There were a lot of things that worked in last night’s The Walking Dead season finale, “Last Day on Earth.” Jeffrey Dean Morgan lived up to the hype as the baseball bat-wielding Negan; he’s terrifyingly fun, and it’s easy to understand why the Saviors would follow and fear him. Also, Bear McCreary’s score was more chilling than usual, and um, Morgan riding a horse looked cool.
But, as Dustin Rowles pointed out, just as much didn’t work.
Carol’s turn from badass assassin to cowering exile didn’t make a lick of sense, even though Melissa McBride is giving a never-better, Emmy-worthy performance. The extra-long running time killed the tension. And worst of all, for about the ninth time in two seasons (including just last week), The Walking Dead trolled its viewers, just as predicted. Cliffhangers can be an effective gimmick, and fans will spend months trying to figure out whose head Negan smashed in, which is what The Walking Dead intended (it’s Jon Snow all over again, except Game of Thrones at least showed who was getting stabbed). But like Dustin wrote, “It simply doesn’t seem necessary to drag the question of who dies out for another six months. It’s going to frustrate viewers more than it’s going to please them… This may actually provoke a backlash.”
It already has.
This was a good, occasionally great, season. It’s a shame it ended this way.