So, I have had some time to digest the finale. I am pretty sure if I had started writing about it right after it happened, this article would have been pretty bleak. That’s not to say that I have moved all that far from that outlook, but I have re-watched the episode a few times and there are a handful of things that stand out to me as worth mentioning. So, here we go, if you haven’t seen the season 6 finale there will be spoilers spoilers and then spoilers again. You have been warned.
First and foremost, we have to deal with the most obvious misstep of the finale: Negan murdering one of the group members. Yes, I understand, this is what we all expected. What you will notice, is that I did not write that he murdered Glenn…or Michonne…or Daryl, or anyone in particular. This is unbelievably frustrating. The decision to end the season on a cliffhanger demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about the source material and robs the audience of the shock and raw brutality of Negan’s introduction. It was supposed to be Glenn. As Glenn struggles and stutters in his dying moments to say Maggie’s name, the reader is absolutely crushed…pun intended.
Negan needed a victim. With the ubiquitous cliffhangers this season, this was truly a step too far. After Glenn slithered under a dumpster and somehow waited long enough to survive a walker hoard, who knows what will happen now?
The worst part about all of this is that the producers of the show think it’s super clever to leave us hanging. The show has loyal fans, that show up every Sunday; the last thing they needed to do was tell us to tune in next time to find out. It sounds terrible, to want to see a beloved character’s skull bashed in, but that’s how the season should have ended. Thanks to the source material, shows like Game of Thrones know how to kill off main characters; The Walking Dead has equally grim source material and it just feels like the producers are screwing with us because they think we will continue to watch.
That’s part of the problem. They do such a good job. The rest of the introduction was incredible, if rather tame with regard to Negan’s language. So much was taken directly from the comics. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was truly a presence on screen, each word revealing a cold and calculated murderer who has thrived in this post apocalyptic world as a person who gets things done. I imagine Negan as a kind of deranged Shane. During his cool, syrupy monologue I anticipated the horrific violence that was going to befall the group: Lucille lurking in every shot. Negan was supposed to come on to The Walking Dead like an atomic bomb…The countdown was great!
The episode in the end wasn’t about Negan, it was about dismantling the cockiness that has built up in Rick over the last season. At every turn, Rick never believed that they could be out smarted. He was driven by the necessity of Maggie’s condition and the confidence of having lived this long on the edge. The attack on Negan’s compound was one of the dumbest decisions Rick has made in any season. Knowing that Negan posed a threat, he willingly invited violence into the lives of the group. He found what he was looking for.
- Trevor is Trevor is Trevor. I wonder if Steven Ogg isn’t Trevor.
- I am pretty sure Dale came back from the dead as a consultant cinematographer on this episode because the RV was shot from every angle except the undercarriage.
- Morgan was always going to break his code. A pacifist philosophy in this world is unrealistic.
- The Dark Knight proved to us that hockey pads aren’t good for fighting crime. I am not sure that they will do much good against walkers, or Saviors. Although, they do seem to have a few horses and Spartan spears; we’ll see how it goes.
- Even though we have encountered the whistling of The Saviors before, here it was one of the most abjectly terrifying moments of The Walking Dead in it’s entirety.