The Walking Dead: The Day Will Come When You Won't Be

Well, that was brutal. Too brutal. Actually, could they promise me right now, this evening, that no one else is going to die this season?

I get why they did the cliffhanger thing now. They weren't planning to simply kill off a character. They were planning a massive re-set and bloodbath. Negan had to break Rick down completely in order to use him, and this episode was entirely about Rick watching his world fall apart. Technically and emotionally, it was an exceptionally powerful episode. I wasn't on the edge of my seat, but I was quite tense. Certainly more tense than I've ever been watching any other episode of this show.

Abraham's death was bad, although at least he got to be wonderfully defiant. He told Negan "Suck my nuts," a very Abraham thing to say in his final moment. I'm fond of Abraham, and Michael Cudlitz is such a wonderful actor, but his death wasn't a surprise. I just rewatched season six, and it was obvious that Abraham might be reaching an end to his character journey. He'd reconciled with Eugene, he was happy defending Alexandria, and he'd found love with Sasha.

But losing Glenn too was just awful. His death was prolonged and painful and certainly uglier than Abraham's. I'm sure it was supposed to shock the audience because it was unexpected, because we thought maybe the horror was over. How sad that it happened only because Daryl lost control and attacked Negan. I'm sure Daryl will feel guilty about it forever. Glenn's last words were "Maggie, I'll find you." I found that somewhat comforting because if there's an afterlife, he will. Maggie, please don't give up. Get to the doctor at Hilltop and keep that baby. You need a reason to live now.


There probably could have been more dramatic, romantic or touching moments, but I'm going to choose to remember Abraham and Glenn as they were in last season's "Knots Untie" and their expressions when they had that adorable Bisquick conversation in the RV.

What got to me more than the deaths was the constant threat of amputation. Even though I don't read the graphic novels, major character deaths and events keep coming up on the net, so I know that a certain character lost a hand at some point. In last season's "The Same Boat," Chelle, one of Negan's people, had lost part of her finger because she'd been caught stealing.

So while Negan was working on breaking Rick down during those scenes in and around the RV, I was certain he would punish Rick by cutting off his hand. It couldn't have been signaled any more clearly; the axe was the center of so many shots, and at one point, Negan even cleaned the axe off with alcohol and got a dish towel ready. And then later, in that gutwrenching scene near the end where Negan ordered Rick to cut off Carl's arm, even drawing in marker a line where the axe was supposed to go, I honestly thought they were going to go there. Fortunately, it was all a Biblical Abraham and Isaac exercise, with Negan playing the part of God.

Wow, do I want Rick to kill Negan now. Actually, back that up. I want Maggie and Sasha to do it together. Maybe they could tag team. And I don't think anyone is going to blame Rick or Daryl for what just happened, or heaven forbid, Maggie, who thought it was all her fault for getting sick. This group has been together too long. They are going to band together, and they are going to make a plan and they're going to carry it out. It may take awhile, but it will happen.

Gold acting stars for Andrew Lincoln. The episode began, ended and featured close-ups of Rick's face and especially his haunted eyes framed by that splash of Abraham's blood, a visible symbol of Rick's guilt. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was also amazing. The second time through the episode, I noticed how physical Morgan's performance was, how much difficult stuff he had to do -- he even had to physically drag Lincoln around more than once. Morgan's face also ricocheted from faux empathetic to gleefully psychotic, no mean feat.

Actually, everyone was terrific in the way they portrayed fear, shock and grief. Daryl's face when Glenn was dying for Daryl's mistake was so painful. When Carl told his father bravely to just do it, I cheered for Chandler Riggs; it may have been his strongest scene in the series. The last bit with the bodies when Sasha, Rosita and Eugene took Abraham's and the rest of them took Glenn's was moving. I cried.

I thought the scenes with the RV in the mist at dawn surrounded by shadowy walkers were beautifully done, too. There was a real feeling of transition, as if Rick were in a sort of purgatory between life and death. The walker going for the blood as they left the clearing was also powerful. It seemed to emphasize that the walkers had become part of the background. It's the people that are the danger.

I was worried that this episode would be too much for me, but I think I'm okay. This is the show we're watching, you know. We lose characters we care about every few episodes. This one was definitely heavier than usual, the worst. Up until now, I thought Noah's death was the worst, mostly because of how well it was staged and how Steven Yeun reacted to watching it happen on the other side of the revolving door.

