The finale of season six of The Walking Dead aired last night with the introduction of one of the most brutal characters to date.
The finale is comprised of two main plots. The first, more minor plot deals with Morgan (Lennie James) on his quest to find Carol (Melissa McBride). The first scene of the episode opens with Morgan finding the horse that a character was looking for last episode. He takes it and rides it, still following Carol’s tracks. Meanwhile, we see the surviving Savior is still following at his slow pace.
Morgan happens upon Carol on the steps of a library and she is hurt from a gunshot wound inflicted in the last episode. Morgan helps her and they stay inside the library for a night. When Morgan wakes up the next morning, Carol is gone. Luckily, his horse is still around, so he takes the horse and sets off after her.
Carol, meanwhile, has finally been caught by the Savior. Both are on the verge of dying, and he mentions that he plans on watching her die slowly. To speed the process up a bit, though, he shoots her in the arm once, then twice. Carol tells him that if he doesn’t shoot her, she wont die. As he begins to ready his killing blow, six rounds fly off into his chest. Morgan caught up and has decided that, in this case, its okay for him to kill.
After a couple minutes, some men dressed in armor, and one with a horse appears. Morgan recognizes him as the man who was looking for his horse last week, and the armored men say they will help Carol.
The main plot of the episode revolves around Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Sasha (Sonequa Martin), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who are all traveling to the Hilltop to get Maggie to the doctor. Taking the RV, the group sets out on the day-long journey. Through a brief conversation, we find that Rick is leaving the security of the safe zone to Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam).
Along the road, we come across a group of about 16 men. A brief conversation ensues before Rick sends his group back onto the RV and the group heads out looking for a different route. Every route the group tries is blocked by more and more men, until they finally come across a daisy chained group of walkers. One of the walkers has Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) hair, and another has Daryl’s(Norman Reedus) crossbow bolts. This shakes Rick, and the group break the chain. As they go to break the chain, gunfire erupts from around the group. Rick will later notice that the shots were aimed at their feet in an attempt to rattle them further.
Further down the road, the most intimidating scene of the episode appears, and what looks like fifty men are lining the road, waiting for Rick. The group turns around.
Eugene offers to take the RV and drive, in an effort to distract the men, while the main group takes a worsening Maggie. Moving through the trees, whistles can be heard, and the group is herded into an open field, surrounded by what appears to be fifty men. The Savior from the first meeting (Steven Ogg) appears and gets everyone on their knees before unloading Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl, Michonne, and Rosita (Christian Serratos) from a truck. All on their knees, Negan finally appears.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is portraying the brutal Negan for the show, and we get a good idea why he was chosen from this first scene. He explains, in a long dialogue, that half of what Rick and Co. have, now belongs to him. He expresses his displeasure for them killing so many of Negan’s men, but notes calmly that he wants Rick’s group to work for him (IE, collect things to give to Negan). Since so many people have died though, there needs to be a price.
Negan can’t decide who to kill with Lucille, his trusty barbed wire baseball bat, so he does what every rational man does when he can’t choose, and does eeny meeny miney moe. This is the best sequence in the episode, as the suspense builds and builds to nothing.
What we get is a point of view shot of someone getting beaten to death with Lucille. We don’t know who, though. That is where the episode ends.
This ending, and whole scene really, is a perfect representation of Negan. Although I would be lying if I said that the cliffhanger didn’t nearly bring me to pee pee pants city in rage, after thinking it over, I quite enjoy it. The scene was about Negan, not the victim of his brutality. This was to show how Negan operates, who Negan is. The way that showrunner Scott Gimple has chosen to portray what many call the most iconic scene in the comic is great for a few reasons: It’s hard to keep anger and frustration alive over six months, even if it is over anxiety of the loss of a favorite character. This way, season seven can reopen with the same scene, and the immediate aftermath. That way; we get an appropriate introduction to Negan (616), and the emotional fallout of the death (701).
The entire episode was wonderfully done, and even the cliffhanger was done well. I fully believe that come next season, we will get a reconstruction of the scene to show who dies. It will not be glossed over, it will not be forgotten. Gimple knows what he is doing, as evidenced by him bringing the show back from the crippling mediocrity that was season three.
Negan is here.