by Billie Doux
I can't believe it. All the things they did right this season, and they blew the freaking finale.
How we kept waiting for someone to die and no one died except someone did and we don't know who it is
Why oh why did the producers decide on a cliffhanger? Were they going for a repeat of the frantic internet mayhem when Glenn went under the dumpster?
I'll admit that the long scene with everyone on their knees was hard to watch, even though it included some lovely character moments, like Glenn losing it when Negan threatened to put Maggie out of her misery. My favorite was Abraham sitting up with a quiet expression on his face as if he had absolutely no fear of Negan or of dying. My second favorite was Carl's defiant expression when Negan told him to lighten up and cry a little. Carl has gone through too much to cry in the face of death.
Rick, who started the episode supremely confident that he was in control, looked literally sick with dread -- wide-eyed, sweating, panting. Of course, his son and his lover, as well as nearly everyone else he loves, was in that line-up, and Rick knew it was all his fault. Rick miscalculated, big time.
Here is my informed guess on who caught it
There were eleven characters on their knees in front of Negan: the RV group of Rick, Carl, Abraham, Sasha, Aaron, Eugene and Maggie, who were later joined by the four kidnappees, Glenn, Daryl, Rosita and Michonne.
Before he took aim with his bat Lucille, Negan instructed everyone to behave or he would remove Carl's other eye and feed it to Rick. That eliminates Rick and Carl as the victim, doesn't it? I find it hard to believe that they'd have Negan beat a female character to death -- not right off the bat, so to speak -- so I'm going to eliminate Maggie, Sasha, Rosita and Michonne as possibilities. The victim has been described as a beloved fan favorite, so as much as I love Abraham, Eugene and Aaron, I'm not sure they qualify. The fans would go batshit if it were Daryl, so I'm going to take a leap and eliminate Daryl, too.
That leaves Glenn, who was also Negan's victim in the graphic novels. I think it was Glenn. Although I believe they wanted us to believe it was going to be Abraham. He and Sasha were talking about having kids and everything, plus there was his heartfelt goodbye to Eugene.
Do you think that the producers haven't even decided yet? No, they must have. There are hiring decisions to be made, after all. And I'm willing to bet that as soon as one of the actors in that group of eleven gets another job this summer, we're all going to know who died. Another reason why this cliffhanger decision was a bad one.
My son Daniel watched the finale with me, and he has the perfect solution. If you stop watching now and don't watch season seven at all, you can forever imagine that everyone is just fine and no one bit the dust.
I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan and his Negan is killer
I mean that sincerely. Jeffrey Dean Morgan had a lot to live up to, and he did it. Even though I prefer him as a good guy, he was perfect casting. Negan rocked the last ten minutes of this episode with his monologue, his charm, and that killer smile.
Negan seems to think of his people as replaceable employees. If his emotions were involved to any serious extent, he'd have killed Rick and all of his people, and showed up at the gates to negotiate with Father Gabriel. That's probably what the Governor would have done. But Negan wants slaves, not bodies. He has chosen to enforce his reign of terror with a specific policy, beating a scapegoat to death, so that's what he has to do. "I gotta pick somebody."
Negan talked about how much work they'd put into their little "career day" to impress Rick and his people. Along with the "chain gang" and the barrier of burning logs, there were four escalating confrontations with Negan's people that actually went as a mathematical progression: eight, sixteen, and honestly, I think the third encounter had 32. Were there 64 in that final scene?
The horrible "chain gang" of walkers was impressive, especially when our guys noticed Michonne's dreads and Daryl's arrows. But you know what would have been truly terrifying? If it had been Michonne and Daryl themselves as walkers. Unthinkable, though.
Morgan and Carol in Trading Places
We did see one death in this episode. Morgan killed the Savior who was torturing Carol, so Morgan's no-kill streak is over. Maybe that was the message of this episode -- that even though the suicidal Carol doesn't want to kill anymore, Morgan's "all life is precious" philosophy doesn't work in the zombie apocalypse. Except we knew that. Morgan and Carol holed up in the Viskocil Public Library. The poor guy that Negan's people beat and hung over the bridge was from the Library. All of the Library people were killed because they fought back against Negan.
