Each week, we give every episode at least 24 hours to breathe…and for you to get caught up. After that, you’re clicking at your own risk. Spoilers ahead.
After the Season 7 premiere, showrunner Scott Gimple told the live Talking Dead audience that the show was “looking for a way to break the audience”…Judging by social media reaction, they certainly accomplished that.
We spent nearly half a year waiting for the answer to the Season 6’s cliffhanger of Who would meet Lucille first and even that didn’t seem like enough time to brace for impact. We’re talking about a series where zombies and humans alike are mangled, torn to shreds, decapitated, curb-stomped even…and the way our two fallen characters died STIL made fans declare that they are “ex fans”. Yes, the bashing of their heads made Noah’s face-ripping death seem PG-13 but in my opinion…
A) I’m really happy to see this series and Game of Thrones haven’t completely desensitized people.
B) Here’s your reminder that The Walking Dead is a horror series. You’re not supposed to be comfortable.
Before we get to the rankings, a quick moment for the fallen.
The tell for Negan, when he decided to absolutely obliterate Abraham’s head, was when he immediately thought he needed a shave after seeing the ginger handlebar mustache. I think we all knew that Abraham wasn’t going to grow anymore in this story. He also seemed to come to grips with that well before his exit. Sasha and everything were just gravy to his arc.
In his last moment though, telling Negan to “Suck my nuts” was as poetic a way Abraham could go out.
When Glenn literally dodged his near-death last season, it seemed too obvious because it wasn’t a fitting end for him. I know that he died in the books that way, but THAT was the way a character like him should go. Ironic that Glenn was pardoned for his outburst by Negan, and then killed because of Daryl’s.
Lastly, there’s beauty to the brutal way Glenn left the show. While we could see the dent in his forehead and his eye popping from its socket, the only thing Glenn could do was tell his wife “I will find you.” Maggie and their unborn child were his purpose. Those final words before his last breath could be a theme for what’s to come this season…being there for each other when things look the darkest.
*wipes tears from cheek*
The N.W.O (Negan World Order) is off to a hell of a start. Besides shortening this list by 2 characters, Negan broke Rick…and the audience.
How often does a character’s actions force fans to take to Facebook and declare they have quit the show? Not since that time the “Lannisters sent the regards” do I recall a reaction like that. What may be even more messed is the fact that I…kinda love him? What keeps me intrigued is waiting to see how he could possibly be dethroned (It has to happen at some point, right?).
2. Morgan Jones
Before you freak out, think about it…Morgan is the key to helping Rick and well, everyone, right now. He’s in control of his situation. He’s capable of killing again (thanks to saving Carol). And he’s heading to a place where people where street hockey pads and ride horseback with spears. To beat an army, you need an army…and Morgan could be aligning with one at The Kingdom.
3. Maggie Greene
Maggie was the de facto Matriarch of Alexandria after Deanna was killed. She was strong and diplomatic, even when held hostage by some of Negan’s people (the first time). She has lost the most on the show and lost even more, after watching Glenn’s head be smashed to pieces. Even in the most peril, as someone who desperately needs to see a doctor, Maggie still stood tall after Negan left and said “Fight them.”
She feels responsible, but we know there are plenty more reasons why the group is in the situation that they are in.
4. Rick Grimes
Rick thought he could be like Negan before ever even meeting the man. People who wouldn’t fall in line with his ideas became expendable to him. It was his idea to deal with The Hilltop and poke the Negan bear in the first place. Despite his mistakes that helped get the group to where they are now, Rick as dangerous as anyone on the show and the leader of the group.
You can tell that Negan finds him useful too, otherwise it would like have been Rick’s brains dripping from “Lucille”.
You would think the 2nd-in-command to Negan would be 2nd on this list, right? While Simon clearly has power in the NWO, it’s only because Negan allows it…and apparently needs a marker handy from time to time. We’ve seen Simon before, and I do mean before the S6 finale…He was there on the hunt for Dwight, who had obviously tried escaping from Negan’s camp. Simon had a machete handy and cut off one of his men’s limbs that had been bitten. At least he cares about preserving manpower, right?
Dwight may prove to be the most interesting of Negan’s group. We know he has defied the “supreme leader” and clearly paid for it with the insane scar on his face. He has the upper-hand in his rivalry with Daryl, but perhaps he can be swayed to go against Negan and align with his current mortal nemesis? He’s done it once before…
7. Carl Grimes
The Carl Haters Club needs to sit down for a little bit. Not once did Carl seem phased by Negan’s barking and the threat of losing his arm. Carl gave Negan that defiant glare that we had seen him give his own father in the past. You also have to give credit where it’s due, as he told Rick to just “do it” when the choice was losing an arm or another member of the group.
