Previously on The Walking Dead, ‘East’
The review contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 6 finale, Last Day on Earth.
This fucking show.
After a ridiculous amount of buildup, Negan killed someone, but we have no idea who that is, and won’t find out until the show returns in October. This is bullshit for so many reasons, but because I don’t understand or like cliffhangers isn’t one of them. I love cliffhangers and can even recall the excitement I felt when I experienced good ones more than 30 years ago. I was 6 when J.R. Ewing was shot. I was 11 when the entire Carrington clan was fired upon in the Moldavian wedding massacre. And I was 16 when Agent Cooper was shot.
I know cliffhangers. I know when they’re good and when they’ve been earned. The Walking Dead did not earn this one. If you’re going to promote a 90-minute finale, you better deliver. They did not. They went 90 minutes to sell more ads. I can easily slice out 20 minutes we didn’t need. But that’s just a minor quibble.
I made the mistake of watching Talking Dead after the show. I’d stopped watching consistently last season for many reasons: The cast and creators would explain things from the show that should have been shown in the damn show. I shouldn’t have to watch the 60-minute Chris Hardwick circle jerk to know your story, The Walking Dead. The conversations were never insightful (unless a cast member was a guest; most of them seem to really know their characters and it shows), and there was never any criticism. Like, at all. Like I said, I don’t want to watch an additional hour of television that’s all about pretending every decision the show makes is a good one. Lately, Hardwick has taken to making some pretty gross and sexist comments (last night it was a remark about AMC handing out vibrators) and earlier this season no one checked Nathan Fillion’s racist impression of a black woman complete with finger wagging and neck rolling. It feels like a show for dude-bros.
Anyway, I watched last night and I understand Gimple’s explanation. The final moments of the finale were about Rick and his group realizing they fucked up. The been-there-done-that attitude they had when they arrived in Alexandria (back when Rick was considering taking the community much like Shane wanted to Debo Hershel’s farm) only got worse through season 6. The fact that they never seemed to do anything to protect themselves after their successful raid on the Saviors on Hilltop’s behalf proves this. We actually went 2-3 episodes not sure if they even understood that they didn’t get Negan. After Denise was killed, we connected Dwight to the Saviors through context clues, not because anyone in our group was like, “Hey, we might have fucked up. Perhaps we should hunker our asses down and prepare for trouble.”
The season 7 premiere, Gimple said, will be about the death and how the group deals with that. Fine.
Then why show us the camera getting its head bashed in? That makes this entire decision feel like it was made to trend on Twitter. (For another example of this, watch any episode of Scandal. I swear that show’s scripts has hashtags in them.) At the very least, if that’s how you want to end it, make the 80 minutes prior to it worth a damn.
If it wasn’t a gimmicky decision, the fact that it feels like one is a problem. This is like Dumpstergate and I defended that shit. If The Walking Dead wants people to take it seriously, it needs to start acting like it. At this point, I honestly don’t care who dies – which is a shame if it’s a legacy character like Glenn or Daryl, because I should care and the show should want me to.
I’m just here for sexy-ass Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan and more Richonne. Unless Michonne is the one who dies and that’s entirely possible because AMC.
Beat It: The whistling has got.to.go. It was creepy for a hot second when Glenn and Michonne got gripped up last week, but now it’s just bizarre and slightly comical. I was sure any moment Michael Peters was going to lead them in a dance-off. When they surrounded our group in the last few minutes of the episode, I could have sworn I heard someone ask if the Warriors could come out to play.
In the Closet (I swear these won’t all be Michael Jackson song titles): Carl starts his sexist ways early when he tells Enid she can’t go on the road trip to save Maggie’s baby.
Um, who died and put you in charge, Carl? Oh. Ron did. Carry on.
Really I’m just annoyed Enid fell for the oldest trick in the book.
There’s Something Wrong with Maggie: What exactly is wrong with Maggie? Is she having a miscarriage? Is she experiencing dehydration cramps? Is there any bleeding? All we know is she had cramps and was feverish. I don’t consider this a bad thing because Maggie got conveniently sick so the show could have another reason for everyone to leave the safety of their community. It sucks because it makes me hate Daryl and Rosita even more for being stupid enough to take their only doctor on a run.
All Life is Precious: Morgan kills the Savior who had been torturing Carol right before he was about to kill her.
