AMC's horror-drama The Walking Dead is often summed up as "a zombie movie that never ends," for all the positives and negatives that brings. Still, while some may have complained about cyclical storytelling and repetitive conflicts, the sheer charisma of fan-favorites like Rick, Michonne, and Glenn continually keeps fans invested. For anyone wondering, after several seasons, if the show would meander forever in its cat and mouse zombie scenario, the original comic book source material laid out a trajectory the series generally follows, where one could read the many divergences TWD takes. The series, to its credit, diverges from that material just enough to keep comic fans surprised.
When newest big-bad Negan showed up in the season 6 finale to slowly pick a victim in the world's most deadly game of Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe, fans were incredibly concerned about which of their favorites he might kill. Instead of showing us who he chose, the show cut to the credits, promising to answer the morbid question of who died in the season 7 opener several months later.
Fans saw the sudden cliffhanger as a shoddy way to keep ratings up (in spite of the fact ratings remained strong, and it was the kind of cliffhanger TV is long known for), but even worse was the question of who Negan actually killed. In the comic books, it was Glenn, but the other favorite on the chopping block, Abraham, had been killed dozens of issues earlier by a stray arrow. Fans debated ceaselessly about which of the two would be killed or if it would be a swerve to a different character.
Negan, we learned in the season opener, killed Abraham and then killed Glenn in order to keep our heroes in line. Some fans felt cheated by the double-death surprise, while others were satisfied. Fans had heard for years from creators and producers that "no one is safe," but the season 7 premiere was the first time it had truly felt like that.