(MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere!)
Whether it be mild, gratuitous, or even slapstick, no television viewer alive is a stranger to violence, and especially not fans of the AMC hit show The Walking Dead. But with the
way too long-awaited Season 7 premiere, the show may have crossed the line in terms of acceptable violence. With the introduction of the new big-bad Negan (played by Jeffery Dean Morgan) and the brutal send-off of not one, but TWO major characters, the show has left us with one question: How much violence, is too much?
After a suspenseful, spine-chilling game of ‘Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mo’, the Season 7 premiere finally revealed Negan’s victim; Abraham, who was beaten savagely by Negan’s wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille. If the sight of this lovable redneck being bludgeoned to death and mocked wasn’t bad enough, producers hit us right in the feels again with the death of ANOTHER character (WTF?!), long-time fan favourite, Glenn.
Now when it comes to violence on The Walking Dead, it’s true that the line has already been crossed several times. But this time, the show didn’t just cross the line – they pole-vaulted over it.
But the producers though killing a favourite character still wasn’t traumatising enough, so fans were also treated to the sight of the man’s displaced eyeball, and a close-up shot of his twitching, pulp-like remains.
This of course sent the internet into an uproar, and it wasn’t just the fans who were angry. Across the United States, ratings groups, fans and even the cast themselves lined up to throw in their two-cents. Among the most vocal was the Parents Television Council:
“Last night’s season premiere of The Walking Dead was one of the most graphically violent shows we’ve ever seen on television, comparable to the most violent of programs found on premium cable networks,” PTC President Tim Winter says.
“This brutally explicit show is a powerful demonstration of why families should have greater control over the TV networks they purchase from their cable and satellite providers. I understand violence is inherent to the storytelling here but the manner in which the depictions were made … it crossed the line.”
Some reactions were just bizarre, like the mayor of Danbury, Connecticut Mark Boughton, who was so traumatized by the premiere, he announced that the Danbury Public Schools will be on a ’90 minute delay’ to cope with the loss of Abraham and Glenn. If that wasn’t crazy enough, the mayor also announced a memorial service would be held for Glenn and that any Halloween festivities in the town would be cancelled.
But despite the controversy garnered by the episode, TWD executive producer Greg Nicotero stood by the episode’s gruesome scenes:
“It’s unfortunate that people want to take a negative spin on it because as far as I’m concerned, I’m dedicated to watching a show to see where it goes next. That means we have done something to affect these people in a way they don’t necessarily know how to process.”
Well, regardless of the emotional trauma of fans, absurd reactions or controversy, one thing is for certain: The seventh season of The Walking Dead is about to get very interesting. Here’s hoping the show can maintain this momentum and that it doesn’t turn into a ‘swing-and-miss’!
(I’ll show myself out…).