‘The Walking Dead’ S7: E01 ‘The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be’ Review

Photo Credit: AMC

After a six month wait, fans finally get to see the results of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) coming face-to-face with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group at the end of season six. Over the course of the night, Negan puts Rick through the emotional wringer and lets his trusty bat Lucille swing.


**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S7E01 of The Walking Dead. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.


The Good

Jeffrey Dean Morgan owns the spotlight. The season premiere might as well have been the Jeffrey Dean Morgan show. While Negan spent most of the episode playing mind games with Rick and the audience got to see Rick slowly break down, it was hard to pull your eyes away from Jeffrey Dean Morgan any time he was on screen. Andrew Lincoln is no slouch, but there’s no denying that Morgan is having the most fun in his role when he taunts a character or swings his bat. He’s just magnetic.

Abraham goes out “like a champ.” Abraham did make the top of my list of possible deaths, and for all the reasons I stated before, him meeting Lucille kind of made me proud. As much as the audience hates to lose him, there’s something that makes you smile when he sits back up after that first hit and gets in another one liner with Negan. He knows he’s going out for the rest of his people. And he’s ready for it. Michael Cudlitz owns that moment as much as Jeffrey Dean Morgan owns nearly the entire rest of the episode.


The comic book accuracy. Amazingly, though the show has deviated a lot from the graphic novels in the past, the makeup that went into Glenn’s appearance after his first hit from Lucille was like seeing a page brought to life. The detail was amazing. Gross, but amazing. Kudos to the makeup and VFX team on the show.

“Think about what could happen.” Okay, so this sequence was nearly as brutal as watching Abraham and Glenn meet their fate, wasn’t it? As Rick is being tormented by Negan away from the rest of his friends and family, he’s told to think about everything that could happen - not just the two deaths he already witnessed. We then see Rick imagining every single person in the group getting hit with Lucille. It’s only one strike per person, thank goodness, but it’s still harrowing to watch when the audience doesn’t know if someone else could be next.

Carl understands the score. Chandler Riggs has grown so much from the beginning of the series and so has his character. To see Rick unwilling to chop of Carl’s hand, which could cause everyone else in his group to die, and have Carl tell him to “just do it,” shows that Carl is always going to put the group first. He has always fought for the larger numbers over the individual, and I’m so looking forward to more of his character development as the show goes on.

Maggie is still ready to fight. The entire group is broken and still on their knees long after Negan and his men have left them with their dead. But it’s Maggie who struggles to her feet and instructs Rick to get Alexandria ready to fight. Maggie, who is probably not far from death herself if she doesn’t get help soon, is the one person who is not completely broken by what just happened. Is she devastated? Absolutely. But she’s the one who is already thinking about the next 10 steps they have to take.


The range of emotions from this cast is amazing. With so much of the episode devoted simply to Negan screwing with Rick’s head, the rest of the cast primarily has reaction shots while they kneel in gravel. Those reaction shots are amazing. We run the gamut of anger, shock, sadness, and just complete devastation. This group of actors had to spend an emotionally draining week filming this scene while kneeling in gravel throughout the night, and that alone would take a toll on someone, but their performances are top notch. Simply amazing.


The Bad

The reveal is dragged out way too long. Unlike a lot of The Walking Dead’s audience, I wasn’t mad about the cliffhanger. The point of big, dramatic, cliff-hanging moments is to make sure an audience comes back. But after waiting six months, and spending that six months speculating about just who “met Lucille,” and having spoilers start to leak as filming started up again, the writers drag out the reveal even longer instead of giving it to the audience immediately. It takes more than 20 minutes of the broadcast for the reveal to happen, which is kind of ridiculous.

Glenn is the second casualty of the night. This just seems mean spirited. While a second death seems obvious from the moment Negan terms Daryl standing up for Rosita a “no-no,” killing Glenn is only going to make fans angry considering how far the show has deviated from the comics in the past (this is his comic book death), and it’s only going to make the cheap death fake out from last season sting even more. Another character should have got the bat. The fans were baited enough already.



The Questions

How much guilt is Daryl going to carry around? We’ve already seen that Daryl doesn’t deal with guilt well. He gets angry and he becomes a one-man army. Right now, he’s injured, but knowing that his actions result in Negan taking out his anger on Glenn is going to mess with his head, especially when he’s going to be surrounded by Negan’s people for a while. His conflict with Dwight is going to be so fun to watch.

How far is Maggie willing to go? Maggie thinks like a leader and a strategist. While she, no doubt, wants revenge for Glenn and Abraham, she’s also got to think about how dangerous Negan’s group is for everyone at large. The question is just how far will she be willing to go to bring Negan down.

How is Alexandria going to react? When Rick and the others return with the news that they lost Abraham and Glenn, two of Rick’s most important fighters, the rest of Alexandria is probably not going to handle that well.


Grading the episode: As far as performances and creative editing go, this episode was great. Unfortunately for me though, it loses a little bit by dragging out a storyline instead of getting the audience right into it. The episode is more certainly a game-changer for the show and will propel new stories forward though, so I can’t discount it too much. B