A Finale Falls Off A Cliff(hanger) On The Walking Dead
Negan is finally here, but you'll have to wait months to find out what he actually did.
Way too many people left Alexandria, including Carol, who was wounded on the road by a group of Saviors and has a stalker coming after her. Maggie got a haircut from Enid, which led immediately to pregnancy pain. Glenn, Michonne, Rosita, and Daryl were captured by Dwight, who shoots Daryl in a way we're led to believe might be a big deal (it's not).
Crosses Of Light
The Scene: The show's opening in darkness except for a moving set of lens-flare-causing light in the shape of a moving cross.
The Symbol: Is it a cross? Is someone experiencing a last bit of consciousness before they die? And what about that ominous whistling we can hear?
The Meaning: Nothing good, and we probably won't come back to this until much later.
Mutual of PTV's Animal Kingdom
A Horse, Of Course
While everyone else is in crisis mode and probably about to die, Morgan is moseying along, taking in the sights as he looks for Carol. Among them is a sign that reads, "You Are Alive" and a horse that's already fully saddled and ready to ride. It's nice when stuff like that just happens, huh? "You are alive," Morgan tells the horse. The horse is like, "Duh, I know, what's with the stick?"
Plot Lightning Round
Carl decides he's going to go along with the group leaving to get Maggie help (which involves traveling to The Hilltop). Enid is demanding to come too, but Carl wants her to stay behind and help defend the town in case anything happens. When Enid refuses, he tricks her and locks her in a closet. Now she can stay in town, but she'll only be able to defend the mothballs and slippers.
Along with Sasha and Abraham, Eugene convinces Rick to let him come on this 23-mile Maggie rescue mission. Because it's Eugene, he has to spout off some weird language: "Don't shine me. I'll be your anchorman, yes I will." Rick is like, "How did I end up with all these losers?" Aaron wants to come, too. Sure, why not? Who needs anyone who can use a gun to stay back in Alexandria?
Father Gabriel has been left in charge to defend Alexandria, which can mean only one thing: the writers really don't give a shit what happens to the town anymore.
Morgan miraculously finds a wounded Carol (maybe the horse smelled her!) in front of a library and tries to help her.
This poor bastard is the last of his group, who crossed The Saviors and were apparently killed at a library (the same one where Carol is holed up). Now he's going to be made into an example. These Saviors are some frequent example-making mofos!
RV: Ridiculous Vehicle Of Lies
Ordinarily, an RV trip with Rick and the gang might be cause for some levity, but Maggie is very sick and the urgency of her situation has got everyone really tense. And Rick is in the increasingly common position of having to reassure other people that they're not living every moment in a waking nightmare with no escape. "We got here together and we're still here," he tells Maggie, apropos of nothing. And then he says, "Things have happened but it's always worked out for us." Have they, Rick? Really? Like the time your wife died in childbirth and your son had to shoot her in the head so she wouldn't come back and eat everybody? And that time Beth died? And Bob? And Tyreese? And Denise? All that's working out for you, Rick? Glad to hear it!
What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate
Who called the meeting? The Saviors.
What's it about? They've set up a roadblock around the poor schmuck they're about to kill and won't let Rick and his people pass without a fight. So the nameless leader of the group and Rick have a long-distance chat from about 100 feet away from each other.
How'd it go? Inconclusive! Rick makes a threat about killing more of their people and the lead Savior says he's going to have to kill at least one of Rick's people since that's just the way things are. Rick doesn't like that deal and doesn't agree to it. He asks if the guy wants to make it his last day on earth. This becomes a running threat back and forth while the scene refuses to end (90-minute episode!) and the two tell each other to be kind to their people and it's just a lot of pointless dick-waving and time-killing with no shots fired. Ain't nobody got time for that, even if it's the end of the world already. And where's Daryl's magic RPG when you need it?
We Made A List
Eugene-isms For Items You'd Find On A Map Quest
- Dingles And Glens
- Forest Elves And Flattops
- Plateau Posses
- Everlasting Knobstoppers
- Virginia Vole Snatchers
- Lefty Lane Lickers
- Kilometer Kritters
- Breast Stops
- Hit Points Of Interest
- Lefty Lane Lickers
- Dual-Band Routers
- George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Fire Stations And Ice Cream Shops
I Am Not A Crackpot
Dear Mister President, I Wish Carol Had Died Earlier This Season. I Am Not A Crackpot!
This is not easy to say because at one time she was my favorite character, but Carol has got to go. At least this weird, completely unbalanced, completely different version of Carol that seems to negate all the strength she had gathered over the previous seasons and all the sacrifices she'd made to keep her people protected. This Carol can't even make a coherent argument for her own worldview to Morgan, the one person who should be completely simpatico with her sudden (and out-of-character) distaste for killing to survive. Even Morgan can't figure out what the hell she's talking about. "Do you really not get it?" she asks. "If you don't want to kill or if you can't then you have to get away from them," the people you love. "You don't get to have both," she says. Then she pulls a gun on Morgan, asking him to leave. She's a pacifist now but she'll kill Morgan for trying to help her? Huh? No, she won't. I hate you for ruining my favorite character and putting her on this wishy-washy path, show. You couldn't leave your most successful character arc to date alone, could you?
