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TV Review: The Walking Dead 6.16 “Last Day on Earth” (Season Finale)
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The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 16

The Walking Dead
Episode 6.15 “East”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Matthew Negrete
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohen, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Michael Cudlitz, Lennie James
AMC
Air date: Sunday, April 3, 2016, 9pm

Warning – SPOILERS for The Walking Dead Season 6…

The Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead aired tonight, and as we expected, Negan finally made his first on-screen appearance, and yes, it was terrifying and there were grave consequences.

We left off last week with what looked to be Daryl getting shot by Dwight, one of Negan’s men he had encountered and saved earlier in the season. Dwight turned out to be a backstabber, and Daryl spent the rest of the season lamenting that he let the man live, especially after Dwight used Daryl’s own crossbow to kill Denise. This was supposed to be the shocking cliffhanger, because we didn’t know if this meant that Daryl was dead.

At the start of the season 6 finale, “Last Day On Earth,” we of course do not get any resolution as to what happened to Daryl, or the fate of Glenn, Michonne, and Rosita, who were also taken captive by Dwight and his fellow Saviors. Instead, we get Morgan finding Carol, as well as Rick and several others from the Alexandria Safe Zone trying to get Maggie to the doctor at the Hilltop.

Rick, Carl, Sasha, Abraham, Aaron, and Eugene board the RV with Maggie, who seems to be miscarrying and is burning up with fever. Unfortunately, Rick and crew keep running into roadblocks, courtesy of the Saviors. At first there was just a few Saviors in the road, and Rick came out of the RV all cocky. Deciding that now was not the time to fight, Rick’s gang backs away and finds an alternate route… that’s all roadblocked, but with more Saviors and not the ones from the first stop. They’re starting to realize that perhaps the Saviors are a bigger group than they thought back when they decided to attack what they thought was Negan’s main compound and kill everyone there. Time to find yet another alternate route to Hilltop and hope they don’t run out of gas.

Meanwhile, Morgan is looking for Carol, who had left the Safe Zone in the previous episode after she decided that she could no longer kill. In an ironic twist, the first group she met on the road was yet another group of Saviors and she gunned them all down to survive. Morgan is following her trail, so he can convince her to return with him. He finds a horse and rides it and eventually he does find Carol, who’s hiding out and injured. He patches her up, but she needs more treatment, but she doesn’t want to come back with him. She reiterates that she cannot and no longer wants to kill, and it seems she doesn’t even want to do it to survive anymore. She feels that of all people, Morgan, someone who has been pushing the belief that all life is precious, should understand.

Carol eventually sneaks off away from Morgan because she just wants to go off alone. Bad decision on her part because the Savior who survived her onslaught and walked away injured with her rosary beads ends up finding her! He knows he doesn’t have much longer to live, but in his brief remaining time on earth, he’s going to watch Carol suffer and die slowly. She doesn’t seem to care, even after he shoots her in the arm and then the leg. She feels like she deserves to die. As the guy goes to walk off, she calls him back to finish the job, but just as he’s about to, Morgan arrives and tells the man to stop and put the weapon down, that there’s still a chance to end this without death. But the man wants his revenge, so Morgan surprisingly shoots the man 6 times, killing him! We should have known that something like this was bound to happen, since in the previous episode, Rick gives the gun to Morgan, who reluctantly takes it. Just as Morgan kills the man, two other men in homemade armor arrive, one of whom is on horseback. It looks like the man that Rick nearly shot in the last episode who he presumed was a Savior, but Morgan stopped him, offering an alternate assumption: Maybe he’s just looking for his horse. As the men approach, Morgan says, “I found your horse,” and explains that his friend (Carol) needs help. “Then let’s get you some help,” the armored man says and shakes Morgan’s hand. Yes, there’s hope!!!!!!

Speaking of hope, Rick and crew are running out of it, as they spend the bulk of the episode hitting roadblocks created by the Saviors, such as a chain-gang of walkers, one of whom was sporting Michonne’s dreads, and another with Daryl’s arrows in it. When they try to break the bounds of the Red Rover walkers, Rick’s group are shot at — the Saviors are watching again. Rick does manage to break the chains, so the RV can get through, but Sasha realizes that Negan’s men obviously want them to go in that direction, especially since the men were shooting at their feet. Another roadblock was a very large group of Negan’s men — a frightening amount actually — while the final one was a wall of logs that was then lit on fire. Oh, and that one also had someone being hanged right in front of them as a warning.