Was anyone really surprised by this? We knew Morgan didn’t want to kill, and wouldn’t kill even when the person tried to kill him first. But did anyone ever think Morgan wouldn’t kill someone to save a life? Did anyone think he wasn’t going to pull the trigger to save Carol? I knew he would. So, what was the point of this? They’ve both killed when they had to, but didn’t want to.
Still, it was nice seeing him kill that which needed killing. And at least they ran into two nice guys from Skyrim.
Wrong Way: For fuck’s sake. How did Negan manage to find so many ain’t-shit sons-of-bitches in the ZA? The RV group ran into three separate groups of Saviors, each larger than the last, and two booby-trapped roadblocks. Later, we find out Negan put on the grand show just to prove he could. Just to show them he’s a bad motherfucker.
Point taken, Negan. Point.Taken.
How was a group this large operating in the area without coming upon Alexandria? Also, someone in Hilltop is a snitch, right? Negan knew Rick’s name after he was pointed out as the leader. And who told them about Alexandria to begin with? I bet it was raggedy-ass Gregory. They should have let him die.
Eugene the Explorer: Did I miss the part where Eugene is the only person who knows how to read a map? You giving map duty to the guy who speaks in riddles? Although, at the end there, I was half-hoping he’d pull out the map and show the group exactly where they fucked up.
“Remember that mile marker where we walked away with our lives and didn’t go home? That’s where we fucked up.”
X Marks the Spot Where They Think the Audience is Stupid: Thank you, Saviors. Thank you for spray painting that guy’s chest with an X so we’d recognize him when he asphyxiates.
He’s on a Horse: Morgan found the mystery man’s horse and used it to track down Carol. I like this because a black man on a horse is always awesome.
Library Squad: The Saviors grip up a man from a group that didn’t follow the rules. Not our group and not Hilltop. (And looks like he wasn’t with the men Morgan meets at the end.) This group recently had a shoot-out with the Saviors and reside in or near a library. This means Jesus wasn’t a lying liar who lies and we can (hopefully) look forward to our Alexandria crew having some help dealing with Negan.
Gabe Da Gawd!: Y’all can’t talk shit about Father Gabe no mo’. You hear me? That man has stepped all the way up and the fact that Rick leaves him in charge of Alexandria and Judith is amazing.
Abraham Wants Pancakes: Nothing like a few near-death experiences to make a man want to settle down and have some babies. Despite the fact that pregnant Maggie is writhing in pain in the back of the RV, Abraham takes his eyes off the road to ask Sasha if she’d like some of his Bisquick. Even though her face said, “Is you crazy?,” Sasha was surprisingly down with it. I mainly liked this scene due to Sonequa Martin-Green’s face.
Chain of Fools: One of the Saviors’ roadblocks was a chain of walkers blocking the road. The visual was cool and even though we knew no harm had yet come to Michonne or Daryl, Rick and the gang didn’t know that and their reactions to finding Michonne’s locs and Daryl’s arrows on the walkers was great.
Also, I can’t wait for Michonne to kill the Savior who thought it was a good idea to touch a black woman’s hair.
Eugene, Come Through!: Eugene’s arc has been on an upswing. He’s more confident, he’s been useful (see map comments below), and you don’t automatically assume he’ll kill himself when he picks up a weapon. So, it was great when he actually offers to kill himself by driving the RV as a decoy while the rest of the group take Maggie to Hilltop on foot.
Of course, this means absolutely nothing because he’s later gripped up by Negan. Damn, Eugene! You can’t even die right!
Pee-Pee Pants City: We witnessed the exact moment an actor took a role and made it so that you can never imagine anyone else doing it. Jeffrey Dean Morgan did not disappoint (with his fine ass). His bars were so good. I cannot remember the last time watching a scene made me physically ill. And everyone’s face acting was on point while Negan was evil monologuing.
Also, he’s observant as fuck. He knew Carl was Rick’s son just by looking at him. He wouldn’t have been able to do that with Judith, though. For reasons. #ShanesBaby
And don’t even get me started on the return of Rick’s crazy-face, complete with snot. Negan had Rick shook!
Game Recognize Game: I love how Negan recognized that Carl is ’bout dat life. He was like, “Damn. You not even scared, future serial killer?”
I am only in volume 3 of the graphic novels, but I’m calling it now: Carl gonna fuck Negan up.
What did you think of this season finale? Did you love it? Or did you, like me, find it to be like dry-humping: pointless and unsatisfying? Leave your thoughts below or on our Facebook post for this review and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast.
The Walking Dead S6E16 = 7.5/10