Season Seven, Episode One — “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”

© Copyright 2016, AMC. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, AMC. All Rights Reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. Before we dive too deeply into this episode, it needs to be said: That cliffhanger was entirely unnecessary. In what I will only describe as “The Negan Prequel Season,” Season Six of The Walking Dead putzed around with itself for sixteen episodes, faking us out with what appeared to be monumental deaths and important character moments when really all it was amounting to was a shallow, gimmicky POV ending where we got to experience what it would look and sound like if somebody smashed our heads in. (As if watching this show hadn’t already done a remarkable job of that. Jokes!)

So not only was it unnecessary, it was kind of pathetic too, like an only child screaming for attention from their parents, both of whom are involved in quite separate but no less erotic and mind-numbingly fulfilling love affairs.

Yes, it was a pointless ending to an all-over-the-map season, which definitely didn’t bode well for the beginning of Season Seven. You can’t say that TWD creator Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple don’t have their heads firmly ensconced within their own asses — how else would these two so eloquently defend their dubious creative decisions? They certainly can’t hide behind this flaccid episode, no matter how furiously it tries to wank itself into action. (Equally wanky is the episode’s title, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”.)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan was all charisma and hellfire as Negan on Sunday night, but we’ve already known that for six months now. Negan’s ascension to series regular means that The Walking Dead finally has an alpha within its mopey melodrama. There certainly wasn’t one to be found in Rick Grimes’ not-so merry brood — Abraham had the thick-necked brio (and the ludicrous handlebar mustache to match) but he was far too occupied with his inevitable end to serve any sort of function down the road. And Glenn’s fiery passion for his wife, Maggie, was the only thing putting steam behind his narrow ass. Neither had what it took to protect Alexandria, and it took Negan to come along and smash their brains into the gravel to properly hammer home that point.

There’s Morgan and Carol, of course, but they’ll have to wait until next week, where it’s likely we’ll get to meet that giant friggin’ tiger in all the TWD promos. This week, they only arrive in one of Rick’s fear-drenched hallucinations, where everyone’s healthy and happy. (Only in a madman’s dream would anybody be either of those things in The Walking Dead.)

I suppose this season’s arc will revolve around Rick’s deteriorating patience with Negan until he gets a few feeble licks in to avenge Abe and Glenn. But don’t you dare think for a second there’s any real drama here — if Negan was being set up for a bloody fall, his name wouldn’t be Negan. (It’d probably be Harold, or perhaps Bobby.) No, The Walking Dead‘s newest character is here for the long haul, for better and worse, however long that turns out to be. So long as Chris Hardwick can blankly spin Kirkman & Gimple’s advertisers-appeasing story tropes, it’s for the best we get used to Negan and his bloodthirsty vampire bat.


I’m gonna kill you.” – Rick.

I need you to know me.” – Negan.

WORST MOMENT: In the episode’s most fatuous moment, Rick begins to have waking nightmares of what it would look like if Negan smashed in the heads of every member of his crew. Not only have we already endured two thorough head-smashings, the sequence arrived declaring that we now have gif-able shots of what it would look like if Carl got his adorable head squashed. Bit excessive, don’tcha think?

EPISODE’S MVP: If it had ended up being anyone else other than Negan, we might have wondered what purpose Season Six served at all, and wouldn’t that have been a shame.

© Copyright 2016, AMC. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, AMC. All Rights Reserved.


– The Abraham death was the least surprising moment of the episode. (Called it!) The Glenn death was the hardest thing to watch, mostly because it was actually really funny. No one involved in that moment completely sold it — Maggie couldn’t muster the despair, Rick looked like somebody fed him bad fish, and Glenn’s damn eye was throbbing out of his head. At least Negan was there to point out the ridiculousness of it all.

– Before you go typing that Glenn’s death is nigh-verbatim from the comics and I should shut up forever, you can stop right there.

– Rick’s swashbuckling leap onto the dangling walker might have been the silliest moment of the night. Is “leapt the walker” the new “jumped the shark”? Sure, why not.

– No one really thought Daryl was gonna bite it, right? When Negan had him stashed away in the back of a van, I kept expecting him to shout, “I can’t kill you because I’m contractually unable to!

4.5 out of 10

Next: The Mid-Season Finale, as soon as it happens.

Before: “Last Day on Earth,” here.