Because baseball bats. Get it? LOOK ITS A VERY OBVIOUS JOKE ABOUT THAT THING THAT HAPPENED LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IS MAKING.

Yes, in perhaps unsurprising news, The Walking Deadā€™s seventh season premiere this past weekend has reported gangbuster ratingsā€”a total of 17 million viewers tuned in. This is actually not a record for the series (season fiveā€˜s premiere garnered 17.29 million viewers), but enough to routinely thump everything else that was on TV on Sunday. Itā€™s a rather impressive number for the show, and proof that even after seven years the series has the capacity to command feverish attention, but also kind of a depressing one, because it essentially validates the creative teamā€™s decision to drag out the cliffhanger to season six for a lot longer than it should have.

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Itā€™s very obvious in hindsight to see thatā€™s why the decision to tease whoever Negan whacked to death at the very end of season sixā€”and then spin it out over months and months and months of teasing and speculation and kind of ridiculous spoiler policing for a moment that, it turns out, was basically ā€œspoiledā€ by the 100th issue of The Walking Dead comicā€™s release four years agoā€”was made.

But whatever The Walking Dead ultimately sacrificed in dramatic tension surrounding Neganā€™s threat, it certainly got curious people to tune in for something they were forced to wait half a year for in droves. The fact that they did so in huge numbers probably indicates to AMC itā€™s worth doing something equally stunt-y in the future... so stay tuned for the inevitable cliffhanger ending to season seven, I guess?

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[Entertainment Weekly]