The Walking Dead: Last Day on Earth’s brutality and powerlessness

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan-The Walking Dead_Season 10, Episode 22-Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan-The Walking Dead_Season 10, Episode 22-Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC /

“Last Day on Earth,” the season 6 finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead, sure seems to live up to its title. Granted, there are little sprinkles of hope here and there, such as when Morgan discovers Carol. However, even that moment is less than ideal. Carol is injured, there are walkers nearby, and Morgan is forced to break his promise not to kill when he shoots Roman, a Savior driven to vengeance. It never appears that Morgan can safely get on his horse to flee to glory.

The story also reveals the folly of those who kept the communities (such as Alexandria or the Saviors) separate. As in the real world, so many of these people’s problems are practically invented out of thin air. But Negan (played brilliantly by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) arrives to flex his power as ostentatiously as a white limousine. Predictably, he introduces himself to Rick’s group in a rather brutal fashion, saying that he is in charge now. Obviously, one of Rick’s crew will have to pay the ultimate price.

The Walking Dead and Rick’s powerlessness

This episode reminds us that, even though Rick is one tough cookie, he can still crumble. Remember that, in the first episode of The Walking Dead, Rick is in a coma, awakening in an absolute hellscape in the hospital. In fact, he had reason to fear he would remain absolutely alone, aside from all the walkers attempting to make him their lunch. There are also moments in The Walking Dead where Rick hallucinates about his deceased wife, and there’s a sense that he’s still somewhat traumatized by some things he has done (such as killing Shane, who had been one of his best friends).

By this point in the series, Rick no doubt feels he has earned respect, even if merely because he’s survived so much. Who could blame him, really? However, this is truly the first episode of the series where it seems no one would come to the rescue. There would be no Glenn to help him out of it (as he helped Rick out of that army tank in season 1). Obviously, Glenn is there with him (and, of course, this would be one of Steven Yeun’s last appearances on the series). And Daryl? Forget about it!

Meanwhile, we know Carol is too shot up and that Morgan must tend to her wounds, assuming he wants her to survive at all (and surely he does). The only hope is that Negan, somehow, might have it in his heart to look past the atrocities Rick’s group had committed (and, let’s be real, they were atrocities, even if The Saviors are themselves unscrupulous). Interestingly, even though Norman Reedus does appear as Daryl and does a fine job, this is yet another season 6 episode that’s not Daryl-centric, as he is even less able to act than Rick.

Just for fun (kind of): Alternate scenarios

Obviously, if you are a Walking Dead fan who’s followed from the beginning, you already know how Negan’s act plays out. Rick’s group is in a position of weakness with Negan, all but begging him to shoot them in the head so they will not suffer. It’s fairly easy to imagine ways the scene could play out. Let’s say Negan ultimately dispatches most of them, and Rick realizes that Negan will do the same to him. Let’s imagine Negan kills Maggie, and Rick absolutely refuses to submit any longer, promptly finding a knife hidden on Negan’s belt, used to severely stabs Negan’s leg.

Well, what would happen then? The rest of the Saviors wouldn’t have just run to hide while Negan writhes in agony. On top of that, Negan probably would not have become unconscious immediately, and it’s doubtful Rick could land additional stabs. But maybe Negan, now in extreme pain and yelling, grabs Rick, only to be sliced in half by someone’s machete, unexpectedly and rapidly grabbed by one of Rick’s group during the confusion. And maybe all hell breaks loose, and during the explosive ensuing battle, Negan’s bat becomes Rick’s bat, and so on.

See? There are plenty of different scenarios that could have played out with this Walking Dead episode. Though that is perhaps not the best one, it would have been rough to have Negan appear just to see him bleed out (or be decapitated, or whatever). Still, it shows you how things could have been different, for better or worse. Maybe the episode could have ended with Maggie holding Glenn, then thanking Rick for saving her life, just as she would have saved baby Judith.

On that note, feel free to tell us your thoughts on this episode and come up with your own alternate scenarios. Don’t feel too bad if they’re not expertly mapped out. In fact, just about every action-adventure TV drama has plot holes anyway. That your might have some would not be entirely unique, right?

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