The best hour of television since Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards.
Be fearful, there are spoilers to follow.
Let's start there shall we? At the very pivotal point of this show that we didn't know was going to be so pivotal. Hell, we knew someone was dead, we'd even speculated at who it might have been, but nothing could have prepared us for the bone-rattling, toe-curling season premiere of season seven. What we thought was a single death, possibly of a big character, became an absolute one-eighty for our own Apocandrains. They are no longer in control, and it's not like all the other rimes they've escaped a pickle.
Usually, this is the part of the recap where I talk about the episode that was and make some witty (to an extent) remarks about the characters and the obvious road-blocks they found themselves up against. This time, it's different. The show is different.
Negan is different.
It is oh so wonderful, and there is so much blood. And brains.
Gone are the usual The Walking Dead dragged out story lines. Welcomed with open arms is suspense. Raw, uninhibited, suspense. That said, the fate of our Apocandrians does not come easily, and we are first subjected to Rick's thoughts of his team, one by one facing Lucille. This is not the only expertly shot sequences we were privy to, several of the scenes literally leaving us quaking in our boots.
Yet there was nothing as terrifying as an axe held above a child's arm in defeat. That chest crushing realisation that hit us hard while we sat in the comfort of our living rooms, is only the beginning.
Negan has replaced the immediate threat, and there's nothing that the team can do about it.
The Governor who?
Terminus what now?
None of that matters now. Zombies don't matter. The only thing that matters in this world is Negan and his precious - Lucille.
And what an episode. After all of the hype, the theories, the YouTube videos and the sound files, nothing could have prepared us for the episode that unfolded. Long-winded conclusions are no more, hopefully a trend we will see continue.
The Season seven premiere of The Walking Dead has set the bar of well filmed and well timed television. This episode has truly set the tone for the rest of the season. All we can do is hope is that future Sunday nights are just as fast-paced and horror-filled.
A twist and a bad-guy that makes his predecessors look like child's play, Negan has proven that our Apocandrians are not the only cowboys in town, and just in time. Hopefully we've done away with the usual 'oh no, a threat' and 'oh no, Rick's going to be a hero again'.
Negan brings a new age of The Walking Dead, and it's going to be gruesome.
Finally, the deaths. Abraham - okay, we guessed it, and in fact, I was a little disappointed that it was so obvious. All of season six he was preparing to say goodbye to those closest to him. Really, it wasn't a hard one to pick. But Glenn? This twist was so well played that it actually was a shock, even though this storyline is taken directly from the graphic novels. It does take me back to season 6 episode 3 where Glenn's fate was first tested and we were all screaming 'No! Negan is the one who kills Glenn!' just so Glenn didn't die.
Did the writers just pull one over on us?
Well played sir. Well played.
It was tense. It was nail-biting.
Breathe. Blink. Cry.
Hell, we're all gonna be doing that.