The Walking Dead Review: Last Day on Earth

Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.

Well, the season has ended, and it ended on yet another gimmicky cliffhanger. I shouldn’t be surprised, but it still irritates me. But I’m getting ahead of myself once again. Let’s discuss the rest of the episode first, shall we?

I gave last week’s episode of The Walking Dead one zombie head out of five, because I just hated it. It felt like the writers were raising the stakes by simply making our heroes dumber than they should be. It was lazy and betrayed the core competency of the characters, which has been a huge plot point since before they arrived in Alexandria. A lot of you guys disagreed with me, but I stand by it.

The Walking Dead Review - Episode 616 - Last Day on Earth

I am happy to say that “Last Day on Earth” was a bit better of an episode, if only because not all of the tension came from characters we know suddenly turning into idiots.

The big push this week is Maggie, a story line I ignored in my recap of last week’s episode. She’s in a rough spot, so the super friends assemble, load her into the RV, and make for Hilltop where there’s a doctor. Unfortunately, they get stopped by a barricade setup by the saviors.

Rick tries to talk his way through, but that doesn’t work, so they turn around and try another route. That route is also blocked, but by a bigger force. This continues for a while, with every route blocked by a bigger and more elaborate barricade.

Meanwhile Morgan finds a horse, which he knows how to ride, and Carol. He treats her injury, but she doesn’t want his help. She leaves him, and is immediately set upon by one of the men who attacked her on the road. They fight, and he gets the better of her, shooting her in the arm and then the thigh to make her suffer like his friends she killed. He doesn’t want her to die, which is odd considering that both of the places he shoots her have major arteries running through them, and Carol could very easily bleed out.

The Walking Dead Review - Episode 616 - Last Day on Earth

Luckily, Morgan sneaks up on them. On a horse. That’s right, neither of them hears an animal with steel shoes weighing over a thousand pounds walking toward them. Moran then tries to negotiate, fails, and just shoots the dude. He kneels down to see to Carol, when two more guys sneak up on him. With another horse. These are the sneakiest damn horses I’ve ever seen. Luckily, the guys might not be hostile, and agree to help.

After running through an endless series of barricades, Eugene has the bright idea to send everyone through the woods while he drives the RV around as a distraction. This actually seems like a good plan, especially considering how incompetent the saviors have been so far this season.

It doesn’t work out.

Our gang gets in the woods, and begins to hear whistling. They run, but the whistling gets louder, and it becomes very clear that they’re being herded. It’s an effectively creepy moment, one of the strongest The Walking Dead has had in a long time. Rick’s swagger and bravado instantly evaporate, so we know they’re in for some real shit.

The saviors have a spot in the woods all picked out, disarm our heroes, and then bring out everyone else they had captured previous. This includes Eugene, who must have been captured before he was even out of earshot of the others.

The Walking Dead Review - Episode 616 - Last Day on Earth

And then Negan finally shows up. I’ve been excited about this ever since I found out they had cast Jeffery Dean Morgan, who I like quite a bit. He was…okay, I guess? One of the first things out of his mouth was “Pee pee pants city”, which is a rather underwhelming thing for a scary villain to say.

Then he talks. And talks. And talks. And talks. The longer this went on, the more I forgot about the creepy whistling and our people getting herded like cattle to the slaughterhouse, and it was a damn shame. Finally, he pulls out the bat and starts hitting someone, but we don’t know who. We can be reasonably sure it isn’t RIck or Carl because of what Negan says, which leaves a lot of people on the table.

The whole violent attack is shown first from our perspective, and then we only her sounds. The sound design is disturbing (nice work, foley guys), but it still felt like a massive cop out. Once again, the show hangs its hat on a gimmick to get people talking, and I’m pretty disappointed.

I’m even more disappointed considering how much this big kill was people teased for weeks and weeks. The actor who plays Rick said he was so disturbed he couldn’t handle it. The producers said it would melt people’s minds. And then they showed almost nothing.

Come on, The Walking Dead, be better than this.

Grade:
2 zombie heads out of 5

22 Comments

Ballinabricky

I’m pretty sure it’ll turn out that Negan killed Anonymous McRedshirt.

You know, that guy who came along? The only one that wasn’t one of the principals? The one they kept giving lines to just to remind us he was there at all because we normally don’t notice him?

I wonder if before the zombie apocalypse his character was related to Leslie Arzt from Lost.

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Evan

Whoa I wouldn’t consider Aaron a redshirt at all. Although he definitely low on the character poll. I’m guessing Sasha or Abraham.

Dave

I think that, in order to make any impact, they’ll have to kill a fairly major character. To me, that means: Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, or Abraham (having eliminated Rick and Coral already). Aaron, Sasha, Rosita, and Eugene are too minor to make much of a difference to the plot.

Evan

Ooof. Agree. Not Daryl tho. They can’t do it.

