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Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

'The Walking Dead' season 6 finale backlash: are you done with the show?

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Wednesday, April 6, 2016

WARNING: Obvious spoilers here in case you didn't see Sunday's episode.

By leaving a massive cliffhanger, "The Walking Dead" split fans. Some liked the idea of speculating who died for the next six months. Others thought it was a lame cop out or just a way to jerk the viewers around yet again.

During a conference call Monday morning, show runner Scott Gimple justified the season 6 finale thusly:

In many ways, what we saw last night was the end of the story of season six. Where Rick winds up is completely different from where he started out in [episode] one and where he started out in [episode] nine. I know, obviously, and I've known for a while what is in [episode] 701, and presenting what occurs — to show what happened in full force — it is the beginning of the next story.

And on "Talking Dead," Gimple talked about how cliffhangers are now a classic trope e.g. what's in the hatch in "Lost." So why not use it too?

He said in the conference call he anticipated negative reaction but still sounded annoyed:

"I think if you have something in a story that can be criticized in some direction, it will be criticized. There is a vast audience and people in some ways now feel almost like it's their duty to let their opinions be known, and that's great. That's part of the world now."

Vox's Todd VanDerWerff isn't buying the move beyond it's obvious buzz-worthiness. He said if it's really all about Rick's story arc, why not show his reaction to the death? Instead, it became all about Negan's arrival and the impending death of a major character. He just chose not to show said character.

He wanted to provoke internet chatter about who died — he probably just wasn't counting on it being so negative.

Alan Sepinwall, the respected TV critic on Hitfix, has decided to stop watching the show, calling this a "hilarious stupid cliffhanger." He had given the producers one more shot with the finale but felt they failed, despite Jeffrey Dean Morgan's intriguing portrayal of Negan.

"Last Day on Earth" was just about the opposite of a creative miracle. It was every bad decision the show has made over the last few years, all included in a dumb, lifeless, repetitive 90-minute episode that couldn't even be bothered to give the comic book fans the one moment they'd been waiting for — and that the show had been desperately teasing since the fall, in hopes that news that this sociopath with the anthropomorphised bat would forgive every dumb decision involving the herd, Glenn crawling under the dumpster, Carol's abrupt personality transplant, etc. — by instead going with a cliffhanger ending that will leave the victim's identity a secret up until fall. (Or, at least, until that actor signs on to do another show.)

Joe Otterson of The Wrap is in the other camp:

Like many fans, I felt cheated. After nearly six months of buildup, we were left with nothing to do but wait for Season 7 — at least six months from now.

Yet the great irony of all the outrage that has dominated conversation about the show over the past few days is that the people who are the most angry are the ones who will be the first to tune in when Season 7 starts. I know because I am one of those people.

Slate's Laura Bradley was in between:

 This has been The Walking Dead’s most formally experimental season yet, featuring a few exciting choices and many disappointing ones. Ultimately, its latter half built all of its anticipation on one moment—and that moment didn’t deliver at all.

She feels the only emotionally proper death would be Glenn, not Abraham or Daryl.

Nerdist tried to use sound analysis to glean who it might be (Glenn?)

Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl, said he isn't even sure who has died so maybe the writers punted the decision until later.

Production begins soon but I'm sure the show will work hard to keep the secret under wraps.

And someone actually bothered to collect fan reaction to the end here;


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Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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