You know The Walking Dead has a done a brilliant job when you wake up the next day, still not sure if you loved or hated the season 6 finale titled ‘Last Day on Earth.’
Honestly, I’m still not sure if the weeks of teasing us with Negan and Lucille were worth not knowing who died. Part of me wants to angrily tweet out ‘wtf’ to my heart’s content because I want to know and I want it now! And the other other part of me is blown away by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance as Negan. This season finale shocked me, made me angrier than ever thought before, and left me reeling for hours. It set the bar high for other shows out there and will be discussed for months to come, no matter if you hated it or loved it.
Let’s talk about it!
Negan Scares Us All
Negan was emotionally draining, infuriating with his methodical planning, and the start of an amazing chapter for The Walking Dead.
From the moment Rick & Co. hit the road they were playing Negan’s game. He started by cornering them. His men gave Rick the option to come in without much fuss and fall into line. Of course Rick didn’t take that option. He thought he was bigger, better, and smarter than these men so he kept on going. All of his companions were sure in his ability to get Maggie to the Hilltop doctor. Then Negan started cutting them off. Every route that they took consisted of Saviors waiting for them to give up. And the longer Rick & Co. avoided them, the bigger their numbers were and the crazier their subtle threats became. The walkers that had remnants of their companions, the blockade, and the handing man were all a power move to show the people in the RV that the Saviors were an immovable object.
Rick and Co. still kept going. Foolish? Yes. What we expected from them? Yes, again. They don’t give up!
Then came the moment the Saviors showed the strength they truly held and Negan appeared. In a flash, all the bravery Rick & Co. held disappeared. Everything inside of them was replaced with fear of the unknown. Negan flourished in it all. At the site of them he grew gleeful and played a children’s game to decide who would be killed as an example to the rest. His disconnect from all that was happening around him was magnified by the importance he placed in teaching them a lesson. He didn’t care that he was going to brutally murder someone because it wasn’t his fault. In a way he made them feel like they were responsible for the death of one of their companions because they disobeyed before even knowing the rules. They made him do this. Mind games like that are what has helped Negan stay in control.
His cheerful disposition also threw everyone off. Give me surly and angry and I can understand where a villain is coming from. But happy? Happy means he enjoyed this. He loved having them kneeling in front of him, afraid of what was to come, and out of options. Negan relished in every moment of their powerlessness. He played with them like they were his own person toys, his to scare, bash, and choke. He’s horrifying.
What he did to them in ‘Last Day on Earth’ wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. Negan is a master manipulator that reels you in with threats disguised as promises of safety from the dangers of this world. The twist is, that he makes you believe that the worst of it all is angering him. It’s a twisted, yet effective, way to keep everyone in line and increase his numbers with ease. This is what makes Negan the most iconic villain in The Walking Dead verse.
(P.S. Just the thought of all the crazy that Negan is going to put them through, makes me want to build a time machine and jump over to the Season 7 premiere. Who’s with me?)
Carol vs Herself vs Morgan
As painful as it was to watch everyone on their knees in front of Negan, Carol surprised me with the depth of her anguish. She was ready to go, to check out of this mortal coil and never come back. Carol has twisted herself up into knots and believes that she can never come back from the destruction that she has caused. She spent every moment with Morgan, pushing him away. It came to a point where she even threatened him with a weapon because she feels like she isn’t worth saving. And when she was laying on that ground, baiting the Savior to come back and hurt her, it was her pleading for someone to make the hurt that she felt inside, go away.
Thank the writers, that Morgan completely disagrees with her. He’s not going to let her check out. He’s not her friend, her lover, her family, and that’s what makes him different. Morgan’s basically a stranger, someone removed from most of The Walking Dead history, who sees a bit of himself in Carol. Her fighting spirit, cold demeanor, and controlled anger at this world is something he’s experienced. But he came back from it and so can Carol. That’s why he doesn’t give up on her, bandages her up when need be, and kills someone intent on ending her life. He won’t let her redemption be stripped away before she has a chance to go for it.
This is the start of something new for Carol. Not happiness, or joy at living in the zombie apocalypse, but an inner peace like we’ve never seen before. She knows how to survive, they all do. Now it’s time to learn how to LIVE while surviving. There has to be an in between where they can do what’s necessary without losing themselves. At the end of the day The Walking Dead is going to have to start building on an end game. It’s not going to be a merry go lucky ending where everyone is happy. But it’ll be an ending where they have found a way to live in this new day and age without losing themselves only to anger, pain, and death.
Carol will survive this. I have no doubt about it.
So, Who Died via Lucille?
My top choice would have to be Glenn kicking the bucket. Why? Because it’s what everyone expects won’t happen because it was in the comic. Also, after that big fake out that we had at the dumpster, they wouldn’t try to pull this again? Yes, they would.
Glenn’s death and Maggie’s subsequent recovery would echo throughout the group. Maggie’s going to lose her child and husband all in the span of days. She’ll feel like she had no family left. Tired and defeated she’ll retreat to Hilltop because she can’t stand being in the same place she shared with Glenn. Hell, she might not be even able to look at her friends without being reminded of her husband.
Second choice would be Abraham. He had defining moments of closure and planning for the future in the episode. He’s always been afraid of what a safe world could mean for a man like him, pushing away people left and right. Only recently has he changed his mind. In this episode he states that he and Sasha are a package deal, that he wants to have a child, and that the only person he sees his future with is Sasha. They just kept drilling it into our heads that this man wanted a future. Then came the, oddly enough, emotional scene with Eugene. That was a goodbye and the closest these two will ever get to a father/son moment. It was closure wrapped up with a bow of slow but moving music.
Finally, the wildcard choice would be Michonne. I know, I know, Michonne is absolutely fabulous and she just got into a loving relationship with Rick born out of companionship and trust. Plus she’s found a reason to live in herself. Doesn’t seem like the most obviously choice but it’s a possibility. The Last Day on Earth monologue by that guy with the receding hairline was all about loved ones and making sure that you appreciated them because they could be snatched away at a moment’s notice. So why not take away Michonne from Rick & Co.?
Michonne’s death would tear down the confidence that Rick has gained in his time in Alexandria. It would make him question the kind of world they live in and if it’s even worth falling in love if you can lose it so easily. Remember this is the last option, the wildcard that would shock and destroy my poor shipper heart. That’s why they would do it. Because it’s unexpected and the internet would explode even more than expected when they finally reveal who was killed by Negan.
Other Observations from Last Day on Earth:
- Negan. I’ve never been so shaken up by a character. Damn you Jeffrey Dean Morgan and your fantastic acting skills. I look forward to the glorious amounts of stress and anger you’re going to put me through.
- I know you’re trying to hide a nasty wound Carl…but it’s time to cut the hair. It’s getting to the point where the hair is going to overtake your face and leave you behind. Just saying. You’ve only got one eye. Let’s make sure you don’t lose it because your hair fell in your face.
- Morgan won’t lose himself after killing that man. During his time in Alexandria he’s learned that sometimes there’s no other choice to make. Finally he’s adapted what he believes in with the reality of their world. That’s what will help Carol survive the journey she’s about to go down on.
- You know who’s going to survive them all? That RV.
The Walking Dead returns for Season 7 this Fall on AMC.