Season 7 of AMC's The Walking Dead, which consists of sixteen episodes, aired between October 23, 2016 and April 2, 2017, after being renewed on October 30, 2015. Scott Gimple continued as showrunner for the fourth consecutive season.
Rick is in shock, as he has seen Abraham and Glenn brutally beaten to death at the hands of Negan, the charismatic and psychotic leader of the Saviors.
Feeling that he still hasn't gotten through to Rick yet, Negan has taken him for a drive in the RV. In a heavy fog, Negan forces Rick to go get his axe, which involves Rick fighting through a crowd of Walkers. While laying on top of the RV, Rick somberly thinks about his group as Negan taunts him.
After retrieving the axe from the herd, Rick is driven back to his group, which is still being held hostage by a large group of Saviors. Rick is given the choice of either chopping off his son's arm or watching his group get shot to death. Breaking down, Rick begs for Negan to stop and only kill him. Negan begins counting down, and just before Rick has to cut off the arm, Negan stops him. "You answer to me. You provide for me," he says. Rick agrees, completely broken. Daryl is taken in a van as the Saviors leave.
As the group reels from the experience, Sasha volunteers to take Maggie to the Hilltop while the rest return to Alexandria.
An injured Carol awakens with Morgan at her side. He tells her what has happened and where they are. They have been brought to a community called The Kingdom, a place led by "King" Ezekiel. Carol is stunned by the way things are run. She concludes that it's a ridiculous fantasy world, and she needs to leave.
She plays along, in order to keep people from becoming suspicious while she plans to escape with supplies. Before she can leave, Ezekiel catches her, and they both drop their facades. Ezekiel encourages her to embrace life, and suggests a plan that would allow her to simultaneously "go and not go." She takes residence in a cottage outside the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Morgan begins to bond with Benjamin, a young resident who is training to be a soldier. He also discovers that The Kingdom is being extorted by the Saviors, although it is being kept secret from most of the community.
Daryl is being held in a cell at the Savior compound. He has nothing to eat but dog food sandwiches, and is subjected to psychological torture through music.
Dwight is in charge of Daryl's captivity. While Dwight's living conditions are considerably better (he has a nice apartment in which to live, watches old TV shows, and eats good food), it soon becomes clear that in his own way he is as much a prisoner as Daryl. Negan delights in reminding Dwight that he took his ex-wife. She married Negan partly to save Dwight's life after their attempted escape, but also because Negan's wives (there are several) live in relative luxury.
Another one of Dwight's duties is to retrieve Saviors who attempt to leave the fold, much as he once done (leading to his now-scarred face, the result of Negan's punishment). Dwight chases down one such man. When the escapee insists that he will never kneel to Negan again, Dwight threatens his loved ones with being forced to eat feces "for the rest of their very short lives". The man has no choice but to obey. Dwight was sympathetic, however, after listening to the man speaking of the plight that all of Negan's "followers" share. Dwight waits until the man is heading back to the compound, and then shoots him in the back; essentially a mercy killing.
After Daryl attempts to escape he is brutally beaten, then lectured by Negan, who explains that there is no room for individuality within the Saviors. ALL men are Negan. Dwight then tortures Daryl further by putting up on his cell wall a photo of Glenn's nearly unrecognizable remains. Daryl breaks down, sobbing wildly.
Feeling that Daryl is close to breaking, Negan shows him one of the apartments that his top men occupy. He emphasizes the importance of total obedience, then asks Daryl to tell him his name. "Daryl," the man replies. Negan is disappointed, but also confident that in the end he will get his way. Daryl is tossed back in his cell, and the same cheesy pop song is once again repeated played, day and night, to help break his will.
Negan and his crew arrive early for their first "offering" from Alexandria. Rick reluctantly lets them in, despite the confusion of the residents. The Saviors take furniture, medical supplies, miscellaneous items. The residents even lose their guns, after Carl tries to shoot a Savior. Negan agrees to let the community keep all of their food, for the present.
