SPOILER HEAVY REVIEW: The Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 1
I have a serious bee in my bonnet, as they say, about spoilers. I fucking hate them. There's nothing worse than having an upcoming experience ruined by some loudmouthed asshole. This was a particular problem working at the AMC in Grapevine. You'd overhear shit, and there was literally nothing you could do about it.
I'm about to be that asshole, because I have to talk about the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead (which was spoiled for me, for the record). There's just a lot to process. I am a bit on awe of the job done by Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero, and company on this massively anticipated endeavor. So, again:
A CUBIC FUCK-TON OF SPOILERS LIE AHEAD!! LAST WARNING!!!
While I hated the way that the opening 5 minutes didn't answer the question right out of the gate I do applaud the tension building technique. It refreshed your memory (after 8 months of waiting) in regards to the finality of the situation. You can see how fucked up Rick is. You can feel that anguish and, still, his defiance of Negan. When he says "Not today, not tomorrow, I am going to kill you" he means every fucking word.
And Abraham. What a heroes death. What an utterly manly, suck my nuts kind of death. He stood taller than the rest from the moment their knees hit the dirt, like he was begging for it. I believe he was, even as in love as he was with Sasha. The core of him, that manly motherfucking SOLDIER said "I'm ready for this shit". I was moved. The tears came and still will when I remember one of the hardest deaths in the history of that show. An amazing performance by Michael Cudlitz. I think it's cool that (show creator) Robert Kirkman got to do Abraham's death "the right way" after not liking the way it went down in the comics. That had to be satisfying.
I usually like to be right- love it, in fact. Not in the case of the death of Glenn Rhee. That one hurt more than Beth or Hershel or Andrea or Merle or even Shane. At this point in the show Glenn has been a part of our collective families for a long time now. He was the heart and soul of the show. He was the core humanity, the last hope for decency. His brutal death marks a turning point for everyone, fans and characters alike. We've all changed. You knew, deep down, when Glenn finally killed a human in the raid on Negan's outpost in the penultimate episode of Season 6 that they were going to stick to the comics on this one (at least I did). It just felt right to do it this way. And the SFX work with the eye falling out of his head were next level fucked up. I can't recall the last time I had that visceral of a reaction to any piece of entertainment (be it movie, TV, book, etc). I didn't just have a case of wet cheeks, oh no. It was a noisy "Oh my God, oh fuck" weepy kind of reaction. The word is, again, visceral. Look it up if you don't know what it means.
Glenn's last words to Maggie, "I'll find you", will go down as one of the greatest punches in the balls in TV history. It's the pure definition of heartbreak. Wow. I can't be more eloquent about it.
This moves us on to Negan. Can you say enough glowing things about the great Jeffrey Dean Morgan in this role? I can't. I knew he'd be a good villain when I first heard the casting news a year or so ago, but even I didn't know he could be so despicable. What a first-class cocksucker. What a genuinely evil, self-serving, cold-hearted, sadistic, and ruthlessly intelligent bastard. He breaks Rick like a wild horse. It's distinctly uncomfortable to watch, too.
And the funny part is that he's doing the smartest thing that a man in his position can do. That's why I like the choice of actor so much. You want to like him for pure charisma, yes......but you also know that he believes in himself, his mission, and his people with all his black little heart. He absolutely has the courage of his conviction, and he's hilarious to boot. It's an amazing combination.
The writing, cinematography, performances, overall execution are all 10's for me on this episode. They made the best episode in the history of the series and a major turning point.
I know there are already plenty of people out there with their panties in a bunch about the level of violence in this episode. They are appalled at the sheer viciousness of it and the way it was shot in such unflinching fashion. I say get the fuck over it. You can change the channel at any time. The Walking Dead has never been for little kids (unless it's Gracie ha ha). It HAD to be done that way. You HAD to buy those deaths. You HAD to feel those deaths in a very keen way. It takes balls to be that nasty on the biggest show on TV. Bravo!
You could deconstruct this episode much further and it will continue to be amazing. Thank you for creating a piece of TV history to be talked about and reminisced over for the ages on a par with "Who Shot JR?" or the M.A.S.H. finale or that final episode of LOST.
It's a grand-slam home run for me.