The Walking Dead season 7 premiere review (spoiler-free)

It’s been a grueling 6 months since the last time we saw The Walking Dead. The life of one of 11 potential victims lies in the balance as Negan slowly chose who he would kill. But now that time has come to finally see who Negan kills. But seeing as this will be a spoiler-free review, there are 3 people that I will say survive the wrath of Negan, which are Rick, Carl, and Daryl. But the episode is more than a death, it slowly turns into a psychological ride that shakes Rick down to his core. By the end of the episode, Rick has been broken down mentally and will follow Negan.

The episode begins with the same sneak peek clip we were treated not too long ago. After having already killed his chosen victim, Negan drags Rick into the RV for what turns into a mind-bending trip for Rick. Without seeing who Negan has killed, Rick experiences the people whom he put at risk and how their deaths will be on him. With Negan taunting Rick to kill him after being threatened earlier, Negan ensures his dominance to Rick and how their lives belong to him now. And as a test to Rick, he throws the hatchet he gets from his right-hand man and demands Rick to fetch it in a swarm of walkers. With little hope left, Rick breaks down mentally from the death of his friend as we finally see who Negan has selected. In Rick’s point of view, Negan walks through is selection and lands on (spoiler). The group watches in horror as Negan beats his victim to death, not before being taunted after his first strike.

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This is where Negan shows his true self. We know Negan is evil and he’s capable of the vilest things. But, AMC has given us a Negan that will torture his victims both physically and mentally. After beating the holy hell out of his chosen victim, he shows the bat and taunts a possible connection to another survivor and why his chosen had to die. Daryl has enough and strikes Negan while being taken down by his goons. Dwight tells Negan he’ll kill Daryl right there while pointing his crossbow at him. Negan doesn’t want Daryl dead and addresses the group his earlier warning: the first one is free. He then strikes (spoiler) in the head, nearly popping an eye out while trying to talk to the group. Negan tries to sympathize to the group by knowing it must be hard and proceeds to beat his second victim to death. Having two members of his group die in front of him, Rick is a broken man determine to avenge his fallen friends, to which Negan pushes Rick’s boundaries. After completing his first test of retrieving his ax, Negan returns back to where the remaining survivors are and see Rick still determine to kill him.

Negan’s patience draws to an end with Rick and has his men draw a weapon to the remaining survivors. With the ax, Negan orders Rick to chop off Carl’s left arm. A tearful Rick plea’s with Negan saying it could be his own arm while Negan begins to count down. Carl tells his father Rick to just go through with it with Rick picking up the ax. Before he can swing, Negan stops him and claims he owns Rick and he will do what he says, with Rick agreeing. Negan then departs while leaving them a truck and warns them they will return in a week for their first offering.

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Despite the changes from the comic, we are left with two different characters. Rick is battered and broken like never before. Seeing the death of two of his own was enough to break him, but Negan pushes further and has him snap. Negan, however, is more brutal than his comic counterpart. In the comic he chooses his victim, being Glenn, and even taunts Rick after his empty threat. Instead, the Negan we’re given put Rick through hell to the point of no return. Negan doesn’t just beat his victims and pushes for obedience. He’ll shred any last bit of humanity and emotion that is left inside one. Rick is left with no ambition nor free will with the fear of everyone he loves will die. And he’s been through it a lot with Shane, the Governor, the cannibals, and with men attempting to rape his own son, but he came back from it all. There’s no coming back from Negan. With his grasp deep inside Rick, Negan has him right where he wants him and has full control. The premiere delivered on so many levels and finally a true threat is ahead of the group. We were promised the death of a main character and instead were given two. Two deaths that destroy the group and has Rick to his knees. From this episode alone, we’re definitely in for one hell of a season with Negan on board.

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Joe Gonzalez
Joe Gonzalez 286 posts

Gamer since '86, well knowledgeable in movies and games, and semi tech savvy. Graphic artist and t-shirt printer for over 10 years.