Well fellow Walking Dead fans, we’ve been waiting awhile to see this episode. If you are like me you were excited, but ready to get the emotional toll behind you. Being a fan of the comics, I knew it was going to be bad but I wasn’t quite prepared for how intense this episode would be. Episode 1, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”, had all of us at the edge of our seat and is definitely going to be a turning point in the show for many reasons. We saw the death of two major characters, and our fearless leader Rick is now a broken man, and the group is going to have to pick up a lot of pieces to get themselves back to where they were. All that’s left is to talk this through together so, you can breathe, you can blink, you can cry, hell you are all going to be doing that. Spoilers to follow.
The episode opened with the sneak peek clip AMC shared a few weeks ago. The deed has been done, but we still don’t know who took it like a champ. Obviously shaken, the fight hasn’t gone out of Rick yet. He tells Negan that he will kill him, which prompts Negan to give his chilling right hand man speech. Negan, with hatchet in hand, proceeds to drag Rick to the RV where they are going to have a little chat. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was waiting for Rick’s hand to meet the fate it has in the comics.
What I loved about the scene in the RV is we really get a sense of who Negan is. He dares Rick to kill him with the axe and when he rushes him, Negan pulls a gun on him. He tells Rick to think about what happened, what could have happened, and what could still happen. Negan is extremely confident in his own capabilities to defend himself and shows himself to be a master manipulator. Rick plays through each person’s death in his head while Negan points out that Rick, and everything he owns, now belong to him.
He has driven the RV away from the group so that he and Rick can be alone. The RV is fairly surrounded by walkers and Negan throws Rick’s axe, excuse me “Negan’s” axe, on top of the roof of the RV. He tells Rick to go get his axe and continues to remind him what could still happen. Rick has to fight his way without a weapon to the top of the RV where he relatively collapses and flashes back to the horribly tense “eeny meenie miny moe” scene. After almost half the episode we finally see who meets their end by Negan’s beloved Lucille.
Negan picks Abraham as his first victim, the example to show our group what he is capable of. At this point I was honestly surprised and a little relieved (that relief didn’t last long though). He is a main character, but him dying would effect Sasha, Eugene, and Rosita the most. Also, he had basically volunteered himself to take one for the team, so I thought that Negan would pass him over. That was not the case though.
Honestly, as messed up as this train of thinking is, I think Negan was trying to do the group a favor by picking Abraham since he had volunteered himself. Abraham had become at peace with the current state of the world and was ready to start a family with Sasha, and he was able to say goodbye to Eugene at the end of season 6. He was a strong fighter, a great character, and went out in style as he said his final words, “Suck my nuts.” R.I.P. Abraham Ford. You will be missed.
If this had been the end of the madness I think it would have been ok. We could have picked up the pieces and moved on, but Daryl decides to be a wild card and sucker punches Negan. I thought we were about to see riots ’round the world from the outcome of this outburst, but I forgot the kind of man we are dealing with. Negan, again being a master manipulator, decides that killing Daryl would be too easy. By killing someone else as a result of his actions, Negan will be able to prey on the survivor’s guilt that Daryl will definitely be feeling. Since Negan packs Daryl up to take back to his camp I’m sure that’s exactly what he has in mind to keep him in line, and we’ll see the impact of the guilt has on our favorite crossbow wielder throughout the rest of the season. Daryl’s actions led to the most traumatic death on the show to date.
As a reader of the comics I assumed this would happen. It also seemed like the show runners were trying to get viewers used to Glenn’s death in season 6 since he had so many close calls. I was prepared, but it still broke my heart. He was one of the original survivors and has been with us since the beginning. Glenn is such a good person and even in a world of chaos lives with his own set of rules and boundaries between right and wrong, and always gives people the benefit of the doubt. He has been a major influence in the lives of all the characters, and it will be interesting to see how they all move forward with such an important part of their family gone.
Speaking of family, I have to talk about Glenn and Maggie’s relationship. His last words were probably the most heart-wrenching in the show. The romantic in me thinks that “Maggie, I’ll find you” can be seen as Glenn reassuring that even in death he will be with her, but the realist in me thinks that with the trauma to his head he was just saying what his brain could manage, which could have just been a memory. Either way his words mean that even while he was going through a horrific death he died as he lived, thinking of others before himself. R.I.P. Glenn Rhee, you were the best of them.
Back to the current state of affairs, Rick retrieves Negan’s axe and they return back to the group. Not being satisfied with the look in Rick’s eyes Negan goes one step further to fully break him. While guns are pointed at the survivors, Rick is forced to choose between cutting off his own son’s arm or having the entire group shot (props to Carl who seems to be the only one already plotting revenge and not an emotional wreck). Luckily Negan sees that he now has power over Rick and stops it before he goes through with it and he leaves the group on their own, completely shattered emotionally.
“The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” was a strong opener to season 7. At the end of the episode we see a broken Rick, but we also see the strength in Maggie. She tells Rick that they need to go get ready to fight Negan and his Saviors. Rick might not be up for it yet, but Maggie is ready for all out war. This episode stripped its characters down to their core and I foresee a lot of character rebuilding as they adjust to their new world order. I’m not sure how the show will be able to keep up with the level of intensity that was brought in the premiere, but I’m excited to see how the world of The Walking Dead will change now that Negan is a part of it.
What did you think of the episode? How are you holding up? Let me know in the comments below!