If you aren’t feeling all kinds of warm and fuzzies right now, well, you clearly weren’t watching the Season 7B premiere of The Walking Dead. In fact, it should have left you feeling — oh, I don’t know — the exact opposite of the premiere at the start of the season.
That’s right… no ugly crying and calling in sick to work the next day because of your abject despair. Rather, Season 7’s return was filled with (dare I say it?) hope. Because, you guys, the gang’s all here! And they’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll and kick some serious Savior ass.
Before we go any further, it goes without saying the following review will contain plot points pertinent to the Season 7B premiere of TWD. Still, I’m saying it: spoiler alert. One more time for the cheap seats in the back — SPOILER ALERT.
Now, let’s get into it, shall we? Here are the highlights, and what they might mean for our heroes moving forward.
1. The zombie massacre to end all massacres
Let’s start with the obvious: how ’bout that #HerdSlice, y’all? If you needed any proof that Rick and Michonne were back on the same badass page, you needn’t have looked any further than the highway scene in which they drove parallel with a wire strung between them to go “halvsies” (as Chris Hardwick called it) on a herd of walkers.
No matter what happens this week, I’ll have that happy moment to buoy my spirit.
2. The boys are back in town
Can I just say that damn it feels good to get our Rick Grimes of old back. Love the guy, but the man tears were getting a bit tiresome. We need our fearless leader, and he needs his brother in arms, which brings us to — drum roll, please — Daryl!
Rick and Daryl are back together again, and all seems right with the world. Well, they were back together again. Rick had to leave Daryl at The Kingdom to keep him safe from the Saviors, and a little bit of our collective fandom soul died watching that gate shut on sad Daryl’s face.
3. Joining forces
Despite King Ezekiel not agreeing to help Rick and the gang take on Negan and the Saviors, how refreshing was it to finally bring these communities together? We’re finally starting to see the disjointed pieces of 7A come together. Now we have Alexandria, Hilltop and The Kingdom aware of and pseudo-working with each other.
And, albeit brief, we did get a glimpse of another community at the close of the episode — one being referred to in fan circles as “The Garbage Pail Kids.” Shoutout to Rick’s maniacal half-grin as he and his gang stood surrounded and outnumbered by this motley crew. That expression on his face made it feel like Christmas came reallllllly early this year.
4. Still no carol
Well, technically we did see Carol in this week’s episode, but she’s still on the lam and apparently still not interested in reclaiming her throne as the baddest suburban walker-slasher in the dystopian world. She’s the last member of the OG gang not yet reunited with Rick and Michonne, and we miss her. Damn it, Carol, did you hear that? We miss you!
To be fair, the whole flirtatious thing happening between Carol and Ezekiel proved to be pretty cute, so there’s that.
5. Also no Negan
I hate myself a little bit for saying this, but I actually missed Negan tonight. Even just the crackly little bit of his snarky commentary coming over the radio (“Without Fat Joey, Skinny Joey is just Joey…”) kinda made me wish he’d made a cameo. Of course, I’m admittedly biased by my abiding love for Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I make no apologies.
6. A reminder of what’s at stake
In a surprisingly poignant moment in this week’s episode, we were reminded that there is still so much to fight for in this Walking Dead world. The moment came by way of a tender scene between Aaron and his partner Eric, the latter of whom didn’t want Aaron to put himself in harm’s way anymore. It’s easy to forget sometimes that while our heroes go into every battle knowing they could be fighting to the death, the very thing they are fighting for is the ability to truly live.
Also, while we’re here, can we talk about Aaron for a minute? Could it be his time to shine? He grows on me more and more every single episode. When he almost drowned-slash-got-eaten in the walker lake during the midseason finale, I realized I would legitimately be sad if he died.
7. Rising up
As if this episode weren’t enough indication, the teaser clip for next week made it abundantly clear: War is on the way. Rick and his gang are mobilizing forces, and the second half of Season 7 is shaping up to deliver some of the best Walking Dead moments in the show’s history.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.