Every week for the sixth season of AMC’s post-apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, Lenika Cruz and David Sims will discuss the latest threat—human, zombie, or otherwise—to the show’s increasingly hardened band of survivors.
David Sims: After all that build-up, all that pointless meandering, and all of that media hype, there couldn’t have been a more perfect closing shot for this season of The Walking Dead. The camera faced the new villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as he slammed a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire down on top of somebody’s head, with blood running down the screen. The point-of-view angle was designed to keep the dead cast member a mystery until next year (fuel for the endless online-gossip mill that keeps the show in the news during its off-season). But it had another, perhaps unintended, effect: making the viewers feel like they’re the real victims. In short, we suffered through this whole season just to get beaten over the head.
This finale is certainly the end of my relationship with this show, a decision that was solidified by me catching the first few minutes of Talking Dead (the after-show debriefing that airs every week on AMC) and seeing the comic-book creator Robert Kirkman promise that Negan would drive The Walking Dead’s story for “several seasons” to come. This is no hit on Negan himself, who was quite an agreeable psychopath in his 10 minutes of screen time, and quite well played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It has more to do with the miserable bunch he had at his mercy in the final act of “Last Day on Earth,” who spent 90 minutes (yes, this was an extra-long episode) stumbling toward the trap he had set for them in the most predictable way possible.