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Major spoiler warning for those who have yet to watch the madness that was The Walking Dead's Season 7 premiere.
Though Negan was officially introduced in The Walking Dead's Season 6 finale, he didn't make his maximum impact felt until tonight's season premiere, during which he unleashed a torrent of visceral terror on Rick and his fellow survivors. Things got all too real all too often, and these were the 5 most WTF moments that came during the episode's harrowing runtime.
Negan's Test For Rick
Though viewers probably expected The Walking Dead to kick off with the full extent of Negan proving his awfulness, we actually got to witness the aftermath, as Negan took Rick away from gore-soaked grounds to give him a master lesson in what it will be like to bow down to a new leader. Rick was thrown out into a pack of hungry walkers, and though he took refuge on the RV's roof at first, he got to show off his instinctively vicious side for a while before Negan used a stream of bullets to kill off the remaining walkers. Negan knows it takes a lot to convince Rick that he cannot win in a situation, and this mindfuck of a test proved that quite well.
There was a lot of speculation going around out there that Negan would take out two victims, and he definitely did that. (More on that here.) First off came the Lucille-based thwacking of Abraham, who was the unlucky victor of Negan's game of Eeny Meeny Miney Moe. He was the one character who barely showed a speck of fear during Negan's intimidating shakedown of the group, and even as he was in the middle of dying, Abraham still got to use his best weapon on Negan: his verbal skills. Telling Negan to suck his nuts didn't change the situation for better or for worse, and fans got to have a small and unsettling chuckle during an extremely unfunny scene.
It looked like The Walking Dead might have decided to completely change up the comic book's most iconic and game-changing moment by letting Glenn live through Negan's introduction. Alas, that did not happen in the slightest, as Negan was spurred to further vengeance after an angered Daryl gave his face a smacking, and this is when Glenn got his foretold head-smooshing. It was perhaps the most brutal moment in The Walking Dead's live-action universe so far, made all the more heartbreaking and glum by Glenn's warbled profession that he would find Maggie. Friends, he will most certainly not be finding Maggie, and the little bit of hope for Glenn that had re-manifested in all of us was extinguished in a most disturbing and eye-bulging manner. Sigh.
Carl's Non-Sacrificed Arm
One of The Walking Dead's biggest comic-to-TV changes has been Rick's hand not getting lopped off at any point, and the Season 7 premiere hinted at this character-defining injury happening before ultimately making it look as if Rick would be forced to chop Carl's arm off instead. Carl, whose eye injury hasn't really felt as important as it did in the comics, came quite close to dealing with yet another major bout with pain and distress, but Negan called it off in the end, apparently sated by just how hard Rick fell apart while coming to grips with obeying the new law of the land. What a swell chap. This is the kind of fake-out moment I do like, and I was almost as shocked by Rick not chopping Carl up as I was by Negan calling for it in the first place.
Daryl Getting Kidnapped
Maggie and Daryl were in the worst physical shape as Negan was picking his victim, and the latter soon led to the former's exponentially worse emotional pain. Not that bludgeoning Glenn would become the only punishment Negan delivered in response to Daryl's actions, since he then took Daryl away as a souvenir of the occasion. A souvenir Negan will use to keep Rick & Co. in line, with the overarching threat of Daryl getting returned in cut-up parts if someone steps out of line. It's hard to imagine showrunner Scott Gimple and creator Robert Kirkman will do anything too lethal to Daryl after killing off Abraham and Glenn, but we know never to say never in the post-apocalypse.
The Walking Dead will keep dropping WTF moments when it airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is coming to the small screen soon, check out our fall premiere schedule.