Okay, we’ll just get this out of the way first of all: we didn’t see that coming.
All summer, we’ve been readying ourselves for the inevitability that one of the major characters would die – and it’s been a while, let’s be honest: the last real biggie to croak it was Tyreese back in Season 5, so it’s been a long time coming.
The Walking Dead has just pulled the proverbial rug out from under us, and hopefully not for the last time.
First off though, hats off to whoever made the decision to bring on board Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who duly delivers one of the best performances from a TV character in recent memory.
Sadistic and psychotic, yet somehow suave and measured, it’s hard to recall anything like him as he struts around, definitively and brutally demonstrating to Rick just how factual it is that he is now the boss.
But it’s his practical demonstrations that everyone has been waiting for rather than his sermons, so we’ll jump back to them. First off, Abraham.
High up on our Walking Dead Bingo Death Card list, his removal clearly serves a purpose. Despite Negan’s supposedly random administration of his brand of justice, Abraham would have been one of the few legitimately capable of beating him to a pulp in an actual fist-fight, so his transformation into brain mush at the hands of Lucille comes as no real surprise.
But it’s the ramifications of all this that are so tragic. We’ll never get to see him and Sasha make a go of it, and we’ll never get to see him and Rosita make up. Still, as far as final words go, “Suck my nuts” is definitely befitting of old Abe.
Then, the real gut-punch. Just when we think the ordeal is over, Daryl loses his head, prompting the sudden execution of Glenn.
Again, we had him marked for death – the only things keeping him safe in our mind were a) that it was him in the comics, and surely they wouldn’t be this predictable, and b) he’d narrowly escaped the reaper last year, surely they won’t put him through the mill again.
Turns out we underestimated The Walking Dead. We underestimated Negan.
Eye-poppingly horrible – just like his death in the comics – the show has just been robbed of one its most-loved characters, and in the cruellest possible way. Way to go, The Walking Dead.
The worst part? It’s not even over. As Negan says, “Dawn is breaking. It’s a brand new day, Rick.”
This is only the beginning – and as if to hammer this point home, he takes Daryl hostage as collateral, leaving the survivors to clean up the mess, both literally and figuratively.
Sometimes, shows need a game-changing moment to jolt the formula and stop things from getting samey. If any show was in such dire need of one, it was The Walking Dead, and it has definitely got that. Welcome back.