(WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the show and the graphic novel. Bloody gifs from the episode are also depicted below. Sorry to make you relive them.)
"Dawn is breaking. It's a brand new day." Without context, you might mistake these words as sweet nothings being said to a lover. Nah, it was Negan, and they came after some heavy blows to Rick's group. The writers made us wait nearly half an hour to find out what we had so anxiously been awaiting since the Season 6 finale, the not-so-pleasant payoff. At all. In the slightest. Ah yes, the day of the premiere has come and gone, and boy, was it one for the books.
The majority of this episode was emotionally draining to witness, especially those black-and-white character montages. Though each were only a few seconds long, they were like a dagger to your heart and left everyone wondering which character would get the axe (or rather, bat). We learned that answer soon enough and the results were devastating and will no doubt be felt throughout the rest of the series.
Whether you're angry, upset, or still in shock, let's take a quick look back at some of the most emotional moments from the premiere. Grab tissues if you need 'em.
Andrew Lincoln's Eyes, Close Up
The man has received many nominations and a handful of awards for his role as Rick, but can someone please explain to me why the Emmys have continually snubbed this actor time and time again? How is that even possible? I have more questions than answers.
Few actors can upstage Lincoln's abilities, particularly in this regard, and the array of emotions he is able to portray with just his eyes alone is truly astonishing. Those piercing blue eyes will be the death of me and many other fans, I'm certain. But it was the scene with Carl that really took my breath away. The tension was killer and thankfully didn't end with any more killing, or dismemberment even (although it did come very, very close).
'The Kid'll Be Fine. Probably.'
Uncontrollable shaking, desperate pleads, choking on his sobs. Let's not forget the snot dripping from his nose. Lincoln did what he does best — tear our hearts out, mangle them, and shove them right back into our chests. Watching Rick break down is always downright heartbreaking, but this was so much more tense and terrifying than anything we had seen him go through before. Had his expression not changed and had Negan not stopped him, could Rick have actually done it?
The 'Champ' Throwing Up A Peace Sign
In case you missed it (I somehow did during my first viewing), Abe managed to give Sasha that last little farewell. I was so distraught at the death reveal (finally) that at that point I had left my body and was watching myself watch the episode. Such a subtle, brilliant, tear-brimming moment. What a perfect final exchange.
During his brutal death scene, Rosita, Sasha, and Eugene's reactions are perhaps the varied reactions that viewers had at home (I was Eugene). Later, when the episode is drawing to an end, the reunion of these three is an emotional one as they help carry Abraham's body to the truck. Sonequa Martin-Green gave an incredible answer during the latest Talking Dead episode about Sasha's feelings during these moments. If you haven't watched the premiere yet, check it out.
Peace out, Abraham (and Michael Cudlitz). You were a Sergeant until the very end.
'Buddy, You Still There?'
Yes, he fucking was, and Glenn was as much of a "champ" as Abraham. While the latter made many fans laugh with his final words (albeit through tears, probably), Glenn broke the fandom's collective heart with just four little words.
"Star-crossed lovers," as Lauren Cohan put it in the Talking Dead. She gave such an eloquent answer, but for the rest of us, perhaps there are no words. This was such a big loss, folks. Even if you were familiar with the comics and knew it could happen, the blow wasn't softened by any means. Let's give it up for Cohan (Maggie) and her serious acting chops throughout the show.
Her other siblings, Hershel, Beth, Glenn — most everyone on this show can't catch a break, but Maggie seems to keep getting the short end of the stick. If she loses her baby (knock on wood), I don't know what she'll do. When Cohan breaks down, we can't help but cry along with her.
In Abraham and Glenn's final moments, they were able to speak to their loved ones in their own way. A quick hand signal, a few words. These were simple goodbyes that Sasha and Maggie will remember for the remainder of their days.
Negan's Salt-In-Wound Dinner Quote...
"Bet you thought you were all going to grow old together, sitting around the table at Sunday dinner living happily ever after. It doesn't work like that."
...And Vision Of What Could Have Been
Y'all saw that one coming, right? Especially when Negan's words are repeated as a voice-over. Whether you anticipated the dinner scene or not, that sequence cut deeper emotionally than any of Negan's weapons ever physically could. Everyone seated together, smiling at each other. Glenn, Abraham, and the lovely ladies at the very end. That shared look between the fallen men.
One episode down, lots more to go. Steel yourselves for next week and whatever the rest of the season has in store. And to Glenn and Abraham, one last time: RIP.
P.S. Teasing the audience by showing each individual getting whacked by Lucille had me sweatin' and swearin' all over the place, Lord Almighty.
Let's all remember Abraham for the true soldier he was and for some of his best moments during his run on The Walking Dead:
What moment left you feeling the most gutted during The Walking Dead premiere?