Like millions of others, I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead. But they’ve lied to me for the last time.
Even people who don’t watch The Walking Dead have heard about the infamous cliffhanger ending employed by the show last week. After building up to the arrival of Negan for the entire season, we only ended up seeing the show’s newest villain for just a matter of moments.
To top it all off, he killed a member of the group— but we didn’t see who it was.
Yeah, cliffhangers can be frustrating, but it’s nothing new for The Walking Dead. They practically end every single episode with one. That’s not even what I’m mad about.
I just hate the way the show’s producers and lead actors basically promised we’d see a major death on the show that would be the most devastating moment of the series, knowing that it wouldn’t happen.
For example, before the Season 6 finale, Norman Reedus (Daryl) said he couldn’t speak for an hour after seeing a rough cut of the episode; Josh McDermitt (Eugene) claimed that he “threw the script against the wall” after reading it; Lauren Cohan (Maggie) said she didn’t even want to come into work that day and that it took a “really, really long time for everybody to feel okay again after the finale.”
Even Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) got in on the hype. Here’s what he said in an interview with EW in anticipation of the finale:
"“I felt sick to my stomach when I read the script. It was the first day in the whole six years of working on The Walking Dead that I was late for work because I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was so angry and frustrated and I felt sick. And that was just after reading it.”"
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Clearly, a cliffhanger ending that didn’t show any characters actually die is hardly the most heartbreaking thing we’ve seen on The Walking Dead. Yeah, we know that somebody is going to die soon into Season 7— but since when is an anticipated death scene worse than an actual death on the show? If anything, you’d think they’d be relieved that they could put off the big death for at least another 6 months.
I can’t be too surprised, though. Last season also ended with an underwhelming cliffhanger with Reg (Deanna’s husband) and Pete (Jessie’s husband) being the only notable deaths. Reg seemed like a nice enough guy, but his loss certainly wasn’t hard to take for Walking Dead fans… unless you believe Norman Reedus, who told viewers to “bring Kleenex”.
The show doesn’t need to have a major death for an episode to be good. Clear is probably the best episode of the entire series, and the only person that died was a nameless hitchhiker. It’s just annoying when they don’t deliver on things that they promise— don’t act like the Season 6 finale is going to be the most heartbreaking episode of the show when ultimately nothing ends up happening.
I think it’s a shame that they tell these little white lies to their fans. But I get why they do it. It’s all about the ratings and money, and you can’t argue with results— the Season 6 finale pulled in an impressive 18 million viewers.
The only problem is, most of them are now pissed off.