Rick and company now know that this is bad. This is VERY bad. But, they still can’t fathom how bad it is going to get. No, they still have hope, and another plan. The Saviors are expecting the RV to show up at the next destination, so Eugene volunteers to take the RV while everyone else goes on foot, carrying the ailing Maggie. Before Eugene takes off, he and Abraham say their good-byes. Perhaps this plan will truly work.

But… it doesn’t.

What happens next is perhaps the most frightening event ever seen on The Walking Dead. More terrifying than the encounters with the psychotic Governor, or with the cannibalistic Terminites, or the tit for tat occupants at the hospital. Previously, when Rick’s group came up against a foe, they were never really outnumbered, and there was a sense that these are the heroes of the show, therefore, they of course will survive. But, in Season 6 our heroes’ actions have become questionable, especially when Rick decides to attack and kill who he believed were ALL of Negan’s men at the compound. Yes, Rick made that decision in order for his own people to survive, but he also did it because he was convinced he could win. Had he known how massive Negan’s army was, he’d have never done what he did.

So now, here we are at the end of Season 6, with Rick and a lot of his people, most of whom were the “warriors” of the group, being thwarted by the Saviors at every turn in a cat and mouse game. The Saviors are toying with them, but Rick’s cockiness still leads him to believe that he can get out of this one on top.

Not so.

Remember how Rick was “done talking” and “done negotiating”? He quickly changes his tune once he, Carl, Maggie, Abraham, Eugene, Sasha, and Aaron, along with the previously captured Glenn, Rosita, Michonne, and Daryl — who doesn’t seem to be all that injured or perhaps he was just properly bandaged — are on their knees, crying and shaking in fear, because here comes Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his barbed wired-wrapped baseball bat Lucille. When Rick and company had stormed the Saviors compound a while back, Glenn and Aaron found a wall of photos of people with their heads smashed in, a foreshowing of Lucille’s arrival.

As we’ve learned throughout this season, whenever the Saviors appear, their plan is to kill someone to make a point about how serious they are about their terms. And their terms are that everything now belongs to Negan. And when Negan meets Rick, he slowly but surely drives this point home, explaining that this is the New World Order. He doesn’t want to kill everyone, because he needs them to work for him — he’ll get half of everything they have. But, Rick and his people did kill a lot of Negan’s soldiers, which means there has to be some sort of punishment.

There’s some great monologuing from Negan here, as he goes on and on about pants pissing as he tells Rick things like “Sucks don’t it, the moment you realize you don’t know shit?,” but the Saviors leader just can’t decide who should be sacrificed. So, he goes for some psychological torture, first targeting young Carl, who he figures out quickly is Rick’s son, and then to the very sick Maggie, which prompts a reaction from husband Glenn. But Negan won’t tolerate that type of outburst. He warns them all that they can blink and they can cry, but they may not scream out. Still undecided, Negan plays “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” pointing Lucille at each person to decide which of them he plans to kill — and be assured, someone is going to die.

Finally, Negan picks his victim. As he swings Lucille up and brings the bat down, we see blood splatter onto the camera lens, but don’t see who it is. “Look at you taking it like a champ,” Negan says to his victim, before bringing Lucille down on the person a few more times.

This is how the Season 6 finale ends. Someone is definitely dead, but we don’t know who!

No matter who dies, it’s obvious now that this post-apocalyptic world is much larger than Rick thought it was, and that they can’t survive every confrontation they have. There is a New World Order and Negan is its leader. We’ve seen the punishments doled out to disobeying Saviors and those who cross them. Rick and the Alexandria Safe Zone residents’ lives will forever be changed from this encounter. How severely and for how long is yet to be revealed. One thing’s for sure, Season 7 is sure to begin with heartache. There’s no dumpster to hide under this time.

Video

Episode 616: The Walking Dead: Last Day on Earth

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