Walking Dead Season 6 Poster
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Last Day on Earth Plot Summary:

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and company must get Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to the Hilltop to see a doctor. However, The Saviors are at every turn. Meanwhile, Morgan (Lennie James) tries to help Carol (Melissa McBride).

Almost.

They almost had this season ended perfectly.

We had a brilliantly tense episode, the introduction of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and interesting developments in the Carol/Morgan storyline.

But they had to end it that way.

See, the end of this episode would’ve been perfectly if we hadn’t already seen the same exact gimmick employed twice this season, including the end of LAST WEEK’S EPISODE. Seriously, a ‘who’s gonna die cliffhanger’ three times in the span of one season is just flat-out lazy writing. If they had saved this gimmick for this episode, and this episode alone it would’ve been absolutely perfect. Seeing who died this episode wouldn’t have amounted to a hill of beans because we just had this amazingly intense introduction scene for Negan, and then we’re left in suspense. But, the series has left us in suspense twice before, and the payoff has been completely lackluster.

We wondered if Glenn was dead, but we all figured out after watching the “did he die?” episode again that Nicholas fell on top of him. They dragged everything out for an annoying stretch  of time, and we found out Glenn was alive — yeah, we already knew that guys. The suspense of his supposed death had passed, the drama was dead. Then last week, they ended the episode with Daryl “or someone else” (or so we hoped) getting shot. Everyone went apeshit bananas over it. So, how do they address it? Daryl gets pulled out of the back of a van — wounded, but ultimately alive. No drama, no suspense. Just — “Hey, there’s Daryl.”

Now, after two lackluster “cliffhangers” we’re supposed to accept a third one? And one we’ll have to wait five months (or so) to find out the answer? That’s pretty ballsy. Obviously, the writers and producers feel this series is bulletproof (and the ratings would tend to suggest that), but this was a big mistake. A lot of fans are pissed — and it’s not just because we ended on a cliffhanger, it’s because it’s the third one this season.

Thinking about it…it’s really a damned if you, damned if you don’t scenario. If we saw who Negan killed — how do we start off next season? How do we build on the hype? But, again, you teased the audience twice before with poor results, how can they trust the show will deliver again?

It’s a shame this ending has marred what was actually a really good episode. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was tremendous as Negan. His quiet, cool, cocky, and eerily easy going demeanor made him absolutely frightening to watch. Morgan seems to be having such a ball in this role — you know it can only get better from here. And let’s say it, that scene was better than anything The Governor ever did, and David Morrissey did an awesome job portraying the one-eyed mad man.

The atmosphere of the episode was unnerving. Rick’s team running into Saviors at every turn, and trying to figure out a way to survive was so reminiscent of earlier in the series when they were fearful of herds of walkers. Remember the opening sequence of the second season on the Georgia highway? It felt like that all over again, and that’s fresh and exciting. Also, watching Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes unravel throughout the episode was fascinating.

In the end, however, we’re only going to remember the final moments when “someone” ends up getting their skulls bashed in. The moment where the person stands up to take the beating suggests, in theory, that a bad ass like Abraham, or Daryl took the beating since they have no fear. However, you can rule out Aaron or Rosita or anyone else — minus Rick and we can assume Carl (since Negan took a bit of a liking to him).

It’ll be interesting to see who makes it out alive, but it’ll also be interesting to see if the anger, and bile fans are spewing right now will translate into a loss of an audience for this series. Will fans leave the series? Every season people tune out, but millions still remain.  However, will this yo-yoing of people’s emotions with teases of impending character death just turn people off altogether? We’ll have to see.

Episode Rating: Before the ending – 9 out of 10, After the Ending – 7 out of 10

 

Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be seven years old in 2016 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He currently works as a project manager in the telecom world, and is a freelance writer for NJ.com. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites