THE WALKING DEAD S6 FINALE: REVIEW | fivethreeninety

Last night saw the end of the latest season of one of the world’s most popular television shows, The Walking Dead. After an intense season the much anticipated finale “Last Day on Earth”

Here’s a disclaimer I’m sure is obvious: THIS POST INCLUDES SPOILERS.

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The finale features two story lines; the first Rick leading a group to Hilltop to get Maggie some help after she experiences massive pain from probably pregnancy complications. The second features Morgan, searching for and finding Carol who has run from Alexandria.

The first three quarters of the episode are all about building the tension, as each road giving access to Hilltop is blocked by Saviours. It’s actually chilling seeing them all stacked up and blocking the way for Rick’s group in scenes straight out of the comic books. As the group starts to run out of options, the plot gets more and nerve wracking and unbearable to watch as they try to save Maggie. There’s some brilliant moments between characters in the RV, my favourites being Rick and Carl working together on plans to get by the Saviours, a lovely moment between Maggie and Rick as he soothes her through the worries and highlights their beautiful family relationship whilst doing so, and then a really touching moment between Abraham and Eugene that genuinely brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.

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Meanwhile, Morgan finds and helps Carol, but not without finding a cool horse to ride into town on first. In a heart wrenching scene with an Emmy worthy performance by Melissa Mcbride, Carol is confronted and shot multiple times by a survivor from a group she was forced to wipe out. She has completely given up the will to fight at all, even for her life and it’s really tough watching this badass woman completely self destruct. Carol even smiles at the thought that she’s about the be killed by this man. But hey, a big moment came when Morgan swept in and shot the guy like four times?!! What happened to ‘All life is precious’?. Whatever the reasoning, it’s proving to be a brilliantly dynamic switch between the two characters; as Carol goes from her ‘killing is necessary’ policy to feeling such guilt about it she’s happy to die; and as Morgan goes from his absolute no kill beliefs to shooting a man to death without hesitation in order to save Carol.

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The heart of the episode I absolutely think was Eugene. He’s evolved so much this season; gone from being the scared coward who could barely hold a knife to a man who was fully willing to sacrifice himself to the cause to save the people he called family. He has progressed so far this season, and his turning point quote he gave mid season, “Nobody gets to clock out today” has defined him for the rest of season six.

As Eugene acts as distraction, the remaining group members take Maggie through the woods in an attempt to get her to the Hilltop doctors on foot. The absolute desperation of the characters trying so hard to get Maggie to help is so beautiful, and reminds us all that they are all a family. And at the moment, it’s Maggie at the centre as an absolute symbol of hope for them all as she carries a hers and Glenn’s child.

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This plan very quickly backfires after they end up in a huge clearing surrounded by a vast number of Saviours, who order them to kneel in line in front of them – which gave for really beautiful cinematography by the way.

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And that leads me on to what I’ve been waiting to write about: Negan.

 

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Negan is THE mega-villain of The Walking Dead comics. The bad mouthed, sadistic yet charming leader of The Saviours has been a fan favourite in the comics, beloved despite and perhaps because of his evilness. Rumours of his arrival started buzzing thirteen months ago when a casting call under the name ‘Odin’ was released. Despite the code name, people were quick to decipher who was being brought into the show – the notorious Negan. But it wasn’t released till November of last year that it was announced that role had been taken by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, previously known for his work in Watchmen, The Good Wife & Supernatural – also P.S I Love You, where you even see his butt. Anyways.

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That final scene in the woods completely owned by Negan was brilliant. I don’t know about you but my heart was racing and I sat straight up as soon as that RV door opened and Negan strolled out, his trusty barbed-wire baseball bat named Lucille over his shoulder.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan gave a stunning performance right from the start. He became the absolute epitome of what I’m told the character is in the comics, and gives everyone watching that uneasy feeling… because he’s actually likeable? We all know he’s a bad guy, maybe the worst but there’s something about his charm that makes him a fan favourite character, and it’s very good to see that same feeling translate immediately to the show.

There’s a little bit of a problem with how the network is going to have to deal with the swearing, but I’m sure there’ll be a least one f-bomb on the DVD’s just as the infamous Terminus line from Rick about “fucking with the wrong people”. But we are only really at the very origins of Negan’s character on the show, so we have a lot to look forward to.

 

Okay. So. The death.

The entire second half of the series was all lead up for viewers to believe that they were going to see a character murdered by Negan in the series finale. So when that death scene came, and we didn’t get to see who it even was, a lot of people were very, very pissed off.

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Don’t get me wrong, the whole episode leading up to that final scene and the moments prior to the final shot were nothing short of astounding, mostly due to the fact that every single actor was giving it their absolute one hundred percent in it. Top marks I think have to go to Lauren Cohan here, who made watching Maggie downright fearful in her weakened state.

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In the comic books, it’s Glenn who meets his maker via Lucille. So while a lot of people were expecting it to be him, everyone is aware of how The Walking Dead television adaptation likes to switch up scenarios by giving comic book story lines or deaths to other characters. We saw just a few weeks ago when it was Denise who received an arrow through the eye, a death that had been given to Abraham in the comic series.

Some people are convinced it’s Glenn after listening to the audio of the murder scene – apparently you might be able to hear a little “Mag-Maggie?” from him, while everyone else screams – Maggie the loudest according to this theory. I just think it would be so lazy for it to be Glenn though! So many people expected it for tonight – and now we’re being made to wait another 188 days till we find out. It just seems like it’ll be too obvious. Way too lazy.

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I’m pretty sure it’ll be one of the stronger characters – Abraham maybe. After the first blow, Negan states that the victim is taking it “like a champ”, leaden everyone to believe it‘s a strong character, someone who would try to dignified in their death – and Abraham is a big contender for that. My second thought is Sasha? Though the ‘champ’ phrase is generally more used for men so again I’m really not sure.

I think Glenn would be too shaken up about leaving Maggie to be able to show this act of strength in his final moments, and Maggie herself too shaken and ill already to be able to focus. Usually I’d say Daryl is just the type to do this, but after seeing how wounded and beaten up he is I don’t see that being plausible either.

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Here’s who I originally thought it WASN’T:

Aaron – he’s not enough of a key character. I love him to bits but I don’t feel like they’ve made nearly enough of him yet, and seems totally detached from some members of the group (Rosita etc)

Eugene – they already beat him to a pulp. Also apparently he was standing? But mainly, his character is just starting to be badass and I don’t want them to give up on him.

Rick – how ballsy would the show have to be?

Carl – he’s been gone like the last three episodes, I just don’t see it happening. Also Carl has a really interesting relationship with Negan in the comics so I don’t think they’d throw that away.

Daryl – he’s already really beat up. He didn’t get to be heroic at all this episode so I don’t think they’d kill him like that. Plus, he has one of the largest fan bases & I don’t think AMC is that stupid.

…even if they are stupid enough to run ahead with that cliffhanger.

 

But now I’ve said all of that though I’m not so sure. Apparently some people are suggesting Negan’s killed a lesser character eg Aaron & then the next season will start with him finishing that kill up to then move on to kill a more major character. This is supported by Aaron’s inclusion in the scene in the first place, as he’s kind of the outlier in the group. He does mean a great deal to Maggie though, so he’s not completely isolated enough to be the regarded the underdog. I would be very unhappy for it to be Aaron though, not just because I personally love him, but because he’s a brilliant character  who hasn’t had nearly enough screen time. Also he’s one of the few remaining LGBTQ+ characters left on the show (and on television in general) so that would be a bloody risky play for the writers there. 

But, while all these are theories, perhaps the strongest ‘evidence’ yet is this screenshot, where a shadow of Carl’s signature sheriff hat appears to be adorned across Negan’s chest…

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(If you tried to press play on that image don’t feel bad I did the same)

The frustrating thing about this cliffhanger is that it’s been totally manipulated by the show runners. They’ve done this to ensure talk. They’ve done it to ensure views come the season 7 premiere in October. They’ve done it for the sake of creating a hashtag – a hashtag so unsuccessful I couldn’t remember what it was after seeing it less than a day later.

Numerous actors from the show have spoken out since the finale that even they are unaware of who’s been killed off. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure the writers know who yet. 

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I just think that the season seven premier has a big chance of being tacky? They’re going to have to be really tactical with how they do this, to a major level. The can’t open the new episode with a fan favourite’s head being smashed open. It’ll be shoddy, and a cheap way of getting views. Then again, the majority of times I’ve thought that about the show in the past they’ve pulled it off really well with something unexpected.

Okay. Finale vent is complete now. Glad that’s kind of a little bit off my chest.

I personally would really consider classing season six of The Walking Dead the best to date. It brought clever and intricate story lines that were both heartwarming and distressing, and featured the best performances from the cast. Prior to the finale, this season saw a huge mass of things unfolded – a few of which I’ve listed below.

Season Six Best Bits:

Whilst training Ron how to shoot, Rick teaches him to aim for the eye – only for Ron to then shoot Carl in the eye later

The collapse (& rebuild) of Alexandria

 

The invasion from the Wolves

Glenn & Maggie’s separation

 

Maggie became PREGNANT

Carol becoming more and more unhinged by killing

Abe leaving Rosita for Sasha

 

MICHONNE AND RICK

The introduction of Hilltop – and Jesus

Introduction of Negan & the Saviours

Glenn’s first human kill

 

Eugene becoming an absolute baddass

Father Gabriel is actually kind of cool?

Questions season six leaves me with:

Am I okay with thinking that Father Gabriel is cool?

Where are Tara & Heath at??

Is Carol okay???? 

Is Morgan looking after Carol?

Who are those guys with the horse & stuff?
(I know they’re from the comic book – The Kingdom – but other than that who are they?)

Who did Negan kill??????

How long will Enid be in that cupboard??????

And of course, last but not least…

In Memoriam
Characters who died this season:

Nicholas

Jessie

Ron

Sam

Denise

Deanna

Carter

Eastman

Tabitha

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Rest in Peace.

If you want to talk to me about The Walking Dead (and please do) come and tweet me at @madelexne & we’ll have a grand old chat.

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