glenns last words to maggie the walking dead
 5. Glenn deserved better.

I think a lot of these issues might not have been such a big deal if Glenn had a better death. I know, I know. “It’s in the comics!” I know that. I get it. I understand that factually, this is the case.

First of all, I don’t think being in the comics means it’s okay television. Sometimes adaptations require changes simply to make something in a book or a graphic novel work better on screen. This is one such time.

The real issue is two-fold.

First, they fake-killed Glenn last season, which made his real death fell both cheaper and crueler. They should have fake-killed Daryl instead. The whole thing has left me and many other viewers with very negative feelings about being tricked in a pretty lame way.

Second, Glenn didn’t have any screen time before his death, and he deserved that time. Tyreese got pretty much an entire episode to die. We got to spend time with him before his death. And he’s never been as central or beloved  a character as Glenn. No other character in this show has, simply because Glenn was one of the very first characters and he’s lasted the longest. Most other season one characters that have passed, did so a few seasons ago.

So I think Glenn deserved a better send-off even if he was going to die in such a gruesome way. And audiences deserved better treatment with the whole fake-out last season, followed by this real death now. The entire thing was badly mishandled and botched.

Okay, now what the episode did right.

The season 7 premiere did get some things right. Most notably, it broke Rick, changing him from badass leader into Negan’s creature and fully illustrating just how out-gunned and out-smarted our heroes are. In this sense, the episode did a great job setting really desperate stakes for the survivors, and that in turn has left me both cautiously optimistic about the coming conflict, and really dying to know what comes next. How will they possibly ever fight back against such overwhelming odds?

Finally, the episode got our attention. If nothing else it swaggered onto the scene like Negan himself, swinging its bloody bat right in our collective faces and said “The Walking Dead is back, baby, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” That’s a triumph in its own right and I can’t deny how effective this episode was in terms of locking in our attention and leaving us wanting more. If nothing else, I want revenge and I want it badly.

So sure, lots of problems and I have plenty of concerns for the rest of the season, not the least of which is whether Negan will turn out to be a great villain or just a mediocre villain who we’re supposed to think is a great villain. But I’m still hopeful that a focused conflict against a much more powerful enemy will ultimately be a good thing for the show.