Here's An Idea
Don't Bring Up Making Babies In The Middle Of A Crisis
Everyone gets horny sometime. And sometimes people get philosophical. Hey, the two can even happen simultaneously! But they probably shouldn't happen in the middle of a dangerous rescue mission and if you're Abraham, you probably shouldn't be asking your brand-new girlfriend Sasha what she thinks about Glenn and Maggie having a baby and then suggesting that you could do the same. Like right now. Ew, you're in an RV full of people. And you're the one driving! Keep it in your pants, dude!
If Only Google Maps Were Back Online!
Situation: Rick's RV crew has taken another, longer route, but this one is also blocked by Saviors.
What makes it awkward? Rick literally just had this conversation and to engage again would mean repeating himself a lot. And having to call back that whole "Last day on Earth" thing. Who needs that?
How is order restored? As the Saviors pop off some warning shots in the air, the RV scuttles away in the direction it came. As Abraham says, it was totally "Bitch nuts."
It's Barely A Good Deed At All
Morgan puts down and cuts down a walker caught hanging and thrashing around in a metal tower. He doesn't have to, but he does. No one cares, Morgan. And while he was doing that, Carol took off. Way to keep your eye on the ball.
Chained Lack Of Heat
Oh no, another roadblock! Those pesky Saviors! But this one is even worse because it's a bunch of walkers chained together. And some of them are wearing clothes belonging to Daryl and Michonne, including some of Michonne's hair, which sends Rick into a tizzy. Rick manages to clear a path to get the RV through even as Saviors are shooting at everyone's feet, but it's quite the psychological setback for his group.
More Roadblocks Than Smokey And The Bandit And A Lot Less Fun
That's quite enough roadblocks for one episode, The Walking Dead. We know you have to fill a 90-minute slot, but damn, y'all!
Unmask Thyself, Carol
As she's out avoiding Morgan, Carol is attacked by walkers, including one whose face she pulls face on, unwigging her, except the hair is real. Is this a commentary on Carol trying to shed her own skin as a killer and to bare her soul to the world? No, not really, just an excuse to show some stretchy zombie skin.
Unfortunately, she's then tackled by that creepy stalker dude who was holding her rosary and following her.
He shoots Carol in the arm. Ow!
She's strangely Zen, even after also being shot in the leg. Carol is ready to die; she doesn't even know who she is anymore and she demands that this asshole finish the job.
But he doesn't have to because Morgan shows up and eschews what he believes about the sanctity of life to kill the already-dying man (who really should have just gone home for help) and save Carol.
And then they are saved by the owners of Morgan's new horse, guys dressed in padding and carrying spears who say they can help. Sure, why not, we've got time to kill.
Place Of Interest
Try Not To Be Bothered By The Repetition
Another route, another blockage in the road, this time a bunch of fiery logs and a hanging man, the same guy from the library who was in the road earlier. So these Saviors have mastered space, time, and teleportation, huh? Rick is clearly outfoxed here, but let's not be too hard on him. He's dealing with Time Lords, after all.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Eugene Is A Survivor, But For How Long?
With the group frustrated and running out of time, it's Eugene who hatches a plan involving taking the RV on his own while the rest of the group gets Maggie to The Hilltop via the woods. It's a good plan that he says will take advantage of The Saviors' inability to see who's in the vehicle, but it also means Eugene may be saying goodbye for the last time. He hands over his recipe for making bullets to Rick, who is grateful. But it's really about the moment with Abraham when he acknowledges Eugene's bravery and courage and the two men hug it out. Bros forever!
A Wizard Did It
Don't Fuck With Homicidal Time Lords
If The Saviors are such amazing trackers and organized creators of obstacles, how have they not found and attacked Alexandria by now? That's the kind of thing you might think when you see Eugene's plan go disastrously wrong as the members of Rick's crew on foot, including Carl, Aaron, Abraham, Sasha, and Maggie on a stretcher, are surrounded by what seem like dozens of Saviors and their vehicles, who managed to get through the forest without making a single sound, even with Eugene as their prisoner. Teleportation, people! They're completely fucked and Rick seems to know it.
And that cross of lights from the show's opening? It was light bleeding in to the truck holding Glenn, Michonne, an injured Daryl, and Rosita. They join everyone else as prisoners on their knees.
Name: Negan. Age: Late 40s. Occupation: Leader of The Saviors. Goal: To employ all of his new survivor friends, except for one person, who must die in order to make this whole deal work and to set an example of punishment. Sample Dialogue: "You killed more of my people. Not cool. Not cool. You have no idea how not cool that shit is."
In one of those most annoying finale endings in The Walking Dead history, the 10-plus minute monologue by Negan, which is full of twists and threats and charms and menace, finally leads to a lengthy "Eenie-Meenie" choosing of who should die. We see each of the characters have their moment of fear and horror, we see Glenn unable to shut up when Maggie is threatened, and Abraham straighten himself up with honor in the face of Negan's "New World Order." And we see Negan's bat, Lucille, wrapped in barbed wire and ready to "beat the holy Hell out of one of you," as Negan says. Negan says he can't decide, but ultimately does choose one person to bash. But we see the execution from the victim's point of view, so it's impossible to tell who's being killed. We know it's not Carl because Negan threatens to take his good eye out next if anyone interferes. But otherwise, it's a series of ugly blows and a blackout and screams of horror and and an endless wait until the show comes back in the fall to reveal who took the punishment. Cheap? Sure. Annoying? After the missteps of this half-season, absolutely. Will you be back to see what happens after all this buildup and then a cynical, commercial-heavy, empty finale? I wouldn't blame you if you weren't.