The season premiere of The Walking Dead was intense and heartbreaking. We’ve got a to talk about, so I’m just gonna jump in now. This is your official spoiler alert. Read on at your own risk.
All hiatus long we’ve been wrestling with the question of who Negan killed. We made theories, we wrote articles, we cast lots, and we prayed to a wide variety of pop culture gods to spare our faves. But we finally learned the answers, and it would seem Negan and Lucille claimed not one but two lives in the season premiere. The first being Abraham, and the second death stuck with the storyline from the comic book, taking out my personal favorite, Glenn Rhee.
While the deaths were gutting, Negan didn’t just rip two lives from the group (potentially three–we don’t know what’s happening with Daryl yet). No, Negan has introduced some serious problems into the group that will resonate way beyond the deaths of two of the group’s strongest members.
The Problem of “New Rick”
Negan completely destroyed Rick in this episode. Sure, Rick survived, but he is completely and utterly broken. When Negan forced Rick to watch two of his people killed brutally, fetch his own ax from a horde of walkers and return it to Negan, and then made Rick choose between the lives of his group or personally chopping his own son’s hand off, something inside Rick broke.
These past few seasons Rick has grown stronger and stronger, turning Rick into an utter force to be reckoned with. Negan managed to destroy that in less than a day. Rick doesn’t appear to be playing possum to placate Negan, Rick seems to truly feel defeated by him. The group has been in tough scrapes before, but Rick has always had the guts to fight his way and the group’s way out of it. While it is utterly understandable why Rick is broken, it’s a bit scary to think of a world where Rick isn’t going to try to fight back, especially in the face of Negan-level evil.
The Carol and Maggie Problem
Rick may be out for the count (for now, anyway), but there is at least one person who isn’t: Maggie. This chick is a freaking beast. She’s lost her entire family, is potentially in the middle of losing her baby, but she did not let Negan’s horrors break her resolve. Her first words to the group weren’t about mourning her husband’s horrific murder, but were encouraging the group to fight Negan. That is not only a problem for Negan in the future, but it’s also going to create tension within the group–especially if Rick continues to submit to Negan’s demands. But Maggie isn’t the only one that will likely be gunning for revenge. While Carol is still healing with Morgan at the Kingdom, we can only guess that she’s back in the fight. Once Morgan and Carol return to Alexandria/Hilltop to see what Negan has done, you can bet we’ll get the second coming of the Rambo Carol. Negan’s scary, but Carol’s scarier.
The Production Problem
The group isn’t just worried about mere survival any more. Now they have to worry about fighting off walkers, getting enough food, water, and supplies for Alexandria/Hilltop, and Negan. The added production pressure and the huge strain of providing for an evil dictator like Negan is going to change the entire dynamic of the group–especially if Rick is taking a knee when it comes to any plans of rebellion. Plus, we can almost guarantee that Negan and his men will take more than their fair share whenever they feel like it.
The Direction Problem
With Negan’s demands and Rick’s lack of interest in fighting (for now, anyway), the group has lost its direction. Before, they were interested in creating a healthy and safe home where they could rebuild some sort of a life. Now, their main goal has to be providing supplies to meet Negan’s demands. If Rick isn’t up for rising up against Negan and the Saviors, what exactly are they living for? We’ve seen from Michonne that living simply to survive isn’t any sort of a life. Rediscovering a purpose and direction will be vital for the group to do, and it will be incredibly hard through the intense fear and mourning they’ll all be experiencing.
The Carl Problem
If you’ve read the comics, you know Carl and Negan have a really… complicated relationship. While we don’t know where the show will take it, Negan has certainly made things complicated for Carl. First off, he has seen firsthand how useful of a bargaining chip Carl can be. Putting Carl’s well-being, not even Carl’s life, on the line destroyed Rick. That power certainly wasn’t lost on Negan. However, Carl had to watch his dad get completely broken by Negan as well, and we don’t really know what Carl is thinking. While he’s likely not on Team Negan, his affect on Carl’s dad is most definitely going to be problematic in Carl’s relationship with his dad.
So while you try to digest the crazy season premiere, tell me what you think about the episode and how Negan’s presence has changed the group in the comments!
Image credits: AMC