In the season six finale of “The Walking Dead” we were finally introduced to one of the comic’s most iconic villains.
With the group in peril and a game-changing cliffhanger, here are the most important things to take away from “Last Day on Earth.”
Rick [Andrew Lincoln] and the others now have to make haste for Hilltop and to see their only doctor for a pregnant Maggie’s [Lauren Cohan] deteriorating health. Meanwhile, Morgan [Lennie James] is trying to find a wounded and missing Carol [Melissa McBride].
They do eventually cross paths, only to have Carol sporting gunshot wounds from one of the Saviors who was pursuing her on foot.
Morgan saves Carol’s life, shooting the Savior who was about to kill Carol. By Morgan’s standards of peace, this shows how much he cares about her.
Carol, albeit horribly wounded, still wishes Morgan had not come after her. It is apparent she wants nothing to do with killing anymore, not after all the deaths she has caused.
A group of armored survivors come across the two and Morgan convinces them to help her. Given their armor and weaponry, these survivors are from the Kingdom, a major player in Alexandria and Hilltop’s fight against the Saviors.
Whatever purpose they’ll serve in the coming war has yet to be determined, but the world of “The Walking Dead” continues to get bigger with every episode.
The group is on the run for most of this episode, being road blocked and practically guided by the Saviors to their destination.
Seeing the group in such desperation was frightening. With each barricade they found the Saviors’ numbers grew as did the fearful expressions on the survivors’ faces.
Eugene [Josh McDermitt] realizes they are tracking the RV they’re riding in, and opts to move the vehicle to Hilltop himself while the others proceed with Maggie on foot.
Eerie whistling can be heard in the woods around them before they realize they were being followed the whole time. Surrounded by the Saviors, their lieutenant [Steven Ogg] addresses the group before bringing out a captive Daryl [Norman Reedus], Glenn [Steven Yeun], Michonne [Danai Gurira] and Rosita [Christian Serratos].
Forcing the group to get on their knees and line up in front of him, he knocks on the door of their captured RV.
“Let’s meet the man,” he says as Negan [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] is finally revealed.
Negan in all his villainous glory has finally arrived, and he made very clear to Rick and the others how the world is going to function from now on.
“This is your way of life now,” he says, introducing his signature barbed wire covered baseball bat, Lucille. “The more you fight back, the harder it will be. So if someone knocks on your door, you let us in. We own that door. You try to stop us, and we will knock it down.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is without a doubt one of the most frightening antagonists ever to be on television. He plays the role not only with a scary accuracy to his comic counterpart, but also with a dash of charisma that is unsettling.
Negan then conducts a sinister game of “eeny meeny miny moe” to decide which of the group will meet Lucille.
With each verse, the tension grew. Never has something so childish been so outright horrifying. He passes over the likes of Carl [Chandler Riggs], Abraham [Michael Cudlitz] and Rick before finally deciding.
The point of view shot pans up to Negan as his game draws to a close.
“You can breath, you can blink, you can cry,” Negan says before picking his victim, “Hell you’re all going to be doing that.”
He then bashes his unknown victim’s skull with Lucille multiple times, ending season six in one foul swoop.
Regardless of dealing with the fallout from this scene, leaving off with a cliffhanger this massive where so much is at stake is a cheap shot at the fans who have been waiting for this iconic moment from the comics. AMC made it clear in the build up to the finale that someone was going to die and they failed to deliver.
In Issue 100 of the comics, Negan is introduced and someone from the group meets their end in a brutal fashion, having their skull crushed by Negan’s strikes with Lucille. While I won’t say their name for the sake of potential spoilers, they were there that night and some of Negan’s lines were altered to give some sort of ambiguity as to who was killed in the show.
However, with the point-of-view shots of one of the characters the Saviors had captured being interspersed through the episode, there’s very few potential victims. Assuming “The Walking Dead” kept some continuity with these shots, it was either Daryl, Michonne, Glenn or Rosita who met their doom.
Cliffhangers on a weekly basis are one thing, but taking the viewer out of their element only to boost up viewership counts for the season premiere is infuriating to both fans of the show and of the comics. Regardless of how frightening Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of Negan was, this ending will only detract from the tension that was building at the end of this episode.
For what it’s worth, at least the shocking death at the end of the latest season of “Game of Thrones” gave us some closure. We saw someone die and were drawn in by the denial of their death – not by HBO attempting to draw in more viewers than it already guarantees it can get. Let’s all hope that AMC and season seven of “The Walking Dead” deliver a powerful blow to the audiences at home, because this cliffhanger already softened the impact.
– Featured image: Negan, the leader of the Saviors, made his entrance this week. In this episode, one of the survivors was introduced to “Lucille,” his bared wire covered baseball- Photo courtesy of “The Walking Dead” Facebook Page
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