The Walking Dead: Last Day on Earth

"Bitch nuts."

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."
Abraham: "Where?"

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.


J.D. Balthazar said...

I think the major problem with this cliffy is that they spent all this half of the season building to this moment. This episode also built up perfectly the tension, then we got Negan's speech which framed that tension as an inevitable resolution... only there was no pay off. We get that scene in six months. I'm not frustrated so much as disappointed this season went out with a whimper when it had been so strong up to this point.

Logan Cox said...

One of my favorite TWD episodes evah! So damn suspenseful. Even the stuff I normally loathe didn't bother me whatsoever. I rather enjoyed the cliffhanger, especially the first-person POV aspect which makes it seem like Negan is beating us to death. And because everyone and their mother did everything they could to spoil this infamous moment from the comics for me years in advance of its arrival.

When he first appeared, I wasn't sure what to think of Negan. But as the scene went on... yeah, JDM nailed it. I almost don't even care who he killed, so long as we get more conflict with this character in the future. A lot more.

Loved the moment where Rick is holding Michonne's lock of hair and looks at the side of the RV with the bullet holes, harkening back to when things were falling apart for Rick earlier in the season. I love the little details like that.

I think Negan called Carl that because of that death glare Carl gave him. And because Carl probably is going to kill enough people in his future to be labelled a serial killer. More than likely, it's probably a line left over from the comics, in which Carl is way, way more disturbed.

I think this was their best season yet.

WADEZILLA13 said...

I concur, this season was phenomenal, and the finale was - almost - perfect. The tension build with each successive Savior encounter was palpable, to the point where I was legitimately stressed out by the time Negan appeared. I haven't read the comics so I can't speak to whether Jeffrey Dean Morgan "nailed it", but I'm going to go out on a limb and say he did; he had me enthralled and a bit terrified throughout his speech. Then came the moment of truth and.... cliffhanger. I groaned a little bit, but I've come to accept it- decades of genre TV (particularly Lost) conditioned me to handle this. The problems I do have with it: 1) Many of the fans of this show are of the 'I need to know what happened NOW' generation, and will no doubt voice their displeasure for the next six months, tainting an otherwise fantastic season. And 2) The six month wait could lessen the impact of losing whoever it is we're going to lose (I'm agreeing either Abraham or Glenn). Regardless, I will enjoy speculating, and yes, waiting.

Henrik Bennetter said...

My first thought was "F you writers and producers of TWD", but then I got it.
They would lose so many viewers, SO MANY, by killing of a beloved character (my money, also, is on Glenn - I'll get back to why) that it would simply cost them. Too much.
So, yeah, I get it. I'm still miffed but I'll wait 'til october anyway.

So. Why do I (also) think it's Glenn? Well, I (re)read issue 100 of the comic and Negans (whole) speech is basically word for word the same thing in the comic as in the TV-show.
Even Negans comment "Holy shit, [he's] taking it like a champ!"

(after that comes an image that I have yet to get out of my mind - even though I didn't look at it again. Don't look at it).

So. My two cents. And, you know, unless it IS Glenn (or Daryl or Maggie or Michonne) then it'll just feel a bit like a redshirt, if you catch my drift.

Anyway - see you in october! And thanks for many great reviews, including this on.

Marianna said...

I don't really see why Darryl isn't on the table. The whole point is killing a beloved character to make the entire TWD family feel vulnerable. I also don't think Negan has a problem with killing a woman. Here's why I think it's Darryl:
1) In the comics the significance of Negan killing Glenn was that Glenn was Rick's right-hand man. Darryl didn't exist in the comics, and in the show he fills this role. (Machonne fills a similar but distinctive role, which is why she would be my second choice.)
2) The focus of this episode was on Rick's over-confidence leading them to this point. Actually, when the Hilltop community told them about their troubles with the Saviors, Darryl was the first to declare that they could kill them all no problem. Therefore it would fit the theme of consequences from over-confidence for Darryl to be the one to die.
3) Most of the action in the episode followed around Rick and Co, but there were a few times when it cut to the POV of the four who were kidnapped early in the episode, indicating that those four are of special significance and more likely to include the victim. (I realize that includes Glenn.) It's difficult to tell, but based on the voices it seems more like it was Darryl's POV than the other three.
4) This one is just for me, but my husband has an uncanny ability to predict character deaths in TV shows. He predicted a very shocking death in House of Cards and the exact episode it would happen well in advance (people who watch the series can probably guess which one), and he doesn't even watch the show! He's been telling me all season that the season would end with Negan killing Darryl.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Good points and strong arguments! Quite possible!
That would also explain Carols kiss, wouldn't it?

So. Glenn or Daryl then. Duddenly I'm not so sure anymore. 😢

Kayne said...

I'm depressed. I don't want them to kill one of our favorite characters. Enough!

I also agree it doesn't fell like it was a woman. Abraham feels like the one who would stand back after the first hit. But the POV comment above is smart. But either Glenn or Daryl.. I couldn't stand it.