The Walking Dead: The apocalypse is relentless-It is Negan.

Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead. AMC.
Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

The Walking Dead season 7 premiere was brutal and violent, but more than that, it was relentless. The cruelty of Negan was unyielding. But so is that world.

Perhaps without meaning to do so, Negan did something that the zombies and the other losses that have been piling up for 6 seasons have not been able to accomplish. Perhaps, Negan showed the audience that the apocalypse is not a game. It’s unmerciful and tough.

So many times people talk about characters and what they “need” to do because “it’s the apocalypse”. You don’t have time to grieve in the apocalypse. You can’t be a kid in the apocalypse. You have to grow up in the apocalypse. You have to kill or be killed in the apocalypse.

People say these things as if humans would be able to just adjust and accept these new truths and live with them. And if they couldn’t then they just aren’t cut out for the next world and they need to get fed to the walkers or look at the flowers. They are weak and need to go.

Characters like Tyreese or Gabriel or Eugene are mocked. When Sasha was going through her PTSD phase she became annoying. Carol having any guilt or heaviness about what she’s been forced to do is now suddenly out-of-character because she’s supposed to just be a killing machine.

Related Story: Looking back at Carol's emotional journey

In the new episode, people have been reacting to the violence. Watching the reaction video, there were people we’ve seen in reaction videos before who were now worn out from the show. They were making comments about wanting to turn it off and take a break or that they were done with the show now.

Most likely they’ll be back, but the comments show how draining and relentless the premiere was and how relentless Negan is.

MIchonne told Negan that they get it. “We get it.” But Rick didn’t get it yet. They needed to make it that relentless in order for Rick to really submit to Negan. In the season 6 finale he was in the rat maze and started to feel trapped. But that was just the beginning. It would take a lot more to completely break Rick’s spirit.

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People yelled at Daryl for not staying still. That’s dramatic irony. We know how terrible Negan is, but their fighting instincts and emotions would still kick in. Glenn had yelled out for Maggie earlier.

The way we felt at the end of that episode-drained, depleted, exhausted, broken, worn out–that’s what we needed to feel. We needed to feel defeated. We needed to understand how Rick will be able to go back to Alexandria and stand up in front of the community and tell them that he’s not the leader anymore–Negan is.

We need to be on Rick’s side. Many of us were telepathically telling Rick to just do it about cutting off Carl’s hand. That means we knew that Rick had no chance to get out of this. Back in Terminus, none of us would have been thinking that Rick should give in to Gareth. We’d want Rick to fight.

Next: The violence and brutality question

The violence was graphic and brutal. But that aside, the relentless torture of the group and completely draining the audience was the point. Perhaps we can remember that feeling as it relates to the apocalypse as a whole.

The apocalypse is Negan. It’s relentless. It’s everywhere. Everything about it is Negan. The zombies. The lack of food. Any and every unmerciful challenge they face is Negan. It’s frightening. It drains them. It beats them up. It weakens them. It abuses them psychologically. It doesn’t let them rest. It takes half of who they are. The other half has to navigate and try to survive in this next world.