Well he came, we saw and who died? We still don’t know! There was plenty of buildup for the eventual appearance of the villainous Negan to appear on the small screen and his appearance certainly didn’t disappoint. But the problem that some fans have however is the conclusion to close off season six and make fans wait for a further six months until the season seven premiere.
The season 6 finale clocked in at around a special ninety minute runtime (half an hour of commercials included) and the last ten (or so) minutes happened to be one of the most intense and riveting scenes that the show has currently produced, in my opinion, as Rick Grimes and his ‘family’ that includes his son Carl, Abraham, Sasha, Eugene, Aaron, Maggie, Glenn, Daryl, Rosita and Michonne were captured by The Saviours and finally introduced to the man that runs the show Negan. Negan proceeds to introduce us to Lucille, a baseball bat covered in barbed wire, gives a length monologue explaining the new world order, that he’s going to ‘beat the holy hell’ out of one of them and makes his decision of selecting the poor unlucky sod by playing Eenie Meenie Miney Mo. Negan makes his decision, which we see from the characters point of view and proceeds to bash the characters head in with Lucille, with the person ‘Taking it like a champ!’ then cut to black as we hear the blows to the head continue.
First things first, the scene itself is the best the show has done, from the performances right down to the lighting. Jeffrey Dean Morgan instantly owns the screen when he comes out of the RV as Negan and Andrew Lincoln was terrific playing up Rick’s helplessness as you can literally see him working through the gears in his head to find a way out of this but alas comes up with nothing. The issue that I have is after months building up the arrival of Negan, which lived up to the hype at least, after months of knowing that Jeffrey Dean Morgan was cast in the role and waiting for an iconic moment from the comic brought to life on the show….they simply go for the weakest option possible in terms of execution….that POV cliffhanger. Let’s be clear, I understand the logic behind the idea of making Lucille’s victim unknown for it to be discussed during the six months hiatus to keep viewers guessing so that they come back for the season 7 premiere. The problem I have with it is that we’re at the end of season 6, we’re at a point now where you’re a television show that has one of the largest viewing audiences globally and we’re still being handed cheap endings that feel completely constructed for rating purposes. I can’t fathom how they possibly thought that the momentum that they’ve been building with Negan’s appearance, leading to this moment and deciding to let it cool off for a six month period before picking it back up to reveal who is getting Lucilled was the best option they could run with. Would it not have been better to show who Negan is attacking out of the group and ponder on how the group will recover from this and get out from the threat of Negan and The Saviours until the season 7 premiere? Instead of making it a case of how menacing and vicious Negan is whilst ‘grieving’ the loss of a supposed fan favourite (Robert Kirkman on the Talking Dead), he’s been benched for the next few months of ‘Who dies!?’ chat instead. We already had to deal with an idiotic cliffhanger earlier in the season in which Glenn appeared to be ‘killed off’ and fans we left waiting for a month to find out he was fine hiding under a dumpster from a horde of zombies ripping into Nicholas instead. So the fact we’ve have to endure another cliffhanger similar but last a lot longer just leaves a bad taste to the whole thing. Now if they say it’s a fan favourite then it shortlists it down to a few characters outside or the Grimes father/son combo and if they come back in six months and it ends up being the least likely of them all, Aaron, there’ll be more negatively from the fans in that regard. Does this whole ending boil down to the fact that the showrunner/creators don’t know exactly who to kill off? Or it’s a way of holding up on actors contracts as a few people have suggested online? Or the fact that creatively they figured this was the best way to execute the conclusion of Season 6? Or they done the ending to have a ratings boost/high when season 7 premiere comes around?
Negan was right about one thing…..
Sucks, don’t it? The moment you realise you don’t know shit.