Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 16: Last Day On Earth

As a general rule I try to avoid profanity on my blog. Oh sure, there's the occasional "goddamn," or a censored "sh!t" now and then, but never anything stronger than that. Well, this week I'm suspending that courtesy, as I address the current showrunner of The Walking Dead and say this:
Fuck you, Scott Gimple. Fuck you and the fucking undead horse you fucking rode in on. Fuck your friends, fuck your immediate family and fuck every one of your ancestors as far back as you can trace them. Fuck your pets, fuck every teacher you ever had from pre-school all the way up to college, fuck every boss you've ever had, fuck your butcher, your barber and your gardener. Fuck everyone you've ever known and everyone who knows you. Fuck you.
Why am I so angry at this man? Because Scott Gimple just shit the bed and ruined The Walking Dead Season 6 finale. He just took what is arguably the most famous moment in the history of The Walking Dead comic and completely botched it, jealously withholding the identity of Negan's victim and making us wait seven months for the answer. By the time Season 7 arrives, any shock or impact the death might have had will have completely dissipated, making the loss of a major character completely meaningless.

Oddly enough, just last week my Spider-Sense started tingling and I had a feeling Gimple was going to pull some cockamamie stunt like this. In my review of East I said:
So next week is the big super-sized Season 6 finale. I have this horrible feeling the episode is going to troll us all, and Negan won't show up until the final couple of minutes. 
He'll appear in the final seconds, say he has to send a message to Rick, raise his barbed wire-covered bat Lucille over his head and bring it down as the show smash cuts to black. We'll then have to wait until October to find out who got the bat to the head. I hope that's not the case, but the show's been screwing with us like this all season. Remember Glenn's fake-out death? And the non-ending of the mid season finale, as Sam endlessly repeated "Mom?"
I hope I'm wrong, but I can definitely see them pulling something like this.
Wow. How eerily, frighteningly, one hundred percent prescient. I swear I didn't read any spoiler sites, and I still accurately predicted the entire scene, right down to the stage directions! Why can't I use this power to pick lottery numbers?

Gimple became the showrunner for The Walking Dead back in Season 4, and immediately energized the series and turned it around. Under his leadership, the series began following the comic more closely, and was greatly improved.

And then Season 6 happened. Suddenly all his improvements went right out the window, as we got six episodes of actual content, and ten consisting of nothing but filler and wheel spinning, as the show sat around killing time as it waited for Negan's arrival. 

If Gimple can't manage to fill up a scant sixteen episodes with compelling storytelling, then maybe it's time AMC found someone who can.

Gimple also began straight up trolling the audience in Season 6, seemingly killing off fan favorite character Glenn, only to reveal later it was nothing but an elaborate and puzzling fakeout. 

He also seems to have lost any and all sense of pacing. He ended the first half of Season 6 in the middle of a major crisis, picking up the plot thread three months later, which completely diffused any dramatic impact it may have had. Oddly enough, the very next episode featured a six month time jump. Wouldn't it have made infinitely more sense for the mid season break to happen between those two episodes?

Over and over in Season 6 we see various cast members acting completely out of character. Carol suffered the most here, as the once tough and efficient killer suddenly became a raging peacenik— between episodes! How anyone could think it was a good idea to totally overhaul a character with no buildup or foreshadowing is beyond me.

Gimple's trolling of the fans reached a crescendo here in Last Day On Earth. In the comic Negan appears and captures Rick and his crew. He then brutally kills a major character by bashing his head in with a baseball bat, for no other reason than to make a statement and prove he's serious.

Instead of simply filming that infamous scene, Gimple chose to obscure the identity of Negan's victim by showing the beating from the victim's point of view, as horribly fake looking CGI blood dripped down the camera lens. It looked for all the world like the death scene in a video game. Jesus Christ, Gimple! How the hell could you fuck up that scene so badly? The goddamned thing was all laid out for you in the comic. You literally had a complete series of pre-made storyboards to follow!

