Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “The Last Day on Earth”

In which Kim and Shawn wonder what could have been.

Kim: I spent many anxiety-ridden weeks waiting for the season finale. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was coming. Someone was going to die. Tension was rampant. There were nights spent being irritated at the pace of the show, but hoping that it was leading somewhere incredible. I was ready to be wowed. I was ready to be devastated.

As I sat to watch the 90-minute finale, I reminded myself that the only reason it was 90 minutes, was because AMC knew they’d make a killing by selling ad time. There wasn’t 30 minutes more of the show. However, I’m betting there were at least 30 minutes of commercials. At one point, I timed the commercial break – almost five minutes and I’m pretty sure that was true for a majority of them – and there were a lot of breaks.

Let’s talk about what impressions I have about “The Last Day on Earth.” I will do it in bullet point format, because that seems fitting.

  • The Captain America movie is going to be so much fun.
  • Preacher is coming! Preacher is coming! I am so excited!
  • Fear the Walking Dead starts next week.
  • There’s a Walking Dead game.
  • Warcraft – whatever. Why is this happening?
  • Better Call Saul is still a thing.
  • Hey, cool video game, bro.
  • That was a neat montage of AMC shows, even though I don’t know most of them.
  • I love the Cookie Monster commercial because Jim Croce still rocks my world.
  • How will Enid get out of that closet with everyone gone? Poor girl is going to starve to death.
  • Jesus was not in this episode.
  • Daryl’s arms were not in this episode.
  • Morgan can kill someone when he needs to.
  • Negan is here.
  • Someone died.
  • I went to bed more irritated than I did when I had that one date with the guy who talked a great game but was real turd in person.

I’m sorry, but I think this turd could have been much better. And here’s what’s going to happen when this show returns in October. Ready? If you don’t watch the Season 6 replay leading up to the premiere, the impact of what just happened will be lost. Sure, everyone will tune in to see who died, but it’s not going to be this anxiety-filled ride that keeps me coming back to the show. It’s going to be a moment and it’s going to be done, just like that. I’m sure if it’s one of your favorites, you’re going to be upset. I might be upset, but I’ll move through it rather quickly because my attention will likely be on Luke Cage (because that comes out at the end of September, you know). It’s like being all geared up for some great sex and having your partner get a phone call right when you’re about to get going. “Hang on”, and you lose your momentum and most (if not all) of your interest. It’s just not as good as it could have been.

The way this show has moved this season, I fully expect the first episode back to be all about what’s happening in Alexandria. Or all Morgan and Carol. The whole “make them wait it out” bullshit that we experienced with Glenn and the dumpster, replayed over and over again until I just stop coming back. Or maybe they’ll do an episode on what Daryl, Glenn, Michonne, and Rosita went through while everyone else was cruising around in the RV.

As much as I love this show, I’m consistently drawn back to Sons of Anarchy and what Kurt Sutter said about TV shows. Seven seasons is pretty much all you can do before it gets tiring and uninspired. I think ending Sons of Anarchy after seven seasons was perfect because there’s only so much a group of people can endure. And I’m talking about your audience. SoA went out on top of its game. There was never a moment when The Fonz (or Jax) jumped over a shark, but I see that happening with TWD.

So, you think my review was a let down? Welcome to The Walking Dead Season 6. Sure am glad that’s not how I spent my last day on Earth.

Shawn: You have made it very difficult on me. You covered just about all of my feelings with just about my exact reactions. There were only a few other things that really stuck in my craw. And it’s craw cleaning time.

1.) RECREATIONAL VEHICLE. At one point during the long commercial breaks, I was searching the Internet for RV rentals. Why didn’t Winnebago buy some ad time here? Because they got all the free advertising they could hope for. All that was missing was Robin Williams behind the wheel. It felt like a lot of let’s get out of the RV, then Rick yelling, “Everyone back in the RV.” Kind of like me at the Love’s Truck Stop. “Carl, you’re not getting Milk Duds, get back out there.” If the episode had been one more stop along the way, we would definitely have had Abraham standing there in his robe saying, “Just emptying the shitter.”

2.) K.I.S.S. We thought Glenn was dead and we mourned or at least kinda mourned. Then he came back. But every episode since then has foreshadowed the death of Glenn or Maggie. If the show doesn’t split up these two for both the fans of the comic book and for the dramatic impact, then I’m not sure I have much respect for the show anymore. If it’s Maggie, then you essentially lose Glenn because he is already losing it. If it’s Glenn, then maybe we get the strong, vengeful Maggie that we saw glimpses of a few weeks ago.

3.) SPEECHIFY. The least surprise was the introduction of Negan. We’ve been waiting for him all season. And then we waited some more. He finally arrives on the scene and chews up the screen with a soliloquy that is rivaled only by Matt Murdock or Frank Castle in every episode of the new season of Daredevil. I get it: he’s evil and he’s going to kill someone. But wait, here’s our other zombie show and we won’t even give you a satisfying conclusion to our 45-second episodes from the season, so what do you expect from our main show? The speech was right out of the Bad Guy Playbook and was only missing the “One million dollars” demand before he became Dr. Evil. He’s a badass with a freaky bat. I’m more terrified if he just steps out and crushes in someone’s head without saying a word.

4.) GAME OF THE DEAD. At least that HBO show kills people onscreen. This is a cheap plea for people to watch the first episode of next season. And you nailed it – they won’t start where it left off. They will start with Rick organizing another zombie parade or Carol baking more crap. I’m not as disappointed that a major character is killed as that they can’t just honor storytelling and show it. You mentioned Sons of Anarchy but we really need to start thinking about how Lost ended and how they producers kept trying to paint themselves out of corners to please the audience instead of just telling the best story.

5.) MORGAN DE LA MANCHA. Hey, Morgan is Don Quixote. Don’t know who that is? Well let us put him on a horse with a lance. Still don’t recognize the image? Well, let’s have him climb up something that looks kinda close to a windmill. Still nothing? Well, let’s just distract you with a couple dudes in football pads that may be looking to recreate their favorite American Gladiators episode. Morgan will eventually on talk in philosophical questions and parables and will only see giants in the distance. The only hope out of this development is that maybe Morgan and his friends Ice and Nitro will ride in to save the day and that’s the sounds we heard at the end.

So we say farewell to the season and neither of us are completely happy. Not even Carl. “Get back in the RV, Carl. No more gummy bears. I think there’s a Orange Crush in here somewhere. Abraham, start backing up the RV again, slowly. We’ve got six months until the next stop.”

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Shawn Bourdo

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