The Walking Dead: 616 “Last Day on Earth” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
I think I can agree with what most people are saying about The Walking Dead finale. It did feel rather flat for a finale and didn’t fully go anywhere, leaving us with yet another “in your face” cliff-hanger.
Despite this I do feel I’m less angry about the finale as it did have a few good moments, and a final scene that left me tense. It was annoying to have most of the episode following Rick and his group driving around endlessly while constantly being pursued by the Saviors. The beginning of the episode had a great set up with Gabriel being left in charge of Alexandria.
I think that scene showed how much the community had changed due to Rick’s arrival. Now they knew how to survive and defend themselves in this cruel new world. I’ve really enjoyed Gabriel’s progression, as mentioned in previous reviews. He has become a dependable character who is now willing to do what is necessary to protect his comrades. Even Rick has faith in him (no pun intended).
The constant driving around did feel weak for a finale and I wished that this part of the events had happened in last week’s episode, an episode in which I felt was completely boring in its execution. I believe a lot of the flaws with this finale, and this second half in general, was the pacing. There was too much emphasis on “anticipation” and little attention on “action”. We had a couple of good episodes but mostly we had episodes that simply existed to build-up to something but never quite delivering the goods.
Everything was about slowly revealing Negan and how dangerous he is, meaning we had to wait till the finale. The finale obviously came and we are still witnessing the same process. Build-up and no result. The Walking Dead has a nasty habit of doing this and it always makes me feel cheated. The show shouldn’t always be about trying to bring its audience back. If the show generally delivers exciting content then that, in itself, will do the job.
I suppose another negative point was the side-tracks to focus on Carol’s subplot. At least this week it had some interesting moments. I know last week we saw Carol take on that group of Saviors signal-handily but the rest of that sub-plot didn’t go anywhere. One thing I did like about this week was seeing Carol, once again, showcasing to Morgan how wrong he is. The reason Carol left Alexandria was because she felt she could no longer protect her friends due to the fact she can’t kill for them. She explained that Morgan couldn’t protect Rick and the others because he refuses to kill, thereby endangering them.
It was gruesome watching Carol being attacked by the surviving Savior as he attempted to torture her. The sad part was Carol wanted to die and tried to provoke her attacker. I’m just glad Morgan started to realise he had to change his ways through finally killing someone. It proved that he could be relayed upon and it continued to show, despite his flaws, that he is caring, especially towards Carol.
The one good thing that came out of the long, drawn out driving scenes was showing how relentless the Saviors are. They were dangerous and didn’t stop pursuing Rick and his group. The more they blocked their path the more you felt Rick was playing with fire. Plus the Saviors were constantly using distressing imagery to demonstrate their dominance. These proved to be powerful scenes, especially when seeing an innocent man being lynched and then seeing a zombie blockade featuring pieces of clothing and hair from Rick’s captured friends.
The most impressive scene in this finale was the final one. We finally got to see Negan and after much anticipation he didn’t disappoint. I had heard a lot about Negan, especially about how he makes the Governor look like a puppy-dog, it was frightening to finally see him in action. He completely dominated the scene and left Rick feeling helpless.
This was what made this final scene terrifying. Rick’s expression showcased how out of his depth he was. Rick literally had nothing to say. He was beaten. Like I had been saying throughout my reviews, Rick would inevitably face the consequences of his cockiness. He decided to go to war with Negan expecting to win and now he has realised that his actions may have gotten himself and his friends killed.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan truly delivered in his brief appearance as Negan. Considering I know him for playing Dean and Sam’s father from Supernatural, it was scary watching him play this ruthless monster. His performance made me tense, and I am mean tense. My body was shaking with fear.
Once he declared that he would have to kill one of the main cast in order to deliver a message I literally nearly died with anticipation. I was dreading the outcome because I had no idea who would be killed. The scene was made worse by Morgan’s calm performance which showcased his intensity. The fact he started playing “Eeny-meeny-miny-moe” to decide who he would murder made the suspense worse.
But in the end the episode left us with further questions and build-up. We don’t know who Negan killed and so have to wait until the Season 7 premiere to find out.
‘Last Day on Earth’ doesn’t quite get full marks due to its pacing and reliance on build-up. Despite its many flaws the good points within the episode were rather good, if not downright impressive. Negan’s arrival was most appreciated and I really can’t wait to see where his character is taken.
I think I forgive this finale a lot because it does leave me wondering where the show will go next. Negan has left Rick powerless and it makes me curious, if not scared, to see how he will pull back from this. The show will be taken to a very dark place in Season 7 and I hope I am ready for what it has in store. I just really hope now that the build-up is over we can start receiving some “action”.