The Walking Dead “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” Review (Season 7 Episode 1)

Previously on The Walking Dead . . .
Team Family needed food and supplies so they decided to become friends of Jesus. This guy.
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In exchange for much needed food and supplies, the Alexandria residents agreed to help the Hilltop community with its pesky Negan problem. Having faced down the Governor, the Termites and the Wolves, Team Family felt more than equipped to deal with Negan. Without even knowing who Negan was or what he looked like, the group went on the attack. By the Season 6 finale, it was apparent that the group could have benefited from doing a bit more research on their target. Negan’s group, known as the Saviors, was massive and the man himself proved to be a menacing figure. At the end of the season finale, we knew that at least one of our faves was going to meet a bloody end courtesy of Negan’s beloved bat named Lucille. More on that cliffhanger later.

Last night’s premiere opened up in a haze. Rick’s bloodstained face indicated that we were picking up after the mystery death. About 20 minutes into the episode, we finally saw my favorite crap talking, cigar smoking, ginger king of one liners – Sgt. Abraham Ford – become the first victim. Shortly thereafter, the show reenacted one of the most iconic moments from The Walking Dead comics and our sweet, precious, Maggie loving, former pizza delivery boy with a heart of gold and knack for scavenging – Glenn Rhee – also met his end. Glenn and Abe are dead and, as for me,

via GIPHY

There’s no need to walk through the gruesome details of what happened, so I’m going to take a slightly different approach with this review and discuss my overall thoughts and questions as we move into this new phase of The Walking Dead:

1. No Payoff: Nothing in this episode justified the frustrating decision by Gimple and his team of writers to end Season 6 in a cliffhanger. Although many fans managed to make it to the premiere without being spoiled, it took very little effort for me to find out that Glenn and Abe were the major deaths about a month and a half ago. With shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, where so much of the filming is done outside, it is a tall order to expect that people will not begin to notice the absence of certain actors from the set once the show is several weeks into filming. Based on preseason interviews, I think it’s safe to say the writers will not toy around with such a needless cliffhanger again. Let’s hope so.

2. Why kill Abraham? His death was gratuitous and I think both Michael Cudlitz and the character deserved better. Abe was a literal red herring here, as the writers wanted to throw us off before killing Glenn. Glenn’s death alone was sufficiently devastating. The episode did not need any additional tension or suspense – that should have been the entire point of the stupid cliffhanger. I have no problem with characters getting killed, but it should not be at the cost of good writing. Cudlitz was phenomenal in his final moments as Abe, from the departing “suck my nuts” to his very subtle gesture of letting Sasha know that he was ready to accept his fate when he threw her the peace sign.


Photo/screenshot credit: @Lincolns_Finger on Twitter.

I do not care for the implicit message the writers sent by killing Abe as a fake out before Glenn. It felt like a sacrifice of a character deemed less popular by the writers in order to intensify the moment in which Glenn dies. The moment should have had more meaning, particularly when you think about the history between the two characters. Watching Abe grapple with Glenn’s death and adjust to life under Negan (while presumably plotting to take him down) would have been much more interesting to me. I am also frustrated that the writers have once again incorporated Sasha into a storyline centered around her suffering. With Maggie, who has also suffered staggering loss, we can see a potentially interesting storyline as she arrives at the Hilltop. The writers have already given us a peek into Maggie’s leadership potential and what will likely be more conflict with Gregory. The writers seem to have no idea what to do with Sasha other than making her suffer. I really enjoy the Maggie/Sasha friendship and I hope that the writers will do more with Sasha.

3. Daryl: Like many fans of The Walking Dead, I love me some Daryl Dixon. However, I am not a fan of using death to create conflict and tension for Daryl. The writers did it well once with Merle. They tried again with Beth and the effort fell woefully short. Now, the writers have created a scenario in which Daryl will feel guilty for Glenn’s death. Fans are divided as to whether Daryl is actually to blame. The debate is really of no import, as it is clear the writers intend for Daryl to feel guilty – regardless of whether or not the feeling is warranted. To add to the pile of misery, Negan has “claimed” Daryl as his own and intends to use him to keep Rick’s group in check. I am now left to wonder if and/or when we will see Daryl deal with his grief. I also wonder if Daryl has or ever will learn his lesson about not being so impulsive. After all, it was Daryl’s decision to impulsively go after Dwight’s group that landed Rosita, Michonne and Glenn in Negan’s deadly game of eenie meenie miney mo. His impulsiveness is a frustrating character beat, much like Carol’s decision to leave Alexandria. Both characters are far too smart to think that they can run off without their family going after them.

4. Perspective: Although we as viewers are devastated by the loss of Glenn and Abe, it still seems like a pretty light punishment when you think of how many people in Negan’s group Team Family killed. And although the deaths were not quite as gruesome, there is something deeply troubling about killing people in their sleep.

5. Fallout: My frustrations about the premiere aside, I am genuinely interested in the fallout. In fact, that is the cliffhanger I wish we had gotten instead. I want to be in on those conversations with the group, I want to see the reactions when they return to Alexandria and explain what happened to Abe and Glenn. I sincerely hope that we get those moments on screen. I am also very curious about if and/or how the dynamic between Rick and Carl will change. Moreover, how will the people at the Hilltop receive this news? They were counting on Team Family to rid them of this pesky Negan problem and that didn’t quite work out. Although I don’t expect Gregory to give a crap about Abe and Glenn, I would absolutely expect Jesus to be sympathetic and maybe even conflicted as the person who offered to introduce the Team Family to the “new world” around them. These are all of the questions I wish I had been contemplating over the summer.

Final Thoughts
I’m still all in with The Walking Dead. Indeed, I did not love the cliffhanger and I wish the writers made some different character choices. That aside, the episode opened up some very interesting questions about what is next for Team Family and I look forward to seeing where the season goes. I remain in awe of the actors and their wonderful performances and hope that the writing will do them justice as we enter this new phase of the show.

What did you think of The Walking Dead’s Season 7 premiere? Sound off below!

Gif source: Giphy.