There were things about the October 23 episode of 'The Walking Dead' that AMC executed perfectly. But it illustrated a few things that may make or break the show.
The writers kept the story focused with no extraneous subplots. Main villain Negan intended to break Rick's will and make a lackey oh him. Despite his showy bad guy mannerisms, it was the more tempered aspects of what he put Rick through that made him chilling -- he committed only the minimum amount of atrocities necessary to make his point. There was a logic behind his comic book sadism and that was what really worked about him.
Unfortunately, he and his followers seem like a blend of all the threats from previous seasons. Negan himself seems like to calculated of an attempt by the writers to create an "event" villain and I honestly saw him in some ways as just a less classy version of The Governor from the third and fourth seasons.
It seems the overall direction of the show will be that the good guys have a stronghold and will cease wandering. But now they have to contend with at least one repressive feudal lord. This could get interesting but could also amount to the show becoming about itself.
The decision to build up to Glenn's death by using Abraham's demise as a warm-up was interesting. The final shot of Glenn and his future child was shamelessly manipulative but still effective.
The episode put the zombies to decent use, but they were more for atmosphere than a true threat. The zombies are still in danger of becoming redundant in their own show.