or sound. The scene certainly makes for grotesque viewing, but nothing the fans haven’t seen before, but the fact that it’s a character loved by many makes it all the more difficult to watch. Negan starts to showboat the bat to Rosita by ordering her to look at it but she can’t bring herself to, and Daryl can’t stand it any longer, so he gets up and punches Negan in the face before he’s restrained. He lets him away with it as he said before that the first step out of line is free, but goes on to tell the group that this sort of thing is a “no no”.

Negan continues on with his speech and then says “So, back to it” and proceeds to strike Glenn over the head with the bat. This is a huge shock to the group and especially to the fans as no one expected a second member to be killed. The viewing in this scene is tough again as we see a severely disfigured Glenn after he takes the hit. He speaks out to Maggie and then gets struck again until he is dead. Fans had guessed before that Glenn would be the one to suffer the blow to Lucille, just like the comics depict, but after Abraham was killed, it looked like he was in the clear, but unfortunately he was not. A fan favourite who escaped death in the series before, has been snatched away once again, and this time for definite. The group are visibly in shock, no more so than Maggie, and the site of horror and disgust on their face more than likely perfectly portrays most of the fans of the show at that very moment. This was a move that the fans certainly hadn’t predicted, and even as we struggle to come to terms with what just happened, we have to congratulate the producers of the show on serving us with such a shocking twist, even though we may not want to.

It then cuts back to Rick, lying on top of the RV. He is visibly upset after seeing the flashbacks, and understandably so. We hear Negan remind him of the task at hand, as tells him again and again, and grows impatient. He orders him to give him his hatchet one more time and prompts a bit of urgency as he begins to shoot up through the roof of the RV. Rick gets himself in a sticky situation as he is forced to jump off the RV to evade Negan’s bullets. He leaps and hangs onto the hanging walker seen in front of him (you may remember that the walker seen here was used as a decoy by Negan and his men in the last season). Rick dangles over multiple walkers and faces certain death, that is, until Negan shoots them all. Rick falls and drops the axe. He crawls to look for it and finds it. He then picks it up and fights his way back into the RV where he presents it to Negan.

They then continue on with their drive off. Negan says to Rick, “We’re here”, and hands him back his axe telling him he has a feeling he’ll need it and then proceeds to drag him out of the RV. They have returned to the spot where Glenn and Abraham were brutally killed. The rest of the group are still there. Negan starts to speak again, and sets the rules, and then gives Rick a decision to make. Negan orders his men to get ready and put guns to the back of the heads of everyone in the group. Negan calls Carl forward, and takes off his belt and ties it around Carl’s left arm. He tells Carl to lie down on the ground beside Rick. Negan then asks for a pen, and then draws a line on Carl’s arm. Rick pleads “please don’t”. Negan says ‘he’ won’t do anything, Rick will. So the decision Rick is faced with is either having to cut off Carl’s left arm, or having everyone in the group killed, including Carl and himself. This scene hints at the comics and ends speculation to all of the rumours that were floating around before the episode that one of the characters will get their arm chopped off.

Negan says he doesn’t feel Rick understands the situation him and the group are left in. And by doing this, he finally will. Negan orders him to pick up the axe and he gives Rick a countdown. The tension is building and just before Rick strikes down on Carl’s arm, Negan intervenes and tells Rick that now he can see that he finally understands. Negan speaks to the group and tells them that this is a “brand new beginning”.

He has his men load Daryl up into the van to take back with him and to use as leverage over Rick and the group. He ends his speech by telling them all that he and his men will be back to collect their first offering off of them in one week and then he leaves the group. The seriousness of the situation is finally acknowledged by Rick and the group. They are left alone, and left to clean up Negan’s mess. They come together in an emotional scene and take away Glenn and Abraham and set away in the RV back to Alexandria. Visions of what could have been begin to play out, a happy, safe group sit together at a dinner table, laughing, smiling and talking, and it slowly zooms into Glenn and Abraham, and then it sharply cuts back to Rick driving off in the RV. This just goes to solidify the monumental task the group are faced with. Just as Rick started to realise that community was the answer, the eutopia vision he had envisaged has truly been wiped away. Now with Glenn and Abraham dead, and Negan in charge of everything, is there anything left for the group and Alexandria? One thing is for sure, they will never be the same ever again.

The Walking Dead continues at the same time next week, and for exclusive news and first look pictures, follow our dedicated Twitter account.

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About the author

Michael O'Neill

Deputy editor at The Bite - email: michael.oneill@thebitenews.com