“Pee pee pants city.” (Spoilers Ahead)
The back half of season 6 built up to Negan’s grand entrance in the finale entitled “Last Day on Earth”. Let’s discuss that cliffhanger ending, our thoughts on Negan, who we think Negan knocked off and much more.
Executive producer Robert Kirkman warned that this would be a long, agonizing summer for The Walking Dead fans. Now we understand what he meant. Having heard rumors about the cliffhanger, I was mentally prepared for it and it likely softened my gut reaction. But I can totally understand how some fans are frustrated and disappointed that they have to wait until next season to find out who Negan killed.
The pre-Negan part of the finale was slightly slower than I would have liked. While the multiple roadblocks did add to the anticipation, it ultimately lead to a giant question mark. A regular character has died but I can’t feel sad over the loss, because I don’t know who to mourn. This could have been a moving, gut wrenching finale, instead I’m left scratching my head on what happened. Is this the show toying with the viewers like they did with Glenn’s fake dumpster death? Yes.
The general function of a cliffhanger is to leave off on a suspenseful moment which will bait viewers to tune back in next time to learn the fate of a character or the outcome of an intense situation. This finale’s cliffhanger will elicit a negative reaction from many viewers at the same time the show runners are likely banking on a huge number of fans will also be very curious to check out Season 7’s premiere. However, the season 7 premiere runs the risk of being anti-climatic after a prolonged wait for the answer. Personally, I would be much more satisfied with a pay off now and anticipate how Rick’s group will respond to Negan in next season’s premiere.
Negan’s entrance itself is excellent and well executed (pun intended). Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s terrific performance embodied all the different aspects of Negan. He actually made me laugh a few times. Negan’s a gleeful sociopath, but he’s not a chaotic evil. He has a very specific way of doing things; a code of conduct. He even said he didn’t want to kill Rick’s group, just one person to make an example of. That one scene did a great job of demonstrating he’s a menacing and imposing force who will be a tough challenge for Rick to overcome, in a very different way than the Governor.
The reaction from each member of Rick’s group as they knelt down before Negan is fantastic. Carl’s one eyed stare looks like he wanted to kill Negan so bad and even Negan joked about Carl being a serial killer when he grows up. Abraham offering himself up makes me even more fond of him. Glenn’s emotional reaction when Negan pointed his barb-wired bat named Lucille at Maggie is another stand out moment. And of course, Andrew Lincoln’s expression as Rick was perfect. He looked so defeated. The air of confidence and the idea that everything will work out because they are together is shattered. Rick’s group once believed they could accomplish anything together, here they are now all lined up and helpless as ever.
“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” So who do you think got the bat? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s poor old Eugene. Earlier in the episode, he got to say a goodbye of sorts to best mate Abraham. It also felt like a suitable completion to a character arc for coming up with the RV plan and in Abraham believing Eugene is capable of driving it. Eugene also gave Rick the instructions to making bullets so he isn’t needed anymore for this plot point moving forward. Further, among the regular cast, Eugene is likely one of the more expendable characters and it appears the show is a little gun-shy to killing off a beloved, long-standing fan favorite.
Like the earlier parts with the RV running into roadblocks, some of Carol & Morgan’s scenes could have used some fine tuning. While I liked where it landed with Morgan having to break his no kill code to save Carol, it became a little predictable that with Morgan hot on her trail he would save her in time. Usually when a bad guy inflicts a slow painful death when he has every opportunity to go for the instant kill, it doesn’t end well for him. Hopefully with a couple of bullets in her, Carol will come to terms with her inner crisis and eventually believe she’s received enough punishment for her “sins”.
After so much anticipation, “Last Day on Earth” didn’t deliver the big pay off many fans expected and wanted. The cliffhanger ending is a misfire, although personally I’m not angry about it just disappointed and underwhelmed. Where there was a culmination is in Negan’s great introduction and his show stealing scene. This is easily the best part of the finale, minus the ending.
What do you think about the cliffhanger? Who do you think Negan knocked off?