Here's the SDCC trailer. Discuss!

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'Tec has already kicked off the discussion on the Season 6 thread. Here's what he said:

Detective 445 said:

(Sort of) spoilers to follow...





First of all...ugh. That was difficult to watch. No real story to speak of, just a lot of what the fans of the horror genre refer to to as "torture porn" more or less.

I'll usually watch an episode 2 or 3 times but I don't think I'll be coming back to this one. I can see why it's necessary to do a reset and open up new possibilities for future conflicts but at the same time, I think they went a bit too far in showing the humbling of Rick Grimes. That bit with Carl was very close to being out of bounds for me. At least for a what I expect out of a cable show.

And finally, I thought it was pretty clever the way they answered the cliffhanger from last season. All the speculation surrounding Negan's victim, I never saw anyone suggest that possibility. Everytime I think I've caught up with the writers, they go and throw a curveball that somehow manages to catch me off guard so kudos to them.

Agreed that it's not likely I'll re-watch this one at any future time. My wife was very upset.

I was less so, because I called it beforehand ("It'll be Glenn or Abraham or both.") But it's too close to torture porn.

I assumed the bit with Carl was a nod to the story of Abraham and Isaac, which might have come up in the writer's room when discussing Abraham's death. I might be giving too much credit, though.

I didn't watch the scene with Carl, because I assumed he was going to get what Rick got in the comics and I didn't need to see 10 minutes of every ligament being hacked through. I was surprised when I finally stopped fast-forwarding to see it hadn't happened. I didn't go back to watch it. I'll live.

Likewise, I sped through the drawn-out scene of Rick pulling the zombie's head off his hanging body.

Actually, I probably should have fast-forwarded through the entire show.

Like Cap, I guessed it would be Glenn, but if they wanted to switch things up, my guess was Abraham. I wasn't expecting both. What sneaky guys.

My Facebook feed (and most reviewers) are not being kind. It's possible this was gruesome and miserable to act as a visual we can keep all season as what could happen again. OTOH, they've said that it's going to get very dark and disturbing, so if this is just the beginning, I'm not on board.

So I may actually be done. Kirkman may think this is the guy we all love to hate, but I mostly think I hate to hate him and this whole arc. I may just wait until the end of the season (half or full, probably full considering how lovable Negan is), and start watching again when they're about to kill him. That's an episode I'd watch.

I can pick up the plot and the comments on it through Facebook and you guys. I'm definitely going to wait to see the early word on next week's episode before I spend another hour watching this.

-- MSA

A couple more observations:

TV Negan seems to be a lot smarter than comic Negan. The comic version is mostly a meathead who acts on impulse. The psychological manipulation we see him use on Rick in the TV show seems like something new to me.

I think we are going to see that hatchet again at some point like we saw the machete with the red handle make a reappearance.

I'd expected it to be Abraham. It never occurred to me that there'd be a second victim, so when Negan went after Glenn, I was stunned. (I thought after the outcry when he originally "died," he'd be a little safer.) And then they got me with the arm fakeout, too.

But even in all the carnage, there's a moment of pure zombie joy. Because hanging on to a dangling zombie just above another crowd of zombies as the head of your zombie support slowly comes loose? That's pretty much gold, right there.

I'm sorry to see both characters go, but glad Walking Dead won't shy away from killing a fan favorites now and then, even though those guys were both personal favorites as well.

TV Negan is definitely a lot smarter than comics Negan. In the comics Negan is barely rational at all and I have come to wonder if is actually retarded. I don't think it was an intentional or conscious departure from the comics, because I don't think Robert Kirkman realizes how dumb Negan is in the comics. The potential for a season that deviates considerably from the comics does however exist, and I hope that it is pursued; I like this Negan a lot more than the comics version. He is very much a monster, but we can see why people would fear him instead of just despising him.

The episode was grim, but I find myself fairly untroubled by it. Almost conforted, even. Rick has had some humbling down coming his way for a long time, and I guess I have an easier time handling physical harm (such as this episode's) than psychological harme (as Carol caused so often last season). Noah's death may have shocked me more than the ones in this episode.

I guess I am not a fan of the "action commando" episodes that had become so frequent in Season 6 and IMO lead to the mishandling of many characters. This season seems to be back to desperate conflict with humans instead of zombies. The potential for good character work with the group that met Carol and Morgan in the previous episode (no spoilers) and with the known characters after his serious demoralization and loss is tantalizing. Just when I was thinking about favoring Fear over the parent series...

I couldn't see it last night, so I just watched it on AMC streaming (it's free, open access)--and I'm watching Talking Dead right now, also a free stream if anyone missed it.

