Warning: There are major spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched the season seven premiere of “The Walking Dead.”
“The Walking Dead” returned Sunday evening and if you weren’t left hating the show’s new antagonist Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), after he killed not one, but two of the show’s longtime characters, you were probably none too pleased with him when the episode delivered another big, unexpected moment Sunday night.
After killing Abraham and Glenn, Negan dragged Rick (Andrew Lincoln) off into his RV for some quality bonding time. Fans were concerned when they saw Negan take Rick’s hatchet with the duo into the RV, but it wasn’t until later in the episode that it really caused fans to be on the edge of their seats.
After taking Rick for a pep talk, Negan still wasn’t convinced that Rick wouldn’t try and defy him. When they rejoined the remaining survivors, Negan took Rick’s son Carl, wrapped a belt around his one arm and drew a line across it. He then told Rick he had to chop off his son’s arm.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Andrew Lincoln, the actor who plays Rick, so distraught and emotional as he was in the minutes that ensued.
The moment sent fans into a frenzy.
Rick’s about to do it, but, at the last second, Negan stops Rick, telling him he thinks he’s had enough.
Not only was it a relief to Rick, but it was a giant sigh of relief to viewers watching at home.
Carl still has his left arm!!???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? thank the lord #TheWalkingDead pic.twitter.com/OQpMDaCXhe
— Mia Bella (@bellamia1313) October 24, 2016
For fans of the comic series, it was an especially big scene because it called back a similar life-altering moment for Rick.
In the comic series, Rick lost his right hand a long time ago to another antagonist, The Governor, during their first meeting. That time came and went on the AMC series. “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple have both said numerous times that Rick wouldn’t lose his hand on the series because it would be too much of a practical difficulty on set.
But when a clip for season seven debuted at New York Comic Con earlier in October, many immediately thought it foreshadowed that Rick may lose his hand despite what Kirkman and Gimple have said in the past.
Though they came close, Rick and Carl’s arms are both safe for the time being. In the end, it wouldn’t have been in line with Negan’s character, at least not his comic-book version. Negan can be brutal, but he’s not a complete sociopath. Nor is he an outright villain. He’s the kind of guy who would want Rick in one piece because, if the day ever came, he would want the two to have a fair fight. You can’t exactly have that if you’re handicapping your opponent.
By having Negan taunt and nearly have Rick chop off his son’s arm, it was a nice twist and homage to a moment that never made it on screen when the Governor was on the show.
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