Well, we finally got our answer. Lucille, Negan’s “vampire bat” took Abraham. Then Glenn.
It was a sad night, a bloody night, a show-altering night.
First, the plot dump. Simple really: Negan’s kills Abraham, which prompts Daryl to strike Negan in furious retribution. Neegan, citing his strict adherence to his own laws of “first one is free, then it’s on you”, kills Glenn as well as punishment for Daryl’s transgression. Shocked and revolted Rick is then taken by Negan into the RV and driven to a foggy, Silent Hill-ish area full of walkers, where he proceeds to force Rick’s to fetch his hatchet outside the RV among the sea of dead. Negan ends up saving Rick after he retrieves the axe. Rick is humbled but still unbroken, so Negan brings him back to the group and tests Rick again by forcing him to hack off Carl’s arm, but this, finally is the straw that breaks Rick’s back. Rick is broken, and Negan and his crew then leave after laying down the rules of their new arrangement, taking Daryl as collateral, leaving Rick and crew in shambles. Sasha then offers to take the grief-stricken Maggie to the Hilltop with the bodies of her lost love Glenn, and Abraham.
Firstly, this episode was superbly acted by all involved. It was intense and deep, and that came through. Jefferey Dean Morgan was especially chilling as Negan: visceral, coldly logical and playful at the same time, and exuding a power we have not yet seen in the show. It was also shot beautifully, with lingering close-ups and expert use of flashbacks in Ricks mind to tease us with who might be killed.
Rick’s character underwent a monumental change. He has been the fearless leader, the unbroken reservoir of strength, bolstered by the moral compass and heart of Glenn, and later, the brutal strength of Abraham. Now those are gone, he is rendered truly powerless for the first time, and his will is usurped by Negan. It will take a lot to bring that back, if it can ever be restored, and Andrew Lincoln did an amazing job bringing that to life.
Negan, at this point, seems one-dimensional. He is almost Cobra Commander-like in his lunacy, with nothing yet revealed about his motivations or his drive. He is just evil. With the Governor, we had a back story, a reason for his drive:, his daughter. And he was able to keep Woodbury relatively peaceful. But Negan, at this point, is just cold and crazy for the lolz. I wanted some reason for why he was putting Rick and his crew through all of this other than just to make them fall in line; I wanted more of an excuse for his behavior, as there are other, less brutal ways to extract obedience out of a group.
Glenn’s death, while brutal and moving, seemed a bit too abrupt. Albeit it was reactionary on Negan’s part due to Daryl striking him, but if Glenn had to go, I would have liked to have seen him fight for his life a bit more, struggle against it and come to terms with his death instead of it coming so quickly with no time for us to feel some closure. That might be why it felt so hurtful, we really didn’t get to say goodbye to Glenn through the course of an episode, even though this death was in line with how it went down in the comics.
And how did the ax get on the roof of the RV? Perhaps it was just bad writing, but that was kind of a plot hole. Did Negan throw it up there off screen? Maybe.
The only thing the episode was criticized for on a massive scale was its hyper-violence. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with this but I can see how other’s would. I think they could have spent more time fleshing out the ending of Glenn and Abraham rather than spending more time showing their eyes pop out of their skulls. That doesn’t make me care for them more, or close up my relationship with those characters. Some dialogue and decisions on how to face death, however, would.
All in all a solid season opener, one of the best, setting a new course for Rick and the group, with lots of room to explore Negan, plus we get to look forward to Carol and Morgan coming back, and of course, King Ezekiel and his tiger! That tiger better do some heavy damage! What did you think of the episode? Like, comment and subscribe and let us know!