The Walking Dead season 7 premiere flashback: Glenn is dead!

Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - The Walking Dead_Season 3, Episode 1_"Seed" - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - The Walking Dead_Season 3, Episode 1_"Seed" - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

In assessing the strengths of the season 7 opener of The Walking Dead, I’ll say it clarifies its new villain exceptionally well (we had barely seen Negan in the season 6 finale). It reminds us there are many ways to mete out brutal justice. Two main options come to mind: Enraged and mindless violence or violence delivered with a bunch of smart-ass comments. Negan grabs his bat and makes his bashing away into nothing but a game, like a child playing in the mud and just not caring about cleanup. Though this episode has been criticized harshly as “torture porn” and for killing off main characters and using gimmicks, none of those claims make it less memorable.

As in the season 6 finale, the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead makes everyone in Rick’s group equally vulnerable, and some characters, such as Eugene, express absolute terror and despondency in ways never seen before (Josh McDermitt does an excellent job here). Psychologically dominated, it’s apparent that, by this point, no one has been secretly working with Rick, or anyone else, to bail the group out of danger. Negan’s ability to taunt is also on full display, every bit as much as his bat. Of course, this is as good a point as any to mention the episode’s most controversial death.

The Walking Dead – Glenn’s death

Obviously, Rick had met Glenn very early on in The Walking Dead, and we had seen the character evolve in many ways. Not only was Glenn a likable character, but any fan of the show hated that Steven Yeun would no longer be a mainstay. Even though Abraham was a lovable badass, and we hate to see Rosita saddened by his death, Glenn was simply more of a cherished character who had been there basically from the beginning. It may have taken only a minute or so, but Glenn’s felt almost like a 30-minute death. So why did Glenn have to die?

The rationale goes something like this: Rick and his group are forced to kneel before Negan. We also know that Negan even had some justification, as Rick’s group had indeed killed many of the Saviors (it was retaliatory, but an attack nonetheless). However, The Walking Dead writers wanted to make Negan even more of a threat than villains in the past, and a way of doing that is to kill off two popular, beloved characters.

Honestly, it also makes the show more believable, in some respects, as reality does not always let up and play nice. Bad things frequently happen to good people, and it’s really a message that The Walking Dead has given before, but never with a baseball bat and a slew of iffy jokes.

Negan was something else

After the deaths of some key characters, Negan was obviously hellbent on “breaking” Rick, which is why his third potential victim, Rick’s son Carl, was so important. It’s one thing for Rick to see The Governor hack off Hershel’s head, but what about Rick being forced to hack off part of his son’s arm? Brutal! It’s truly the moment where Rock was broken down, even more than before. No longer enraged, no longer even considering escape, Rick just wanted the horror to stop. Negan’s bat never breaks, but Rick sure did, and Negan also kidnaps Daryl for added insurance.

In contrast, Negan approaches everyone confidently, like you need to listen to him. His basic cruelty is enough to make anyone flee in panic, but he ensures all exit points are closed off. Negan corners Rick and his group and is about to bash them. It’s a simple idea, but it works well enough. Some would have preferred to see Glenn put into a coma, but that’s not how that particular cookie crumbled.

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What are your thoughts on this controversial Walking Dead episode? Let us know in the comments!