All but one gun is confiscated, and Olivia, the inventory keeper, is threatened with death if the missing gun isn't found. What no one knows is that Spencer, who holds a grudge against Rick, has the weapon hidden in his home
After the Savior's leave, Rick confides in Michonne. His reasoning for living under the Saviors' rule is to keep Carl and Judith safe. Rosita has stolen a gun from the body of a Savior. She now asks Eugene to make her a bullet.
Sasha has managed to get Maggie to the Hilltop, where she is being treated by Dr. Harlan Carson. Gregory is angry that her group not only failed to kill the Saviors, but potentially made things worse.
That night, the front gate has been opened, fires are blazing, and music blares from a car, attracting Walkers. Maggie and Sasha rally the Hilltop to help put a stop to it. The next day, Simon arrives with the Saviors. He tells the Hilltop people that he arranged the small walker invasion as a lesson/punishment for the group. Simon also lets Gregory know he is now in charge of the sector, having gained the position due to the massacre at the Satellite outpost.
A cowardly Gregory attempts to hand over Maggie and Sasha. He leads the Saviors to a closet where he expects to find the women. Instead, the closet holds nothing but a case of Scotch that he had set aside for himself. Simon sees the Scotch as a gesture of good will, and takes it with him when he leaves. Jesus then explains to Gregory in no uncertain terms that Maggie and Sasha are welcome to stay, whether he likes it or not.
Carl and Enid share their views on the difficult situation at Alexandria. Carl wants vengeance against the Saviors for killing Glenn and Abraham. Enid thinks it isn't a good idea to go after Negan alone. Later, Enid goes to the Hilltop to help Maggie. Carl, meanwhile, follows Jesus on a clandestine trip to the Sanctuary.
Tara and Heath get separated during a supply run, and the former is found by a woman named Cyndie. Tara is spared, even though Cyndie's people have a policy to “kill on sight.” Tara follows her to the Oceanside community, a place consisting entirely of women and young children. Tara is held captive by the Oceanside people and nearly executed, but is spared because she spared one of their own. She offers to leave their settlement, but Natania, the leader, worries that she knows too much.
At dinner, Tara talks about her group and briefly brings up the Saviors. It appears that they are letting her go, but then Tara is shot at. She learns that the residents were once members of another community, which was extorted by the Saviors. The Saviors killed all of the men in the settlement after they'd attempted to resist. The women fled, started their own community, and have never looked back.
Cyndie helps Tara to escape, but makes her swear never to tell anyone about her community.
Tara reaches Alexandria, where she learns of Denise's death. She keeps her promise to Cyndie.
Carl separates from Jesus to go straight to the Sanctuary, where he fails to kill Negan head on. Impressed by Carl's ingenuity, Negan shows him around the Sanctuary. Carl at first refuses to go with the man, but complies after Negan threatens to chop off Daryl's arm.
Carl watches Negan give a speech, is introduced to Negan's wives, and watches the public branding of a soldier who slept with one of the wives. In Negan's apartment; he orders Carl to sit across from him and remove his eye bandage. Humiliated, Carl starts crying. Negan apologizes for hurting his feelings. Eventually, Carl regains his courage, and taunts Negan for being unable to kill him, Rick, or Daryl. Negan then takes Carl back to Alexandria. Negan tours Rick's home and meets Judith.
Daryl hears footsteps outside his cell. Someone slips a note under the door. "Go now," is written on the front, and a key is taped to the back.
Meanwhile, Rosita gets her bullet from Eugene, after berating him over his method of survival. This leaves friction between them, although Eugene is still concerned for Rosita, and what he considers a potential act of suicide.
Spencer has spent the day finding a good-sized, hidden cache of goods while on a supply run. He tells Rosita that they're turning it over to the Saviors "because it's what Rick wants". Spencer is still convinced that Rick does not deserve to be the community's leader.
Daryl makes his escape, thanks to the key that was slipped under his cell door. He finds new clothes, has his first real food in weeks, and steals his bike back, as well as Rick's service revolver. Daryl kills a guard in the process, although the essentially harmless man is begging for him to simply walk away. Daryl then sees Jesus, who has been hiding in the compound all this time. The two head for the Hilltop.
