ByMichael Patterson, writer at Creators.co
I Write. Sometimes.
Michael Patterson

Warning: This article contains major spoilers from #TheWalkingDeadSeason7 Premiere. Avert your eyes if you haven't seen. In fact, avert your eyes anyway!

To say that the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead was highly anticipated would be a major understatement. After Rick and the gang ran into Negan at the end of last season, the world has wondered who would get violently introduced to Lucille. The Season 6 finale drew major criticism for its cliffhanger ending, which saw Negan assault one of Rick's crew through a point-of-view shot that kept the victim's identity a mystery.

Check out the Season 6 cliffhanger below:

As blood trickled down the black screen, we were all left with our jaws wide open, hoping that our favorite character didn't meet their end at the hands of Negan. And we were all wondering how we were supposed to wait until October for new episodes.

Thankfully, last night's graphic Season 7 premiere shed light on everything, with all the suspense and style fans have come to expect from The Walking Dead. AMC's gamble at the end of Season 6 paid off in beautiful fashion, with the Season 7 premiere pulling out all the stops to bring fans back for even more mayhem and drama.

The Cliffhanger Continued

The Walking Dead's producers promised that we would see Negan's heinous actions take place in the Season 7 premiere, but the episode actually opened after the deed was done. The opening scene was the same clip that AMC released a few weeks back, which saw a distraught Rick vow to kill Negan after the villain's attack.

Opening with this scene made us think the producers had gone back on their word and that we wouldn't see the much-anticipated kill. The episode withheld the kill for about 20 minutes, making us wonder how they were going to go about revealing the identity of Negan's victims. And as Negan dragged Rick off on an excursion for just the two of them, I found myself waiting for a reveal. Even the smallest allusion to who Negan had beaten would have been satisfying, but there was nothing.

AMC's dramatic storytelling may have been a pain to watch, but it undoubtedly added a great deal to the episode and pulled off a significant feat — it made the deaths even more harrowing. Much like with The Walking Dead's 90 minute Season 6 finale, we were completely invested in the story. The uncertainty of what had happened created a powerful storyline around Rick, who struggled to comprehend the gravity of what had happened. And as Rick began to realize what — and who — he lost, so did we.

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Through The Eyes Of Rick

Rick Grimes is without a doubt the ultimate Walking Dead badass. Over the years, he's gone from former sheriff of the old world to the leader of new world, having taken care of his people since the beginning. So, you can imagine that seeing him shake so violently and remain virtually speechless in Negan's camper had us all worried. When he began unloading his aggression of the walkers, the screen cut to quick flashbacks of every member of his group. One after the other, we wondered if these faces in Rick's head were the victims or the ones that remained.

Beside himself: Rick Grimes wasn't the same Rick in the Season 7 premiere. (via AMC)
Beside himself: Rick Grimes wasn't the same Rick in the Season 7 premiere. (via AMC)

And then, as Rick lay helplessly across the top of the vehicle, we saw those infamously anticipated events unfold. As we watched, we understood that we were actually seeing them through the eyes of Rick. As Rick lost Abraham, we lost Abraham, and this technique made the events all the more tragic.

When Negan was finished with Abraham, we waited for the cycle to begin again and take us right back to the start of the episode, but that didn't happen. This tactic made it all the more terrifying when Negan shockingly drove Lucille into Glenn's head. Just as Rick helplessly watched another one of his friends get violently taken from him, we watched helplessly too, screaming at our TV screens. Rick was single-handedly broken by Negan, and so were we.

Unpredictability

Once the graphic flashbacks ended, I found myself both distraught at the losses of Glenn and Abraham and relieved at the fact that it was over. We were back in the present and Rick was alone with Negan, so the death had ended. Or so we thought.

Unpredictable: Negan got to more than one.
Unpredictable: Negan got to more than one.

When he returned Rick to the woods and allowed him to reunite with the rest of the camp, Negan had his men turn their guns on the remaining characters and singled out Carl. The reason this worked so well was because our hearts literally couldn't take anymore sorrow. Furthermore, while AMC had paid tribute to the comics with Negan's brutal murder of Glenn, they were going off-script here and had us all wondering if Rick would truly cut off his boy's arm to save the camp.

And although Negan stopped Rick right before he committed the act, the sequence worked as it was intended to because we believed Rick would go through with it. Rick would rather cut off Carl's arm than risk the lives of all his friends, and it's clear Negan's brutality will push Rick and his crew to the brinks of their humanity.

This was pretty much us for the entire episode.
This was pretty much us for the entire episode.

The Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead had expectations that were almost impossible for it to reach, especially after Season 6's controversial cliffhanger. The producer's may have responded to that controversy by dragging out the cliffhanger even longer, but that worked perfectly for the Season 7 premiere. Using Rick as our point-of-view for the flashbacks made us wait even longer for the reveal, but it also made the deaths more emotional. We lost these beloved characters just as Rick lost them, and we knew that there was nothing we could do to stop it.

AMC did a phenomenal job with the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead, proving that sometimes dragging out a cliffhanger really works. It was an event that will undoubtedly go down in TV history as one of the show's most emotional, gripping and graphic moments.

Do you think AMC got it right with The Walking Dead's Season 7 Premiere? Let us know in the comments!