Season 7, Episode 1.
Lets just start off by saying that this is without a doubt one of the most emotional hours of television that we’ve seen in a long time. From start to finish, The Walking Dead has you in it’s bloody clutches. It’s the perfect introduction to such an iconic villain, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives the performance of a lifetime. His charismatic attitude to brutality translates perfectly to the screen – and it’s impossible not to hate and love his character simultaneously. He’s the catalyst for the show not to go stale. This singular episode changes everything. The episode definitely revolves around Negan, ensuring the audience of his barbaric, but effective, approach to the new world.
It’s hard not to be blown away by the way in which the writers use tension across the episode to push the audience to the edge of their seats. We see the first reveal through the eyes of the victim before we actually learn who it is – and it’s completely unforgiving. Even as the screen fades to black, the audience is immersed in the screams and the dull thudding of the bat around the recently departed. It’s thoroughly chilling. And as the episode draws on, the intensity only rises as Negan truly makes his presence known. And what seems like a completely impulsive second attack was clearly a planned shock move – and it does just that. It’s so raw that it’s hard not to be affected by it.
We’ll get into spoilers below – but for those that don’t want to know, we’ll summarise here. The episode is the jumpstart that the series needed. It could be said that The Walking Dead was beginning to get a little stale in places. However, after this highly emotional episode, it’s clear that nothing will be the same again. This is one of the best episodes of television in history, without a doubt. Spoiler warning for the next paragraph.
Ready? Don’t say we didn’t warn you. So whilst we’ve had to say goodbye to Abraham, it’s fair to say that he was an obvious guess amongst most viewers, ourselves included. And whilst we did predict that Glenn would die too – we didn’t think it would be so visceral and horrifying. Negan takes his time to finish him off, and it’s genuinely quite disturbing. What makes the scene worse is how his other half, Maggie, reacts to this. It crafts such an emotionally raw atmosphere – that we’re not sure the group will ever get over this event.
It teased some interesting things that fans of the comic book will recognise, like the amputation of Rick’s hand for example. Sooner or later, it looks like we’ll be seeing a one armed Rick at some point. Overall, the episode brilliantly introduced us to a brutally unwavering character, whilst setting up a hugely intriguing dynamic between the villain and Rick. One thing is for certain, nothing will ever be the same again on The Walking Dead.
One of the best episodes of the series to date.
- Catalyst for the future