Well, the verdict is in on last night’s Walking Dead finale, and the verdict is not good. In fact, if you had to sum up the consensus in one word, it would be: Hatred. Sometimes a feeling of general disdain produces some really fun vitriol, so we at Paste thought it might be fun to do a round-up of the harshest critiques. This was one of the most hated TV episodes in modern memory, and the scorn that followed may be our only silver lining. So let’s take a sampling from around the web—click the links for the full review.
Buckle up, the rage ride is about to begin.
1. Alan Sepinwall, Hitflix: ‘The Walking Dead’ ends its season on a hilariously stupid cliffhanger
”’Last Day on Earth’ was just about the opposite of a creative miracle. It was every bad decision the show has made over the last few years, all included in a dumb, lifeless, repetitive 90-minute episode that couldn’t even be bothered to give the comic book fans the one moment they’d been waiting for — and that the show had been desperately teasing since the fall, in hopes that news that this sociopath with the anthropomorphised bat would forgive every dumb decision involving the herd, Glenn crawling under the dumpster, Carol’s abrupt personality transplant, etc. — by instead going with a cliffhanger ending that will leave the victim’s identity a secret up until fall. (Or, at least, until that actor signs on to do another show.)”
2. Rob Bricken, io9: The Walking Dead Just Shit the Bed
“If last week’s episode was “kinda bullshit,” this week’s episode was total bullshit. All I want to do is scream (write) profanity about the failure of “Last Day on Earth”...I hate to use the term blue balls, but this is literally the moment that every single Walking Dead fan who ever went online to do a minute of research on her/his favorite show has been waiting for. Postponing it and teasing it so damn much is genuinely insulting…I won’t be spending the next six months wondering which character Negan might have killed. I’ll be thinking about this finale and being irritated as shit. I’m guessing I won’t be alone.”
3. Matt Fowler, IGN: Review
“To have the audience on the edge of their seats for so long and then NOT give them an answer? Well, that sucked. And, unfortunately, it’s almost become textbook Walking Dead at this point. Many of us wondered “Would Negan kill the same character that he kills in the comics? Or will it be someone new? Will the show change things up?” The show is very close to the source material, but it does deviate for sure. Well, this ending felt like the writers and producers decided not to make up their minds yet about Negan’s first victim. They just couldn’t close the deal creatively.”
4. Brian Lowry, Variety: Review
“It will take a while to gargle out that cliffhanger. “The end of the story is what people saw,” showrunner Scott M. Gimple stated on “Talking Dead,” the program’s fawning after-show, engaging in more of the irritating double-talk that he delivered in the midst of the “Is Glenn dead?” mania…to borrow one more baseball metaphor, with such a murderers’ row of aces in its bullpen, “The Walking Dead” shouldn’t have to resort to throwing the creative equivalent of junk pitches. And that’s why despite its highlights, the finale simply drove home the sense that while this season wasn’t a complete swing and a miss, those in charge continue to make aggravating unforced errors.”
5. Walking Dead Reddit, Top Comment
“The Walking Dead is the TV show equivalent of “clickbait”
6. One More, From a Different Thread
“Next season on the walking dead:
Episode 1: Gabriel and Spencer debate making a deal with Negan
Episode 2: We catch up with Morgan and Carol and learn about the people they are with
Episode 3: We get to see what Jesus is up to at the hilltop
Episode 4: Flashback showing Negan’s origin
Episode 5: Part 2 of Negan’s origin
Episode 6: Reveal who died”
7. Oh Hell, One More, From the Episode Thread
“”The blood wasn’t you, the viewer”, says Kirkman. I’m pretty sure it was me, actually, since I was banging my head off of the fucking television in anger at AMC.”
8. Zack Handlen, The AV Club: Season Finale Swings, Misses
“Oh, I’m sorry, the 90 minutes. Because sure, this is definitely a story that needed extra time to tell. A better edited hour might have made it harder to notice how absurd this all was, or make you wonder how in the fuck the Saviors knew when to pull out the stops on their magic roadblocking plan (I’m sure they have scouts, but that’s a lot of work to pull off in a very short space of time), or how the Saviors have gone from being a jittery, sluggish bunch of incompetents to genius psychic ninjas practically overnight. As it was, there are minutes upon minutes of emptiness to contemplate the foolishness of all of this.”
9. Kevin Fitzpatrick, ScreenCrush: The Season 6 Finale Officially Broke the Series
“We should have seen it after Glenn, Denise’s out-of-place death two weeks ago, or even that ridiculous Daryl fake-out last week, but The Walking Dead is fundamentally incapable of killing off lead characters anymore, or playing by any kind of reasonable storytelling rules. Sure, someone will be dead when we pick up Season 7 in October, and I imagine producers have deliberately mapped out several possibilities, depending on contract negotiations, but why such a stain on the series, to deny its viewers that catharsis after a half-season of buildup?...I wouldn’t espouse so unmanageable a threat as to say I’m done with The Walking Dead forever. They do deserve every ounce of that backlash, however, as this was a terrible, poorly-conceived mistreatment of a loyal audience, perhaps not-unironically taking a bat to viewers themselves.
I have no confidence The Walking Dead will ever recover from Season 6, and that might prove the only death Sunday’s finale actually confirmed.”
10. Joseph McCabe, Nerdist: Review
“I’d argue that that there’s never a greater disparity between what the show’s producers thought fans would appreciate and the harsh reality. Because this isn’t just a case of pulling the rug out from under audiences. This speaks to the fundamental, unspoken agreement that’s made between storyteller and audience…there should have been some payoff for the wait, especially after the level of hype surrounding Negan’s arrival that was manufactured by creators, cast, and viewers alike…I’m upset that I didn’t feel anything besides indifference. Keep in mind that this episode ran a half hour longer than usual, so it had more than enough time to nail some landings. But far too much time was wasted by having the group driving around in circles, literally and narratively.”
And, as a bonus, we cannot forget ourselves: Paste
“The trick to good art is staying ahead of your audience, and the writers and directors of this show have been way the hell behind us for a while now. I can’t emphasize this enough—meeting Negan was a given going into tonight. Someone getting badly hurt or dying from the core group was a given. And somehow, they thought it would work to lead us to that point and no further. On some level it’s stupid to have strong emotions like these about a show, and I get that, but I still think that in the little bubble of TV drama, this was an inexcusable and obvious misstep.
Basically, the eyes of the TV universe were on The Walking Dead, and they failed miserably.”