Now that “The Walking Dead” has wrapped up its seventh season, it’s time to admit that it was the worst season of the show so far. That’s not to say there weren’t good parts to it, but overall, it just fell flat. Building off the incredibly frustrating sixth season cliffhanger, the season started off stumbling through an obvious reveal that many fans found excessively violent.
The show never recovered. The entire season was full of characters either making poor decisions or not acting like themselves. The story arc suffered from poor pacing, and it seemed like the entire thing was stretched over too many episodes. When all was said and done, the seventh season failed to live up the excitement that introducing Negan was supposed to bring to the show. Here are the 15 worst moments.
15. NOT ENOUGH SHIVA
After the brutal and upsetting events in “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” the second episode of the seventh season lightened things up by introducing the Kingdom. A colony of survivors that have embraced a somewhat medieval theme, they are ruled by King Ezekiel, who has a pet tiger named Shiva. One of the best scenes in the entire show’s history came when Carol was introduced to Ezekiel and Shiva. Her complete bewilderment but ability to play along with the silliness was hilarious.
It was later revealed that Ezekiel is putting on an act, and that Shiva was a zoo tiger that he rescued after the apocalypse. As absurd a concept as the whole thing was, it was one of the best additions to the show. So, of course, Shiva barely appeared throughout the season. The most likely reason was because Shiva is the result of expensive CGI, but it’s still disappointing. Luckily, Shiva returned for the finale, saving Carl and shocking the hell out of Negan. If only the season had had more of that and less mopey Rick, it would’ve been great.
14. NEGAN WAS SCARIER AS A MYSTERY
After his name was first uttered by a gang of armed thugs in the season six episode “Start to Finish,” Negan became an ominous presence on the show. For the remainder of that season, he remained a mysterious but powerful foe. He seemed to have an endless supply of killers, all of whom identified themselves as Negan when confronted. The season finale, “The Last Day on Earth,” finally saw the character make his onscreen debut, which resulted in the death of two major characters (Glenn and Abraham).
Then, in season 7, Negan’s aura of mystery was taken away. He was given way too much screen time, which took away from the sense of dread that he had in the previous season. It used to be that when Negan’s name was mentioned, something terrible was about to happen. In the seventh season, however, he showed up so often and usually just gave a lot of speeches. Sure, he still killed a lot of people, but as time went on, he stopped being scary.
13. THE SCAVENGERS
Part of the fun of “The Walking Dead” is all of the different groups and settlements that Rick and the gang encounter. Comparing the Kingdom to Negan’s Sanctuary showed how differently everyone is coping with the collapse of humanity. As people rebuild, they embrace different ideals and reshape society for how it best serves them. Then there’s the Scavengers, a group of people who live in a garbage dump and somehow forgot how to talk correctly.
First appearing in “New Best Friends,” the most obnoxious part of the Scavengers is the way they speak. They talk in broken English, almost as if they never heard the language spoken properly. The apocalypse only occurred a few years prior, there’s no reason that these people would forget how verbs work. On a show about zombies and evil warlords who name their baseball bats, the Scavengers’ vocal pattern is the most unbelievable part of the show.
12. RICK’S A SUCKER
If Rick was going to successfully take down Negan and his Saviors, then he was going to need some allies. Since society collapsed and most people are dead, he didn’t have a lot of options. Nobody blames Rick for deciding to work with the Scavengers, but he should have at least prepared for the possibility that they would betray him. After all, they first met when they robbed Alexandria’s supply store and then threw Rick into a zombie pit after he tried to form an alliance.
During the season finale, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” Rick allows the Scavengers into Alexandria to help in the fight against Negan’s forces. Unfortunately, when the Saviors arrive, it’s revealed that Rick’s booby traps had been sabotaged and that the Scavengers were secretly working with Negan. Rick has no plan B at all, which is crazy. After everything that’s happened, he still hasn’t learned not to trust strangers, especially ones that tried to kill him.
11. ROSITA’S ONE BULLET
When Abraham and Rosita were first introduced in the 4th season, it was eventually revealed that they were lovers. The relationship was never fully explored, and while they eventually moved in together in Alexandria, Abraham broke up with Rosita in the 6th season episode “Not Tomorrow Yet.” While she was clearly angry over getting dumped, she still cared for Abraham, which made watching him get his head bashed in by Negan in the seventh season premiere extra upsetting for her.
