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Heartwrenching Details You Missed In The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere

It's been a long wait, but The Walking Dead has finally returned from its summer hiatus—and killed some fan favorites in the process.

Major spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead's Season 7 premiere!

The new season of The Walking Dead spent pretty much the entire episode playing out the aftermath of last season's cliffhanger, with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his gang of Saviors holding Rick and several of his group prisoner at bat-point. Negan is perhaps the most memorable villain from the Walking Dead comics, and Morgan brought him to life with palpable zeal. Fans already knew Negan had killed at least one character (it happened offscreen) in the final seconds of season 6, and we learned that victim was Abraham (Michael Kuditz).

But he wasn't the only one. Just when fans started to think Glenn (Steven Yeun)—who is killed by Negan during this encounter in comics continuity—is safe, Negan spins around and graphically bashes his head in. Though fans were certainly enthralled by the major events taking place in the episode, there were also some subtle flourishes that might've gone unnoticed amid all the brain matter flying around.

Here's everything we caught after going through the episode frame-by-frame:

The episode's title is a sneaky throwback to season 1

This is a tough one to catch, but it just goes to show the symmetry involved in this narrative. The season 7 premiere was titled "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be," which keen-eared fans will likely recognize as a line of dialogue from season 1. It's spoken by Dr. Jenner (Noah Emmerich) at the CDC, after Rick (Andrew Lincoln) thanks him for letting his group escape the CDC before he destroyed it with an explosion. Rick said "I'm grateful," and Jenner replied "The day will come when you won't be," obviously implying Rick might look back at a quick death after a few years of the misery to come and think it wasn't such a bad idea after all. After the day Rick had opening season 7, it stands to reason he might be reconsidering his response to Jenner's offer.

Abraham's peace sign

Abraham had a budding romance with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and over the last season a peace sign became a sweet inside joke between the two characters. Fans have seen them flash it more than a few times at each other, and with the way the death shot was framed, it didn't really give Kuditz a way to turn and give Sasha a look goodbye. So instead, he gives her one final peace sign. An extremely subtle and heartbreaking move. As for Abraham's last words? The writers actually left that up to Kuditz, and of course he chose "Suck my nuts." Even in the face of certain death, Abraham went out on his own terms. Even better? He's keeping Abraham's trademark mustache (at least for a while) as a way to honor the fans and the character.

The Saviors took a picture of Glenn's body

This was a very subtle callback to Rick and Glenn's previous encounter with the Saviors, when they led a strike team to take out a Saviors compound in episode 12 of season 6. At the time, Rick & Co. thought the compound was actually the home base for the Saviors (they were wrong). But once inside, Glenn found a wall of Polaroid pictures of people with their heads bashed in. He didn't get the context at the time, but for fans it was obvious these were previous victim's of Negan's barbed-wire bat Lucille.

Maggie has a son in the fantasy flash forward (just like in the comics)

Though the gang is dealing with a few traumatic losses this episode, it did offer one bittersweet look at the future we'll never see, as Maggie has a vision of the entire group enjoying a meal in Alexandria in the future, with Glenn and Abraham alive and their child around two years old (it also looks like Sasha might be pregnant in this fantasy flash forward, though it's hard to say for certain). But in the scene, Maggie and Glenn are holding a boy—meaning her unborn child will be a boy. As comics readers know, Maggie does have a boy, and she names him after her late father. So this little flash forward offered up our first peek at Baby Hershel (assuming they follow the pattern and Maggie has a son).

Dwight showed up again, and is embarrassed by Negan

The character of Dwight (Austin Amelio) is a major player in the comics, and was introduced last season following a chance meeting with Daryl (Norman Reedus). We see him pop up here offering to kill Daryl (with Daryl's own crossbow, no less) after he sucker-punches Negan. But instead of letting him go ahead with it, Negan stops him condescendingly. We would imagine that brief scene was no accident. When we first met Dwight last season, he was trying to run away from the Saviors. In the comics, he's also not a big fan of Negan. As the story moves forward, we'd think he'll continue to be a player in this narrative.

Glenn's death was a panel-by-panel recreation of the comic version

This show has never been afraid to pay homage to the comic books that inspired it, but Glenn's death was one of the most shocking moments from its run—and they did right by it here. Glenn's death scene in the episode is almost a panel-by-panel recreation of his murder in the comic, complete with the gurgled "Maggie" line brought to heartbreaking life. They even copied the bludgeoned head and face design to almost exact detail, with Glenn's eye almost popping out of his skull following the first hit.

They paralleled both the Governor storyline, and the Bible, in one scene

As fans of the comics are well aware, Rick's hand has been living on borrowed time for a while. In the comics, Rick loses a hand to the Governor—though they've avoided introducing this story on the series largely because it would be costly and annoying from a visual effects point of view (since they'd have to remove Andrew Lincoln's hand in every single shot). But in this episode, it looked like Rick (and then Carl) were about to lose a hand anyway. Having Negan take aim at Carl's arm with a hatchet was an obvious nod to that comics storyline. But going a bit deeper, it also parallels the biblical story of God asking Abraham to kill his son Issac—as Negan forces Rick to take up an axe against his own son. And just like the biblical story, Negan stops Rick before he actually goes through with it—solely to prove he has the power to do it, and Rick is powerless to disobey. It was an interesting move, and certainly plays into Negan's god complex.

No one is safe

For a show that prides itself on killing off a bevy of characters each season, it's actually been a long time since a main star from The Walking Dead got the axe (or in this case, the bat). You have to go all the way back to Andrea's death at Woodbury in episode 16 of season 3 for the last time show killed off an original cast member. The series has killed off a ton of supporting players since then, but the core original stars have been safe for some time. But with Glenn's death, it seems all bets are off.

Rick trapped on top of the RV felt like another throwback to season 1

We've already discussed how the episode title was a throwback to season 1, and the imagery of Rick seemingly trapped on top of the RV felt like another callback. In the pilot episode of The Walking Dead, Rick finds himself trapped and surrounded inside an abandoned military tank. Who comes to his aid and saves him from the undead hordes? Glenn, who happened to spot him while on a supply run. As Rick broke down on top of the RV, it seemed like a realization that this time, Glenn isn't going to show up to help—ever again. Not even a well-placed dumpster could save the poor guy this time.