WARNING: Spoilers for TWD Season 6 Episode 16
The finale of The Walking Dead’s latest season aired last night and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been more insulted by a TV show. The episode “Last Day on Earth” finally gave us the answer to the question, who is Negan? Unfortunately, it took 50 minutes of the group driving around and 30 minutes of commercials to get there. Ignoring the Morgan and Carol subplot (that has still gone unresolved), the episode focuses on the group transporting a sickly Maggie to Hilltop in search of a doctor. Along the way, they encounter group after group of Saviors blocking their path. The aim of these repetitive sequences was to show a cocky Rick, assuming his group could take on the world, unravel as he realizes the Saviors are much more of a threat than he could have ever imagined. The group decides to abandon their vehicle and sneak past on foot, only to find themselves completely surrounded by the Saviors quickly after.
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, taking on the role of Negan, did a great job bringing the character to life. In his ten minutes on screen, he manages strike fear into group and audience while maintaining a subtle comedic undertone, despite not having access to his colorful language. Unfortunately, his role as Negan will go underappreciated over these next six months as everyone’s focus will be on the ridiculous cliffhanger ending AMC has left us with. The episode ends with Negan picking a member of our group and beating them to death with his signature weapon, Lucille, while managing to not show us who the chosen victim is. The show manages to take what could have been one the most iconic and gruesome moments in television, one to rival Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding, and throw it out the window for the prospect of ratings and viewers coming back for season seven. Which to me, still doesn’t makes sense from a business stand point. Sure, people around the world will tune in for episode one this October for their answer of who died, but at what cost? Was this cliffhanger truly better than fostering the goodwill of fans by delivering what we were all waiting for in this episode, showing us that this is a television show that can break the mold? The gruesome death we were all expected would have been more than enough to have viewers return next season, with even more coming due to the word of mouth Negan’s iconic scene would have brought to the casual audience. It shows more than ever now that The Walking Dead TV series doesn’t care as much about the fans as we wanted to believe. In a world where money is everything, what we wanted didn’t matter to the network in this season finale. Regardless of this insult, people are going to tune in to season seven’s premier and AMC may see the numbers they’re looking for but I have to wonder what the drop off rate is from episode one to two. Once people get the closer they’re looking for, will they call it quits? Or, will AMC win the day on this insulting decision they made? Only time will tell but god damn, what a stupid way to end the season.
Image Source: Official Screenshot of "The Walking Dead", taken from http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead