Warning: spoilers ahead for the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead has never shied away from getting really, really gross with its portrayal of the zombie apocalypse. Whether it's somebody gruesomely dying or just somebody not showering for an absurd amount of time, the show is willing to get truly icky. An especially gross moment happened in the Season 7 premiere when new bad guy Negan whacked Glenn in the head with a baseball bat, and his eye nearly popped out of its socket. Walking Dead special effects makeup artist Greg Nicotero posted a photo of what Glenn's loose eye looked like up close. Take a look!
If you're anything like me, your horror at watching Negan beat the stuffing out of Glenn was tinged with a little bit of "That's awesome!" at the sight of his eye bugging out of his socket. It was an impressive makeup job from Greg Nicotero and his team that the gory eye effect actually enhanced the scene rather than made the scene ridiculous. The eye looks somewhat sillier in Nicotero's Instagram pic thanks to Steven Yeun's goofy grin, but it doesn't look totally unreal.
The eye combined with the straggly wig and the blood dripping all over Steven Yeun's face is proof enough that the other actors probably didn't need to use too much imagination to pretend that their pal was in bad condition. No wonder filming for the premiere was such a nightmare. The makeup crew had to go all the way on making Glenn's death visually effective to really sell the brutality of Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan could have been as violent and menacing as humanly possible in his performance; it wouldn't have mattered if Glenn didn't look like he was really being bludgeoned to death by a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.
The violence wasn't necessarily easy to watch, and viewer reactions have ranged from furious to devastated in the days since the episode aired. The Parent Television Council is now of the opinion that The Walking Dead was so brutal that TV needs a rating that goes beyond TV-MA. One viewer even spent a quarter of the hour screaming and swearing at the episode from her couch. Hopefully we can all agree that the makeup effects were excellent, no matter what we think of how the show handled the deaths of Glenn and Abraham.
As great as the effects of the bug-eye were, I'm glad that the last glimpse we got of Steven Yeun as Glenn wasn't as a mangled mess in the dirt. The final dinner dream sequence of sorts that showed everybody alive and happy was heartbreaking insofar as it was something that we would never get to see, but it was nice to get one final look at a Glenn who hadn't been beaten past the point of recognition.
You can catch the rest of The Walking Dead Season 7 on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.