This past Sunday was the long await season 6 finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and chances are you were one of the 14.2 million people who stayed home Sunday night to witness the heavily teased entrance of villain Negan (portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). After a stellar season 6b, the writers gave us an outstanding finale. They did such an amazing job building the tension and anxiety that my hands were literally shaking by the end of the episode.
Okay, let’s get the less stressful (but let’s face it still super stressful) story line out of the way, because while we love Morgan and Carol, their story wasn’t what we were tuning in to watch.
CAROL AND MORGAN
When Rick and Morgan were looking for Carol, Rick tried to shoot a man who was looking for a horse. Morgan stopped Rick and in the finale episode Morgan found said horse. He also found Carol. They had a bit of a heart to heart about what sacrifices have to be made to protect the ones we love. Carol tells Morgan that at some point he will end up killing for someone he cares about. She still doesn’t want to go back, so she gives Morgan the slip. The lone Savior who survived Carol’s massacre on the road catches up with Carol, and since she’s is in pretty bad shape herself, she can’t really fight him off. The Savior shoots Carol several times, but nothing immediately lethal. He wants to watch her die slowly, but he’s a bit confused by Carol when he realizes she isn’t afraid to die. Honestly, I thought she was going to die for a hot second there (which is what I predicted before the episode aired). Then I thought to myself, “Carol can’t die like this! She’s way too badass to go down like this!!!” That’s when Morgan shows up and shoots the Savior dead. Turns out Carol was right, there are some people for whom Morgan is willing to kill. Also, said guy looking for said horse shows up at this point with a friend to offer help. Hmmm…do we trust these new comers? My gut says yes, but we’ll have to wait until next season to find out.
RICK AND CO.
Rick assembles a team consisting of Abraham, Sasha, Eugene, Aaron, and Carl to escort a sick Maggie to the Hilltop where they have a doctor. Rick is his usual confident self when they set out. To Rick, his people are invincible. They have overcome and accomplished too much to be taken down by anyone else. He truly believes together they can do anything. And as an audience, we are right there with him. Then comes the first road block. Then a second. Then a third. And with each road block, consisting of everything from cars and saviors to a massive pile of burning logs, to a walker chain gang, Rick begins to see just how very wrong he was about the Saviors. It is clear the Saviors are skilled, organized, and have a large number of people. As Rick’s confidence begins to ebb away, so does the audience’s. Soon enough, they are led into the final trap—completely boxed in and forced to their knees. Daryl (he’s alive! for now), Michonne, Glenn, and Rosita are brought out of a van to join the others. And just like that…all our favorite characters (sans Carol and Morgan) are on their knees about to meet the man himself.
THE ENTRANCE OF NEGAN
To put it simply…it’s EPIC. Negan has completely broken Rick (Andrew Lincoln did a superb job in this scene…portraying so much fear, brokenness, regret, and uncertainty just with his eyes) and we haven’t even seen Negan’s face yet. Finally, Negan steps out and is completely confident, completely in charge. He quickly fills the group in on the “New World Order.” Basically, give Negan half your sh** and his won’t kill you. But, seeing as Rick and his people killed a bunch of Negan’s people, which Negan calmly explains he isn’t comfortable with, one of Rick’s people is going to have to die. He also explains that he is letting Rick off easy. Really, he thinks more deserve to die, but they can’t work for Negan if they are all dead. Here’s the thing that is immediately evident about Negan: It is clear the man rules through violence and fear. However, what is also clear is he comes across as so reasonable and charismatic, you kind of forget he’s the bad guy. This automatically makes him that much more dangerous. Negan, of course, can’t decide who his victim should be so he plays a game of “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe.” Who falls victim to Negan’s barbed wire wrapped baseball bat (which he has affectionately named Lucille)? Well, “You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry,” but you’ll have to wait six months to find out who died.
The season 6 finale ended with arguably one of the most controversial cliffhangers ever. Plenty of people were pretty upset that we weren’t told who died. Check out the video below for an explanation from Scott M. Gimple and Robert Kirkman as to why we got that ending. And if it makes you feel any better, the actors have no idea who died either. Unfortunately for which ever character dies, there’s an actor who is going to be out of a job soon enough. But hey, perhaps they can take as compensation that they’ve received some pretty stellar zombie apocalypse training and have cemented a place for themselves in pop culture history as part of the highest rated cable show in television history. Seeing as the show does a pretty good job of keeping things secret, there probably won’t be any leaks as to who dies. So, let the over-analyzing and conspiracy theorizing commence! *whispers to self…if Daryl dies, we riot*