The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Sixteen “Last Day on Earth”

negan and the lineup

“As long as it’s all of us, we can do anything.” – Rick Grimes to Maggie Greene

“You ruled the roost, you…built something. You thought you were safe. I get it. But the word is out. you…are not safe. Not even close.” – Negan

The sixteenth episode and the sixth season finale of The Walking Dead opens with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) morgan and horseout in the woods of Northern Virginia looking for Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride). She had run away from their town, Alexandria, because of building guilt over killing people in the past. Now, Morgan finds a horse with a saddle and bridle and begins riding it to continue his search.

Back in Alexandria, the residents are preparing to transport Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) in an RV to Hilltop, a town a day’s drive away, since there is a doctor that can help her. Maggie is pregnant with her husband Glenn Rhee’s (Steven Yeun) child and is experiencing sharp pains in her abdomen, presumably she is in danger of miscarriage. Accompanying her are the town’s leader, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his teenage son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), his lover Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt). Before they leave, Rick puts Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) in charge of the town’s defense. They had come into conflict recently with a vicious gang of marauders called the Saviors and everyone is on edge as the Rick’s group leaves in the RV. What they don’t realize is that their fellow residents Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) and Glenn have been captured by the Saviors in the previous episode.

Later, Morgan rides the horse into an abandoned town with  a few undead walkers shuffling about. He finds Carol badly wounded by a library. Despite her protests about being left alone, he takes her inside the library and tends to her knife wound that she received in the previous episode from fighting some Saviors.

rick and co.

The journey of the RV is stymied when a group of Saviors form a roadblock. Rick and his people step out and he offers to make a deal. This group’s leader (Steven Ogg) demands that Rick and the others turn over their supplies and that one of them may be killed. Being that they are armed with guns, Rick refuses this offer and rather than confront the Savior he has Abraham drive the RV back where they came from and start looking for an alternate route.

In the library, once Carol is mended, Morgan insists on taking her back to Alexandria. She adamantly refuses and states that she cares too much about the Alexandrians. In order to protect them, she has to kill for them, which is something she refuses to do anymore. Morgan leaves her to kill a walker just outside the library. She uses this opportunity to flee the building.

carol on the edge

Carol stumbles through the deserted streets and barely fights off walkers. Just after she kills the last one, she is attacked by Roman (Stuart Greer), one of the Saviors that she confronted in the last episode and she left for dead. Instead, he survived and has been hunting her ever since. He gets the better of her and has her on the ground at gunpoint. Already defeated and weary from her ordeal and her emotions, Carol pleads to be killed. Instead, Roman begins torturing her by shooting her limbs.

Morgan shows up with a gun that Rick gave him last episode and orders him to stop. When Roman refuses, Morgan reluctantly shoots him repeatedly, killing him.

meet the kingdomThe gunfire draws the attention of two armored men. One of them (Daniel Newman), Morgan and Rick briefly encountered in the previous episode. Rick thought he was a Savior and tried shooting him but Morgan stopped him. Now, this same man offers aid for Carol. He and Morgan shake hands.

Rick and the others are having are harder time. No matter where they turn on the roads, they come upon roadblocks by Saviors. Each time, the numbers of Saviors grows ominously larger. One roadblock is different in that a group of chained-together walkers block their RV’s path. When they leave the vehicle to investigate, they discover that two of the walkers have items from Daryl and Michonne, such as his crossbow bolts and a couple of her dreadlocks. An unseen assailant fires at their feet, forcing them back to the RV. But Rick quickly hacks apart the walkers and the chains, which clears a path for them.

rick kills blockers

 

Day turns into night and they are no closer to Hilltop. After more roadblocks, their fuel supply low, and Maggie’s condition worsening they realize they have to do something. Eugene opines that the Saviors may only be on the lookout for an RV. It’s decided that Eugene will drive off with the RV as a lure while Rick and the others will transport Maggie on a stretcher by foot to Hilltop. Before Eugene leaves he gives Rick a “recipe”, instructions on how to make bullets.

carrying maggieRick and his group make their way through the woods in the dark and are just a few miles away from their destination. But taunting whistles announce that they aren’t alone. They hastened their hike but are stopped in their tracks by a spotlight. They are surrounded by an army of Saviors. Nearby is the RV and Eugene held prisoner. The Savior that they first met disarms them and forces them to their knees. Then a nearby van opens up and Daryl, Michonne, Rosita and Glenn are brought out to join Rick and the others. Once that is done the Saviors’ leader Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) emerges from the RV.

