With its regular bursts of brutal violence, The Walking Dead has never been short of controversial moments. One of the most lingering though, the untimely deaths of Glenn and Abraham in season 7 premiere “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” has now even been stated to have been too much by one of those involved.
If you recall (like you’ve somehow forgotten), the main characters ended season 6 being herded into a trap by the Saviors’ sheer force of numbers, their leader Negan revealing himself for the first time after several of his minions previously claimed the identity, and selecting one of the group for death in retaliation for the number of his soldiers they had killed in confrontations, the identity of whom was not revealed until the series returned in the fall.
Michael Culditz, who played the ginger giant from midway through season 4, was speaking on Talk Dead to Me, Skybound’s podcast about the series, and had this to say about the double killing:
“I always think it was a bridge too far, personally. I thought it was too much. Either one of us should have lived a little bit longer.”
He went on to mention the audience being so affected by the scene in a way they had been by few others, saying:
“They said, ‘Oh my gosh, these were the most graphic, brutal deaths; it was murder porn,’ all this stuff. Then you realize, there were a lot of other killings and murders and lives lost on the show that were a lot more brutal.”
Culditz is right in that, while certainly shocking, other demises have also been notably vicious and become indelibly seared into the memories of viewers as a result, such as Noah’s head being torn apart by walkers when he became trapped in a revolving door, or Lori dying from one of the most traumatic childbirths in history and then being shot in the head by her son to prevent her from turning.
It was a combination of factors that made the deaths of Glenn and Abraham that much more affecting, including the six months of uncertainly over who had been beaten to death, the fact that only one casualty was expected and another was tacked on for the sake of spite, that they were both part of the core cast rather than the litany of semi-anonymous secondary and tertiary characters who make up a majority of the show’s body count, and, admittedly, the gruesome sight of Glenn’s eyeball popping out of its socket after his skull had been caved in.
Despite noticeably wavering in both popularity and quality, there seem to be no plans to end The Walking Dead any time soon, and until that day comes, there will doubtless be more gory and agonized deaths dreamed up for extras and principals alike.