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There’s More to The Walking Dead Finale Besides Death

Spoilers ahead
so don’t read unless you’re caught

everyone doing? Have we recovered? Do
we feel
comfortable enough to discuss what exactly happened Sunday night?
Has enough
time gone by or are
the wounds still too fresh? I wanted to wait a couple of
days and digest the
happenings before I dove into
giving my opinion. I’ve been
discovering through my travels on the
interwebs that people are kind of torn on

this episode. There are some who think it was excellent and there are others
are just pissed about
the ending. And I understand both arguments. I don’t
necessarily agree with
both arguments, but I at least
know where you’re coming
from. Let’s talk it out and have ourselves a
little bit of a therapy session

and see if we can figure out just what the hell happened Sunday


to start by saying I loved this
episode. I want that out of the way early
so you guys don’t have to do any
guess work. I thought this season
finale was
exactly what it needed to be to make the entrance of Negan mean
something. After
mishandling of the Governor the show needed to present Negan as the force he

is, and with that they
succeeded. With that being said I did feel that not
disclosing who died is a
cop out, and with a season that
already had teased two
possible deaths (one the week before) it just seemed
like a tired trick at this

late in the game. But when you think about it what is the purpose of TV?
entertainment one could
argue that it’s to spur conversation, and in that
regard the Walking
certainly did it’s

The six month
wait to find out who Negan used for batting
practice is going to suck, and

already there are great things being posted all over the place covering all

types of theories, but I
think we might be missing the big picture here. The
death of a beloved
character certainly is the underlining
topic but this episode
wasn’t about that. “Last Day On Earth” isn’t a
story about who dies in the
it’s a story about the breaking of Rick. That’s it. It’s that
The end result is someone dying
but the main story here is watching
Rick Grimes get owned.

Think about it. When this episode
off, Rick is in full gunslinger/cock of the walk mode, and he’s
earned that
right to a degree.
Every problem this group of survivors has faced, Rick has
overcome. Shane?
He dead now. The Governor? Missing
an eye and a life.
Cannibals? They got messed up in a church.
Alexandria? Done took that
over. So why wouldn’t Rick naturally assume that Negan and the Saviors

would just be another pebble in the
road to be kicked aside. The track record
speaks for itself.


granted not all of Rick’s actions have
been for the better and there certainly
has been a learning curve. Yet at
the end of the day Rick has guided
has band of
merry followers to a position where they can shape the world
they live in. This
season has
seen Rick blur the lines between good and evil. I know those are
ways of thinking about actions
but when push comes to shove that’s
what it is. Rick is neither a good man
or a bad man, he’s a man who is
to do anything to survive and protect his loved ones. That makes him
a dangerous
man, and his
actions dictate how committed he is to doing that. Even if that
storming a base of people he knows
nothing about and killing them in their
sleep. Think of it this way. If
Rick’s group was attacked in a
similar manner
wouldn’t we assume that the people attacking them are the
villains? It’s some
dark stuff to attack people in the middle of the night without being

provoked. From that perspective
couldn’t we see how Negan is justified in
believing that he’s the good guy
in this scenario? He’s just
standing up for
his people and for his way of life. That’s the exact thing
Rick and company has
doing since the start.

The best part of this episode was watching
progression of Rick’s
cockiness. When they first meet the Saviors in the
road, he throws out that
Clint Eastwood type line to
creepy mustache guy (not
actual character name) asking him what if this was
his last day on earth

(ooooooh title alert), but that’s the kind of bravado we’ve come to expect

from Rick. That whole “my D
is bigger than your D, and I’m going to prove it”
mentality is part of what
has kept him alive for so long.
As the episode went on
and Negan and the Saviors continued to be one step
ahead, it seemed like Rick’s
shrunk up a little. Each stop left him more and more rattled, and the chain

gang of zombies wearing his
friends clothes was the first time Rick seemed kind
of confused and without
a solution.


underestimating of Negan was tremendous
and all attributed to Rick’s hubris. By
the time they try to move on foot
it’s already too late, and I kind
of think
Rick knew it. Eugene has a great character moment in driving off
alone but it’s
the wrong move.
There. Is. No. Where. For. Them. To. Go. And
Rick has to know that.
There is no way he even remotely
believed that
going on foot would result in success. Pride and arrogance
make him believe of
course they
can sneak through the woods at night and get around this group that
has been
a head of them the entire
So when the creepy whistle
fest starts up it’s not unexpected.
Now granted Rick didn’t have
another move
to make, unless you count giving yourself up and taking your
lumps, but he
can’t admit that
to himself or to the others. As soon as they start moving
through the woods
you’re looking at a Rick who
knows he just got

Then enter Negan. Yes Negan’s end game was
to punish Rick for his

actions. That punishment results in the death of a character. It’s tragic,

violent, and awful. There’s
no way to get around that. But that’s not what
this was all about.
Everything that happens in this episode
is orchestrated to
show Rick that he is not the top dog he thinks he is. As
a matter of fact you
almost hear Rick’s ego shatter when those lights go on and he notices the

game is up. He has lost and there
is nothing he can do about it. That in part is
what makes this scene so
chilling (besides Negan killing it
with that speech and
the atmosphere of the whole thing). Did you guys notice
how quiet Rick is? Every

time the camera pans on his face he has that glossed over look that he
believe this is happening.
Even as things are being mapped out by Negan it seems
that all the fight has
been sucked out of him. Actually
the most fight we see
comes from the defiance of Abraham and the pleading of
Glenn. Not something
used to seeing from Rick. “Sucks don’t it? The moment you realize
don’t know shit

only time that Rick says anything is when
Negan figures out that Carl is his
son. And even then all he says
is “stop
this”. The Rick we have come to know would have rushed at Negan
starting a
fight, and maybe the
logical thinking for Rick is if he moves he’s dead, and
he’s probably
right. But the reality of the
situation is he’s asking Negan to
stop prolonging his victory because he
can’t handle the loss. Rick can’t
the fact that he messed up, and he messed up big. The “stop
isn’t Rick asking Negan
to stop talking about Carl, it’s about asking Negan to
stop gloating
because Rick mentally can not withstand
it. He is crushed and
defeated and lost at sea.

So when we discuss
this finale the major

discussion points will be who did Negan kill. It’s a cliffhanger so it
sense that’s what people
talk about. But don’t let that cliffhanger hide from
you what this episode
was truly about. This was about
the breaking of Rick, and
that should be the main focus here. Not who died,
cause we’ll find that out in

six months, but the question of if Rick can recover from this will take
to find out. Someone close
to him dies because of his arrogance and his actions.
Negan was a million
steps ahead of him the entire
time. Rick has been
owned and put in his place like never before. The
fight is clearly out of him.

So when next season starts up we’ll find out who Negan killed, answering
question. But the bigger
question should be, can Rick bounce back or have we
seen the last of Rick
Grimes as we know him? And that’s
what makes this episode
so fantastic. Taking a character who has been on top
since the get go and

bringing him back down a million pegs. In a lot of ways this finale tore the

foundation of the show to
shreds and next season will be a new start for a lot
of these characters. A
new start that is ushered in with
the blood of their own
and the loss of their leader.

Images from AMC

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