If anyone knows how to adjust and survive in the NWO, it’s Jesus. Rick will not only have to rely on him for advice but also for any chance of keeping the alliance with The Hilltop to stay strong against Rick. As mentioned earlier, in order to beat Negan’s army…Rick and Jesus will have to build one of their own.
#Richonne lives on!…for now. Negan doesn’t appreciate people speaking up while he is in the middle of a soliloquy but he did let Michonne speak up when Rick was being told to cut off his son’s arm. Why? In Negan-speak, he did almost compliment her for understanding the gravity of their situation. With Daryl literally in a cage, Michonne is the group’s strongest warrior. How will she be utilized next?
Sasha has come a very long way since both Bob and Tyrese were killed. Rather than shutdown while watching Abraham be brutally murdered, she stood up with a purpose to help Maggie. While the premiere was meant to break the group down, I think it has also brought them together more. Initially, it seems Sasha is reacting better than most would with the trauma.
If you followed along with the Power Rankings last season, then you know there was a love-hate relationship with Carol (much like the one she has with just about everyone outside of her group). Her rivalry with Morgan was such a distraction for everyone involved, but somehow it’s led to their new partnership that is heading to The Kingdom. Carol has saved the group multiple times in the past. Will she come back riding in with the horse guys to do it again?
As far as we know, Tara and Heath have not been picked up by Negan’s henchmen. The more allies Rick has on the outside, the better. And when she finds out what they did to her girlfriend…OH MAN, IS SHE GOING TO LOOK FOR VENGEANCE. All-caps were necessary.
13. Horse Guy
Horse Guy doesn’t have a name yet, but he does have a horse, a spear, and a community that could help the Alexandrians. He also looks ready to kick ass in roller derby.
14. Father Gabriel
Father Gabriel has gone from wet blanket to turncoat to protector of Alexandria in a very short time. Among the group that was left behind, I trust him the most to hold his own and protect Baby Judith…as he has sworn to do.
I am very unsure how Aaron is going to deal with the trauma of seeing two people he cared about murdered in front of his face. However, he has evolved with Rick’s group, killed for the first time, and remains the most capable of the original Alexandrians. Aaron is almost an adopted member of the group, and seems to be at their level now having experienced the introduction to Negan with them.
In a better spot than most for being on the outside with Tara. However, he’s replacing Jack Bauer on 24. So how much longer will he be on the show?
17. Doctor Harlan
Currently the most important person in Maggie and her unborn child’s life.
Speaking of 24 alums, you shouldn’t trust Gregory. But at least Gregory knows what it’s like living in the NWO. The bargaining chips may be pushed into his favor when Rick needs to deal with The Hilltop going forward.
Enid is not going to take the news about Glenn very well, considering the family dynamic she built with him and Maggie. Enid is a survivor though, and seems to have committed to the Alexandrians’ effort to thrive. She won’t be too happy with Carl for locking her into a closet, but you can see them making a formidable team in the long-term.
I was so sure Eugene would be killed. He gave up his value by giving Rick the recipe for making bullets, which may still mean his time on The Walking Dead will be cut short. He was also the only one with his face in his hands for most of the episode. Eugene can either fold or step up into Abraham’s role. What do you think will happen?
Rosita is partially responsible for this mess, running out and looking for revenge with Daryl. We also know that she isn’t particularly independent (Abraham, Spencer, you get it). I can see her getting close to Negan, like Andrea had with The Governor. That could prove either useful for the group…or just for her.
22. Daryl Dixon
Daryl was #1 on our list for much of last season’s rankings. Now he’s in the back of a van, and could put chopped into pieces. While the guilt of Glenn’s death may way heavily on him, Daryl always finds a way…
Did anyone see the Jack Reacher ads? Tobin was a crooked sherif getting busted by Tom Cruise. It was awesome. For now, he’s one of the few you trust to fall in with what Rick wants in Alexandria…and really misses Carol, I’m sure.
24. Baby Judith
Being Rick’s baby girl carries more weight than most on this show. You’ve seen #RickRage before, right?
25. Spencer Monroe
One of the show’s biggest wild cards. Will he hang tough with Rick or align with Negan?
26. Eric Raleigh
I’m sorry but Eric’s gotta be in the running for people who don’t last much longer on this show. Aaron’s going to be happy to see him when he returns, but he’s not built for NWO.
Still counting jars.
Have to think Negan will be looking for payback, as Andy did help lead the raid on the base last season…
Remains the least threatening on this list with a spear.
Also not built for the NWO.
Are you still alive, Craig?
Coming soon…Ezekiel and Shiva.
Anyone too high or too low in this week’s rankings? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.