Spoiler alert! The following contains details from the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.
Even on a zombie apocalypse show can cross the line.
Sunday's season premiere of The Walking Dead was one of the show's most highly anticipated episodes, as fans have been waiting for months to find out who was killed in the Season 6 finale by new villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). For some, that answer -- and the brutally violent way in which it was revealed -- was worse than the anticipation.
In a moment of extreme graphic violence (even for a routinely violent show), two fan-favorite cast members, Glenn (Seven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) , were brutally beaten to death by Negan with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire. The two deaths of beloved characters were shown in such excruciating detail in a relentless and frustrating episodethat many fans said they were frustrated enough to quit the show for good.
I might quit walking dead for good.....it's an emotional train of death.— ☠┼ Ash Costello ┼☠ (@Ash_Costello) October 24, 2016
I've officially quit watching the walking dead after today— samantha (@samm_ferguson_) October 24, 2016
That was brutally dark & interminably painful to watch.There's no doubt that I had a panic attack in front of my television. #TheWalkingDead— Scott Meisner (@scottmeiz) October 24, 2016
For this recapper, it was a hard episode to get through, with the violence verging on nauseating while the plot dithered and attempted to manipulate fans into caring.
The episode was also lambasted by critics, with The Daily Beast writing, "When real life already seems a few calamitous steps away from dystopia, surviving an hour of pure, relentless misery isn’t entertainment — it’s a chore," while GQ said, "if the average episode is as much fun as a punch to the jaw, the Season Seven premiere was—well—a barbed-wire baseball bat to the skull." Vox went so far as to call it "dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. It’s stupid. It’s downright appalling, is what it is."
Will fans truly tune out of one of TV's top-rated shows? Or will a return to normalcy in the rest of the season be enough to calm everyone down? Fans may have to wait and see how much more they can take.