Spoiler scope: Full season finale spoilers. Don’t read this review if you don’t want to be spoiled.
The Walking Dead season 6 finale was the most intense TV experience I’ve had to date. Just the week prior I’d been complaining that the show wasn’t gritty enough, when we saw Carol leave an injured man to die, rather than execute him, and risking him come back as a zombie.
This episode, I felt like I spoke too soon. Rick and the crew are lured in the trap where they look outnumbered, though at the start at least with a fighting chance, they discover a chain of zombies who look like their friends, and Carol is shot and her shooter torments her and tells her that he’s going to watch her die slowly.
I was on edge the whole episode, and genuinely scared for each character, thinking that masses of them may be about to meet their end.
The episode ends with the group being lured completely in the trap, utterly defeated. The leader of their captors, Negan isn’t going to let them off lightly (remember Rick and the crew murdered I estimate at least twenty of Negan’s group in the last few episodes), and picks one using ‘Eeny-meeny-miney-mo’ and bashes his head in, but the show doesn’t show us who.
The Walking Dead fanboys were not happy about this, crying ‘The Walking Dead has jumped the shark!’ and ‘AMC is creating a cliffhanger just for the money!’. In the comic we’re showed who it is at the time.
Having reviewed the comic frames , I’ll agree with the fanboys that the finale could have, and probably should have, included the scene of showing us who dies, and would have had the same shocking effect. In a similar vein, it annoyed me that in the Game of Thrones season 5 finale, it shows one character swing her sword toward a character, but doesn’t show us whether he’s been killed, or whether she hit the tree behind him instead.
On both of there instances though, perhaps there are production considerations to account for. Perhaps the producers don’t know which character they’re killing. After all, the show doesn’t have to dogmatically follow the source material, and some characters might be better to write out than others.
But even if we agree that leaving it on a ‘who died’ cliffhanger, that doesn’t change that overall the episode was incredibly intense and overall a good episode.
So with that, I just can’t relate to the fanboys who are throwing outright vitriol at the show’s producers, saying that they won’t watch the show anymore, or accusing them of being sellouts. I think it highlights something about some of nerddom – a kind of unpleasant viciousness and entitlement, a willingness to pile on hate for the slightest slight.
In my opinion, the show’s producers have done a very good job of the episode, which they themselves were proud of. It’s disappointing that they didn’t get the reaction from their fanbase that they deserve.