Can’t say I’d mind coral’s stupid hair cut to be killed. Not him, just his haircut.

Evan

I am on the far side of Dave here. I thought it was done well considering the lead up of herding. Then the instructions on how to behave while he smashed in someone capped it off just right.

I wonder if I liked it because I was completely oblivious to any media commentary or crew insight leading up to it. I think it I had read what Dave did I might have been turned off too. Interesting how placed expectations affect this.

On a side Note, Negans costume looks stupid. So sick of leather jackets.

Carol – What.In.The.Hell is going on with her character? They are ruining her. I’m fine with her struggling and breaking down but what I am not ok with is her stupid albatross style decision making.

So I agree with Dave on the score just for different reasons.

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Dave

Negan’s costume was stupid. I don’t mind leather jackets, but that looks fresh off the rack from JC Penny. It just looked cheap and shitty.

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Evan

I should clarify. That was my problem as well. Way too clean. WD is normally good about stuff like that. Wonder if it was a sponsor issue?

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Dave

I wonder the same thing. It looked ridiculous. I also hated how zipped up and stiff he was, the jacket really added to that.

Pi3rK

I’m usually pissed off when a season of my favorite show is over and I have to wait months to see a new episode, but not that much with this 6th season. It had to end.

The show failed to get a proper introduction to the new villains for the last 3 or 4 episodes, as our heroes looked questionable to say the least more time than they usually do. Let’s say that Alexandria’s way of life finally caught up on them…

Considering how the season started, it’s been a consistent level down since the half season. As you all pointed out, I didn’t expected Neagan to be that fancy too. Let’s say this makes him more hateful…

Now… The guys with the spikes who ride ninja horses might be a good thing. We have 3 different groups now, Alexandria, Morgan & Carol, Rick’s and Cie. At least it’s all set up for next year… But Jeez, this has been a disappointing end of the season (overall cause still the show had some pretty good moments at times).

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Dave

“overall cause still the show had some pretty good moments at times”

I think that’s what’s bothering me so much. There’s been some really great stuff here, but the inconsistency is just killing it.

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Pi3rK

Does anybody knows if any writter of FTWD has been working on TWD’s 6th season? This might explains a lot…

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jaczor

It was terrible, you know how much resources it would take to set up all those barricades just to put on a show? Why would anyone do that? (let alone that I’m sure that a group of post apocalyptic survivors would not be able to do it, regardless of their numbers). It made no sense at all.

Also, how in the name of Daryl’s poncho did The saviors set it up so that the gang would stop the RV, come up with the plan to send Eugene on his own, at the EXACT spot that they wanted them to, then make them walk in the precise direction that they needed them to in order to do that whistling ambush, which was 10 steps away from where they had all these people, cars, etc. waiting???

I wont even get into that forced, lame, cliffhanger, but my money is on Abraham, no one else had the size to take that first hit without going down and they gave him that dialogue with Sasha a few minutes earlier.

I give it -1 lego zombie head.

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Evan

“Also, how in the name of Daryl’s poncho did The saviors set it up so that the gang would stop the RV, come up with the plan to send Eugene on his own, at the EXACT spot that they wanted them to, then make them walk in the precise direction that they needed them to in order to do that whistling ambush, which was 10 steps away from where they had all these people, cars, etc. waiting???”

I think it was more about how they were being watched.

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Mattexian

I think that was Rick’s weakness, they were being watched (we know the Saviors have radios, not that hard to change frequency, especially if it’s otherwise secure), and Rick and crew only had so many available routes between Alexandria and the Hilltop, where the only doctor is. The roadblocks indicate the Saviors still have a significant size force, that they called in for this action against Rick, as well as the vehicles (and fuel) for rapid movements. Rick’s decision making deteriorated as the routes were blocked off, as if he was getting more desperate, which can make it easier to predict his likely actions.

I’m surprised at how many vehicles everyone is driving around, as if the gas supplies aren’t at a critical point, this long after everything shut down. The Kingdom folks with their horses (whom Morgan met at the end) have the better idea for travelling once the gas runs out.

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Dave

I’m definitely intrigued by the horses (ignoring how quiet they were). They would represent a tremendous asset and value to survivors.

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jaczor

That’s my point! it makes no sense at all that the saviors would waste such a huge amount of resources just to intimidate a group of what, 6-7 strong people?

But still, it seems extremely convenient that they stopped there, even if they were being watched, how many km of road did the saviors have to monitor? it’s not like they were tracking the RV using GPS or a helicopter, it all looked like a consequence of cheap writing to me.

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Mick

Finally got time to watch the finale. My biggest problem – among many with the episode – was that Negan, when he was finally revealed, left me seriously underwhelmed. That’s what the whole season was building to?

I didn’t find him scary at all. More annoying than anything else.

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