Gimple tried to explain his bone-headed decision in an interview, saying:
“The end of the story is what people saw. And when we reveal who was on the receiving end there, that’s going to be the start of another story. The kickback effects from that, what it makes everyone into, how people react, how the world changes for everyone, that’s the next part of the story.”
Well, that was informative without actually saying anything. That's not how cliffhangers work, Gimple. The "next part of the story" isn't revealing who was killed. That's the last part of the current story. The next part of the story is how they get out of this mess and deal with the fallout of the death. You don't put the end of Season 6's story at the beginning of Season 7.

Check with your local community college, Gimple. I'm sure they offer a variety of extension courses in creative writing.

The episode should have ended with Negan clubbing either Glenn or Daryl to death. Then we get a slow pan past the survivors' horrified faces, as the camera finally settles on Rick, who realizes his hubris and overconfidence caused this. We see him literally shaking with fear, as for the first time in a long time he has no idea what to do next. Fade to black. The cliffhanger is what will Rick and Co. do next?

Maybe Gimple was concerned he'd never be able to get the scene past the AMC censors. After all, the scene in the comic is very gory and gruesome. If that was the problem, there was still a better way to get around that limitation. Just show Negan pointing Lucille toward someone— say Glenn, for instance. Then simply cut to a closeup of Negan bringing down the bat with all his might. The actual impact could happen just out of camera range. The violence of the act, and the sound of bat against head would have been just as horrific as seeing it, if not more so. Think Hitchcock's Psycho, for instance. Through the power of suggestion, our minds think the infamous shower scene was much more bloody than it actually was.

Rarely have I seen a season finale with so much outright contempt for its fans. The final scene is nothing but a giant middle finger to the viewers who've been loyally following the show for six years. In fact, the POV shot of Negan bashing in someone's head was quite apt. Negan didn't murder a beloved character in this scene— he was literally beating the audience herekilling any and all enthusiasm we had left for the show.

After the finale aired, the actors all stated that even they don't know who got the axe, er, the bat, as they weren't present on the set during filming of the final scene. I have this awful feeling that even Gimple and the writers haven't yet decided who died. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if this is some sort of elaborate negotiating tactic on their part. "What's that, Norman Reedus? You say The Walking Dead's the highest rated show on cable, and you think you deserve a raise? Well, gosh, I'm awfully sorry about that, but Negan just killed your character."

When literally any of the characters can be the victim, then obviously it doesn't matter who dies. In fact at this point I don't even care who was killed. Congratulations, Gimple.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan was awesome as Negan, and I can't recall seeing a more perfect piece of casting. Unfortunately few are talking about what an amazing job he did in the role, as all the attention's being focused on the boneheaded cliffhanger.

It's also inevitable that as the Season 7 premiere nears, the identity of who was killed will be leaked and plastered all over the internet. This will render the death completely moot and meaningless. What could have been one of the most infamous and intense scenes in television history has been frittered away forever. Well done, Gimple. I hope you're proud of yourself.

Negan's introduction in the comic was significant because it proved that NONE of the characters were safe. It was a watershed moment. The series needs to follow suit and kill off a major character like Glenn or Daryl. I'd be sad to see either one of them go, but it's the only way to hold onto what few scraps of artistic integrity the show still has. If they kill off any of the B cast like Abraham, Sasha, Rosita or Eugene, then I'm done with the show. And if they kill off C cast member Aaron, who's included in the group for reasons unknown, then I say we all head to AMC headquarters and riot.

I have this horrible feeling that when Season 7 begins, it won't pick up right where we left off. Instead we'll be treated to another time jump, as we're slowly introduced to the rest of the cast going about their day. After ten or fifteen minutes of this the camera will slowly pan over to Alexandria's Memorial Wall, where we'll see the name of Negan's victim written out. That's how we'll find out who was killed. I hope that's not what happens, but after this finale there's at least a 75% chance this is how it'll happen.

This image perfectly illustrates the current state of the series, and what Scott Gimple has done to it.


