Season 7 is dead and gone, but it's still haunting me.
The season 7 finale of The Walking Dead (TWD) gave me chills, but a little later than I had hoped. [Editors note: Spoilers ahead!] After the shocking cliffhanger that had us waiting seemingly forever, we started off this season horrified by how Glenn and Abraham met their gruesome demise doled out by Negan's bat, Lucille.
I spent the first 8 episodes frustrated by how broken Rick was. As a result of him surrendering to Negan's demands, everyone in Alexandria was disparaged by the sight of their leader giving in. Some were resolved to kill Negan. Despite a number of attempts, Negan comes out the other end, just to terrorize his new plaything… Rick Grimes.
Daryl Dixon was dehumanized and essentially forced into slavery as punishment for his strength of spirit. Glenn's death weighs heavy on his conscious. His character is loyal and dangerous, while having strong moral fiber. It was a bit disappointing, as I had never seen him so weak. Negan is having his way and seems tickled by the suffering of our group.
We meet some new societies in the world and realize it's much larger than we thought. Communities exist and are also paying tribute to Negan. I get it.
They all need to band together, but can it happen already?
At the end of episode 8, I was ready to see some bloody revenge. I waited patiently for the second half of the season to pick up speed. But where was the war? How come it took so long for some violent action on the villain? But that villain isn't just one man, It is all of the Saviors (as Dwight points out). All the Saviors are Negan.
By episode 16, I couldn't believe it still hadn't gone down. I couldn't understand what the hold up was. It really killed the momentum to wait so long to retaliate. "The Scavengers" had me worried when they turned on Rick and his crew. But Sasha takes a hit for the team, killing herself for the chance to bite him, giving them a fighting chance.
While I was excited for everyone to pick up arms, it was only in the last 5 minutes. As Negan is about to kill Carl, we see "The Kingdom" and "Hilltop" communities converge on Alexandria to save the day. I also loved seeing that Tiger bite the face off some dudes. It just happened too fast and too late for my taste. And Negan gets away only to regroup in full force to wreak havoc for an upcoming war in season 8. Even though I feel somewhat robbed, the show's great soundtrack redeemed its sluggish plot line.
During Comic-Con 2010, Bear McCreary first announced he would be composing the score for AMC's The Walking Dead. The music soundtrack and score for TWD has been a noteworthy element throughout the series, to say the least. The subtlety of his season 7 compositions enhances the emotional impact. If not for the music, I would not have been as entertained by the pacing of this past season.
Let's rediscover some of his best work:
"Hearts Still Beating" - Composed: Bear McCreary - Episode 1 "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" (Ending Scene):
There were so many disappointing moments, so many tragedies. The music reflected this somber tone. It also gave an identity to each community, who all had their own theme. At the end of the finale, when Maggie leads the "Hilltop" and Ezekiel leads the "Kingdom," the themes converge. It is why there is such a triumphant feel to the season's conclusion.
The Walking Dead Soundtrack
'The Walking Dead' Music Soundtrack - Season 7 List of Songs
No matter how hard it was to make it through Season 7 of TWD, it was still great. It has opened up a world of possibilities for action, but where will it go from there? Negan and Rick share so many similarities, often using some of the same violence… but for a different motivation. Rick has compromised his morals more and more because the state of the zombie apocalypse requires it. Might Rick have been in Negan's position if situations were different? If Rick fills the void left after "The Saviors" have been annihilated, will it corrupt him? Maybe he will be susceptible to the intoxication of power. "The Scavengers" also need to be dealt with, so it may be a while before that happens.
If the pace of this season is repeated, I believe the show's popularity may dip off even more. "The Walking Dead" Season 7 finale posted the AMC series' lowest finale ratings since Season 2 aired back in 2012, according to Nielsen data released on Tuesday. Additionally, the finale came nowhere close to matching the season opener. All I can hope for is there will be more consideration for TWD's loyal audience's expectations of blood, zombies and swift justice for those who deserve it. For that satisfaction, Negan must die. For now I will put it out of my mind, but I still have a bad taste lingering that will require a thorough rinse this fall.