The Walking Dead returned to AMC for the start of Season 7, and as you probably know, Negan kicked it all of by killing a couple of familiar faces. The Season 6 finale left the crew at the hands of the leader of The Saviors. Someone was going to die, and we had to wait all summer for an answer.
Fans got that answer during an intense and emotionally gripping season premiere. Rick and Negan came head-to-head, and Rick was left with a few decisions to make: would he continue to fight and lead his own people or will he bow down to Negan in order to assure his group’s safety? Along the way, a few other pivotal moments happened as well, and we’re breaking down this week’s biggest developments.
Warning: Spoilers for the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead below.
A Couple of Beloved Characters Kick the Bucket
By now, you know that both Abraham and Glenn met Lucille, Negan’s bat. It was brutal, emotional, and painful to watch. It also took a little too long to happen. Negan first killed Abraham because Negan said he always kills one person from a group when meeting them. However, after an outburst from Daryl, Negan decided to kill Glenn as well because Negan wants to be obeyed at all times.
Fans knew someone was going to die, but the curveball was that two characters were killed off. The scenes were incredibly graphic, and there were a couple small moments that matched what happened in The Walking Dead #100, which was probably incredibly hard for any of the fans of the comic series to watch. More importantly, these moments are Negan displaying dominance. This is just the beginning, and if Negan is willing to go this far upon first meeting the group, how far is he willing to go if Rick and company start fighting back?
Negan Wants to Keep Rick Alive
While Negan bashed Glenn and Abraham’s skulls in with incredible ease, he didn’t do the same to the leader, Rick. In fact, it’s clear that Negan wants to keep Rick alive. He tested Rick by driving him down the road, in the RV, and tossed him out to the walkers. However, instead of letting the undead eat Rick, Negan shot them down and saved him.
Negan is all about wearing people down, so they’ll be more susceptible to what he says. While he may seem crazy, there is a method to his madness, which is shrouded by the cold, yet highly-charismatic, persona he puts on. This episode did wonders for character development for that character. Viewers got a clear and concise vision of who Negan is and what he wants.
Negan Has a Way of Getting What He Wants and He’s in Charge Now
As if two people getting murdered wasn’t heart-wrenching enough, Negan found a way to get what he wants from Rick: putting Carl’s life in danger. Negan drew a line on Carl’s arm and told Rick he has to cut his son’s arm off with a hatchet. If he didn’t, Carl would die and so would everyone else. It was a painful moment for Rick, as well as the audience, watching Rick struggle with the decision, while Carl remained relatively cool about it. Right before Rick was about to swing the weapon, Negan stopped him and told him that he was in charge and things were going to be different.
Much like the moment with Negan and Rick in the RV, this scene really helped define who Negan is. He knows how to get people on his side: through fear. This was almost as hard to watch as Negan bashing in Abraham’s skull. Actor Andrew Lincoln did a tremendous job at showing emotion as he was about to hurt his son for the greater good.
Daryl Gets Taken Away
Glenn died because Daryl stood up and punched Negan in the face. If he never did that, only Abraham would have died. However, Negan still kept him alive, and at the end of the episode, Negan had Daryl thrown into the back of a van and taken away. If Rick doesn’t obey Negan, he will mutilate Daryl and send the pieces to him.
Negan is keeping Daryl as insurance, just in case Rick and his group get any bright ideas. He may be ruthless, but Negan is showing that he’s smart. He didn’t get to where he is at just by killing off people. He always has a backup plan. However, what does this mean for Daryl? Will Negan try to break him and make him join The Saviors, or will he be locked up and forgotten about?
The Season 7 premiere was an emotional rollercoaster. While it was incredibly frustrating to have to wait for 20 minutes to find out who died, it paid off in the end. This episode wasn’t so much about who was going to die as it was a one-hour of character development for this season’s villain. Rick and the people of Alexandria are in for one hell of a ride. How will they overcome this monster? Comic book readers may have a good idea of how that will happen, but it seems like all hope is lost for the group.