‘TWD’ Ep. 616, “Last Day On Earth” Disappointing Cliffhanger

Well, ‘TWD’ Ep. 616 “Last Day on Earth” yielded a disappointing cliffhanger. After an entire season of speculation, fans have to wait months to see who Negan bluggened to death. Is it too much to ask for just a touch of closure, Mr. Gimple?

Much like Rick and his group’s encounter at Terminus, he and the gang are wrangled to a point of no control. Again, the group finds itself on its knees while a maniac wields a bat.

Then, there was much speculation that Glenn would die since his comicbook counterpart dies similarly at the hands of Negan. Now, there’s no reasonable way to determine who died at the close of the episode.

The first person camera point of view, albeit a clever artistic choice, is a disappointing fan experience. The blood spatter on the camera, the grotesque thuds, darkness, and deafening ring leave no doubt that whoever Negan selected will not be part of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7.

Disappointing as the ambiguity may be, the episode, wrought with tension, had some compelling aspects and raises more questions than who died.

Negan’s debut, clearly the most compelling aspect of “Last Day on Earth,” was everything I hoped it would be. Jeffrey Dean Morgan perfectly captures Negan’s menacing charisma. Many audience members may find it difficult to full fledged hate Negan when he manages to blend dark humor into his wrath. Calling Carl a future serial-killer was especially entertaining.

In ‘The Walking Dead’ comics, Negan takes quite a shine to Carl. Negan, who considers himself the New World order, has probably not previously found himself face to face with a child of the New World.

Calling Carl a future serial killer makes clear the necessity of companionship. Had Carl not been emotionally invested in his father, Michonne, and the others, chances are he would be a sociopath.  Will Negan’s admiration help Carl or Rick, or will it pose a greater threat to the group?

But Negan’s quick and subtle fascination with Carl isn’t the only interesting aspect of this very long and anticlimactic series moment.

When Glenn, Michonne, Daryl, and Rosita rejoin the group, there’s a moment when Glenn sees Maggie. His ache and panic are palpable– a stark contrast to the confidence Rick and Carl exude throughout the episode.

The group’s absolute sense of helplessness becomes painfully evident when Negan toys with the idea of putting Maggie, who is ill and looks every bit of sick, out of her misery. Glenn panics and pleads and it’s safe to say every audience member clenches with the tension.

How will this sense of powerlessness change Rick? How will it change the dynamic of his group?

Negan likely recongizes the relationship between Glenn and Maggie and he also recognizes the relationship between Rick and Carl. Does this mean that these four characters are in the clear? Is this a means of subtly eliminating victims or a way of nodding to the three most probable casualties?

Throughout the episode, there are callbacks Season 6 and Season 1 ‘The Walking Dead’ moments. Carl, determined to keep Enid safe, locks Enid in a closet. When she asks what she’s supposed to do if something happens to Carl, he tells her to just survive somehow, a callback to Episode 602, “JSS.”

Does Enid’s plea foreshadow Carl’s bloody faith?

In a separate arc, Morgan chases after Carol…on a white horse. I couldn’t help by think of Rick a la ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 1 when he gallops into the city and has his first encounter with Glenn–an encounter that reunites Rick with Laurie, his now late wife, and Carl.

His white steed, reminiscent of fairytales, may explain the ironic “Fiction” sign that hangs behind Morgan when he goes back inside after he kills a dangling zombie and realizes that Carol, who he just found, ran off again. ‘The Walking Dead’ is no fairytale.

Morgan has to betray his code and sacrifice a piece of himself for the good of Carol… a theme that threads ‘The Wallking Dead’ Season 6 finale.Though, things work out for Morgan and Carol in the longrun when the owner of the white horse, a mysterious stranger who crossed paths with Morgan and Rick in Episode 615.

Are the two men from the Hilltop or is ‘The Walking Dead’ world growing? Could the two men be from Ezekiel’s Kingdom, another coummunity that suffers under Negan?

Another interesting development was Eugene’s maturation. In a too-good-to-be-true twist, Eugene has a moment where he voluteers to drive the RV while the others attempt to get Maggie to the Hilltop on foot. Abraham finally gives Eugene credit and acknowledges him as a survivor.

Does this brotastic moment hint that Eugene or Abraham will die at the hands of Negan?

Abraham has his mind on living; he hints to Sasha that he would be willing to start a family with her. Does this optimism and affection spell disaster for Abraham?

Finally, as the group finds itself under siege, Maggie tells Rick that she believes in him. Is her faith misplaced? Had Maggie or the others challenged Rick in his commitment to Gregory (to assassinate Negan), would they find themselves at Negan’s mercy?

The faith that Maggie and the others have in Rick helps explain how a maniac like Negan could have amassed such a tremendous following.

Rick and his group are not exactly angels. They’ve done some pretty horrific things…including stabbing sleeping men in their skulls. Is Rick really that different from Negan? In this context, is Negan’s decision to slaughter one of our beloved characters justified?

What did you think of tonight’s ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 finale? Who do you speculate died in the closing sequence? You can share your questions, predicitions, and insights in the comment section.

Consumer Expert Melissa O'Donnell

Teacher by day, pop culture consumer by night- Melissa lives for good stories and loves to share them with fellow TV, movie, graphic novel, and book enthusiasts. She also blogs about pop culture's influence on everything from her worldview to her relationships at undertheinfluence76.blogspot.com-- she'd love for you to join in on her journey.