The obligatory disclaimer: If you read on, you're going to find out that Carol died in the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead. Just kidding. Or am I?
The Walking Dead returned to AMC on Sunday night. As arguably the second-buzziest television show of the social media era (Game of Thrones keeps its crown), every man and his baseball bat has an opinion about the quality of The Walking Dead, and much like the Season 6 finale, the Season 7 opener has proved to be wildly divisive among critics. Here's a round-up of the best and worst of what's been said about 'The Day Will Come When You Won't Be.'
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UK newspaper The Independent described the episode as "too bleak to enjoy" in their relatively mixed review:
"Having double bluffed viewers with Glenn's 'death' in season 6, they resign him to a fate almost constructed as second fiddle to that of Abe's main attraction. So visceral is this moment, it's tough not to stand up and applaud the ever-hardworking prosthetic team who make you believe the wonderful Steven Yeun’s bulbous eyeball is departing its socket.
Negan is a malevolent foe to be feared like no other. He will pounce on anyone at anytime with zero display of mercy. How do we know this? Because we see him do so - and it is awful. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the first Walking Dead character that will haunt your nightmares."
ComicBook.com thought the Season 7 premiere was essentially a great big ball of fan service which corrected the mistakes of the Season 6 finale and gave fans of The Walking Dead comic exactly what they'd been waiting for:
"Fans who wanted to see the Lucille beatdown were granted their wishes as Abraham lay dead in front of his closest friends, girlfriend, and ex-girlfriend until Glenn's comic book death was realized in the most visually accurate way imaginable. Both of the victims stayed true to their roots with the sendoffs, as well. Abraham delivered one last "Suck my nuts," as Glenn uttered a promise to find Maggie as his eye bulged from his skull."
Check our Movie Pilot exclusive video: Negan's most charming moments.
Extra praise went to Jeffrey Dean Morgan for his "spine-chilling yet somehow joyful" performance as Negan. In contrast, ScreenCrush reviewer Kevin Fitzpatrick was less impressed:
The very fact that [the premiere continues] to tease out Negan’s victim even further proves that 'The Walking Dead' has little concept of what bothered fans in the first place. There’s no story to be unveiled with bashing in someone’s skull ... Rather than atone for their mistake by answering the question and moving forward, 'The Walking Dead' triples down on a terrible idea, peppering in flashes of character history from Rick’s perspective, and even running down the entirety of Negan’s nursery rhyme again when the moment actually comes. There’s no one watching that doesn’t simply want this over with by then.
It was AV Club, though, who landed the killer blow, the C- grade they awarded 'The Day Will Come When You Won't Be' being far from the most damning indictment of the episode:
"'The Walking Dead' doesn’t have much narrative point anymore. Any themes it was trying to explore have been long since beaten into the ground (heh), and without complex characters ... the show is having to rely more and more on shocks.
The show is so stupid that it thinks we’re stupid, prays we’re stupid; cross its fingers and hopes like hell that its legion of loyal, obsessive followers will rend their garments at the horrible demise of a fan favorite, but still be back next week for another round of spin the murder bottle."
Whether you agree with that or not, "spin the murder bottle" is a pretty funny description of Sunday night's visceral festivities. Don't miss the trailer for next week's episode, 'The Kingdom':