In Carol's hidden cottage near the Kingdom, Richard, a soldier in the Kingdom's army, fails to convince Carol and Morgan to help him talk Ezekiel into fighting against the Saviors. Carol wants to be left alone, and Morgan thinks there’s a peaceful way to cope.
As Negan continues his way through Alexandria, he is approached by Spencer, who wants him to kill Rick and make him the leader of the community. Negan, however, publicly chastises him for conspiring against Rick. He tells Spencer that the reason he wants other people to do his dirty work is that he "has no guts". Negan then slices Spencer open, spilling his guts all over the street.
Rosita steps out of the horrified crowd and takes a shot at Negan. Unfortunately, the bullet instead hits Lucille, Negan's bat. Rosita defiantly refuses to say who made the bullet, which leads to Olivia's death. Eugene, terrified that anyone else might die, confesses to making the bullet. He is taken by the Saviors.
Rick arrives at the scene and, partly thanks to words from Michonne, regains his will to fight. He meets Maggie and Daryl at the Hilltop, and they prepare for battle.
Gabriel packs a car with supplies to hide from the Saviors, only to be kidnapped by a dark figure. Meanwhile, Rick, Maggie, Sasha, Carl, Michonne, Tara, Rosita, Daryl and Jesus meet with Gregory at the Hilltop. He refuses to help them in the fight against the Saviors.
Jesus takes the group to The Kingdom, where they attempt to convince Ezekiel to aid in the fight. Morgan tells the group that Carol's okay, but keeps his promise to not to tell anyone where she is. The next day, although Ezekiel refuses to join the fight, he shows sympathy for Rick's cause by offering Daryl asylum.
On the road back to Alexandria, the group encounters a booby trap strung across the highway, consisting of a long trip wire attached to large amounts of dynamite. The trap is apparently set up to wipe out a large group, whether Walker or human. Rick and his crew defuse and dismantle the rig, as a large herd of Walkers approaches. They then take most of the dynamite for later use, while using the wire, strung between two vehicles, to mow down over half of the Walker herd.
Once back in Alexandria, Rick is confronted by Simon, who comes in search of the escaped Daryl. Knowing that Daryl is hidden safely away at the Kingdom, Rick readily pretends to cooperate with the search. During this process, Rick and Simon are both surprised to see that the community pantry is now almost completely empty.
After Simon's exit, Rick follows a clue left behind by Gabriel, who wanted the group to know where he had headed with the supplies. The group doesn't find Gabriel, but as they follow his trail, they are suddenly encountered by a large group of heavily armed women. Although the group is once again in danger, Rick smiles. He can see that if these supposed enemies can be turned, they will be a great aid to the war effort against the Saviors.
Daryl is having trouble dealing with the fact that Ezekiel has chosen to step back and remain neutral in the upcoming conflict with the Saviors. He is more encouraged by the attitude of Richard, who wants to join the fight. Still, Daryl is disturbed by Richard's callous attitude. The man is more than willing to recklessly put lives on the line. This is demonstrated when Richard tries to set up a scenario in which several Saviors will be killed, and then a path will lead more of them to Carol, who is still living in a cabin in the nearby woods. Richard wants Carol to die, because she will become a martyr that will spur Ezekiel into angry retaliation against the Saviors. Daryl refuses to allow that scenario play out, and tells Richard that if anything happens to Carol, he will kill him.
Daryl then manages to find and talk to Carol. After seeing how emotionally damaged the woman has become from being involved in so much violence, Daryl makes a difficult choice. He chooses to lie to her about the Savior's victims, not letting her know of Glenn and Abraham's brutal murders.
Having accomplished as much as he can at the Kingdom, Daryl returns to the Hilltop.
Meanwhile, Rick's group is surrounded by the Scavengers, who have Gabriel hostage. Rick attempts to convince the group to help fight against the Saviors. Jadis, the Scavenger leader, tests Rick by having him go up against a Walker that has been "weaponized" by protruding iron spikes. Rick wins the fight, and Jadis is convinced that Rick is serious about the fight. She agrees to help as long as they get guns, one-third of the Saviors' supplies, and a portion of the goods that Gabriel had moved from the Alexandria pantry.