The Plot:
A man runs through the woods, chased by a group of Saviors, who're whistling like the contestants in The Hunger Games. Suddenly he's surrounded by them. The leader of this particular group asks the man why he's so afraid, saying they gave his people at the library rules to follow and they didn't listen, so they brought their punishment on themselves. They tell the man they're going to make an example of him. He says that doesn't make sense, since all his people are dead. Hmm... so who else could the Savior be talking about?

In Alexandria, everyone's preparing to take Maggie to the OBGYN at the Hilltop. And I do mean EVERYONE. Despite the fact that Alexandria is in imminent danger of an attack by the Saviors, Rick and pretty much the entire cast decide to go on this quest, leaving the town woefully unprotected. Enid sees Carl preparing to go too, and tries to talk him out of it. He says he wants to help Maggie, but she believes he wants revenge against the Saviors for what they did to Dr. Cloyd. He ends up locking her in a closet to end the argument. He tells her to "Just Survive Somehow," which is a callback to earlier in the season, and not nearly as clever as the writers think it is.

Aaron, who hasn't had anything to do for weeks, also demands to go on Rick's Magical Mystery Tour. Father Gabriel, who's now 100% less twitchy than he used to be, promises Rick he'll guard Alexandria— and Baby Judith— to the best of his ability.

Morgan rides the horse he found last week, and searches for Carol, who if you'll recall, doesn't want to be found. Miraculously he finds her huddled in front of a building, bleeding. He takes her into an abandoned library and patches her up. He says he'll take her back to Alexandria in the morning, but she says she doesn't want to go back. Maybe someday someone on this show will listen to her and let her do what she wants.

Rick and the rest of the Magical Mystery Tour drive the RV to the Hilltop. As they round a bend, they see a Savior roadblock. Rick gets out of the RV, and says he wants to make a deal. The Savior leader says there'll be no deals, and he wants all their stuff. Rick says that won't work and gets back in the RV, saying, "What if this is the last day on Earth for you?" The leader encourages Rick to be nice to everyone in the RV, because it might be their last day on Earth. The RV backs up and drives away.

Meanwhile at the library, Morgan tries to talk Carol into coming back to Alexandria. Once again she says she doesn't want to kill anymore, and being around people she cares about will force her to do so. This would make sense if not for the fact that being on her own has already forced her to kill several times. Morgan goes outside to clear the area of walkers. When he returns he finds Carol's gone. He gets on his horse and looks for her yet again.

Rick and the Tour take another route. Abraham and Sasha discuss having a baby, which pretty much guarantees Negan's going to kill one of them. They round a corner and see an even bigger Savior roadblock. They back up and drive away again. They try yet another route (just how many roads are there that lead to the Hilltop?). This time they find a roadblock of walkers chained together. One has Daryl's arrows sticking out of it, while another's wearing Michonne's vest and has some of her dreads nailed to its head. Creepy! Rick gets out and chops up the walkers as the Saviors begin shooting from the nearby woods. He barely gets back in the RV in time as they drive forward.

Rick notes that the Saviors were only shooting at their feet and are herding them in this direction. He checks on Maggie, who's fading fast, burning up with fever. They come upon the largest Savior roadblock yet. They back up and drive away once more. This is getting tedious! The RV then encounters a huge roadblock of logs. As they get out to survey the situation, the Library Man from the beginning of the episode is hung by a bridge behind them. The logs are then lit by unseen Saviors, and Rick orders the RV to retreat.

Meanwhile Carol walks through a field and is attacked by a walker. She barely manages to dispatch it, when she's attacked by the Savior she wounded last week. He tells her he knows he's dying from his injuries, so he's going to make what's left of his life count, and watch her die slowly. He then shoots her in the arm and leg. He's creeped out when she starts smiling, saying she knows she's dying and nothing matters anymore. Morgan then magically appears and tells the Savior to put his gun down. The Savior points his gun at Morgan, who shoots him several times, killing him. So much for his non-killing code! Just then two men in armor appear, one on horseback. Morgan tells the man on foot that he found his horse, and says Carol needs help. The armored man shakes Morgan's hand. Looks like we just met members of the Kingdom.

