The Walking Dead recap: Season 7 premiere

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead -- AMC /

The Walking Dead returns with a killer Season 7 premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”. Here’s your complete episode recap.

As promised, we return to the same moment where Season 6 left off. Negan has selected his victim and Lucille is ready.

Rick looks down as Negan makes his rounds. Negan ponders his joke, wondering if it was that bad. “I’m gong to kill you,” Rick mutters. Negan asks him to speak louder. Rick says it won’t happen right away, but he will kill Negan eventually. It’s fun to see the two Alpha Males staring each other down.

Negan wants to know what kind of weapon Simon had. It was a hatchet. Negan explains that Simon was his right-hand man. He wonders if one of the surviving members of Rick’s group was his right-hand man. Negan asks for the axe and tucks it into his belt. He drags Rick into the camper, leaving the others kneeling outside next to a pile of bloody dirt. Someone died, but who was it?

Negan throws Rick into the camper and sinks the axe into the table. He sits in the driver’s seat and starts the car, noting that the car is a “piece of shit.” Rick is in the back and could grab the axe and kill Negan, but Negan is expecting that. He says that’s Rick’s best chance, actually. He’s teasing Rick, telling him to grab it. So he does, and Negan tells him to drop it. Rick drops it and Negan knocks him to the ground. He wants Rick to think about the new day rising and what just happened and what could still happen.

They drive off, with Negan joyfully plowing through Walkers. Rick flashes back to Rosita and Glen. Are they the victims? Negan stops the car and says that everything is his. Those are the rules. He asks Rick to go get his axe, and that they should be friends. He tosses the axe outside into the morning fog and tells Rick to get it. Rick thinks about Sasha, and Eugene. There are Walkers all around. He sees Aaron and Abraham, and Maggie. Rick fights off the Walkers with reckless abandon. He sees Daryl as he climbs to the roof of the trailer. Once he’s safe, Rick sees that the camper is surrounded by Walkers, and the road is blocked by a burning pyre. He’s stuck there with Negan. He sees the Walker hanging from the bridge, the same one they saw earlier that day. He thinks of Michonne. He thinks of his son, Carl. Negan starts talking about how he won’t grow old today, and he won’t sit around the table on Sundays at dinner. None of that will ever happen anyway. Things have changed.

Rick thinks back to the clearing when they were all awaiting Negan’s decision. They replay the game he plays with the group, only this time we see him pointing his bat. Rick’s eyes are wild as Negan closes in on his victim.

RIP Abraham. “Suck my nuts,” Abraham wheezes.

Negan beats the living daylights out of Abraham as Sasha sobs. We see Negan going to work on Abraham’s skull. He shows off his “dirty girl” to the group and he shows it to Rosita up close. Negan wonders if they were together. “That sucks.” Negan says “Red” took six or seven for the team. That’s when Daryl jumps up and tries to attack, and they grab him, a major “no-no” in Negan’s world. Dwight comes close with Daryl’s crossbow and offers to pull the trigger, but Negan puts him back in the line. Now that Daryl has violated the rules, he has to shut it down because he’s a man of his word and “first impressions are important.” Negan needs the group to know he’s the real deal, so that means they have to kill someone else. He hits Glenn so hard his eyeball pops out, and Maggie sobs because Glenn is still trying to talk through it all, but clearly he’s gone already. This is just his body losing life in front of everyone’s eyes. Glenn stays alive long enough for Negan to explain that he tried to explain the rules. He’s just getting started. Glenn’s hand twitches as Negan bashes his skull in. “Lucille is thirsty,” he explains.

RIP Glenn. And Abraham. God, that was rough.

Now we’re back in the present and Rick is on the roof. Negan tells Rick that it doesn’t have to happen to the rest of them. So bring him his axe. Now.

(We now have a glimpse of how things will be moving forward. This is the new normal for the group.)

Rick is in a daze, but he manages to get on his feet as Negan calls out that he wants his axe. He starts shooting at the roof so Rick jumps off and hangs onto the Walker hanging on the bridge. He is quickly surrounded by Walkers so Negan pops open the window of the RV and starts shooting the Walkers. He says the clock is ticking and warns him to think about what could still happen. Rick comes alive thinking about his fallen friends and the ones still alive. He starts killing the Walkers with abandon and makes it back inside the RV with the axe. Rick hands him the axe and sits down. “Atta boy,” Negan praises

They drive off, and Negan acknowledges that Rick has been through a lot, and all of it in front of his son. He knows Rick was in charge. As he talks, he cleans the axe by wiping it off on Rick. Negan says Rick can still have a nice life working for Negan. He offers the clean axe to Rick and says he has a feeling about Rick. Rick takes it.

Negan returns Rick to the clearing with the rest of his comrades. Rick has the axe in his hand and Negan asks if Rick knows what that trip was about. Negan says the trip was about teaching him how to look at Negan, but Rick is still looking at him like he ”shit in his scrambled eggs” and that’s not going to work. He has his men put guns behind Rick’s friends. He tells Carl to come over to Rick’s side and asks if he’s a “southpaw” but Carl doesn’t know what that is. Carl isn’t a lefty, so he ties a belt to Carl’s left arm and tells him to get on the ground with his arms spread out. He asks Simon for a pen and he makes a mark on his arm. Rick begs Negan not to hurt him, and Negan says he isn’t going to do anything. Rick is going to do it. He knows Rick needs a moment to process everything, and he’s fine with that. But he needs Rick to do it anyway. They have a great doctor and Carl will be fine. If Rick doesn’t do it, he’ll have to bash Carl’s skull in.

He commands Rick to pick up the axe and he says everyone will die if he doesn’t do it. Rick starts crying as Negan counts down to one. Before he gets to one, Carl tells his father to “just do it.” Negan stops him and makes Rick pledge that he provides for Negan and he belongs to Negan. That’s the look that Rick was looking for. Negan says they all did it together, even the dead guys who get “spirit awards.” Negan hopes that they see how things work here. “Things have changed,” he says and everything they used to know if over now.

Negan calls Dwight over and tells him to load Daryl into the van. Negan likes Daryl and likes that Daryl’s name fits him. He’s going to keep Daryl  and if Rick gets out of line, he’s going to punish Daryl. (Or make Rick do it) Negan says he’ll expect his first payment in a week, and he and his men leave.

Rick looks like a shell of a man. Sasha holds her head in her hands while Maggie clings to life. They are left there, sitting in a circle in the clearing. Maggie is the first to get up. Rick tells her to sit down but she wants to get ready to fight him. Rick points out that they have Daryl. She wants them to go back to Alexandria and she will continue on her own. She blames the fact that they’re out there because of her, and she can’t have them around her. Michonne tells her that they’re not letting her go, and Rick says it’s not going to happen. Sasha goes up to Maggie and tells the group that she’ll take her to the Hilltop and keep her safe.

They all gather around Maggie as she tries to get Glenn’s body. Sasha tells Rosita that she’ll take care of Abraham, and Eugene comes over to help as well. They’re one big family, more now than before.

They clear the bodies so that Maggie is left with two big blood stains and Negan’s voice repeats what he said about growing old together. We see the group at a table in a dream, with Abraham and Glenn still alive. Glenn is holding a baby.

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Rick gets in the RV and starts it up as a lone Walker approaches the clearing and starts to eat the leftovers. Nothing will ever be the same.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.