There were many titles for this blog post I had in my head, seeing as it’s Halloween: Night Of The Living Negan, Dawn Of The Bat, A Nightmare On Savior’s Street… All corny, I’ll admit. Instead I opted for a Shining reference. After a brutal and heart-wrenching season 7 opener, it seemed appropriate. Negan has certainly left his mark, particularly on the blood stained gravel floor that laid beneath our battered heroes. For months, we waited and toyed with every theory under the sun about which one of our beloved characters got the honor of meeting Lucille up close and personal. The positioning of the trees behind Negan, the teasing clip showing blood on the right side of Rick’s grief-striken face. It was all too much for online bloggers. Viewers were just bursting to find out. Well, you know what they say: ask and you most certainly shall receive.
We already knew how superb Jeffrey Dean Morgan is portraying Negan in the season 6 finale (and my gushing review in my previous post), making The Governor seem more like a panto villain in a nativity play. This guy is the real deal. Along with his band of merry men, The Saviors, they are truly a force to be reckoned with. Many people were in uproar about how the season finale ended (myself included), making us wait month after agonising month until we saw who got kicked out of the walking dead family. It wasn’t until the season 7 opener aired, that it was worth the wait after all. Still teasing us the first few minutes with merely seconds after the punishment was given out, we see a blood stained Lucille being shoved in Rick’s face, with Negan almost bragging about his sadistic act. He has Rick right where he wants him. And he’s got us hook line and sinker too. It’s just simply impossible to hate Negan. Loving the sound of his own voice and laughing with every cruel whack of his weapon. Should we really be loving this guy? When he’s this darn cool, yes.. we.. should.
Forcing Rick into an RV van, and then forcing him to get his axe after chucking it into a sea of walkers, Negan tells Grimes to remember what happened. This is it. The moment we have been waiting for. The event which will change everything. Nothing will be the same again. Flashback to the season 6 finale, our hearts racing as if we are in the line-up ourselves, waiting to see who is to be killed. A devilish Eeny Meeny is recited. The bat moving from sweaty individual, the grim reaper chooses his victim. Like a cat that’s playing with a mouse, Negan ends their suffering (and ours to be fair) and lands on Abraham. Many viewers spotted Abraham’s peace sign to Sasha. Not glancing in her direction, fearing it could put her in danger, it’s a sweet moment that shows that under all his machismo, Abraham’s softer side shines bright in his last moments. With a sickening thud, Lucille finally meets her prey. Still not going out without having the last say, Abraham utters the words “suck, my, nuts”. You can now get this phrase on t-shirts and hoodies online. Thanks Abe.
With every squelch and thwack of this barbaric bludgeoning, our hearts begin to sink. We have found out after all this time, it was Abraham….. And Glenn. Yes, we get 2 deaths after all. A curveball was thrown, as we thought we’d seen the punishment already dished out. They stayed true to the comics and made the iconic death a bloody reality (can be taken as a curse word, or to describe the nature of how he was killed. The choice is yours, dear readers). It shouldn’t have come to a surprise to anyone that follows the graphic novels, but the lightning speed of the bat crashing down on the former pizza delivery boy’s head, it was a shock indeed. The grotesque image of the soon-to-be-daddy’s eye popping out will be forever carved into our minds. With a haunting but sombre gurgled message to Maggie uttering the words: “I’ll find you”, Glenn takes his final breath, as Negan brings the bat down on his head. Again. And again. And again. It’s important to note Abraham and Glenn, in their final moments, were not thinking about themselves. A message to both of their loved ones asking them to be brave, and that this would not be the last time they saw each other. I like that they’ve killed off Glenn, as it will make Maggie’s story arc better, (spoiler) turning her into a stronger character and be the leader that she will eventually become.
Going off on a minor tangent, if I may. I don’t think the blame falls entirely on Negan for Glenn’s death. Yes he had the bat. Yes he had the arms that was holding the bat, resulting in both working together to kill Glenn. But I think the blame falls to Daryl. Hear me out: Negan gave Glenn a free pass after lashing out towards him after threatening Maggie because, understandably, emotions were high. Daryl clearly disregarded this warning later on and lunged for Negan after Abraham’s death. This then resulted in Negan reminding the group that shit will be shut down, no exceptions. Thus, causing him to land the blow on the man who did the lunging in the first place. Simply put: Daryl is a dick. A brave and courageous dick, but a dick nonetheless.
Next on the torture agenda was the “almost chopping off Carl’s arm” scenario. With the tension racking up to boiling point, and with a 3 second countdown, Rick’s pleading and genuine heartache finally showed to Negan that Rick knew who the real boss was, to which Carl was spared. A simply tour de force acting excellence from Andrew Lincoln again. Like a peasant to his master, he finally bows down to Negan’s will, worshipping the ground that he walks on.
With Negan’s message made perfectly clear, and making Daryl his prisoner, the Saviors take their leave, leaving the group to clear up the mess. With Rick helping carrying Glenn’s body away, he too must carry the burden of the aftermath of this traumatic day. How will he respond to such a horrible ordeal his soldiers have been through? With Negan already setting the pieces down on this game of territory, Rick will certainly have to form a plan to work his way around the board. The Walking Dead has returned.
by George Millard