I had a strong reaction to the season six finale of The Walking Dead. I felt the terror, the uncertainty of what was going to happen, then the absolute certainty that someone was going to die. I felt it all day, watching the Walking Dead marathon. Someone was going to die and for the first time since AMC originally aired this zombie apocalypse series in 2010, I felt dread instead of excitement as the hours counted down to the final episode of season 6. Of course people die but this time, I knew it was coming and it was going to be really, really bad. I kinda didn’t want to see it happen. But of course I watched. Duh.
And as I watched Negan smash someone’s brains out, fading into black with only faint, gruesome sounds in the background and then the credits rolled, I shook a little then both middle fingers flew up at the tv screen and I yelled “F you F you F you F you! EFFF YOU. F you F you… oh F you!” until The Talking Dead come on.
There was no one watching with me except the cat so it wasn’t for any audience of my own. It was a gut reaction, raw emotion bubbling up from my core. F YOU. F you for leaving me like that, still not knowing. F you.
I get that the writers and producers of the show wanted to leave us not knowing who Negan beat to a bloody pulp so we would have the same horror in our heads as the characters who had to shut up and watch it. The audience is supposed to be feeling the same terrible emotion knowing that everything we knew just changed. I get it. But I don’t like it one bit. Not one tiny bit.
I woke up Monday morning, kissed the cat and then said out loud “F you” a couple of times then made coffee. I thought back to the previous five seasons and the final scene. Sometimes we’ve had cliff hangers, pretty big ones, but nothing so awful as knowing someone just died a horrific death but nobody knows who it was.
TWD Season 1 Finale: Our intrepid band of survivors drive off into the sunset in their caravan of cars with the smoking ruins of the CDC behind them.
TWD Season 2 Finale: Under a midnight sky our fearless leader has just laid down the rules of Ricktatorship as the camera pans out to show The Prison in the distance.
TWD Season 3 Finale: The Woodberry survivors arrive at the prison to join the group and the final scene is a gentle image of a cross at a grave site.
TWD Season 4 Finale: The majority of the group are imprisoned in rail car A at Terminus and those of us who don’t read the comics have figured out that there be cannibals about!
TWD Season 5 Finale: Alexandria’s favorite Porch Dick kills Reg, Rick kills Porch Dick and Morgan shows up with Darryl and Arron.
Yeah. Not a one of the previous Walking Dead season finales left us hanging as bad as Sunday night did.
Maybe I’m still annoyed that they toyed with our emotions with the fake death of Glenn early in Season Six, then dragged out a couple of episodes before we learned that Glenn was actually alive. Oh, it was so the viewer could feel the uncertainty, the not knowing, just like Maggie was feeling, said Scott Gimple. Yeah, okay, you got me once. I get it. I mourned the death of one of the coolest people on TWD then got to un-mourn him. But you did it again mister Gimple, twisting an episode to “make me feel” the way you wanted me to, and you did it in the same season, and you did it in the final episode. So I will feel like this for six months. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.
Let’s be real for a moment. It’s a fictional television show. A darn good one, but still, it’s not reality. But we, the fans and avid viewers, choose to tune in every Sunday night to be with, as Chris Hardwick puts it, our friends who are stuck in the zombie apocalypse. I don’t want to be fed what the producers *think* I want. I don’t want to be tricked or fooled or played with. Just tell the good story, tell it well, and I will watch The Walking Dead until either it’s last breath or mine.
So, who did Negan kill? I don’t know. You don’t know. Even the actors don’t know. My heart says it’s Glenn, and that is gonna suck so bad. It’s almost a perfect retribution, since Glenn just made his first human kill, and felt awful about it. Being the good guy who dips into evil can’t be a good thing. But even if it’s someone else, that will suck too. And we all have to wait 6 months for the Season 7 Premier to find out who Negan killed.
Two middle fingers in the air. F you, television screen rolling the credits, F you, F YOU!