Rick and the others discuss their options. They decide Eugene will drive the RV to provide a distraction, while the rest walk through the woods—  with Maggie on a stretcher— to the Hilltop. Eugene gives Rick the recipe for bullets in case he dies.

Rick and the others then traipse through the woods. Suddenly they hear whistling all around them, as bright lights illuminate the woods. They're surrounded by the biggest group of Saviors yet. Rick sees they've captured Eugene, and have him on his knees. A Savior approaches Rick and takes all their weapons. Rick tries to make a deal, but the Savior says that's not going to happen.

Dwight then appears, and brings out Michonne, Rosita and the wounded Daryl, making virtually every regular cast member present and accounted for. The Savior knocks on the door of the RV and says they're ready.

The RV door opens, and at long, long last, Negan finally makes his appearance. He doesn't disappoint as he monologues for quite a bit, telling Rick and Co. that they now work for him, half of everything they own is his, and there's nothing they can do about it. Despite the fact that he's a terrifying figure, he's actually quite charismatic. He says Rick has killed more of his people than he's comfortable with, so now he's going to kill one of his. Rick looks shell-shocked.

Negan introduces Lucille, his lethal-looking, barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat. He then tries to decide who of Rick's group to kill, ultimately chooses by chanting "eenie-meenie-minie-moe." We then see a first person view of Negan as he bashes someone's head in. Just who he kills is none of our concern, as the screen fades to black and the credits roll, causing thousands of remotes to be hurled toward thousands of TV screens. Fuck you, Scott Gimple.

• Apparently the zombie apocalypse happened after The Hunger Games movie premiered. In this episode the Saviors communicate with one another by whistling a two-note tune that's very reminiscent of The Hunger Games' mockingjay call.

• Enid tries to keep Carl from joining the mission to take Maggie to the Hilltop. He tries to justify going by saying, "You know how far the Hilltop is!"

Well, no Carl, we don't know how far it is. In the interest of storytelling, the writers are keeping distances and locations vague. That way if Rick needs to get from Alexandria to the Hilltop in ten minutes in some future episode, fans can't say, "Wait a minute, those two places are fifty miles apart!

• To end their argument, Carl tricks Enid into entering a closet and locks her inside. She cries, "What happens if you don't come back?" He says "Just survive somehow."

"Just Survive Somehow" was Enid's catchphrase earlier in the season, as well as the title of her debut episode.

Hopefully someone will find Enid and let her out of the closet before she starves to death and turns into a walker.

• This week, completely out of the blue, Carl's determined to exact revenge on the Saviors for Dr. Cloyd's death. Really? Dr. Cloyd? Have we ever seen the two of them ever speak to one another, or share so much as a single scene together? Why's he so suddenly heartbroken over her death?

Dr. Cloyd probably treated Carl's eye wound after he was shot. Maybe Carl has Reverse Florence Nightingale Effect?

• Once again the entire cast buggers off on a mission and leaves Alexandria dangerously undermanned and unprotected. This is some extremely lazy writing here. The writers obviously needed an excuse to get the entire cast away from Alexandria so they could be captured by the Saviors, and having everyone load into the RV to take Maggie to the Hilltop was the only idea they could come up with.

• We have a title! During one of Rick and Company's many encounters with the Saviors, he asks the leader, "You want to make this your last day on Earth?"

• Each time Rick and his Magical Mystery Tour take a different route, they find the way blocked by an ever-escalating troupe of Saviors. First they encounter eight, then sixteen, and at the last one the Saviors are actually stacked two high, standing on their vehicles. It was unintentionally hilarious after a while. I'm surprised they didn't give us one last blockade in which the Saviors formed a fifty foot Trump wall out of their own bodies.

• Another thing about the roadblocks— how do the Saviors always know which road Rick's going to take next, so they can set up a sequentially bigger welcoming committee each time? I get that they know all the possible routes he could take, but there's no way they could know which one he'll head for next.