So, it was understandable that she wanted to kill Nega. What didn’t make sense, however, was how she had Eugene only make one bullet, which she wasted in “Hearts Still Bleeding.” After Negan kills Spencer, Rosita fires her one shot and hits Negan’s bat, Lucille. If only she had Eugene make her two bullets, or maybe even three, she could have taken another shot. Instead, she took one shot, missed and then had to watch Negan kill Olivia and take Eugene hostage.
10. RICHARD’S CANTALOUPE
Out of all the inhabitants of the Kingdom, Richard was the one person who made it clear that he thought they would have to fight the Saviors. After several attempts failed, he tried one last ditch effort in the episode, “Bury Me Here,” where he purposely shorted the amount of cantaloupes during the drop off with the Saviors, hoping that they would kill him and Ezekiel would retaliate. Unfortunately, the Saviors killed Benjamin. On his way back to the Kingdom, Morgan found the extra cantaloupe and figured out Richard’s plan.
The weird thing is, Morgan only found the cantaloupe because he was freaking out and kicking boxes around. If Richard wanted them to find the cantaloupe after his death, then why would he hide it in such a random spot? Alternatively, if he didn’t plan on them finding it, then why bother hiding it? Why not just throw it away while no one was looking?
9. DARYL LEAVING THE KINGDOM
Daryl had a rough start to the season. After slugging Negan, he was taken captive by the Saviors and held in a tiny prison cell, fed dog food and otherwise tortured. Things got worse for him when Negan offered Daryl a spot as one of his top guys, which Daryl refused. Eventually, Daryl escaped the Sanctuary and made his way back to his friends. Initially, Daryl hid from Negan’s forces in the Kingdom, the one community that they never entered.
This lasted until the episode “New Best Friends,” when Daryl decided to leave the Kingdom and head for the Hilltop. While Daryl might have had legitimate reasons for wanting to leave, doing so put many people in harm’s way. Negan was furious with Daryl for escaping, and if he had found him, he would’ve slaughtered whomever was helping him. The kingdom was the only safe place for him, and he endangered himself and everyone around him by leaving.
8. THE SAVIORS WERE JUST BULLIES
When the Saviors first started popping up, they were terrifying. They would pop up out of nowhere and seemed to be the most brutal enemies that Rick and the other survivors had ever encountered. In the sixth season finale, “The Last Day on Earth,” the Saviors seemed to pop up all over the place, blocking Rick’s path as he tried to get Maggie to a doctor. They were literally everywhere, and they weren’t going to let anyone by without drawing blood first.
Things changed in the seventh season. Once the Saviors started regularly showing up at Alexandria and the other outposts, they started to just come across like a bunch of bullies. They’d needlessly take useless objects, they’d pick fights (which they’d often lose), and just generally act like schoolyard tough guys. Characters like Fat Joey weren’t terrifying, they were just thugs whose only skill seemed to be ganging up on the little guy.
7. RICK DID NOTHING FOR HALF THE SEASON
The first half of the season was a tough one for Rick. Obviously, his initial encounter with Negan, which resulted in the deaths of Abraham and Glenn, would affect him, but he seemed to turn into a completely different person. Rick obviously blamed himself for the deaths, and was clearly shattered when Negan held down Carl’s arm and told Rick to cut it off. Negan stopped Rick before he actually carried it out, but forcing Rick to make that decision broke him.
The result was a Rick who was too scared to act for half the season. Whether or not that’s a realistic reaction, it didn’t make for great television. Also, while the situation with Negan was bad, Rick has seen worse. The Governor brought a tank to the prison and Rick didn’t back down. He and his friends were held captive by non-zombie cannibals in Terminus, and Rick didn’t break. Rick once bit another man’s throat out because he had threatened Carl. It just wasn’t believable that Negan would kill Glenn and threaten Carl, and Rick would be too scared to act.
6. OLIVIA’S DEATH
“Hearts Still Beating” was a brutal episode. While Rick is out looking for supplies, Negan visits Alexandria. During his stay, Spencer attempts to butter up Negan in an attempt to take control of the community away from Rick. Of course, this doesn’t work out for him, and Negan murders him in the street in front of a crowd of horrified onlookers. This prompts Rosita to use her one bullet and take a shot at Nega, which she misses. Once again, Negan’s reaction is unsurprising, and he orders his people to kill somebody, and one of his henchmen immediately shoots Olivia in the head.
The problem is that Olivia wasn’t an important enough character to give her death any weight. The show had clearly been trying to elevate her during earlier episodes, but if the only point of that was to try and make her death more shocking, it seems like a waste. Instead of upsetting, this moment came across as superfluous and somewhat pointless.
