Sunday night"s episode ofThe Walking Deadwas brutal, sad và hard khổng lồ watch. It was one of the most painful, disgusting, và tragic episodes in the show"s seven season run.

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It was also humbling. While I was right that the showrunners decided to lớn kill off Abraham, I didn"t see Glenn"s death coming. I didn"t think they"d go that far after toying with our emotions in the Glenn fake-out death last season.

I still think killing Daryl would have been the better move, but there"s no doubt that killing off Glenn was bloody, bold & resolute. On the other hand, killing Glenn just pours salt on the wound AMC left us with in Season 6.

The Walking Deadbadly mishandled Glenn"s fake-out death last season---something I go into great detail about in this post---and I was sure they wouldn"t follow that up with killing him for real. While it"s pretty crazy that they did, & while it"s really great drama, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They just killed Glenn. Then they brought him back. Now they"ve killed him off again. Once again, it feels like a dirty trick.

To make matters worse, they killed him with the least dignity you could imagine. When Glenn "died" last season it was a scene of horror and tragedy, but it didn"t involve his eye bulging out from his head. It was a terrible moment, with the zombies apparently ripping into him, but it wasn"t tasteless. There was some dark beauty to his death; something poetic about the loss.

Tonight"s killingwas tasteless and gory và gross. It left audiences reeling, myself included, but I feel a little bit lượt thích I felt inGame of Thrones, when you-know-who burnt his daughter at the stake. Like the episode left me unclean, dirty, sick to my stomach. I"m not sure if this was great drama, or just torture porn. I"m not sure how khổng lồ feel, only that it all feels wrong. Maybe that"s the feeling I"m supposed to have. I think I need more time to process.

Abraham also died. He died first. Some people predicted this. Abraham would die, then Glenn, then Rick would thảm bại his hand. That"s the prediction I saw bandied about before the premiere aired. It was close, but no cigar. Rick didn"t thua trận his hand. I thought Carl, who just lost an eye, would lose his hand. But even that didn"t happen. Both Negan & the showrunners had a change of heart in the eleventh hour, I guess. I guess that"s a good thing. A one-eyed, one-handed Carl would be...almost silly. Especially with that hair.

The actual murders were hard khổng lồ watch. Negan takes great pleasure in introducing both Abraham and Glenn to his bat, Lucille. It"s amazing this stuff is on television at an hour when families are still watching TV. It"s too much, & I"m one of the many desensitized TV viewers out there who can stomach almost anything.

I have thick skin, but watching Abraham bludgeoned to lớn death was hard. Seeing Glenn killed that way, with his eye bulging from his head, was something I wish I hadn"t seen.

Beyond these deaths, the Season 7 premiere---"The Day Will Come When You Won"t"---was all about teasing us with the wait. Long, drawn-out scenes between Rick & Negan. Negan taunting, trying to whittle down Rick"s resolve. Rick, inexplicably not taking action, letting his resolve melt. Flashes of various characters.

We viewers, waiting.

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Waiting lớn see who was killed.

When we finally vày see, at first we roll our eyes. So it was Abraham all along. Big deal. He"s a side character who"s been kind of a jackass for a long time anyways. Then Glenn. Then our hearts break. One of the few characters onThe Walking Dead I actually cared about is dead. How am I supposed lớn feel?

I"m honestly not sure.

The rest is a filler. The entire scene with Negan taking Rick off lớn "go get my ax!" was weird. It was lượt thích they couldn"t fill the 43 minutes without it. Much better was Rick very nearly cutting off Carl"s arm. It was almost biblical: The binding of Isaac, in which Abraham is tasked by God to lớn take his son Isaac và sacrifice him, only to lớn withdraw the command at the last moment.

Daryl is taken away because he"s too dangerous. Now he"s a hostage, kept by Negan & the saviors khổng lồ ensure Rick and his group stay in line. Maggie wants revenge. Everyone is in tatters. We have no idea what they"ll do. Somehow Morgan and Carol, neither of whom was present for these festivities, will come into play. The pacifist và the abused-housewife-turned-commando-turned-pacifist. I"m not sure how, but I"m curious as hell.

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All told, it was a tense, upsetting season premiere. As much as I hate the long cliff-hanger, and as much as I hate khổng lồ see Glenn go, I can"t deny that this is the most intense, insane and emotionally powerful episodeThe WalkingDeadhas given us in years. I"m still not sure how to lớn feel about Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is so flippant, so casual in his villainy, he almost seems out of place. Whether that"s a good thing or a bad thing remains lớn be seen. Whether this is merely Governor 2.0 remains lớn be seen.

Still, I"m experiencing something that was in short supply by the end of Season 6: Excitement.

I"m excited to lớn see where this story goes. I"m excited to see our heroes take revenge (though they really did deserve what they got, to lớn be honest; they had no business killing Negan"s people in their sleep.) I"m excited lớn find out what happens next, and I really, really hope that the showrunners and writers don"t screw this up. There"s so much potential right now for a great revenge story, filled with suspense and action.

Right now we"re all a little traumatized. We"re all shook up. Going forward, maybe we can feel the opposite of that: Sweet revenge.

Or maybe we"ll realize that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, that Morgan was actually right all along. That violence was the wrong answer, & only led to lớn more & more suffering và death và tragedy.

For now, we don"t have all the answers. We can only wait, tense và afraid và yes, even excited, for next week. Season 7 started off with a bang. The challenge forThe Walking Dead will be keeping that momentum.

What did you think of the season premiere?


Erik Kain writes a widely read & respected blog about đoạn clip games, entertainment & culture at He is a Shorty Award-nominated journalist and critic whose work has appearedin The Atlantic, The National Review, Mother Jones, True/Slant và elsewhere. Kain co-founded the political commentary blog The League Of Ordinary Gentlemen, whose members have gone on to lớn write at multiple major publications including The new york Times & Slate. He lives in Arizona with his family.