Bits:

-- The credits were the same. The only change was the addition of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's name at the end. I'm sure there will be changes next week.

-- The title of the episode is from a Rick/Jenner exchange: Rick: "I'm grateful." Jenner: "The day will come when you won't be." (Thanks, Logan.)

-- Negan said that Simon, the guy with the pen, was his right hand man, and asked Rick who his right hand man was (which would be Daryl). Rick didn't answer but let Negan infer that it was one of the dead.

-- After killing one of them, Negan and his bat were situated with light behind him so that Lucille looked like a monstrous erection. I'm sure that was deliberate.

-- Sasha and Maggie lost their siblings at the same time. Now they lost their loves at the same time.

-- Instead of the usual format, the episode of Talking Dead that followed this episode was a ninety-minute special held at a cemetery in Hollywood with much of the cast and thousands of fans. I wonder if that was a mistake, because everyone seemed to be bummed out. It even rained, and it was an outside event. It doesn't rain often in Los Angeles.

Quotes:

Rick: "I'm gonna kill you. Not today, not tomorrow, but I'm gonna kill you."

Negan: "Bet you thought you were all gonna grow old together, sitting around the table at Sunday dinner and the happily ever after. No. It doesn't work like that Rick. Not anymore."



The details in this little scene are heartbreaking: Glenn and Abraham at the head of the table, the little boy in Glenn's lap, Sasha pregnant.

Maggie: "I need to do this. Please."
Aaron: "We need to help you."

I'm going to abbreviate Negan's witticisms: Shit in scrambled eggs, vampire bat, dirty girl, warlock's ballsack, salami slice, ta ta. There you go.

While this was an excellent episode and most certainly a game changer, it was truly hard to watch. I don't plan to sit through it again,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.

15 comments:

J.D. Balthazar said...

I felt emotionally drained and a little numb after watching the episode. But I wasn't furious like I usually get when a character (on any show) is written off. That means it was well done, perhaps I don't have enough distance yet to really absorb this episode but I have to admit it was a very good one.

I also have to praise Andrew Lincoln, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, and Chandler Riggs for their acting in this one. It was really like watching these people I've come to care about suffer through one of the worst moments of their lives. It's clear things are never going to be the same, but I wonder how they are going to change.

Thanks for getting your thoughts out so quickly, it was nice to be able share my thoughts so soon after seeing that.

Laure Mack said...

'Fortunately, it was all a Biblical Abraham and Isaac exercise, with Negan playing the part of God.'

Didn't you always hope that Jeffrey Dean Morgan would show up back on Supernatural as God? Careful what you wish for.

Great review. Can't wait to see what more you and everyone has to say after it sits awhile.

Henrik Bennetter said...

*shudder*

I couldn't watch parts of this episode, because I still have the image of the bludgeoning from the comics in my head.

Horrible, great, episode. JDM is an excellent choice for Negan. I'm also pleased they've toned down the profanity-level in the show, versus the comic, I always felt it made him less intimidating in the comic.

Logan Cox said...

The title must be referencing Rick's last conversation with Dr. Jenner in Season One.

Rick: I'm grateful.
Jenner: The day will come when you won't be.

Definitely one of the most intense episodes, alongside the previous season finale. Really put us through the emotional ringer; the hand-chopping fake out riveted me even worse than Glenn or Abraham getting bashed. Is it wrong that I think Rick kind of deserved this for how ridiculously arrogant he was being last season?

At the very least, we now get to enjoy watching this show's ultimate villain. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is killing it as Negan so far. Pun intended.

Enid G said...

I find that I'm drained from watching this episode and I'm trying to figure out if I want to continue watching TWD. I know I don't watch for the gore, I just accept that is a part of the show cause it has zombies and villains. I watch because I'm trying to see the characters survive and grow in a new world where the old answers and ways don't always work anymore. I know about the graphic novel and the differences between the show and it.

Billie, I have to say for me it was too brutal and I was also waiting for the loss of limb when Rick and Negan were together. The other upsetting thing was when Negan dragged Rick into the trailer. I get this is about him asserting his authority and basically breaking Rick down. I guess it just at first reminded me of how a woman gets pulled away for a rape scene kind of like Dolores in Westworld.