5. CAROL DID NOTHING ALL SEASON
Out of all the characters on “The Walking Dead,” none of them have had as great a character arc as Carol. She began the series as a timid housewife, too scared to stand up to her abusive husband. As time went on, however, she adapted to the world and became not just a warrior, but a brilliant tactician as well. Then she met Morgan, who seemed to make Carol realize that being a cold hearted killer wasn’t the best way to live her life.
There’s nothing wrong with that particular storyline, except that it resulted in Carol being sidelined the entire season. She literally spent the entire time living alone in a house away from the action. Sometimes, characters would come to see her, but she mostly avoided everything. Then, when she finally decided to save her friends, she wasn’t given a big moment. Instead, she was just shown to be with King Ezekiel’s forces during the final battle of the season.
4. TARA AT OCEANSIDE
Towards the end of the 6th season, Tara and Heath left Alexandria to go on a long term supply run. Before she left, she had begun a romantic relationship with Denise, the doctor from Alexandria. While she was gone, Denise was killed by Dwight, and Negan murdered Glenn and Abraham. Tara didn’t resurface until the 7th season episode “Swear,” an entire episode devoted to her experience on the road. Basically, she and Heath were separated, and Tara ended up at the Oceanside, a community of all women who were hiding from the Saviors.
The two biggest issues with this episode were that it came at a point in the season where a lot of interesting things were happening with all of the different communities. Taking a break to focus on Tara, who was never a major character to begin with, really killed the pacing of the season. Second, Tara’s reaction to the deaths of some of the people she’s closest with should’ve been the focus of the episode, instead of being rushed over during the final moments.
3. THE OCEANSIDE RAID
Once Rick decided that it was time to stand up to Negan, he immediately began looking for two things: allies and weapons. When the Saviors first raided Alexandria, they took all of the guns, leaving Rick’s group almost completely unarmed. So, it was understandable that when Tara told everyone about the Oceanside community, Rick wanted to meet them. What didn’t make sense, however, was immediately deciding to attack the new community.
In the episode “Something They Need,” Tara leads Rick to Oceanside, and after attempting to negotiate for about a minute, the Alexandrians started setting off explosions and taking hostages. It’s almost as if Rick didn’t learn any lesson at all from prematurely attacking the Saviors outpost in season six, which was what led to their current predicament. While the Oceanside residents probably wouldn’t have been interested in helping fight the Saviors, preferring to stay hidden, it still would have been worth it to try something more than just having Tara point a gun at their leader and try to force a decision.
2. DWIGHT’S SANDWICH
“The Walking Dead” has a pacing problem, from huge events, like the first half of season two (where the search for Sophia dragged on for way too long), to minor (though still annoying) examples, like Dwight’s sandwich. After the events of the seventh season premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” Daryl was taken hostage by the Saviors. “The Cell” not only revealed what happened to Daryl, it also gave viewers their first glimpse of Negan’s Sanctuary.
It also spent way too much time showing Dwight assembling his sandwich. The entire opening scene is devoted to him gathering the different ingredients, like the bread and tomatoes and even cooking the eggs. The point was clearly to show how things work at the Sanctuary, but the scene was just way too tedious. Instead of making the Sanctuary seem ominous and scary, it was just a boring way to start an episode. Luckily, it was the only sandwich Dwight was shown making all season long.
1. ABRAHAM AND GLENN’S DEATHS
The sixth season finale, “The Last Day on Earth,” ended on a controversial cliffhanger. Rick and the majority of the main cast had been captured by the Saviors and Negan had finally revealed himself. He randomly chose one member of Rick’s crew to die, and the final shot of the season was a POV shot of that person while Negan bashed their brains in with his barbed wire-covered baseball bat. Fans had to wait several months to find out who had died, and it felt like a cheap stunt to maintain interest between seasons.
When the show came back with the episode “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” it was revealed that Negan had killed Abraham first, and then ,after Daryl attacked him, he killed Glenn. What was frustrating about this was that it was the most obvious conclusion. Glenn was famously killed off in the same way in the comics, and Abraham’s death had been heavily foreshadowed. Even worse, the secret was spilled before the premiere because the actors who played Glenn and Abraham were both noticeably absent during filming, which was a fact that many fans picked up on.
What do you think? Was Season 7 The Walking Dead’s worst so far? Let us know in the comments!
“The Walking Dead” season 8 will premiere in October, 2017.