April 4, 2016 – Spoiler alert!
The Walking Dead’s sixth season finale, “Last Day on Earth,” aired Sunday and ended with the AMC drama’s (arguably) biggest cliffhanger yet. However, after a season spent teasing the death of a major character at the hands of the villainous Negan, many viewers weren’t pleased with the inconclusive final scene.
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and other Alexandria Safe Zone residents endeavored to wipe out the Saviors four episodes ago as part of a “kill for food” pact. By acting as mercenaries, the Alexandrians receive half the provisions from the thriving but poorly armed Hilltop Colony.
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At first it appeared the Saviors were kaput when they were knifed and shot inside their compound during a predawn raid. But as the Alexandrians discovered to their dismay, most of the Saviors were stationed elsewhere.
The Alexandrians would be much safer staying inside their walled enclave and preparing for a counterattack. When pregnant Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) collapses on the floor in agony, however, she must be driven to Hilltop, where obstetrician Dr. Harlan Carson (R. Keith Harris) awaits.
Escorting Maggie on this long journey in a beat-up recreational vehicle are Rick, his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green), Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) and Aaron (Ross Marquand).
What these travelers don’t know is that four of their comrades were subdued by the Saviors and locked in a van.
Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) was wounded in the struggle. The other captives — Maggie’s husband Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) — are unharmed but fearing for their lives.
Rick and company’s trip to Hilltop is halted several times when the Saviors set up a series of obstacles, including a macabre “daisy chain” of zombies stretched across the road.
Give us half of everything you own, one of the Saviors calls out to Rick. And then let us murder one of your people.
Realizing it’s impossible to reach Hilltop by driving, Eugene volunteers to pilot the RV by himself as a distraction while Rick and the others carry Maggie on a stretcher through the woods.
This plan fails spectacularly, however, when Eugene is caught and beaten by the Saviors. Then the other Alexandrians are surrounded, disarmed and forced to kneel as Negan makes his terrifying entrance.
“You are so gonna regret crossing me,” Negan warns, adding that “you don’t mess with the new world order.”
When it’s time to punish the Alexandrians for their attacks on the Saviors, Negan says he “simply can’t decide” who should die. So he sadistically counts “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” in choosing his victim.
Then he savagely swings that horrible bat.
As the episode drew to a close, the leader of the Saviors had Rick and almost every other key Alexandrian right where he wanted them, kneeling at his feet.
The only question left was which hero would be the one to meet their end at the hands of Negan and Lucille, his infamous barbwire-covered baseball bat. And someone did die before the scene cut to black, but thanks to some camera angle trickery, fans were still left wondering who.
Executive producers Scott M. Gimple and Robert Kirkman appeared on Talking Dead immediately following the show and spoke about the cliffhanger, claiming it was setting up a larger storyline that would be explored next season. “The cliffhanger isn’t the story,” Kirkman said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “The story of the episode, and Scott and Matt Negrete did such a great job of setting up how confident Rick was going into this.
This episode is about the loss of that confidence. It’s about changing that mindset. It’s about tearing Rick Grimes down and that’s the conclusion of this story. So while it does seem like a cliffhanger, that’s the conclusion. And the story of who died, the story of what comes next, of who Negan killed, of what comes after that, that’s really the story of season 7.”
However, many fans still felt dissatisfied, taking to social media to voice their complaints.