• After Rick encountered the second roadblock, why not just go back home? It's pretty obvious that the Saviors already have every possible route to the Hilltop blocked. 

Yes, if they go back to Alexandria, Maggie might die, but is her life (and that of her unborn child) worth the lives of the entire cast, along with the vague number of redshirts back in Alexandria? It's a cruel thought, but sometimes leaders have to make tough decisions instead of stupid ones.

Constantly walking into the Saviors' traps just makes Rick look like an idiot.

• Either the show is really, really desperate to find something for Carol to do, or they think her "Change Of Heart" storyline is far, far more interesting than it really is. I for one am bored stiff by it. It's poorly written and I have no idea what the point of it is supposed to be. Carol's tired of killing, so she goes off into the dangerous wild where she'll surely be forced to kill. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

• After Morgan saves Carol for the umpteenth time, he meets two armored men. These are almost certainly members of the Kingdom, another organized group of survivors who regularly trade with the Hilltop. Their leader is Ezekiel, a man with a flair for the… flamboyant.

Maybe Carol's whole storyline was just a clumsy way to get her out of Alexandria so the writers could introduce the Kingdom?

I'm hoping now when we see the Kingdom on the series, they don't include this shark-jumping moment from the comic. Given Gimple's performance in Season 6, I'd say it's inevitable though.

• As I said earlier, but it bears repeating— Jeffrey Dean Morgan does an amazing job as Negan. He's incredibly charismatic, and is simultaneously terrifying and charming. That can't be easy to pull off, so kudos to Morgan. 

He hit it out of the park his first time at bat (pun intended), and did the best job possible with the material he was given. He's completely blameless for the botched ending.

• Negan brings up a point I've been making for the past couple of months. Over the past few episodes Rick and/or his people have killed at least six different groups of Saviors. Daryl obliterated the motorcycle gang, Rick & Co. killed the Satellite Crew in their sleep, Carol and Maggie killed the All Girl But One Team, plus the backup they called, Daryl and Rosita killed off almost all of Dwight's Group, and Carol just wiped out the Truck Team.

As I keep saying, this is not how it happened in the comic. There Rick and Co. only killed one group of Saviors. Negan brutally retaliated out of the blue, which made his actions all the more shocking. Here on the series though, Rick's been poking the Negan hornet nest for weeks, practically begging to be stung. All this did is make Negan's retribution somewhat justified. He even says, "You've killed more of my people than I'm comfortable with."

It's never a good idea when your plot causes the audience to side with your villain.

• For some insane reason lodged deep in the fevered mind of Scott Gimple, we see a first person POV shot of Negan killing someone. After the first hit the camera loses focus a bit, as we see some very unconvincing CGI blood begin to trickle down the screen.

It reminded me of the elevator scene in the 1970s disaster movie epic Earthquake. It wasn't quite as bad as the fake cartoon blood in that scene, but it was damned close.

• As I ranted earlier, the entire second half of the season has been building up to this exact moment, and then they pull the rug out from under us and don't show it. The Walking Dead just became the Lap Dance of TV series. Look but don't touch!

Think about how powerful the scene would have been if it had played out the way it should've. Now no matter who was killed, the impact of their death will be lessened to the point where it doesn't matter. Well done, The Walking Dead. Your plan is now complete— I don't give a shit who just died.

I'm still so pissed about the season finale that I can barely summon the energy to do this, but here goes: The Fifth Annual The Walking Dead Season End Awards, Even Though This Is Season 6!

Fastest Fall From Grace Award
Scott Gimple, come on down!

Gimple took over as showrunner in Season 4, and immediately solved a lot of the show's problems, as well as writing some of its best ever episodes. Sadly that all changed in Season 6. He stretched six episodes worth of story into sixteen, gave numerous characters drastic personality changes (many of which happened offscreen), turned most of the characters into poor decision making imbeciles, and completely botched the most famous moment from the comic. 

He's lost any and all goodwill he ever scored with me, and the sooner AMC boots him off the show, the better.