They certainly faked me out. I was sure that Glenn would be spared, after the business with the dumpster last season. I agree that the whole thing was so raw I'm not likely to watch it again. I see the point about Negan being smarter on TV. At the same time, I remember him actually debating who to club in WD #100 (can't kill the leader, that would make him a martyr...can't kill various other characters because I'd be called racist...). He finally resorts to "eeny, meeny, miny, moe," but that could just be a ploy to torture the group by keeping them in suspense. Of course the scene in the comic was much faster. Negan wasn't going out of his way to break Rick, just killed a random group member to show that he was in charge. Doesn't really change the situation in the end, either way.

I have to admit I don't really get a lot of the fan outcry about this episode. Yes, it was brutal, graphic and intense. But ultimately, it's very close to what happened in the comic (outside of the Carl scene.). In fact, the two latest deaths actually move the storyline closer to the comic than it's been in a while. Those characters were favorites of mine too, but I've been mentally prepared for them to meet their maker for a really long time.  I would like to think that at some point there will be a little more justice handed out than there was in the comic but I'm not counting on it.

Also, I'm curious to see what they will do with Daryl. Will he take on Carl's role vs Negan or do they have something new planned for him?

I hadn't thought of Daryl taking on Carl's role vis-a-vis Negan. Maybe the TV people are avoiding a grown man taking too much of an interest in a boy.

I don't get the fan outcry either -- folks, it's been a bloody ride since the start -- so I assume it really has to do with the specific characters getting killed, and fans subsuming that outrage (which is hard to defend) into complaints of goriness (which are easier to defend). And since, like 'Tec, I had already made peace with both characters getting offed in advance it didn't get me too worked up. I was paying more attention to construction of the drama, as I usually do in a movie when I've guessed the ending.

And yes, TV Negan is definitely smarter (and therefore more interesting) than comics Negan, who I've never really been interested in.

Incidentally, MSA brought up that issue #100 was when I stopped (temporarily) reading The Walking Dead. But it wasn't because the scene was too brutal, or because I was too angry about the death of Glenn. It was because it was so badly written.

First, in the comics Rick & Co. get caught by Negan's crew BECAUSE THEY ACT STUPIDLY. These folks, who have shown cleverness and intelligence to stay alive for 100 issues are suddenly morons, abandoning all their best practices, because the plot calls for it. I think I speak for everyone here that we hate, hate, hate it when superheroes suddenly act like imbeciles to further the plot. It doesn't look any better on non-superheroes.

Secondly, Negan's speech to Rick & Co. is clearly Robert Kirkman speaking, explaining why he's going to kill a popular character. Negan knows things he shouldn't, rationalizes things he doesn't need to, explains things that are metatextual. It was an alarmingly bad exercise in writing. He said, essentially, "No major characters have died lately, and it's an anniversary issue, so a fan favorite needs to die." It was shockingly awful writing.

Thirdly, in the context of the comic book, Negan should have killed everyone he had in hand (it wasn't all the important characters -- just six of them, if I'm remembering correctly). Seriously, he could have decapitated Alexandria's leadership right there, and had a much easier time herding the sheep that were left. By killing Glenn and NOT killing Rick and Maggie, he made enemies for life who would just wait for their chance to kill him. That's one reason we say that the comic book Negan is stupid, but really, we know that it was plot-driven. On TV, a compelling case is made for not killing them all. But in the comic book, there was zero reason for Negan to keep Rick alive, and the flimsy reasons given for doing so were buried under the overwhelming weight of the logical need for Negan to kill him. Heck, I'm essentially a pacifist, and I'D have killed Rick. But Negan didn't, because Rick had plot armor.

That was why I quit reading -- the writing on that issue was so awful it was hard for me to take the book seriously after that. I have again picked it up, but mainly to be able to write about the show knowledgeably in my columns. I'm afraid I can't really take it seriously any more.

I see some motivation for Negan not killing Rick. It's been a while since I've read issue 100, but did he recognize Rick as the leader then? I think he did. 

Negan is, in a way, a brutal metaphor for a corporate takeover. He doesn't just want to make these people not a threat -- he wants them to work for him. And if they already have a leader, that's the person who knows what they respond to, and how to get them to cooperate. Kill the leader, and suddenly you've got an unpredictable mob --- probably easier to exterminate than to wrangle. But if you get the leader on board -- probably starting with threats and violence, but eventually by co-opting them -- suddenly you've got a whole new subsidiary with a minimum of hassle. It's a technique that's probably worked for Negan dozens of times in the past, judging by the size of his crew. 

Killing Rick is a good idea if your only goal is to stop their group being a threat. But if you want to make them an efficient part of your kingdom, co-opting him is so much better. (Of course, that's where Negan's wrong -- he underestimates the amount of resolve and backbone and just plain cussedness Rick and his crew are capable of. He thinks co-opting them is possible, and he's wrong about that. It'll be his undoing.) 

As Rick said at Terminus, "They don't know who they're f-ing with."

They sure don't. But they'll learn. 

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