Last night’s fall finale of The Walking Dead confirmed two things: wearing clothing smattered with walker guts is a strategy that isn’t utilized nearly enough. And children ruin everything.
Six seasons in, The Walking Dead has proven predictable in many ways, and the inevitable death of a (probably) beloved character in a finale is one. After the watchtower collapses to the ground, the walker super clan that’s been terrorizing the area finally breeches Alexandria, making the once-safe space uninhabitable. In defending the initial invasion, Deanna gets bitten and thus another leader falls. There’s been an array of leadership examples shown, from the ruthless to the savage, but Deanna was certainly the most rational we’ve seen, and far from a failure—despite being ill-equipped to prepare her people for survival. This says a lot about the magnitude of survival skills necessary to manage a group of screwed up humans, and also says a lot about why both Deanna’s and Rick’s jobs are applaudable.
So Deanna goes down in her own blaze of glory—in a room, shooting walkers—and leaves us and Michonne with a great question to ponder, too, before the second half of the season premieres in February. Minor hiccups aside (a zombie Apocalypse), Deanna feels like she lived the life she wanted—“I got what I wanted right up ‘til the end,” she says, neglecting the part about her husband being brutally murdered by a domestic abuser. She then asks Michonne, “What do you want for you?”
In a series where a lot of hypotheticals and probing questions get asked, this is a good, provoking one. Knowing that most of this existence will be miserable, to what do you aspire? What do you want that would make you personally content? Being around good people? Fighting? Finding love and companionship? Religion? There’s no career or dream of family here, so Michonne has some thinking to do. The warrior path has seemed to be her calling for most of the series, but there’s also been a clear indication that contentment for her is something deeper.
(Side note: Rick makes the wise decision that the only way to escape the walker invasion in Jessie’s home is to wear the walker guts as clothing in order to sneak out, since it’s worked in the past. When a Talking Dead audience member asks executive producer Robert Kirkman why they don’t do this more, he gives the bullshit response that it isn’t practical because the guts smell, would need to be replenished and might cause disease. Rick’s crew has never tried the method long enough for me to be convinced that they should rule it out.)
Anyway, Deanna dies anticlimactically and, like Beth’s death, it wasn’t exactly the saddest moment in the show’s history. Others could have perished in Deanna’s place; in fact, any of the following options would have been acceptable:
The case for Carl—He covers for Jessie’s blockhead son Ron after Ron inadvertently lets the walkers into the home by starting a fight with Carl over Carl’s dad killing Ron’s dad. Ron is a dummy who is, yes, a victim of an abusive household and still very impressionable but should be old enough to understand that Rick saved him from a killer. Carl righteously tells Ron sorry your dad was an asshole and deserved it, but then lies about Ron being the cause of the walker home invasion. Carl likely won’t die soon, but he could go.
The case for Ron—See above.
The case for Carl’s hat — It’s a dumb hat.
The case for Morgan—The strongest storyline of the episode is the battle of morality between Morgan and Carol over what happens with the captured Wolf. Their differing opinions on killing humans is the crux of the season and much of the series: Who deserves to die? Morgan is as usual focused on fighting the wrong person, instead of directing his anger at the guy who’s most likely to murder them all. The hipster Wolf captive even basically says “Dude, you should probably kill me?”
A fight between Morgan and Carol leads to the Wolf escaping and taking the nurse chick as hostage (she, as well, needs to learn not to help everyone). I’d rather not see Morgan die yet, but a dose of reality is what he needs.
The case for Eugene — How is he still alive?
The case for Sam — The Walking Dead has killed off innocent kids before, so it’s nothing to them. Children are allowed to be traumatized, especially in this case, but Sam is quite literally a punk. Right as everyone’s escaping in their walker disguises, Sam yells out for his mom Jessie. (If only Carol was there to silence him). The walker growls heard as the episode fades to black indicate that they probably heard him and the group is now in jeopardy. Couple of tweets from last night:
“SAM FUCK YOU. YOU TRAUMATIZED LITTLE SHIT. I WILL KILL YOU AND YOUR BROTHER. #TWDMidSeasonFinale #TWD”
“DAMN IT SAM ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS SHUT UP AND WALK YOU ARE USELESS PLEASE DIE #TWD”
Who should’ve died? The answer is clearly Sam*, but you’re an alive human and free to vote as you see fit.
*Just kidding, he’s just a kid!... ... ...
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