Last night, as many people may know, was the season 6 finale of The Walking Dead. The 90-minute finale was a highly anticipated episode, ever since we were first introduced to Negan in the mid-season finale last year. For the non-comic readers out there, Negan is the next super-villain in the show. Negan is the apex of evil in the comic books; he is the biggest hardship our group of survivors will face in the series. Ever since Jefferey Dean Morgan was cast as Negan, fans alike have been highly anticipating his arrival.
Let me say this, the finale did not disappoint.
*WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD*
You’ve been warned 😉
So, Negan. For the entire second half of the season the arrival of Negan has been building up and up, and occasionally foreshadowed here and there (i.e the baseball bat inscription on the gun Carl finds). Up until the finale, Rick’s group has taken out numerous group of Saviors (group of survivors Negan leads), including infiltrating a Savior camp and killing them in their sleep. Rick’s reasoning is that they should kill the Saviors before the Saviors kill them. The finale episode depicts Rick’s group gearing up to transport Maggie to the Hilltop community to receive help from the doctor, due to her recent pregnancy issues. As the group travels to the Hilltop, they are continuously blocked off by groups of Saviors, forcing them to seek different routes. Eventually, in an attempt to lure off the Saviors, the groups leaves the RV to trek on foot, while Eugene takes the RV to distract the Saviors. To much dismay, their plan fails, as the group is once again lured right into the Saviors trap, and Eugene is captured with the RV. This is the scene every one has been waiting for. Rick is defeated and distraught. This concept is enforced even more when the Saviors force the group, including Rick, to kneel down in line. Negan emerges from the RV in a dark and menacingly way, his first lines in the show being, “Are we pissing our pants yet? Boy, do I feel we’re getting close”. Negan then explains the terms of his newfound relationship with the Alexandrians. They are to give the Saviors half of their supplies, or else. He then explains how, as punishment for killing so many of his men, he is going to “beat the holy hell out of one of you”. Of course, he does so with his trusty baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, Lucille. The season ends with Negan playing a horrifying game of “eeny meeny miny moe” to chose his victim, and then a POV shot of Negan bashing in the vicitim’s (whose identity is not shown) skull. The screen cuts to black after the second hit, and that’s it. That’s how season 6 ends.
Now, there was a lot of speculation from fans on whether or not AMC would end with this cliffhanger. A lot of people were very angry when this happened. I get why most people would be angry with this move. But I think if we look closer at the reasoning behind it, it’s really the only thing to do, and the right thing. After the episode, on Talking Dead executive producer Scott M. Gimple was asked about the decision to end on the cliffhanger. His response was this (in a nutshell): “All of the events leading up to the finale was a story. The Rick we see at the end of the season is very different than the one we see at the beginning. He’s defeated, he’s scared. The introduction of Negan ends the story of season 6, and the first episode of season 7 will begin the next chapter in the story. The final scene was a way of ending the story, but not immediately moving into the next one. The next story will start right where we left, with the Alexandrian’s and how they handle whoever’s death that occurred”. Of course, it’s also a way to keep people watching. The only thing I hate is having to wait until October to find out who is dead. Think about it, I’ll be in my second year of college then. Crazy. Needless to say, the season finale was easily one of the best episodes of the series. It was incredibly dark, with each Savior encounter building the intensity. Each time the group realizes more and more that their options are running out, and that they are trapped. You could really see how scared the group was, especially Rick. Just watch him in the video, he’s horrified at what’s happening to his family. The episode really made me feel scared, too. I felt sick at times. I was scared for the group. It honestly felt like I was one of the members in the group, and that feeling of hopelessness is scary. I gotta hand it off to Greg Nicotero who directed the episode and the writers as well, for putting together such an awesome finale. Of course all of the actors did an incredible job, they really pulled off this one. I can’t wait for Season 7.
Final scene video here
Here’s a good video review of the finale
Awesome interview with Jefferey Dean Morgan here