The Walking Dead season seven premiere will go down as one of the most controversial episodes in the show’s history.
For some, it marked the turning point when the show officially went from the hunter-gatherer phase to the world-building phase. For others, it was the moment the show died – along with two of its primary characters.
Warning – this article will contain spoilers from the show.
With the Walking Dead’s war arc now a thing of the past, the show has found a bit of new life throughout season nine. Yet, the haunting memory of that fateful night in front of the RV and the sight of a blood-drenched Lucille is still burned into fans’ minds.
While most people figured Glenn would be one of the characters killed off, as per the comics, the showrunners decided to make the episode twice as painful by having Abraham get the bat first. It was a somber moment and may have been too much to bear.
That’s what the man who played Abraham, Michael Cudlitz, believes anyway. He said:
“I personally thought it was not the wisest thing to take both Abraham and Glenn out in the same episode.”
He goes on to explain that he believes it is simply too much of a loss for fans.
“[Glenn’s] like the moral compass and the heart of the show at the same time.”
He discussed how Glenn was a nice counterbalance to Rick at times. He shouldn’t sell his own character short, either. With his tough-as-nails attitude and penchant for profanity-infused-one-liners, Abraham had a massive fan following of his own.
Even if the showrunners were bound and determined to make Negan’s debut twice as ruthless as it was in the comics, the way they did it was pretty terrible. The Saviors had already been spoken about and referred to at the end of season six, with that episode’s finale ending on a cliffhanger as Negan claimed his first victim. The act was only witnessed from the victim’s perspective, leaving fans in the dark for months.
It was bad form, all around – especially considering Negan killed two people. Why not have him ice one during the finale, then another during the next season’s premiere? Given how Negan’s attitude about violence was joyful and almost taunting, it seemed like the showrunners were teasing the fans – a move that backfired big as evident by dropping ratings.
There’s also the possibility the idea of the Saviors hit a little too close to home. A small group in the Washington, D.C. area who taxed, controlled, and threatened smaller communities into compliance while framing the whole thing as a “service?” It’s a gritty form of symbolism, and it may have been too hard for fans to stomach.
Luckily, Cudlitz is back on the show – not as Abraham, but in a directorial role. While the showrunners have changed, the show’s penchant for gore hasn’t. New antagonist Alpha claimed the lives of 10 characters in one episode – eat your heart out, Negan.