After a brutal premiere episode, The Walking Dead season 7 faced a barrage of criticism for promoting brutality on television. However, the producers defended their stand and said that they would not tone down the violence on the show as they did for previous episodes.
Negan's vicious attack on Glenn and Abraham did bring the best of the ratings for the show, but after being criticised, the producers decided to reduce the bloodshed in the following episodes, which led to a steep fall in ratings.
Executive producer Greg Nicotero has revealed that violence will remain the core part of TWD's storytelling. "As brutal as that Episode One was, it's still part of our storytelling bible, which is what the world is about," he told Entertainment Weekly.
Nicotero justified the death scene as a vital part of the script and said: "Even after looking at that episode 1 again — as tough as it was for people to watch, I don't think we would have done it any differently. I don't think we'll ever pull ourselves back. There is definitely a difference between violence against walkers and human on human violence, but truthfully, we're serving our story."
The show will return in February with the promise that Rick Grimes will bounce back as the strong leader he has always been and will defy the notorious Savior leader's tyrannical rule in the second half of the seventh season. He already has a plan to get together with all survivals camps that have been subjected to Negan's atrocities and create an army to defeat the baseball wielding villain.
While speaking with EW, showrunner Scott Gimple also weighed in on the violent narration and argued that every scene of the episode has a certain narrative purpose and violence is not a standard of TWD. "I will say again, the violence in the premiere was for a specific narrative purpose and I would never say that that's the baseline amount of violence that we would show on the show. If we're ever going to see something that pronounced, there needs to be a specific narrative purpose for it."
The Walking Dead season 7 returns with the rest of the episodes on AMC on 12 February.