As Dwight is being punished for letting Daryl escape, Eugene is brought to the Sanctuary. Much to Eugene's surprise, he is treated as a guest. He is given a private apartment, and any food he wants.
Eugene, under intimidation, comes up with an idea for how to keep the Walkers from falling off the Sanctuary's protective fence. He proposes using molten metal, which will harden and make the Walkers indestructible.
Eugene is later visited by some of Negan's wives, as a reward for his services so far. The ladies ask him to make poison pills for them, which he later deduces are for Negan. He makes the pills, but then changes his mind and refuses to let the women have them. Eugene reluctantly accepts his new role in the Saviors, knowing that it means his old friends will become his enemies.
Dwight figures out that Sherry let Daryl out and then fled. After Dr. Emmett Carson makes an unkind comment about Sherry, Dwight frames the man for helping Daryl. Negan forces a (false) confession out of Carson, before throwing him into the furnace.
Rick and Michonne scavenge for guns to fulfill the agreement with Jadis. They both continue to explore their relationship, and Michonne realizes how much she cares about Rick, when she briefly thinks he's been killed by a group of Walkers. Rick reassures her that she won't lose him.
They deliver the supplies and guns to Jadis, who asks for more guns. Rick reluctantly hands over twnety more weapons that he had been holding in reserve.
Rosita, having become impatient over the inaction of the Alexandrians, takes her anger out on her friends. After failing to find more guns on her own, she decides to go to the Hilltop, where she asks Sasha for help killing Negan. Sasha agrees, with the condition that she be allowed to pull the trigger.
The Kingdom is doing its regular scheduled "offering" for the Saviors. Gavin, who is leading the Savior guards, complains that the count of cantaloupes is short. Ezekiel is confused, as he is certain they put the right number in the shipment. As an argument begins, Richard tries to calm the angry Saviors. Gavin, however, wants Richard to be shot as an example of what happens when Savior demands are not met. His guard Jared, however, instead aims at young Benjamin, a friend and apprentice of Morgan's. He shoots the boy in the leg.
Although the intention had been to simply wound Benjamin, the boy bleeds out and dies, in spite of emergency first aid assistance from Carol. Jared is chastised by Gavin, who feels that the man acted rashly.
As Morgan’s reels from the trauma of the incident, he soon realizes that Richard had deliberately removed a cantaloupe, in order make Ezekiel see the Saviors true colors. It was Richard's intention to die, and become a martyr for the Kingdom.
The next day, another drop-off is made, this time of only the one missing cantaloupe. While the group watches, Morgan suddenly attacks and kills Richard. Morgan then explains what Richard had done. This returns trade relations to the status quo. The experience has shaken Morgan, however. He goes to visit Carol in her cottage, where he reveals to her what really happened to Glenn and Abraham.
Rosita and Sasha make their way to the Sanctuary. During the journey they share their experiences concerning Abraham. After seeing Eugene at the compound, they add his rescue to their list of goals, along with assassinating Negan
At the Hilltop, a group of Saviors arrives, wanting Dr. Harlan Carson (as a replacement for his brother Emmett Carson, who was recently executed). Daryl and Maggie hide in a cellar during the visit. Before the Saviors leave, their expedition leader Simon talks to Gregory, who discusses his concerns that "others" might not be as cooperative as he. Understanding that Gregory is hinting that someone (most likely Rick's group) may be getting braver, Simon gives Gregory instructions to meet him at the Sanctuary gates if the problem ever becomes more serious. That evening, emboldened by the notion that he has Saviors protecting him, Gregory subtly threatens Jesus to toe the line.
After nightfall, Rosita and Sasha cut through the fence at the Sanctuary, then kill one of the guards on patrol. They urge Eugene to come with them, but he refuses, saying that he didn't ask for their help. After he heads inside, Sasha works her way inside the fence. Before Rosita can follow, though, Sasha uses a lock to close the opening behind her. She tells Rosita that Alexandria still need her, then runs inside the nearest building. Sobbing in frustration, Rosita flees. She then stops, as she notices a dark figure watching her.