Worst. Idea. Ever. Award
The award goes to Rick Grimes, for his plan to eliminate the quarry full of zombies by leading them away from Alexandria like a post apocalyptic Pied Piper. Gosh, what could possibly go wrong with a plan like that?

The walkers were all crammed into the quarry like punk fans in a mosh pit. Wouldn't it have made infinitely more sense to just lob a couple of firebombs into the quarry and watch them all burn?

Worst Waste Of A Character Award
And the winner is Heath. He was a major character in the comic for many years, so it was fun to see him finally introduced on the show in First Time Again. And then POOF! He completely disappeared. He showed up briefly once or twice afterward, but so far his non-presence on the show has been a big disappointment.

Worst Fakeout Award
In Thank Youthe writers thought it would be a brilliant idea to make the audience think that beloved character Glenn was torn limb from limb by a horde of zombies. Of course fans immediately saw right through their clumsy attempt, making the whole thing pointless and moot.

Character Assassination Award
Sometime between No Way Out and The Next World, Carol Pelitier makes a puzzling 180ยบ turn from awesome, badass killing machine to limp pacifist. The change happens entirely offscreen, leaving viewers scratching their heads and thinking they'd missed a handful of episodes. The change felt totally unearned and perplexing.

Worst Kept Secret Award
Actress Alanna Masterson, who plays Tara, was pregnant for most of the season. Unfortunately her character wasn't with child, so the series tried to hide her rapidly expanding belly in the clumsiest and most obvious ways possible. This generally consisted of dressing her in voluminous hoodies and placing large objects in front of her lower body. It was a miserable failure that didn't fool anyone.

Biggest Fizzle Award 
A good part of Season 5 was spent building up the Wolves as the show's next big bad. Unfortunately when they finally appeared they were about as dangerous as a basket of kittens. In fact Carol killed nearly all of them singlehandedly!

Superfluous Character Award 
When Enid first appeared on the show she seemed to have a big secret. She even dropped a couple of hints that she may have been affiliated with the Wolves. Turns out she wasn't, and the matter of her affiliation has been dropped altogether, as the writers struggle to remember why they included her in the first place.

Horror Movie Cliche Award
The episode Thank You is a treasure trove of horror movie cliches. As Michonne leads a group of Alexandrians through a walker-filled forest, Annie stumbles slightly and twists her ankle. Sturgess fires his gun in panic and hits Scott in the leg. David can't wait to get back to his wife, so of course he's immediately bitten. And of course we have the ever popular unreliable vehicle with the plot-specific ignition that only fails at the worst possible time.

Most Puzzling Side Quest Award
In Here's Not Here, showrunner Scott Gimple inexplicably decided to take a break in the middle of all the exciting zombie action and give us a slow, moody, introspective look at the incredibly vital story of how Morgan got his sweet, sweet bow staff skills! 

And if that wasn't infuriating enough, it was an extra long super-sized episode!

Something's Missing Award
In Thank You, we see Rick trapped in the RV, which is surrounded by walkers. There appears to be no way out. We also see Michonne lead a group of wounded Alexandrians through a burned out village we've never seen before.

We then take a break to see how Morgan Got His Groove Back in Here's Not Here. When we return to the regularly scheduled story in Now, Rick has miraculously escaped the RV and Michonne apparently got her wounded charges back safe and sound.

I don't need to have every detail spoon-fed to me, but it's obvious there's a huge chunk of story missing here. In fact the entire season seems to suffer from choppy editing like this.

Something's Missing Award Part II
At the risk of fat-shaming, I still think it's mighty suspicious that Olivia, the Alexandrian in charge of guarding and doling out the town's food supply, is a good fifty pounds overweight. If I was Deanna I'd be checking her daily food intake very closely.

Mind Your Own Business Award
This award goes to pretty much the entire cast. In Heads Up, Glenn comes across Enid, who's left the safety of Alexandria for her own reasons. He forces her to come back. I'm still at a loss to understand how her decision is any of his business.

