If you just watched The Walking Dead season 7 premiere, do yourself a favor and take a gander in the mirror.
That? Right there? That's the look Negan wanted to see.
AMC's award-winning zombie drama made its big return on Sunday, October 23, with game-changing developments and two horrific deaths that left fans reeling. If this is how it's kicking off, The Walking Dead is headed to some seriously dark places in the coming season.
Here are the five moments from the first episode that made us gasp, cry and puke — sometimes all at once.
Rick Swore Revenge
Season 7 opened with an iconic shot of Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) blood-spattered face — because Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) had already killed whoever his victim was. Staring at Negan's blood-covered bat (the bat's name: Lucille), Rick growled, "I'm going to kill you. Not today, not tomorrow, but I'm gonna kill you."
Wrong answer, Rick. Negan, exasperated but relentlessly cheerful, hauled Rick into the RV and instructed him to "think about what happened."
What happened? SPOILERS HAPPENED.
In case you'd forgotten how last season ended, this was the cue for a replay of Negan's terrifying victim-selecting scene. Who was the loser in this ghastly game of eeny-meeny-miney-mo? Negan's mother told him to pick the very best one, and that was … Abraham (Michael Cudlitz).
Yes, that's right: The muttonchops are no more. Abe survived his lethal beating long enough to look Negan in the eye and utter his last words — "Suck my nuts!" — and shortly, thereafter, he was a pile of mush on the ground. RIP, Abraham.
But Negan Wasn't Done Swinging
Fun fact: Negan isn't just a malicious, violent psychopath; he's also gifted with some incredible emotional intuition. Hence, he realized right away that Rosita (Christian Serratos) was especially upset about Abe's death and began taunting her. Cue an infuriated Daryl (Norman Reedus) throwing a punch at Negan — and cue Negan giving the group an important lesson in what happens when you hit.
"That? Is a no-no!" Negan shouted. "First impressions are important. I need you to know me." And that's when he turned and clocked Glenn (Steven Yeun) in the head with the bat.
If you read the Walking Dead comics, you probably expected this — but even die-hard fans probably didn't expect Glenn's death to be the prolonged, hideous, graphic horrorfest that it was. And where Abe's last words were a fitting tribute to his toughness, Glenn's were just heartbreaking:
"Maggie, I'll find you," he gasped, choking on blood.
And Rick Still Wasn't Broken … Yet
Remember, Rick's response to Negan killing two of his friends was to threaten Negan with death. And so, Negan took extra special measures to break Rick's spirit. First, he lined up gunmen behind every surviving member of the Grimes gang. Then, he put a tourniquet on Carl's (Chandler Riggs) arm. And then, he gave Rick a choice: mutilate his child, or see his whole gang murdered. (Negan's handy amputation tip: "It's gonna have to be like a salami slice. Give us something to fold over.")
"Dad, just do it," Carl said.
And that's when Rick gave in. Which is not to say that Rick cut Carl's arm off; he didn't. He didn't need to. In that moment, Rick transformed from a heroic tough guy into a panting, slobbering shell of his former self, as he sobbed and begged and swore fealty to Negan. The Ricktator is no more: As of this moment, Rick Grimes was a broken man … which is exactly what the bat-wielding psychopath wants.
"That is the look I wanted to see," Negan said.
And He'll Be Seeing a Lot of It
Having established with no doubt that there's a new sheriff in zombietown, Negan took out an insurance policy in the form of snatching Daryl and promising to dismember him if any of the Grimes gang misbehave.
"We'll be back for our first offering in one week," Negan sneered. "Til then, ta ta."
Alone again in the clearing, the stricken survivors gathered up the remaining bits and pieces of their dead. Maggie (Lauren Cohan), wracked with guilt for being the reason they were all out there in the first place, sobbed and begged Rick to just leave her to find her way to the Hilltop by herself. But if there's one shred of hope to come out of this hideous episode, it's that the ones left alive were still together — and the dead were still with them in spirit. In a final dream-sequence shot, Rick imagined a last supper: one where Glenn held his baby boy on his lap, laughing and talking with Abraham, who sat next to him.
But the last image The Walking Dead left us with was of a very different sort of meal: As the devastated group left the scene, a lone zombie came shambling out of the woods to feast on the human hamburger that was all that remained of Glenn Rhee's head.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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