Tara has told Rick about the community and arsenal at Oceanside. He now is leading a group of Alexandrians there, in hopes of getting the residents' support against the Saviors. If not their support, however, Rick still intends to take their weapons.
Tara sneaks in and holds Natania and Cyndie at gunpoint, begging them to talk to Rick. Feigning injury, Natania turns the tables and takes Tara hostage. Tara then reveals that she had previously been threatening her with an unloaded gun, as she had no intention of hurting anyone.
As the Oceanside residents are gathered together, they express a desire to go along with Rick's plan and join the fight. Natania, though, now holds a loaded weapon on Tara, and refuses to cooperate. Michonne watches the scene unfold through a rifle scope, ready to take Natania out if necessary. Before the situation is able to resolve itself, however, a group of Walkers approaches. Rick's group and the Oceanside members work together to clear the herd. Natania still refuses to allow her people to join the fight against the Saviors, but she tells Rick that he should take their guns "and get the hell out of here".
At the Sanctuary, Sasha is in a cell, having been captured after sneaking into the compound to kill Negan. Her guard Dave attempts to rape her, but Negan arrives before things can get worse. He tells Dave that rape is firmly against one of their rules, then drives a hunting knife completely through the man's neck. Negan then leaves the weapon on the floor for Sasha. He tells her she can kill herself with it, or take care of "Rapey Davey" before he can reanimate and attack her. If she kills Dave, though, that means that she is accepting Negan's offer to join the Saviors.
Later that day, Negan returns to Sasha's cell and sees that she has finished off Dave. He is pleased with her decision, but tells her that she needs to further prove her loyalty by helping to stop Rick, who he's been told is planning to stir up further trouble. In a little while Eugene stops by, saying that he's glad Sasha has decided to be practical and join the group. Sasha, however, tells him that's not what she truly wants. She now sees that Negan will surely use her as a pawn against her friends. She can't allow that to happen, and begs Eugene to give her "a knife, a gun, anything" with which she can kill herself.
Eventually Eugene returns to her cell, having decided to help her. He brings the poison pills that he had previously made at the request of Negan's wives. Eugene doesn't want Sasha to die, but he can see that she has already decided her fate.
As Rick's group returns to Alexandria, Rosita has returned from her aborted attack on the Saviors. When her friends ask her if Sasha is okay, she simply shakes her head sadly, unable to provide any information. She does have something to show them, however. In the holding cell that Morgan had built there is a new prisoner. It is Dwight, who tells Rick that he wants to help in the fight against Negan.
In a dark, enclosed coffin, Sasha is taken to Alexandria as a hostage to be used for bargaining purposes. While listening to music, she takes Eugene’s poison pills, and peacefully dies during the journey.
Dwight offers to be an "inside man" to help take Negan down. He reveals that Negan is coming to Alexandria. Rick and his group bring in the Scavengers, and prepare for the Saviors’ arrival by planting explosives in trucks near the community's front gate.
The Saviors arrive, and Rick's group is shocked to see Eugene acting as their spokesperson. Rick gives the okay to set off the bombs, only to discover that the Scavengers have betrayed them, secretly disarming the devices. Jadis then holds a gun on Rick, as Negan arrives and reveals Sasha's coffin. Thinking that Sasha is still alive inside, Negan offers to let her live if Rick's group surrenders and disarms themselves. As he opens the coffin Sasha, now a Walker, lunges at him. The Alexandrians take advantage of the confusion, firing on the Saviors.
While the battle rages around them, Jadis shoots Rick in the side, then forces him to march back to Negan, whose people saved him from Sasha. Michonne, who had attempted to stop Jadis, is now fighting for her life against a female Savior.
Negan has Carl and Rick lined up, and threatens to use Lucille to end both of their lives. Rick will not be cowed again, however, and tells Negan that as he once said before, someday he will kill him. Negan is unimpressed, and prepares to kill Carl. Just then, however, Ezekiel's tiger leaps in, killing a nearby guard. Negan flees, as fighters from both the Kingdom and the Hilltop arrive to save the Alexandrians.
