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So this was it, we finally made it to the season finale after what seemed like a life time. A long laborious slog through waste deep mediocrity. Even after being constantly disappointed this season (save a few highlights), I was still hoping for something big. Some sign of light, of the right things being done. If it was going to happen, it was going to happen here. It was going to happen with Glenn, Daryl, Michonne and Rosita (among others) captured, with Negan’s arrival impending. It didn’t however. The episode was thoroughly indicative of the season as a whole. One long slog that looked like it was leading somewhere cool but then didn’t. I would say I am disappointed but really, honestly, this is what I expected.

This episode only existed to get us to one particular scene, right at the end, Negan’s debut and whatever heinous things he was going to do. It was a journey, both figuratively and literally, with Rick and basically everyone who is capable of defending Alexandria leaving (don’t get me started on that again) to take Maggie to the doctor at Hilltop because of pregnancy woes. They never got there of course. It was an excruciating journey, consisting of them getting blocked at every turn by the Saviors, the show only cutting away to show us an ineffective side story containing Carol and Morgan. Basically Carol told Morgan to go away, got shot by a Savior and then Morgan rescued her. It felt very unimportant and even though she was technically in physical danger, you knew this wasn’t going to be her end. These scenes only use were to break up the monotony of the main groups trek and to fill in some valuable minutes —  TWD loves wasting time, as we know.

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Eventually, and I mean… EVENTUALLY, we got towards the end of the episode, where Rick and co decided to abandon the RV, carrying Maggie on a stretcher through the woods while being chased. This was a pretty awesome visual and actually genuinely scary. They soon came to be surrounded, lights shone on them and their weapons taken. This was what we had been waiting for. This wasn’t the moment the entire season had been building towards. This is where I got excited. This is where my hopes began to swell. Things actually looked pretty bleak at this point (in a good way). Surely a grisly fate was near. Well no… no it wasn’t. It almost was, it could have been, but TWD is a show about almost, could of, should have.

This isn’t to say Negan’s initial introduction wasn’t fantastic, because it was. It was pretty cool. Some new energy was pumped into proceedings, him strutting out with his horrific looking bat, telling us all what deep shit we were in. It was scary, it really was, I was genuinely thinking “Oh shit, they’re gonna do something horrendous here” but then he kept talking. Negan kept talking and talking and talking. On and on, until any sense of fear went away after about… gosh… I think like ten minutes? The intensity just evaporating, his fear factor all but gone. Eventually he picked at random someone he was going to kill. Though I’m not certain he said he was actually going to murder anyone, just beat them really badly. Well, in either case, with the most frustrating choice ever, we didn’t even get to see who he chose to punish, we just got an annoying, goofy POV of him bashing someone’s skull in. That was it. The season ended. Leaving the audience with its hands raised and its hopes dashed.

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Now, I’m not a reader of the comics, but I have since learned, accidently, who was supposed to die here, but no matter whom it was, WE HAD TO SEE IT NOW. We just had to, that is what the show and the episode demanded. The fact that they decided to keep us hanging like that was truly absurd. So now when we return next season, we are going to see… a dead body? Whose? Does it matter? All the build up to X’s death has already taken place, the tension of that moment is gone. If it’s someone big like Rick or Daryl etc then yeah, it will be surprising but it won’t be impactful, and if its someone we don’t give a shit about, then it will beyond maddening, it will be crushing, it could be show ending for me, that’s for sure. Really it could, I mean, after what happened, I feel like being done right now. Why should I come back? Why should I keep watching this? What are they giving me? This show is failing and faltering at every turn.

This was supposed to be it. That scene with Negan, with everyone on their knees before him, had all the potential in the world to rectify the mistakes of seasons past. But no. Once a coward, always a coward. This show just doesn’t get it. It’s really that simple. They don’t get IT. I want to find more positives to take away but it’s really difficult. I mean… I did appreciate the look on Ricks face during this scene. As always, Andrew Lincoln holds the show together, and you can really tell that Rick realised how royally he had screwed up, that another monster had been unleashed, that he had lost and was now powerless to do anything about it. But to screw the audience like the episode did, and to not even show who got beaten or who got killed, was poor form indeed. Imagine for a second if Negan had killed two people in that scene, three people, just gone along the line and ripped people out of Rick’s world while he stood there powerless. It would have been visceral, guttural, magnificent TV. It’s a shame.

I’m glad this show is gone for a while. I just want to forget about it. FEAR THE WALKING DEAD starts next week, I will be watching it (having quite enjoyed the first season) and I will be reviewing it. I am a little nervous about its growth to sixteen episodes, but let’s face it; it can’t be worse than its parent show. Can it? OH GOD, CAN IT?!?! Gulp.

Verdict

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Film and TV Journalist Follow: @SamuelBrace Follow: @filmandtvnow