We knew it was going to be hard work. The last season of 'The Walking Dead' ended on the ultimate cliffhanger, with long-awaited new bad guy Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) slamming his barbed-wire-spiked baseball bat (lovingly nicknamed Lucille) into the head of one of our captured heroes. But which one?
Well, we won't spoil the first episode of the new season if you've not seen it. Suffice it to say it was disgustingly gruesome, ridiculously depressing and literally eye-popping, and the reactions - both from fans and critics - have been almost as violent. As the episode unfolded, viewers took to Twitter to express their outrage, calling it traumatic, disturbing and unnecessarily horrible. There were even a few reports of vomiting, as Lucille swung and our heroes fell like flies. Even long-time fans seemed pretty upset.
A few good memes popped up as well, of course: this one's particularly to the point.
The creators of the show were immediately on the defensive, with the episode's director Greg Nicotero scrambling for ways to justify fans' outraged reactions. 'That means we have done something to affect these people in a way that they don’t necessarily know how to process,' he said. 'I’m a big "Game of Thrones" fan. I’ve been shocked at the turn of events on that show, but I still love it... I think it’s a knee-jerk reaction people have, because they care about these characters.'
Hmmm, we're not convinced, Greg. Not that we expect 'The Walking Dead' to be all puppies and kittens, but baseball bats to the brain might be testing our endurance a bit too much. That said, it's not like we're going to stop watching...