Nothing whatsoever happened in Alexandria during the finale. Nothing.
All of the A-list characters left in the RV, and all of the B-list characters stayed in Alexandria, so no surprise that nothing happened in Alexandria. (Although I loved the new and improved Father Gabriel standing on the watchtower facing down danger.) Maybe they felt they'd been there and done that this season with the outstanding episodes "JSS" and "No Way Out".
Even though he made serious mistakes this season, Rick is smart enough to play along and look defeated when dealing with Negan, and we were specifically reminded of Eugene's clever scheme to manufacture bullets. What do you want to bet that there will be open and extended warfare at some point next season? The possibility of the Alexandrians leading an insurrection against a large and powerful faction led by a homicidal warlord could be fascinating. There was also Morgan's positive encounter with the two horse guys, who were willing to help Carol. Maybe they will be future allies. Maybe Hilltop will be, too.
It's my opinion that The Walking Dead turned an emotional corner this season. There is more stability and love and optimism, and not so much constant death and hopelessness, and I believe that will hold, even though we just lost somebody important. Come on, even the horse didn't die. The horse always dies.
-- In the opening scene, Morgan passed a sign that said, "You are alive" right before he found a horse and said, "You are alive." Honestly, I'm usually good with symbolism but I'm not sure what they were going for there. Yes, the horse is alive?
-- Eugene had a massively clever idea that should have worked, going on alone in the RV while our guys snuck Maggie to Hilltop on foot. It seemed like Eugene was going to die so bravely; the music swelled, he and Abraham exchanged an emotional farewell... but no.
-- This week's Most Obvious Symbolism: when everyone was carrying Maggie on the makeshift stretcher, they looked like pall bearers.
-- Locking Enid in a closet? Seriously, Carl?
-- A thing I could have done without: Carol pulling that walker's hair apart.
-- Those criss-crosses of light and the whistling were probably supposed to be arty and ominous, but it got annoying. In fact, I hate the whistling thing.
-- There was no reason why this episode should have been ninety minutes. Especially since it just pissed off every fan of this show.
Notes from Talking Dead
Guests were Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Four guys jammed on that one couch was probably too many guys.
I have to give Chris Hardwick credit. While referring to himself as the "Walking Dead Complaint Desk", he confronted Kirkman and Gimple about how angry and upset fans were about the cliffhanger. Kirkman responded that every issue of the graphic novel ended in a cliffhanger, and Gimple promised that the seventh season premiere would be terrific and that the fans would find it worthwhile. Not enough, guys.
There was a fan question asking what character Judith would be like when she grows up. Chris got massive audience boos and groans when he said Judith would grow up to be like Shane. Kirkman also made the audience react when he mentioned that people shouldn't be confident of Judith growing up at all.
Let's see, what else? Norman Reedus is a cat person; he said something about his own cat that they had to bleep. Reedus and Morgan have been friends for a long time. The ten minute introduction to Negan took fifteen hours to shoot in the cold and dark. One of the Skype fan questions was by a fan voicing a question while out of camera range so that it appeared that the question was coming from his one-eyed white poodle, who asked about Kirkman's penchant for monocular characters.
There was a preview of Fear the Walking Dead; the second season premieres next Sunday and will be followed by Talking Dead. Although the first season wasn't stellar, I'm planning to hang in and review the second season.
Eugene: "It is a longer trip by a third, but we'd get the scenic safety of clear cut dingles and glens."
Sasha: "You're being serious, right?"
Eugene: "As coronary thrombosis."
Abraham: "They got numbers."
And you guys are only realizing that now.
Rick: "Go back."
Negan: "Hi. You're Rick, right? I'm Negan. And I do not appreciate you killing my men. Also, when I sent my people to kill your people for killing my people, you killed more of my people. Not cool."
That was actually pretty funny.
Negan: "Give me your shit, or I will kill you."
Negan: "Do not make me kill the little future serial killer."
Why would Negan assume that Carl is a killer? Carl wasn't involved in the earlier hits on Negan's people.
Despite my utter frustration with this major snafu (or would you call it a "snuff-fu"?), I'll be back in October. Six months from now. Bitch nuts. Which is my new favorite expression.
What would you guys rate this episode? How many out of four bitch nuts?
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.