Finally, the premiere of Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” aired and Negan’s victims were revealed; Glenn and Abraham died gruesomely as Negan smashed their heads to a pulp with Lucille, his barbwire-wrapped bat. Initially, Abraham seemed to be the only victim, but Daryl attacks Negan and earns Glenn’s unexpected, horrible death—similar to the comic, Glenn’s eye pops out of his skull and he calls to Maggie despite the internal hemorrhaging. Harrowing stuff, truly; I thought only “Game of Thrones” was capable of such torture!
Now that the suspense has been mitigated, what comes next for “The Walking Dead?”
Most immediately, expect a heavy amount of PTSD for the survivors of Negan’s swift justice. Rick, who was arguably a broken man before this premiere, will certainly spiral further into darkness and violence. And, as the leader of his group, expect that the other main characters will follow Rick down this dark path.
For the past six seasons, “The Walking Dead” has played it rather safe despite some very meaningful deaths along the way. Now that they finally killed a major character, expect more big, awful deaths in the immediate future; specifically, I wouldn’t be surprised if Carol or Morgan die this season.
All in all, this death is a turning point for the show and works as a good excuse to go darker, more epic, and evolve the interaction between the surviving members of Rick’s crew. Up until this point, the cast of “The Walking Dead” has expanded exponentially each season, but I hope that this event reverses the trend; whittling down the survivors until the inevitable conclusion of this landmark television show.
Walking Towards the Endgame
Believe it or not, there will be a day when “The Walking Dead,” the most-watched television show for four years in a row, will come to an end. Assuming that the show will eventually outpace the continuity of the comic series, it will take three more seasons for the show to reach comic #159, the most recent comic installment as of October 23, 2016—for perspective, Glenn’s death occurred in comic #100 and marked a major turning point for the storyline which began with comic #1 in 2003. Similar to “Game of Thrones,” it is inevitable the that the show will outpace the source material unless they put the characters through long tangents or change the content altogether. Only time will tell, but Negan will certainly be the main antagonist until the bloody, bitter end.
The reason why Negan will be the driving antagonist until the end of the show is due to his perfect juxtaposition with Rick. Negan accepts that morality no longer matters and he is “fair” in his judgement of those who wrong him, whereas Rick tries to be a “good” person, but ultimately fails. In this sense, Negan highlights the hypocrisy of Rick’s crusade in their dead world and proves that there is no good and evil, only men fighting to survive or, which we will surely see this season, as an act of bitter hatred and revenge.
Furthermore, without a main unifying antagonist, what would “The Walking Dead” be about? Surviving zombies? This show has always been more than that and finally it has a villain that is as strong as the main cast of characters. We are in for one bloody, sad ride and, ultimately, I think trading Glenn for some narrative direction is a blessing in disguise; a pulpy, eye-popping disguise at that.