On the heels of Negan’s show of force, Rick’s crew is left with realizing that they have lost part of their family. Watching Abraham stand strong but left to become a pool of death, anger and loss immediately overwhelmed the group. Not wanting to let it stand and unable to deal with Negan’s taunting, Daryl lashes out and gets a punch on Negan’s chin. Rather than immediately retaliating and hitting Daryl, Negan takes a moment reflect on the backlash. Choosing to respect Daryl’s grit, Negan turns his bat toward Glenn and strikes. Rick is dragged into the RV, fails on an attempt to take out Negan, and is later returned with a similar loss of control. Believing that Rick still did not get it, he forces Rick to believe he had to cut off Carl’s hand or sacrifice the entire group but stops him just before the cut to capture that moment of Rick’s full break. Negan gathers his crew, throws Daryl into the back of a van, and leaves the rest of the group to pine over the loss of their family.
The Great Reveal: While I believe that I called the deaths of both Abraham and Glenn, it still does not prepare anyone for how the production crew would pull off the scene. Abraham’s moment of strength likely encouraged Negan to pick him. In the comics, Abraham would have died a couple episodes earlier when dealing with the Saviors, pre-Negan. This felt like more of a continuity correction than Glenn’s death did, but it was well-crafted to weave into this telling of the story. No more one liners from the king of one liners.
Glenn…we will miss you. The scene was so well acted and mirrored elements of the comics almost perfectly. Having his head bashed in with his eye popped out was just incredible, shocking, and devastating. You could feel the pain from Maggie, Rick, and the others as they watched the moral compass of their group have the life drained out of him. The image of Negan in the shadows and backlit still wailing on Glenn’s husk of a body was haunting. This will be a moment of building for the group, but Daryl will not be able to let this go.
Balance of Power Shifted: The entire episode was a tribute to Negan’s strength and power. Fans were so angry at the end of season 6 because of the cliffhanger ending. I believe that the significance of Negan’s introduction was lost. The episode did drag out the reveal a bit, but I believe that the focus on suspense was perfectly done.
Now to the actual power, Negan has an army and now Rick’s confidence in his pocket. He has taken out two of Rick’s closest people and stolen away Daryl. He nearly forced Rick to cut off Carl’s arm. He broke him. Rick had that moment of confidence that he and his family could do anything, survive anything. The group will need time to rebuild their strength and their sense of purpose. They will need to figure out how to save Daryl. For now, Negan is king.
Dealing with Loss: This will be a season/series-long issue. While there has not been much conversation about most of the people who have been lost for a while, their presence is still felt and Glenn and Abraham will remain a spiritual part of this show for years.
Sasha and Rosita were able to grieve together for a moment, but both of them will be lost for a while. For Rosita, she had somewhat separated from Abraham, but Negan taunted his death in her face while Sasha had to fear and cry indirectly in the shadow of the encounter. Sasha and Abraham were envisioning a life together. She was seeing hope, which is something you never want to do in this type of world. Just as Rick’s confidence is gone, Sasha now has had her life stolen from her. Whether she will become reckless or break into despair will remain to be seen.
Daryl’s lashing out against Negan was the type of lone wolf response you would expect from him. He finally felt like part of the family and struggled watching Abraham’s sacrifice and Rosita’s torture. He will likely be at the whim of both Negan and Dwight, while torturing himself for feeling accountable for Glenn’s death.
I’ve already talked about Rick’s tourture…but then there is Maggie. She lost the love of her life and had to watch the brutality in-person. She should be completely broken. Once Negan left, she was driven to want to fight back. Knowing what her comic future looks like, she is showing immediate leadership qualities. She wants to avenge her loss, not be paralyzed by it. She will bring to question whether people trust Rick to continue to lead Alexandria or trust him against the rule of Negan. Maggie will likely appear to be the stronger of the two and may take away any sense of leadership people still connect with Rick.
Question of the Week: What do you believe Daryl’s fate looks like considering his misstep against Negan?
In Memoriam: Glenn & Abraham…rest in peace…