Warning: This article contains major spoilers from the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.
More than six months after Negan took that fatal swing on The Walking Dead, we finally found out whose head was on the receiving end of Lucille’s wrath in a drawn-out hour that quickly turned into sadism.
Six months of backlash, theories, teases, over-analyzation, and anticipation couldn’t prepare fans for what was to come.
(This is your final chance to turn away if you don’t want to be spoiled.)
In the span of the 66-minute season premiere, Negan:
Bashed Abraham’s head, but not before complimenting him for taking it like a champ—and marveled that Abraham’s final words were “Suck. My. Nuts.”
Bashed Glenn’s head after Daryl punched him in the face for killing Abraham.
Threatened to cut off Rick’s right hand after Rick promised to kill him for what he did.
Drove off with Rick, gave him his axe, and threw him out to a bunch of Walkers—where Rick then flashed to everyone else being hit by Lucille.
Nearly shot Rick on the roof of his RV for not giving him back the axe quickly enough.
Ordered Rick to chop off Carl’s left arm—and then changed his mind.
Took Daryl away as a prisoner.
No wonder AMC scheduled 90 minutes for The Talking Dead.
But the reveal, which aired about a third of the way into the episode, didn’t arrive without testing its fans, some of whom were already on the verge of quitting, and the people who decided to hate-watch the episode. Some even thought they’d pull a Game of Thrones and not reveal who died until the second episode. At first, with tension already rising (and not just from the episode at hand), viewers vented their frustration.
Then Negan chose Abraham to die for everyone’s crimes. When the season 6 finale aired, his name was often initially cited because Abraham was a beloved character without being the protagonist (Rick) or being a fan favorite (Daryl). Some comments made by actor Michael Cudlitz appeared to rule him out, but that was clearly not the case.
But Negan wasn’t done just yet. It initially appeared as though The Walking Dead had subverted Glenn’s comic book death by killing Abraham, but Glenn, who escaped death more times than we can count, couldn’t get out of this one; Maggie, who’s now lost everyone she loves, was inconsolable.
me rn trying to come up with theories that show glenn is still alive pic.twitter.com/LXbxJQeboW— thalia (@darklingsolo) October 24, 2016
And it got worse. Way worse. And for some reason, we kept watching it—even though it started to make some of us sick to our stomachs. We were just as numb as the characters as we watched witness Negan’s many atrocities on TV.
I'm getting to the point of not being able to physically watch anymore #TheWalkingDead— Kelly Lawler (@klawls) October 24, 2016
…nastiest thing I've ever seen on TV. Bar none. #thewalkingdead— Tara Bennett (@TaraDBennett) October 24, 2016
This all feels pretty gross. In more ways than one. #TheWalkingDead— Eric Goldman (@TheEricGoldman) October 24, 2016
Just to rub it in, The Walking Dead showed us what could have been: one big happy Alexandrian family having Thanksgiving dinner with Abraham, Glenn, and his and Maggie’s unborn child.
So who’s ready to just hang out with King Ezekiel and Shiva for the rest of the season?