Did ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7 Premiere Go Too Far?

The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere ended months of speculation when it delivered perhaps the most shocking series premiere in television history. Sure, we had to wait to see who bloodied Lucille’s barbs, but the tasty showdown between Negan and Rick made for nice filler.

As the episode unfolds, though, many may ask did AMC go too far this episode?

In a real clash of the titans moment, Rick threatens Negan and Negan takes Rick on a short road trip. The sequence flutters with character montages while Negan lays down the law and forces Rick, alone, into the foggy dawn to fend off walkers and retrieve “Negan’s” ax.

The execution unravels through Rick’s perspective while he reels on the roof of his R.V. Tonight, we lost our favorite foul-mouthed ginger, Abraham. As if that wasn’t enough, The Walking Dead stomped on our already broken hearts by honoring the comic version of Negan’s debut. That’s right, Maggie is a widow. Rest in peace, Glenn.

The series toyed with viewers, misleading us into believing Negan may kill Daryl. Daryl, emotionally distraught by Abraham’s slaughter struggled to abide Negan’s trash talk and did what most viewers felt inclined to do- slug him. Sadly, Glenn paid the price for Daryl’s temper. Frame-by-frame, Glenn met his end just as he did in the comics.

To be fair, Glenn’s execution is a long time coming. After surviving a zombie horde by hiding under a dead body and a dumpster along with his temporarily broken moral compass (killing a Savior in his sleep), Glenn’s death should not have been a terrible surprise. But somehow, it was. It was downright nauseating.

The gore of both bludgeonings was the most graphic bloodletting in AMC history. But the gross doesn’t stop there. In fact, gross seemed to be the Season 7 premiere’s motif. The image of  Rick dangling from a hanged zombie whose neck slowly detaches from its torso is the stuff of nightmares.

For some reason, AMC felt the need to up the ante and do the absolute unthinkable. Negan riles terror from Rick’s eyes by forcing him to cut off Carl’s arm. For a moment, it seemed AMC was set to make Carl suffer Rick’s comic book counterpart fate. Luckily for the TV characters, the series is reluctant to cover the amputation greenscreen cost.

Chances are most viewers felt as woozy as the remaining characters. I know I did. Watching Maggie vow vengeance, the Grimes family haul away Abraham and Glenn’s corpse, and a walker feast on the remains of the fallen family members was all almost too much to handle.

Where will the series go from here? Preview already show the series will introduce the Kingdom and Ezekiel. In the comic series, Rick, along with Alexandria, Ezekiel, and the Hilltop join forces and wage all out war against Negan. Negan’s actions will reverberate for the remainder of the series. But how faithful will the series remain to its source material?

So far, the series has been fairly faithful to the source material with a few minor variations, pushing Rick to butcher Carl being one of the most horrifying variations yet.

To be sure, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a brilliant Negan. His confusing blend of charisma, humor, brutality, and sadism breathes life into a character The Walking Dead readers have long loved to hate.

After a stomach-churning cliffhanger, it’s a relief to experience the follow through; however, satisfying isn’t the right word to describe it. The violence of the episode was more than many may have bargained for. Some may deem the assassination of two characters in one episode overkill.

After two murders, Daryl’s kidnapping, and Carl’s near amputation, the Grimes gang seems reluctant to bow before Negan. With Daryl in Negan’s custody, how will Rick manage Negan’s tribute?

Where is Carol when you need her?! She single-handedly saved Rick and the others from the Terminus cannibals. How many people wish she could’ve done the same in tonight’s scenario?

What did you think of tonight’s Season 7 premiere? You can leave your questions and insights in the comment section.

Consumer Expert Melissa O'Donnell

Teacher by day, pop culture consumer by night- Melissa lives for good stories and loves to share them with fellow TV, movie, graphic novel, and book enthusiasts. She also blogs about pop culture's influence on everything from her worldview to her relationships at undertheinfluence76.blogspot.com-- she'd love for you to join in on her journey.