The walking dead is a show that is as good today as was when it first aired seven seasons ago. A few bumps in the road but the amount of care and detail put into frame that they shoot is felt in each moment of the season seven premiere. Where Negan played by (Jeffery Dean Morgan) will choose the person whom he will paint the town red with, their brains, as he and his trust bat Lucille wind up to knock out one of main cast members. Keeping it spoiler free the decision he came to was a difficult one to accept, for any longtime fan of the show.
As Negan gleefully beats someone’s skull into the dirt laughing at and mocking his victims the whole time, the rest of the group only able to look on in horror as one of their own is taken from them.This was not only a pivotal point for the show to jump of their next story arch but is one of the most iconic moments from the comic book itself. The episode takes its time getting to the climactic moment, not giving it all away at the start, this allowed the tension to get to heart-pounding levels as you didn’t want to blink or look away from the screen.
Throughout the episode Negan torments Rick played by (Andrew Lincoln) before and after all the killing, trying to get him to a certain breaking point and final see who is truly in charge. Now, as usual, the show doesn’t follow the books exactly, it’s hard to turn a ten-minute read into an hour-long show and yet the cast and production manage to make it seem effortless, as the show conveys its source material extremely well, and at the same time adds its own continuity.
Props are always an important part of this show, from the walkers to the weapons, with Lucille making her debut it was adamant that they nailed the bat’s likeness, without a doubt they capture it perfectly. Not only do they get Lucille right, but the casting of Jeffery Dean Morgan was nothing short of genius. He is able to translate the charismatic foul-mouthed psychopath better than anyone should be allowed to, in character and in look, Dean Morgan oozes Negan’s persona on screen. Besides the performance from the night’s lead characters, everyone else shows up for work, most of the cast goes through the episode without dialog, but the whole cast was able to emote their respective character’s feelings in those many tense moments.
Besides the performance from the night’s lead characters, everyone else shows up for work, most of the cast goes through the episode without dialog, but the whole cast was able to emote their respective character’s feelings in those many tense moments. The walking dead crew is no stranger to villains, they have been dealing with them since day one and the trends is likely to continue, but Negan is a whole other beast to tackle, a man who gets childlike joy and wonder from doing the most terrible things.
By the end of the episode the audience is exhausted of the brutality as our group is, the adrenaline you get from this fifty-minute bit of TV is palpable, and the outcome was as well executed as a fan of the show or comic could And that was just episode one for this season. Episode two takes the opposite effect, at least in the realm of what the episode was about thematically, where episode one was about death and hurting, episode two is more about life and healing.
It followed the story of Carol (Melissa McBride) and Morgan (Lennie James), as we pick up after they were rescued at the end of last season, this season they meet their rescuer and the audience is introduced to a comic book favorite. Ezekiel the leader of The Kingdom; is portrayed perfectly by (Khary Payton), The casting quality that AMC and the Walking Dead have cultivated is almost on par with studios like Marvel, he came equipped with his iconic dreads, cane sword and even more iconic tiger, Shiva.
There was not much conflict in this episode a few scenes were Morgan goes on some runs with his saviors, and through this we got a close look at how things are done when Negan’s Saviors are calling the shots, as Ezekiel and his men deliver a shipment of goods willingly to the bloodthirsty Morgan struggles with the decisions of the newly met king but is also dealing with carol, who is still suffering from her guilt and anxiety.
She plays her typical Susie homemaker self on the front, but in the back, is looking for a way to escape the world, they utilized this character so well, barely adopting her from the books, the show makes her a very powerful player as well as giving her a much better story arch than Kirkman had done originally. There is so much going on in this episode, a lot of new characters and possible relationships are introduced and multiple plot threads from the book begin to stick out, all while the story is still sticking to the progression of our main characters.
You can tell that the show runners are trying to paint the world of the book on screen, Ezekiel and Negan were such great casting, and the actors are bringing everything they got to the table no one is phoning it in. It’s well known how hard this job can be, the heat, the repeated motion, its taxing on their bodies and not just the main crew but all those people that spend tens of thousands of cumulative man-hours in make-up or then there’s those behind screens, looking through lenses, designing sets, drafting scripts, everything that makes this show as remarkable as it is, is all done by a soup of talent.
The Walking Dead season seven has made a great showing, with little pacing issues and solid performances all around, it would be greedy to ask for anything better. I give the first two episodes, a 9 out of 10