This article has some content you might find disturbing!Reason Verrrrry gory.
The Walking Dead Still Manages To Shock
As the show's big cliffhanger is resolved, Rick hangs on by a (literal) thread.
A pregnant Maggie found herself in medical distress, so pretty much everyone we know (except Carol and Morgan) hopped into various vehicles to bring her to a doctor at the Hilltop. Their passage was thwarted by a vengeful Negan and his men. Negan fatally bashed someone from our group of main characters in the head with his barbed-wire covered baseball bat, but we don't know who. I'm sure they'll tell us who died in the very first scene, though, because that's how cliffhangers work! Right? Uh, guys?
Situation: At the conclusion of this television program's previous season, we watched from the point of the view of a main character as he or she got bludgeoned.
What makes it awkward? Who that character is was not revealed that episode. And even after months of enraged speculation over this cliffhanger, we still don't see who was killed -- instead, we just see Rick's reaction as he informs Negan that eventually, he'll kill him.
How is order restored? Twenty-two minutes in, we'll see who bore the brunt of Lucille's wrath. Until then you'll have a lot of sweaty closeups of a panicked Rick and lengthy Negan speeches to enjoy!
Who called the meeting? Negan.
What's it about? Despite the atrocities Rick just witnessed, he's still standing up to Negan. So to impress upon Rick that he's the new boss and that everything that was once his is now Negan's, our favorite new monologuist has taken Rick and his ax on a little drive to a walker-infested area to talk and talk and talk and then play a little fetch.
How'd it go? "Think about what happened...think about what could happen," Negan repeats as he taunts Rick until making a grab for his ax, then forces him to drop it. As the faces of his friends flip through his head in a move likely intended to infuriate an audience eager to know who bought it, Negan tosses Rick's ax into the crowd of zombies and says, "Go get my ax, let's be friends."
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Rick vs. Walkers
Negan shoves Rick out of the RV and into the horde. He thinks about more of his crew as he fights a couple zombies bare-handed, then climbs atop the RV to feel miserable about how horrible everything is.
Winner: Pay attention, I just said that everything is horrible. No one is a winner here.
The Moment Of Truth
Yet again, we see the final scene from the end of last season, including an eeny-meeny-miney-mo that in MY OPINION was not terribly scientifically done. But this time, we see that Negan settled on Abraham. "I am fine with this decision," I announced to my husband and dogs. "He was giving a lot of farewell speeches last season," my husband concurred. And to the end, Abraham is a profane tough guy, spitting out "suck my nuts" after the first blow. The beating is very brutal, bad enough that I regretted that I'd just ordered red curry from the local Thai place. And for the first time (but not the last) I wondered when this show had become torture porn.
Whew, Well Glad That's Over. We're Cool, Now, Right?
Still more speechifying from Negan on the same topic of "I am in charge now you guys" as Abraham's brains soak into the soil and our regulars sob. Enraged, Darryl lunges forward. He doesn't get far -- Negan's guys get him on the ground, as Dwight trains the crossbow he stole from his victim. "Do you want me to do it," Dwight asks, the "it" presumably being homicide. But we already had our major character death, right? So Darryl is spared.
Instead, Negan turns and bashes Glenn in the head with his bat. Glenn tries to speak -- I think he says "I will find you" to Maggie? -- but it's clear he's mortally wounded. Negan makes sure it takes. I know I bitched about Glenn not dying during The Great Dumpster Escape, and I admit that I have said to more than one person that I was hopeful that we'd lose a major character, but I was NOT READY FOR THIS. They totally fucking got me! I will gripe about the people who write this show every chance I get, but killing Abraham was a masterful fucking piece of misdirection. They shined a light in my eyes, then punched me in the gut. Well done, show. I hate you so much right now.
Place Of Interest
The Roof Of The RV
There's no better place to collapse and mourn your fallen friends than the top of an RV. That is, until Negan starts shooting into it and nagging Rick to "get me my ax." Guess it's time to relocate.
After Negan gives Rick a hand by picking off some of the walkers, Rick recovers the damn ax from the underbrush. Here's hoping we never have to hear about that stupid ax ever again! As Rick returns to the RV he visualizes all his remaining pals getting bashed by Lucille, footage I assume they shot not just to painfully spell out their peril but to avoid leaks and spoilers. My husband, who had run down to pay the food delivery guy, came in at this moment and said, "What, they all got killed too? Is the show just these two guys now?" If only!
Here's An Idea
Don't Allow Your Youthful Cast Members To Grow
After yet another speech about who the boss is now (hint: not Angela or Tony) as he fondles Rick's ax, Negan drives Rick back to the clearing where his men, Rick's friends, and two cooling corpses remain. Negan's dissatisfied even after Rick's successful ax retrieval, saying that he doesn't like how Rick's looking at him. Don't you hate that, when people say that to you? How do you defend yourself when people complain about how your eyeballs move?
Rick doesn't get a chance to answer that question, as Negan has his men train their guns on all Rick's buddies, then has Carl rise to come join his dad at center stage. Which is when we see that 17-year-old Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl, has grown approximately 11 feet since shooting wrapped last season. He's huge, and without the benefit of a time-hop forward (as we've had in some past seasons) we REALLY notice the difference.
To officially break Rick, Negan tells him that he must cut off Carl's left hand or the rest of his crew will die. Rick officially loses it, snotty sobbing and all, begging Negan not to make him do it and offering himself instead. But Negan forces it -- and we all know by now that despite his incredibly perfect grin (apparently before the apocalypse hit Negan had an EXCELLENT dentist) Negan doesn't fuck around. So Rick raises the ax to chop off his kid's hand...and Negan stops him.
Was anyone reminded, at this moment, of the binding of Isaac? For those of you who skipped Sunday School this week, in the book of Genesis (in the Bible, dummy), God commands a man to sacrifice his son to prove his love for the lord, then the moment before he kills his kid God stops him, saying, "Now I know you fear God." The name of the guy who almost kills his kid? Abraham! Come on, this can't be coincidence.
Wrap It Up
Convinced that Rick's ready to comply, but not compleeeeetely, Negan loads Darryl into a van and tells Rick & Co. that if they try to rise up against him, Darryl will suffer a gruesome fate. Oh, and they'd better start gathering supplies, as Negan expects his first "offering" (like God! See?) in a week.
Everyone sits there being sad as Negan's guys pack up and head out. One dude takes a photo of what's left of either Glenn or Abraham, I'm not sure.
Maggie's pissed and feeling guilty -- after all, she claims, everyone was on the road and out of Alexandria because she'd fallen ill. She insists everyone go back home to prepare to fight Negan, a plan that's met with mixed reactions from Rick and Michonne. In any case, Maggie still needs to get to the Hilltop to see the doctor. Sasha says she'll be Maggie's wingman, and will get her there safely.
As the crew starts gathering up Glenn and Abraham's remains, we hear again one of Negan's MANY words, saying incredulously that Rick must have expected that his friends and he would all grow old together, but it's not going to happen now. Cruelly, we're shown what that happy ending might have looked like. (It looked kind of like the farm! So, I'll pass. Sorry!)
Rick hops in the RV and starts heading back to Alexandria. In the rear view, he watches a walker fall on the bits of brain Glenn and Abraham left behind in the dirt.