Negan escapes during the battle, as does Jadis. Their people regroup back at the Sanctuary, as Negan plans his next move. Back at Alexandria, Rick finds Michonne, who was severely beaten before killing her opponent. As Michonne lies in bed, healing from her injuries, Maggie speaks to a combined group of residents from Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom. She says that the journey has been long, but they have become a family, and this is just the beginning.
- Abraham Ford (Confirmed Fate)
- Glenn Rhee
- Henry and Benjamin's Father (Confirmed Fate)
- Maria (Confirmed Fate)
- Gordon (Alive)
- Neil (Zombified)
- Cyndie's Mother (Confirmed Fate)
- Cyndie's Brother (Confirmed Fate)
- Spencer Monroe (Alive and Zombified)
- Winslow (Alive, Confirmed Fate)
- Emmett Carson
- Katy (Confirmed Fate)
- Richard's Wife (Confirmed Fate)
- David (Alive and Zombified)
- Sasha Williams (Alive and Zombified)
- 1 horse from The Kingdom
- 8 pigs from The Kingdom
- 7 unnamed Kingdom survivors (Confirmed Fate)
- Several female Oceanside residents (Confirmed Fate)
- All male Oceanside residents aged 10 and above (Confirmed Fate)
- 2 deer
- At least 6 unnamed Saviors
- At least 20 unnamed Scavengers
- At least 2 unnamed Alexandria residents
- This season is mainly based on the second half of "Volume 17: Something To Fear", "Volume 18: What Comes After", "Volume 19: March To War" and parts of "Volume 20: All Out War - Part One" from the Comic Series.
- Season 7 has a total of 12 extended episodes, it is the season with the second-most number of extended episodes. The season with the most extended episodes is the succeeding season, Season 8.
- This season has the highest number of main cast members in the opening credits, exceeding the usual ten regulars, with 11 in "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" and 12 from "The Well" onwards.
- Below are the changes made to the main cast in this season:
- Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambler), Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter) and Christian Serratos (Rosita Espinosa) have been added to the opening credits after being listed under "Also Starring" in previous seasons.
- Starting with "The Well", they are added to the opening credits.
- Seth Gilliam (Gabriel Stokes), Ross Marquand (Aaron) and Austin Nichols (Spencer Monroe) are still listed under "Also Starring", despite being credited as series regulars in the previous season.
- Following his character's death in "Hearts Still Beating", Austin Nichols is no longer listed under "Also Starring".
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Austin Amelio (Dwight), Tom Payne (Jesus) and Xander Berkeley (Gregory) have been upgraded to series regulars after recurring appearances.
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been added to the opening credits.
- Despite their status as series regulars, Austin Amelio, Tom Payne and Xander Berkeley are listed under "Also Starring".
- Following their characters' deaths in "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be", Michael Cudlitz and Steven Yeun have been removed from the opening credits.
- Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambler), Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter) and Christian Serratos (Rosita Espinosa) have been added to the opening credits after being listed under "Also Starring" in previous seasons.
- This is the first season to not have Rick in a released poster, prior to the season's release.
- This season has twelve extended episodes, with the other four episodes being normal length.
- This is the second consecutive season to have no episodes written by Robert Kirkman.
- This is the first season where Rick is not in more or at least the same amount of episodes as everyone else. Instead, Rosita has the most appearances this season with 11 episodes to Rick's 10.
- This season contained the least number of episode featuring a live character being killed by walkers - a total of one.
- This is also the first season in which no character is killed by a unnamed walker.
- This season is tied with Season 5 and Season 9 with killing off the most main cast characters, with four regulars killed off: Abraham Ford, Glenn Rhee, Spencer Monroe and Sasha Williams.
- This season featured several episodes containing event sequences taking place out of the story's chronological order that aired before or after one another; therefore a few of these episodes can be viewed out of their original airing order without affecting the viewers knowledge of the show's plot to a point. "The Well" and "The Cell" are two of such of these examples; as it was reported that the airing order of these episodes was switched at the last minute anyway.