The Walking Dead season finale Last Day on Earth has left some fans very angry with its ridiculous cliffhanger ending and I’m one of them. I’ve waited a week to write about my feelings on the finale because I didn’t want to come over all incoherent and super ranty and I’m going to try to be succinct for the same reason. Let’s see how that works out for me.
I am not a Walking Dead superfan by any stretch of the imagination. A season doesn’t go by where I don’t break up with the show and step away for a few weeks or months. Our relationship is volatile like that. That being said I’m still invested in the show and still care about some of the characters.
I also care about reward and recognition, something I feel has been lacking this season. Without fans, The Walking Dead (and any other show) would be nothing and I believe the writers have a duty to treat them well. I don’t mean they should give into our ship whims (well done Richonne fans) or kill off characters just because we hate them. Whilst I am grateful for the deaths of Lori and Shane (thank you thank, thank you) I don’t believe the writers killed them off to appease me or others who passionately hated those two. Their deaths made sense to the story. At least that’s what I tell myself.
What they shouldn’t do is yank our chains too often. It’s been a while since the third episode of season six, Thank You aired but I haven’t forgotten the Glenn fake-out. The TWD writers had us believing that Glenn had bitten the dust. But comic book fans basking in the luxury of denial refused to believe it because “that’s not how he dies in the comics.” They were right of course even though TWD went to ridiculous lengths to have us believe that Glenn was dead by removing Steven Yeun’s name from the credits.
Try to fool us once, that’s fine but there has been such a build-up to a major character death all season that failure to deliver was not an option. Doctor Denise was not a major character and her death in Twice as Far only served to give Rick’s crew a reason to go to Hilltop when Maggie got sick. The capture and shooting of Daryl at the end of East had to be followed up with Dwight saying, “You’ll be all right,” as the scene faded to black because producers probably didn’t want fans rioting and coming for them. Fool me twice you’re beginning to make me look like an idiot.
TWD fans have been running around the internet for months like Chicken Little, screaming “Negan’s coming, Negan’s coming” so we knew he was coming and comic book readers had told us to expect Glenn’s death. Some of us probably went into the episode expecting his death whilst others hoped it would be someone else. What most of us can agree on is that we expected to see someone die.
When Negan finally arrived in the final 15 minutes of the overlong finale I for one was ready to see a death, any death. Even if it was Carol or Morgan in a non Negan related death, I was prepped.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan got to introduce his character with a 10-minute monologue which gave me the opportunity to comment on JDMs skinny butt, watch Rick sweat buckets, compare Negan to the Iron Born from Game of Thrones, mock Rick’s bad decisions and a whole bunch of other stuff.
— Allgeekthings (@Allgeekthings) April 4, 2016
Don’t get me wrong as introductions go JDM did a solid job but the episode had already felt too long and I needed him to swing Lucille already. When he did finally go for it I wasn’t expecting to see the cameraman get battered. I was expecting to be grief-stricken over the death of a beloved character, I was expecting to mourn on social media with others and pummel my fists against my chest in grief crying “why Lord, why?” I wasn’t expecting to be disrespected. Yes, that’s how I felt at the end, totally disrespected.
I know TV is ultimately just a ratings game and we got an ending that is supposed to guarantee we will return in droves for the season 7 premiere but that wrong thinking can and will backfire. Fans that quit the show can just as easily read reviews to see who died without tuning in. Because I don’t like to be lead around by the nose, I could be one of those fans. And to be told the death scene hasn’t even been filmed yet is like a blow to the head with Lucille.
Instead of grieving over the loss of a beloved character and looking forward to Negan’s epic takedown, we are left seething over a despicable ending and the promise that we get to relive that bit of violence all over again next season. What’s to stop them from postponing the reveal for a couple of episodes. They could spend an episode introducing the men in armour that Morgan met and another episode showing us what was going on back at Alexandria. We could be three episodes in before we know what’s going on. I don’t trust them but that’s what happens when you con your fans too often, you lose trust.
Whoever decided to postpone the reveal in the finale needs to be clubbed with Lucille. And just in case there’s a dead pool, put me in for Abraham. You don’t start thinking about making babies and live unless you are Maggie and Glenn.