I don't believe either death will be in vain as I suspect some people will find strength they didn't know they had.I'm kind of glad there is a week for me to process and see how I feel. Right now, I just feel out.

Mallena said...

Well, I'm out. I couldn't even watch it on fastforward peeking through my fingers. When the show was about humans banding together to fight their way through the zombie apocalypse, I could take it. Now, when it is about humans killing each other in brutal ways? To quote Buffy: A world of no.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks so much for the comments, guys. I did rewatch the episode (it was a little easier to watch when you know what's going to happen) and I filled in a bit more of the review.

Finally finished watching the ninety-minute Talking Dead too, and interestingly, Steven Yeun said that when he first read about his character's death in the graphic novel, he told Kirkman to please *not* give that death to another character.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Mallena: Don't get out.
After "this" episode in the comic, I got out. I just thought it had gone too far and only did such a brutal thing to be speculative, for shock-value.
But I let it sink in and eventually got back to the comic and totally think it's worth it.

This show has always been about how monstrous people are against each other.
Just think of Shane waaaay back. Or Carols husband.

And; should things play out more or less like in the comic - then we're in for one hell of a ride.

Billie Doux said...

Henrik, I keep hearing that and it does make me want to continue.

Another tidbit from Talking Dead -- Kirkman and/or Gimple, I don't recall which, said that the next episode is actually funny. TWD is almost never funny. I find that intriguing, too.

Mallena said...

Henric, why can't the show be about people coming together to fight the zombies and survive? That's the show I wanted to watch. Not the one with Papa Winchester bashing people's heads in. The early seasons had horrible deaths. Sophia, Andrea, Hershell, Beth, those two little girls with Carol. Those deaths were bad, but they were done in compelling and emotional ways. Many critics are saying that TWD has ran out of story, so they are just going for the gore. I don't want to watch people hurting each other, I can't even watch boxing. I will try to watch next week, though, just for you, but if the level of violence stays high, I'm gone again.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Mallena, I totally agree and get where you are coming from.

I am completely against violence and am abhorred by some of the stuff we see on TV everyday. That includes the news and dramas such as TWD, GoT, Westworld and such.

However - this show actually IS about people coming together to fight the zombies and survive. That's what everyone was doing in the prison and Alexandria - for a long while.
But. It's also about what you're willing and/or forced to do to protect that.

Now, I don't want to give away the comic story, but if they take the tv-show in the direction of the comic there is worse, but also, better to come.

The trouble is, of course, if you had a show which was solely about banding together and fighting the zombies - then it'd be a boring show, although I too would really like to see at least one episode about this. Actually, we've seen one already haven't we? When they herded the...well, herd.

Only, being a gory show they have to have gore as well. It's the same on GoT. The showrunners seem to think that if you don't have naked women and somebody getting skewered in each episode, well then it's not GoT.

And like I said - I could also be without the gore (or the nudity in GoT/WW) but apparently they keep putting it in there.

Anyway. I hope the you'll keep watching. And I hope the violence is toned down.
But don't watch anything for anyones sake but your own. If you're out then I totally understand.

However your ship sails, I wish you safe waters.

TheShadowKnows said...

I have to agree with some of the other posters. Watching this show feels like wallowing in a sewer at this point. I just don't see the redeeming value anymore.

Leigh said...

Very difficult to watch and it feels like the situation is hopeless.
I'm enjoying Fear the Walking Dead because there's still lots of character development but TWD seems to have lost that now.
I'll keep watching but I'm not sure if I can enjoy it any more

Marianna said...

I think the thing that bothers me the most about this is that it feels like the writers are toying with us. They made us think that Glenn was dead with the dumpster incident and saved him, only to kill him off half a season later? After that cliffhanger, in my mind they were not allowed to kill Glenn (or Maggie because they're a unit). Honestly, I would have moved on if they had killed Rick.

Anonymous said...

Rck's gang just moves on from one bad situation to another, each time losing and/or picking up a character or two. That's what TWD's always been about. We continue to watch because despite this tedious repetition we kind of care and want to know how the get out of each dilemma. The story needs a major twist (can't remember the last time it had one) and some idea of resolving the zombie situation. If not, then after Negan there will just be another bad guy, another craphole to get out of.