“The Walking Dead” over does the drama


Gregory Ragaza/Skyline College

The season seven premier of "The Walking Dead" is a roller coaster of emotions the audience needs to brace themselves for.

The Season 7 premier of The Walking Dead, entitled “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” had one of the most nerve wracking build ups for a TV show in recent memory. Unfortunately, that may have worked to the show’s detriment.

While the hype was monumental, the full episode ultimately felt a bit awkward. Part of that awkwardness may have to do with prior expectations. Where the series had, in the past, hooked viewers with a dynamic story line or the resolution of a conflict, Season 7 instead sees the characters broken and clobbered into subjugation. While there were still some exciting moments, the episode was, to put it as eloquently as possible, hella depressing.

Since the show stuck relatively close to the graphic novel, there’s a solid chance that longtime viewers already knew who would get Lucilled. The deaths in the episode, while not anti-climactic, weren’t completely jarring either.

It was definitely awful (I loved both those dudes), but Abraham’s death seemed tolerable: he had already demonstrated his willingness to accept his own death for the benefit of everyone, and even got a fitting last line. Should I ever be in a similar situation, I too hope to have the fortitude to tell my murderer to “Suck my nuts.”

Glenn’s death, while miserable, was something I had time to build up for. I can’t help but feel like the whole dumpster incident in Season 6 detracted from the impact of his demise. Maybe that’s better. Maybe I’d be in therapy right now if not for that.

While the actual deaths fell short of earth-shattering, the show still worked in some genuinely gripping moments, like Rick and Negan’s team-building exercise or Darryl’s outburst. The brief exchange between Carl and Negan was also fantastic. Even after bluntly decapitating two people, Negan was unable to intimate a brooding teenager.

On that same note, Jeffery Dean Morgan is spectacular as Negan, but that point’s already been beaten into the ground (like Glenn … aww). Watching Negan psychologically torture Rick was like watching a high school gym teacher force a doughy kid to do pull-ups in front of everyone. Can’t clear the bar? Everyone’s running laps until they puke.

It’s interesting how the same qualities that make a good business man also make a good serial killer. Negan keeps his promises, values productivity, has clearly stated rules, and has excellent customer service skills. He’d manage the hell out of a Dairy Queen.

In retrospect, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” while not as exhilarating or action packed as hoped, served as a necessary re-tooling for the show’s narrative.

The author of the graphic novel, Robert Kirkman, stated in the forward that he intended for the main character, Rick, to undergo such a drastic change in character that he would be unrecognizable by the series’ end. So far, that’s been a pretty accurate assessment.

Rick went from riding into Atlanta on a white horse and defending the defenseless to killing dozens of people in their sleep, probably just for some crazy cheese. He literally had his humanity beaten back into him.

At this point, I’m willing to forgive the show for this particular oblique episode. It did actually resolve the story line—the problem was, it was a really dark story with a really unhappy ending. While the Season 7 premier was flawed, it moved the show in a different and necessary direction.