Sunday, April 9, 2017
The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 16 “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” (B)
I’ve written before that this show tends to be highly cyclical, and when it goes off the air every March or April following the conclusion of two half-seasons, it’s important to look back to the beginning to see if anything has been accomplished. Season seven premiered in October with the big question of who Negan had killed with his baseball hat. Despite his appearance in this episode in memories or hallucinations, whichever they were, to Sasha, Abraham hasn’t been seen since then, and the same is true of Glenn, especially since Maggie just had one big episode and not too much more. Rick had finally put together a resistance force to take down Negan, and all hope of that died in an instant when their new allies turned out to have been bought at a higher price than Negan, and Dwight’s side-switch proved to be entirely false. The two things that turned the tide were Sasha’s post-iPod suicide that provided a distraction when her walker form caught Negan by surprise and the “Lord of the Rings”-style tiger backup which succeeded in saving our friends but not, most crucially, in allowing them to kill Negan once and for all. Unlike a Governor situation where he just survived to cause more harm slowly but surely, Negan is now ready to rally his forces to eviscerate those that he previously just wanted to control. I don’t know if that takes us anywhere new in season eight and beyond, since apparently the comics are so many issues ahead to provide endless source material, but at the very least I guess it’s more of the same and now there’s a tiger. Let’s hope for some worthwhile originality coming soon.
Season grade: B
Season MVP: Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan