The wait is over guys and ghouls. The Walking Dead has returned and the question that everyone that watches the show has been debating has been answered. Who did Negan hit a home run on? A question that spawned many theories and off shoots like how many did he kill. Many people did actually think it would be two people and the one name that was mentioned the most was our favorite red headed bad ass Abraham. The second most popular answer was that they would stick with the comics and Glenn would meet Lucille.
If you haven’t watched the episode yet stop right here because spoilers are contained.
Well you have been warned…
The long awaited and most watched season premier (so it seems) has come and gone and we have our answer. Negan’s impact (no pun intended) was felt loud and clear setting a whole new tone to the show…one that in my opinion desperately needed. Two of our post-zombie apocalyptic heroes said goodbye thanks to Negan’s bat. First it was Abraham who went out in such a bad ass way. He was “it” so to speak and took the first hit then promptly straightened up and told Negan to “suck my nuts”…but not after in a hidden touching way saying goodbye to Sasha by flashing her the peace sign. Then following the comic book Glenn got it as a second example after Daryl was able to sucker punch Negan.
But none of this happened right away mind you. It was done rather well if you ask me. They opened the episode with the footage that was released online which picks up after the smashing of skulls was complete. Then Negan dragged Rick into the RV where everyone said he would lose his hand. Well that wasn’t the case…instead was a session of mental torture done for the purpose to break Rick down and make him submit to Negan. Brilliant if you ask me. It was in flashback format we saw the events unfold after Rick was forced outside the RV after a short drive to a walker infested area and trapped on top. “Think…think about what happened Rick” was said over and over…Rick did and we like mind readers were able to look into Rick’s thoughts…and it was gruesome.
Now this leads me to a personal issue I am having with this episode. It was damn near perfect and refreshing. To me The Walking Dead was getting stale. It was only Negan’s arrival that kept me going for season 6. I’m not a huge fan of zombie stories. Yeah they serve as great eye candy for the FX lover in me, but it is the story that needs to be good to hook me. Straight zombies bore me too easily. TWD has had good characters and storylines…they kept me interested. Every now and then they trailed off and I would lose interest in the show, but overall I was pleased.
With that being said I am on the fence here. Now instead of people screaming how could you do THAT as a cliffhanger people are screaming that it was way too violent for television. Now I also agree with that. Being an fx nut like I am people assume I like gore. I do not. I think it’s over used and I think as the years progress in Hollywood gore is pushing even my personal limits. There is a line and I think this episode did cross it. I wonder if the Glenn death could have been better and more meaningful (instead I think it was shocking because of the gore) if we saw it in a “Psycho” style where we see flashes of what is happening…there is no mistake of what is going on…but we let our imaginations fill in the blanks.
I’m not being a baby here don’t get me wrong. When Glenn looked at Maggie I stared at the screen looking at the eyeball…which mind you when we are talking about an FX legend like Nicotero…I was very disappointed. It looked too fake or cheesy I guess you could say. For me it took AWAY from the emotional impact of the scene. Sorry folks you can leave your hate comments below. So ultimately in my opinion to overuse of gore and the the prosthetic pieces sculpted took away from the potential emotional impact the scene could have really had.
Just imagine for a moment. Negan swings the bat hitting Glenn. We cut to Maggie with a look of horror. A quick far shot of Negan drawing the bat up again while Glenn looks up possibly with a cheesy line from Negan. We get a glimpse of the gore but not a resting shot as we did. You know what is happening. We see another shot of Maggie as tears form in her eyes then cut to black and white flashback quick shots of Maggie and Glenn together starting with a voice over of Glenn saying “Maggie….I will find you….”, then continue the scene with fast pace editing of shots of Negan swinging the bat down on Glenn as he is on the ground, but with each impact we see black and white flashes of Glenn and friends together…happy…kind of like what they used later int he show. Then end the carnage with the shot of the fingers twitching. Wouldn’t Glenn’s happy moments in his life flashing before our eyes have a more emotional impact at the moment he is beaten to death? I think so.
However I should expect a sadistic slugfest with this show. I mean look at what we have seen before…wait a minute we haven’t really seen anything this intense before not involving a walker. Even the very powerful and famous “look at the flowers” scene left the worst to our imaginations. That pushes limits not extreme gore.
Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m not going to boycott the show for being too gory or sadistic. I’m just saying from a story telling position they could have done better. Instead of saying when it was all said and done…damn that was depressing I texted a friend saying damn that eyeball was cheesy as hell. I know I might be in the minority here…I get it. Maybe I’m too old fashioned in liking my movies and television shows to have a bit of psychological elements in them. Who knows. Overall I stand by what I said before…gore and all…this entire final product of an episode is what TWD needed to breath new life in the series. Rick and his group are no longer on top and they see no way of coming out on top here. It will make the upcoming season very very interesting to say the least. We know from the comics (since the adaptations differ some) the direction at least things will go, but with the lose adaptations we are not sure exactly how they will get there.
The one thing I have nothing negative to say at all about the episode is Jeffrey Dean Morgan. My God that man is spot on in this role! He is making the role all his own. Creating a villain that is all his own that everyone hates right off the bat. This is good because TWD up to this point in the comics or the show had a villain that people absolutely hated. This dude has successfully turned the entire TWD fanbase on it’s head.
So even though I didn’t agree with the in your face gore I am still pleased with the episode and how it turned out. It is a turning point for the series and I went from “yeah I’ll watch the rest of season 6” to “damn I can’t wait to see this unfold week after week” again. What are your thoughts? Let us know what you think in the comments below.