The Walking Dead ended its sixth season with... a mystery. We finally met Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the final moments of the Season 6 finale, and he delivered on the show's promise to kill off a major character. I think. See, we still don't know who was on the receiving end of Negan's beloved barbed bat, Lucille, because the episode never showed us. A cliff-hanger like this feels dated, but that wasn't the only thing wrong with the finale. Here are five reasons the Season 6 finale was a big disappointment.
1. It was 90 boring minutes long when it could have been 15 mediocre minutes
At some point, an AMC executive likely asked showrunner Scott Gimple to stretch the finale out to fit into a 90-minute run time for no other reason than to sell more ads. Because there was no way that "Last Day on Earth" should have been an hour and a half long. To catch you up on the first hour or so: Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) group packed into an RV to take Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to Hilltop to seek medical attention for the pregnancy difficulties that struck her at the end of the previous episodes. But every road the RV was on was blocked off by a group of Saviors who stopped them from moving forward unless Rick agreed to cede all power and possessions to the bad guys. It was repetitive to the point of mind-numbing, particularly toward the end when Rick wasn't even getting out of the RV to talk it out with the Saviors. At one point, the roadblock was just a pile of wood, which had just as much personality as the Saviors themselves. Ninety-minute episodes should feel packed to the brim; this felt like it was stalling for time.
2. The Carol story line still doesn't make any sense despite how much attention it gets
In the B story, Morgan (Lennie James) searched for Carol (Melissa McBride) just like he promised. And he found her! But she didn't want to go back to Alexandria because she was still consumed by this nonsensical reasoning of not feeling like she could kill for someone else. She didn't feel like she cared enough about another to kill for them, so she thought she would be better off being far away from everyone. This is already sketchy enough logic to wrap your head around, but coming from Carol, it's doubly awful. This is a woman who transformed herself from a victim to the series' best and most badass character, and now The Walking Dead is yanking on her collar and reining her in, undoing everything that made her a fan favorite. And for what? Because it doesn't have a better idea of what to do with her? Melissa McBride is too good of an actress to be given this story line, but she can't even convince viewers that what she's doing makes sense.
3. We still know too little about the Saviors
Despite most of the action and motivation of this back half of Season 6 being driven by the Saviors, we still don't know squat about these guys. Their prime directives appear to be bullying others into working for them and giving them their stuff, but beyond that? No clue. Apparently they have an endless supply of bodies at their disposal, as each roadblock was manned by more and more people and was more and more complex. This, after Rick slaughtered every Savior that was in the group's supposed main compound. How many more are there? Dozens? Hundreds? Millions? By adding more Saviors whenever it felt necessary, The Walking Dead created an enemy without bounds, which took away from the supposed real-world terror that The Walking Dead is best at. We've never seen a group anywhere near this huge in the show. How did the Saviors know Rick would be going to Hilltop for medical help right then and there? Why did they set up this elaborate plan to psychologically torture Rick's group? Why would Negan even want them to work for him after all they've been through? Villains need to be understood to be truly terrifying; these guys are just here to be bad.
4. Where are the zombies?
Remember when The Walking Dead used to be about zombies? Sure, the show has moved past the zombies being an immediate threat on their own as it attempts to explore the hearts of men in a post-apocalyptic landscape, but come on, zombies are still the main attraction here. Following the zombie horde from the first half of Season 6, the undead have played a very small role on the series and that's a problem.
5. The cliff-hanger ending was total bullsh--
If you read the rumors about the finale, the ending probably wasn't a surprise. An online leak that we hoped wasn't true was unfortunately 100 percent correct: We never got to see who Negan killed in the final minute of the finale because the camera shifted to a first-person point of view of the character who was getting killed. Gimple said on Talking Dead that he didn't show who died because that was the end of a story and Season 7 will start with showing who died, and that's the beginning of a new story. That's obviously total phooey, because in no way, shape or form was hiding who died a decent way to end a story. The Walking Dead is a results-oriented series because after six seasons, it lacks any solid characterization or fresh theme. We watch to see zombies get killed and to keep track of which survivors are still living. Had the episode showed us who was killed, it would have been more powerful because we'd know that Negan took someone from us. Instead, it's reduced to a camera trick, which sapped any real emotional connection we'd have to the finale. This was a mind game to The Walking Dead instead of a real story. Imagine how livid we'd be if Glenn was killed. We'd be lining up to see Season 7 to watch how Rick and the group got out of this situation, or how they'd retaliate. But nope, we're only lining up to find out who died, which is a completely different and entirely empty motivation for watching. Sigh. It worked, though, and we'll be watching Season 7.
What did you think of the Season 6 finale?