The Popular Drama Kicked off with a Splatter of Blood
By Declan Kaasler
The conclusion of season six was concerning with Maggie’s pregnancy. Since Alexandria had inadequate medical facilities, Rick and the group tried to rush her to an allied town to get proper treatment.
However, they discovered that the subordinates of Negan had been waiting for them, and blocked every passage. Eventually, Rick’s group is captured, and Negan announces that the only way to discipline them is to savagely beat one of them to death with his spiked bat, Lucille. Fans were left hanging since the spring to see who would be the unlucky victim of Lucille. As the episode begins, we see an expression of shock and horror on Rick’s face.
He says to Negan that he swears to kill him someday. Negan takes this as a sign that Rick is still resisting his fate, and drags him off into the Alexandria RV.
As he does so, the camera pans in on a grotesque puddle of blood and gore on the ground.
Negan tells Rick that he wants to go for a ride.
As all this is happening, the show is still keeping us in suspense as to who actually got killed that night. Images of every member of the group flash on screen, implying that any of them could have been the victim, but Rick is still on his own being abused by Negan.
With walkers swarming around, Negan forces Rick outside into the fray, to retrieve Negan’s axe. Rick manages to reach the roof of the RV, but has to jump off when Negan shoots at him.
After nearly being bitten by the horde, Negan shoots the walkers to allow Rick’s escape.
Twenty minutes into the episode, a flashback is shown. We finally discover who died and it was Abraham. With a swing of the bat, he was still able to say, “Suck my nuts!”
Abraham always was a tough character in this show because of his military background, but regardless, his head was reduced to a bloody stump by the time Negan got through with him. Daryl jumps up and attempts to fight Negan, but is quickly subdued and threatened with his own crossbow. This little act of rebellion only makes matters worse for the group, and in retaliation, Negan chooses to kill a second victim! Glenn suffers a horribly brutal death quite similar to that of the comics.
After being returned to his group, Rick is still hassled by Negan.
The situation escalates quickly, and Negan presents Rick with an impossible choice: chop his own son’s arm off, or witness everyone in the group get shot in the back of the head.
Here, we see a Rick that we haven’t seen in some time. The normally cold and hardened Rick Grimes is writhing on the ground, sobbing and begging Negan not to make him go through with the deed. Eventually, he picks the axe up.
Considering Carl has already lost an eye, it would have been difficult to imagine him being further disabled. However, this was all a ruse by Negan. After Rich goes through this mental torture, Negan believes that Rick looks at him the proper way, like a dog loyal to its master. Clearly, Negan is a sociopath with no regard whatsoever for the wellbeing of others. He even takes Daryl captive to ensure that Rick cooperates with him.
After Negan and his men leave, Rick’s group briefly mourns the loss of Glenn and Abraham, before eventually moving their bodies to be properly buried.
This season premiere was about as action-packed and bloody as they come. The opener of season five comes to mind, when Carol single-handedly obliterated the cannibalistic Terminus. In contrast to that event however, you cannot cheer for this episode’s bloodshed. All you can do is helplessly watch as Negan murders people in a twisted display of power.
Additionally, I noticed a very heavy usage of phrases such as “New Beginnings.” Clearly, this season promises to radically alter the dynamic of the show.
What will happen to the group now that they are merely reluctant servants of Negan and The Saviors?
I assume that Rick will eventually find a way to avenge his losses, but for the time being, he needs to survive.
Welcome to a new beginning indeed.