The Walking Dead has had its fair share of traumatic character deaths and gory moments, but the season 7 premiere trumped them all by delivering the most devastating and physically hard-to-watch episode of the show ever. Following the much-discussed season 6 finale cliffhanger, season 7 kicked off with the resolution of who Negan was going to kill. It was revealed that he had chosen Abraham, bludgeoning him to death with his barbed baseball bat Lucille.
Seeing as there was one death in the corresponding scene in the comic books, fans expected the horror to end there, but Negan ultimately decided to take a second victim – Glenn. Viewers know to expect a lot of darkness when watching TWD, but this episode was generally considered to go too far with it. And in a new interview on Talk Dead To Me, Abraham actor Michael Cudlitz admitted that he agreed with the criticism, saying that this episode crossed a line.
“I always think it was a bridge too far, personally,” Cudlitz said. “I thought it was too much. Either one of us should have lived a little bit longer because I think people were very affected by it.”
He then went on to add that he thinks the extra cruel twist of having two beloved characters die in such a horrible way was what made it too much for a lot of folks.
“They said, ‘Oh, my gosh, it was the most graphic brutal death. It was murder porn.’ All this stuff. The fact that I think you loved Abraham and Glenn so much as an audience, that’s what makes it more brutal, and you sort of think, ‘Oh, okay. Oh, my gosh. It was Abraham. We’re sad that it was Abraham, but thank God it wasn’t Glenn.’ And, ‘okay. Oh, my gosh. okay.’ And, ‘Oh, my God. It’s Glenn, too! What are you doing to me?’ I think it’s the one-two punch that was maybe a little too much.”
Ratings-wise, the episode, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” was a success, earning some of the series’ best figures. However, soon after this, the show suffered a massive and continuing slump in the ratings that it’s never recovered from. AMC exec Sarah Bennett has previously admitted that she believes the tone of season 7 was “too hopeless” for audiences to deal with, which is why they switched off in their droves.
It’s important to note that despite his opinion on the episode, Cudlitz still remains a firm part of The Walking Dead family, even long after Abraham was killed off, as he’s returned to direct at least an episode a year ever since. He’ll no doubt be back behind the camera for season 11, too.