A large, imposing man clad in a motorcycle jacket, Negan wields a baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire that he calls Lucille. He informs Rick that he and his people will work for the Saviors from now on and turn over half of what they own to the Saviors. He adds that Rick’s people has killed many of his people and for that he has to make an example. One of the group will be killed. Enjoying the moment, especially the sense of deflated defeat in Rick, Negan decides to randomly pick one of Rick’s party. Once done, he smashes the bat over the victim of his wrath. We do not see who it is, only the POV of the victim as blood pours down the screen before the POV tumbles to the ground and the screen goes black.

negan lectures rick

After all the hoopla and anticipation, the season six finale of The Walking Dead is a mixed bag with a disappointing conclusion. “Last Day on Earth” for the most part had this growing sense of dread over what was to come. We, the viewers knew that Negan was right around the corner, but our heroes didn’t and the anxiousness that we felt as events unfolded was mirrored by Rick’s increasing desperation. He and many of his people started off this episode (and for a good portion of season six) with a sense of bravado that they could do anything. Rick and his people could not be truly faulted, though. They had been through the wringer with many foes and vanquished them, it was only natural that they would become overconfident. But, now they are paying a price. Honestly, they had to expect some kind of reaction from all the Saviors they killed in the last few episodes of The Walking Dead.

rick aaron and sasha

That overconfidence could be the explanation over some of the decisions made by Rick. Why not just head back to Alexandria where it was safer? Why didn’t he realize much sooner that they were being herded?

Strangely enough, the story arc with Morgan was actually the most interesting thing going on in “Last Day on Earth” because for a while many fans have been growing impatient with his non-killing stance and saw it as a hindrance. In this episode, his Pay It Forward approach seems to be paying off with the introduction of the citizens from The Kingdom, a new faction that if mirroring the comic books will become a major ally for the Alexandria Safe Zone. It would be satisfying for Morgan if he ends up joining that community.

As Carol, her behavior is just perplexing. Once an iron lady with a cool head and a pragmatic resolve, she is emotionally falling apart. In recent episodes, Carol has been acting like a meek and helpless housewife, echoing her past. At first, it seemed like an effective ruse to put her enemies’ guards down, but now we’re wondering if it is something else. Perhaps she is starting to suffer from PTSD and if so it’s not a good time because Alexandria needs her now more than ever. But at least, for now, she is safe from Negan.

Regarding Negan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan owned the role the moment he stepped out of that RV. Already a genre favorite thanks to his roles in Watchmen and Supernatural, Morgan’s Negan is an intimidating and sadistic force who is not to be taken lightly. We just wish he had appeared sooner, though it is understandable why the producers wanted to wait until a special moment like the finale to unveil him.

both negans

However, their decision to not reveal who Negan killed was a huge letdown. Never mind the excuses made by them that they wanted a good cliffhanger. Ending the episode like is not an appropriate payoff. In the 100th issue of The Walking Dead comic book, readers saw immediately who Negan killed and everyone got to process over what happened. This did not happen here, unlike Game of Thrones where we see who gets killed at the end of each season and get to express our rage over a period of time. Now, we are stuck waiting several months until the fall to find out who was killed. Good luck to the producers with trying to keep that secret. What is worse is that we won’t be able to fully process the death when it is revealed before being swept up in the next episode. Perhaps, they feared a backlash if they revealed now who died, but that is happening anyway with many disappointed viewers.

So are they worried that people won’t take kindly to the creative decision of who died? Could it be, God forbid, Daryl? Or is it Glenn? It is difficult to say who is the victim and the final moments do not make that clear despite what conspiracy theorists are stating across the Internet. Personally, I think it could be Eugene or Abraham based on Eugene’s apparent farewell expressed before leaving in the RV and Abraham’s recent turn away from a bleak outlook on life. But it could be someone else. All we can do now is speculate until this fall.

José Soto

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