Same thing happened when Carol decides she wants to leave. She writes a note saying she can't stay in Alexandria, and asks everyone to respect her decision and not come searching for her. Of course the entire cast then immediately drops everything and charges off after her, leaving the town unprotected.

Oddest Musical Taste Award
The award goes to Sam, who in Start To Finish sat hiding in his room listening to a Tiny Tim album. Where the hell would he even find such a thing in the 21st Century?

Quietest Baby Ever Award
For the third (?) year in a row, the award goes to Baby Judith. In Start To Finish Rick and Co. don blood-smeared ponchos so they can sneak undetected through a vast herd of walkers. Judith's stuffed under Rick's poncho, which has to smell atrocious, and never once utters so much as a gurgle.

I'm starting to wonder if she even can make any noise? Maybe pre-peacenik Carol secretly clipped her vocal chords at some point to keep her from squalling and attracting walkers. 

Best Line Of The Season:
There were many, but two fecal-realted ones stood out to me.

In Start To FinishDeanna discovers she has a large walker bite on her side. She looks down, sighs and utters a simple, "Well, shit."

Then in Twice As Far, Eugene and Abraham have a little spat. Eugene insists he can kill an approaching walker by itself. Abraham scoffs at him, saying, "You'd have better luck picking up a turd by the clean end!" 

Most Comic Accurate Episode
The runner-up would have to be No Way Out. That episode featured a lengthy "Let's Wear Bloody Ponchos To Escape The Walkers" scene that was lifted straight out of the comic. Everything that happened— Sam and Jessie getting bitten, Rick chopping off Jessie's hand to free Carl, and Carl getting shot in the eye were all incredibly comic-accurate.

The winner is undoubtedly Last Day On Earth. Negan's introduction was exactly like it was in the comic. Every single line he uttered came right from the comic page— you could literally read along with him. Every word, from "Not cool. You have no idea how not cool that is" to "This is Lucille, and she is awesome" to "I simply cannot decide" to "Takin' it like a champ"— all came verbatim from the comic.

The only difference is the show removed some of his more colorful language for TV. Other than that it was amazingly exact.

Swept Under The Rug Award
In the comic, Carl was shot in the face, losing his eye and a good portion of his head. He was in a coma for weeks and even suffered memory loss for a while, before finally recovering.

That may have happened on the series, but if it did we weren't privy to it. After the time jump in The Next World he's suddenly up and around as if nothing ever happened. 

Dubious Product Placement Award
In The Next World, Daryl searches for a can of Orange Crush for Dr. Cloyd. Did the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group pay for product placement here? If so, what a bizarre deal that must have been. "Jenkins, we need to get our product in front of more people. How about paying to get it placed on a popular TV show? What's that show the kids all like, about the dead people? That'd be the perfect venue to feature our product!"

Much Ado About Nothing Award
In Knots Untie we're introduced to the Hilltop, an important location from the comic. And after its brief introduction it's gone, never to be seen for the rest of the season. Whassamatter, Walking Dead? Having budget problems? Can't afford to show two post apocalyptic towns each week?

Luckeeee Award
This season we learn that Heath and his fellow supply runners routinely go on the road for weeks at a time, searching for food and medicine. Isn't it amazing that in all the months they've been doing so, and in all the miles they covered, they never once spotted the Hilltop, or ran afoul of the Saviors?

Just another example of that crazy Virginia geography!

Kicking The Hornet's Nest Award 
And the award goes to Rick Grimes! All through the second half of the season he killed group after group of Saviors, practically daring Negan to show up and tell him to knock it off. He even bragged about Alexandria's superiority and indestructibility to Michonne. 

His actions almost make Negan's retribution look justified.

Worst Season Finale Ever Award
Do I have to say it?


  1. I've been waiting for days for this review and you did not disappoint. I hope writing this was as therapeutic for you as it was for me reading it. Like you I knew this was how they would end it as far back as the premiere of Season 6b. Shenanigans!

  2. Thanks, er, Anonymous!

    It would have been such an easy scene to film, and somehow they completely botched it.


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