We all knew Season 7 of The Walking Dead was going to begin in an awful way. You knew it and I knew it. Yet, I was shocked at the brutality, the visual trauma (even though I covered my eyes), and the emotional damage. Sweet Glenn was…so sweet. Abraham was…Abraham. It was equally gut-wrenching to see, to feel how Rick was broken, defenseless, and shattered to a shell of his former self. Nothing in the 6 years leading up to that opener prepared me. After S7, Ep1, I was devastated, and I mourned the loss of my beloved characters for weeks, and I was angry.
I know what you’re thinking: the show is staying true to the graphic novel. I respond with: then why does Daryl Dixon even exist? See?
If the opening episode was not horrific enough, the next three episodes (with the exception of Ep2) were nothing more than a nightmarish composition of my TWD family being tortured with no end in sight. That grew old quickly, and I packed my AMC bag and high-tailed it out of Alexandria. I was done with The Walking Dead. No regrets.
Negan, who I thought was going to be a complex force to be reckoned with, turned out to be a one-dimensional, vile bully. Even the Governor was tolerable and somewhat entertaining in that we got a glimpse of what drove him to his madness (remember his walker daughter he kept on a leash?). Not so with Negan. He’s vicious without cause, end of story. Each line he delivers sounds the same as the one prior and the one next. I was so disenchanted with the character, that I found myself bored with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the actor. Gasp! That’s when I decided this relationship had crossed the line from dysfunctional to unhealthy and it was time to part ways.
For the remainder of the first half of the season, I wasn’t the least interested in what was happening. Didn’t peek on Sunday night, didn’t check online. I didn’t even ask my Dead friends. But on the eve of the midseason premiere, I was strongly urged to give TWD another chance, to watch Ep8 and move on.
So I took the advice, and there I was last night glued to the television, hope rising once again. Thank you, Robert Kirkman. All is forgiven (mostly–you’ll have to explain yourself for Glenn for the rest of your life).
Because I have not read the comic books, I have no idea what’s coming and I like that. So for those who have read and are in the know, if my optimism is in vain, leave it be. Let me enjoy my TWD family just a little longer. Let me pretend Jeffrey Dean Morgan is an actual human being in a Negan suit and that he’ll be dealt with harshly. TWD style.