The Negan and the Damage Done – Discussing the Walking Dead Finale

by Larry Dwyer

Neil Young song references aside, I feel that we need to discuss the season six finale that recently took place. You may have heard about it? Perhaps a quiet whisper here and there around school or in the office? Hell, maybe you even watched it yourself, like the rest of us, glued to your television eager to see who would meet the business end of Lucille. We at Horror News Network even did a story on it a few weeks ago, all of us giving our best guesses on which character(s) would fall in the season finale.

I went completely rogue in my prediction and said that two regulars were going to meet their end (Daryl and Glen). Everyone on the staff picked at least one person to go. By now I’m sure you know, as it turned out, we were all wrong. As a matter of fact, if we were on The Price is Right, no one would win as we all went over the actual retail value.

Mr. Gimple and crew decided to keep all of our main characters intact throughout the episode…sort of. Someone got hit with that bat, they just decided not to show it. People began saying weeks ago (even staffer Sean McLaughlin) that it would probably end as a cliffhanger. I rejected that theory. Not because I didn’t believe that they could possibly do that to us loyal viewers (they already had with the Glenn/dumpster saga) but because I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe that a 90 minute season finale of an incredibly violent show, pitting Negan, the nastiest of nasties, against our heroes could possibly end in zero kills. Well, the writers apparently have a word for people like me: SUCKER.

I was glad to see that the outrage that I felt was echoed by scores of fans around the internet. In my opinion, there is no reason for a cliffhanger in that scene. I know that Scott Gimple said that the story arc ended there and blah, blah, blah but that’s just ridiculous. The scene could just as easily have concluded with the recipient of Lucille’s bashing dropping to the ground amidst the screams and cries of the group and a fade to black. They basically took a flawless Negan entrance and a beautiful ten minute dialogue and spoiled what could have been a perfect culmination of the scene with a pointless cliffhanger. A cliffhanger is generally used to keep the audience coming back; to give them something to look forward to next time to ensure that they keep watching. Does Scott Gimple or any of the writers really feel that the viewership would be down next year if they actually showed who got killed in the finale? If they do, they should have their head examined.

Then I started seeing a lot of posts by folks saying that they were done with the show, that they were never going to watch again. To me that’s nearly as crazy as thinking that a cliffhanger was needed to end that season. But then I realized that it’s just their anger talking. They feel as though something has been taken from them and that they, as fans, deserved more. While I can’t argue with that I can say one thing: they’ll be back in October…we’ll all be back.

When all is said and done, we still love the show and because of that we will put up with episodes about nonsensical dumpster diving routines, weird girls eating live turtles and yes, even season finale cop-outs. So the answer to the title of this article is, “none”. No damage was done to the franchise with this finale no matter how irked we all were by it. The good of this show still far outweighs the bad and all of us still want to see who gets to meet Lucille first.

I’ll see you all in October so we can all see the kind of craziness that the extremely talented Jeffrey Dean Morgan can bring to the Negan role. If the finale was any indication, he’ll be amazing. Will the writing stand up to the talent? That remains to be seen.

Stay gory my friends,

Larry Dwyer

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