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The Female Perspective: Why The “Walking Dead” Cliffhanger Is Awesome

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


** SPOILERS AHEAD **

If you haven’t seen the season finale of Walking Dead by now, don’t read this. That is your only warning.

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I am a huge Walking Dead fan, both of the comics and the TV show (though I started watching the show first in all honesty) and I think it has consistently been one of the smartest, grossest and funnest shows on TV for many years now.  I also love/hate a good cliffhanger. This season, Walking Dead delivered on both keeping it’s quality at the highest level while also giving us one killer (pun intended) of a cliffhanger.

So why are people so peeved about it?

It is simply amazing to me how many people are upset that the show ended in a cliffhanger. First off, this is not the first time in TV history that there has been a cliffhanger ending for a season so why are people acting all shocked and/or angry that Walking Dead chose that route? All season they have been playing with us, making us wait for the final 10 minutes of the season to finally see one of the biggest bads in all of Walking Dead history, Negan. Not to mention, they teased us with Glenn’s death earlier in the season, only to take it away with a sly wink and a nod, “Don’t worry folks, we’ll get to the death soon…Just be patient,” and then, when death is imminent for one of our mighty zombie killers, the screen fades to black, screams are heard and the credits roll. Leaving us no idea as to who just got their head bashed in by Lucille while also leaving us angry, confused and wanting more.

It’s freaking brilliant TV show writing.

What’s the best way to ensure a huge audience when your show premiers in October? Tease a major characters death and then end the show before telling us who it is. End the show with the bone cracking, blood squelching sounds of a bat (wrapped in barbed wire) being smashed repeatedly into someone’s head, in front of people who love them, but don’t tell the audience who just died. It’s amazing. It’s brilliant and yeah, it’s a little infuriating but I can’t even count at this point how many times I’ve yelled, “I hate this show!” at my TV as the credits roll. But really, that’s code for, “I love this show!”

The fact is, I refuse to give up and/or complain about a show that has given me years of entertainment, taking the zombie survival scenario to a whole other level and who delivers some of the best performances in acting I’ve seen on TV. I mean, the fear in Rick’s eyes as he realizes just how screwed they are when they finally meet Negan after weeks and weeks of him prancing around all cocky, “We’ve done it before,” kind of nonsense. Rick thought Negan was a simple man doing bad things that they could defeat easily.

He is very, very wrong.

Yep. Pee-pee pants city, all aboard!
Yep. Pee-pee pants city, all aboard!

For those who read the comics, we spent the season anxiously awaiting the arrival of Negan, knowing what it means for the survivors, knowing how bloody and brutal things are about to get. Knowing just how diabolical (and damn charming) Negan is. I can say for me that it’s been maddening. Imagine my relief then when Negan steps out of the RV with all his swagger, all his smiles, and Lucille, the bat from Hell. Well, I thought I’d feel relief, but really all I felt was heart pounding fear. I knew what was coming (as so many did) and the anticipation as Negan stalked his prey, toyed with it and made a grand speech that I only heard a little of (it’s hard to hear when you have your shirt over your face and you’re going “Oh God, oh God, oh God,” over and over again) was maddening.

(FYI: Jeffrey Dean Morgan was made to play Negan. I couldn’t be more happy with his performance. He makes Negan confusing, just like in the comics, he’s insane but handsome. True evil, but charming. A sexist , but … Nope, he’s just a jerk)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead - Season 6/Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead – Season 6/Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Then when the screen fades away with the sounds of screaming and skull crushing, I wanted to faint a little bit. It was perfect. It was everything I hoped it would be, even if it was insanity-inducing. To all those people who are creating petitions to find out the ending of WD, or who are complaining that the show was “lame” or “badly written”, you all need to take a step back, survey what else is on TV and realize, this is one of the best shows out there and if you see anything other than total brilliance, you are missing the point and should just stop watching … Oh, but you won’t, because you want to find out who Negan killed. Uh oh!

Seriously though, everyone has their opinion and I respect that, the fact is that cliffhangers happen. They happen quite a bit and they are both a lot of fun as well as being smart TV making and marketing. What better way to get your audience to come back than to leave them wanting more? In this case Walking Dead killed off a major character but left us wondering who that was. Unusual for them as they like to show us who died, leave us in the aftermath and make us wait 6-7 months for the revenge. This time, they left us mid-kill and invite us back for the death, the aftermath and the revenge. I for one cannot wait!

We shall see Rick, we shall see..
We shall see Rick, we shall see..

It’s funny, almost everyone I’ve talked to has a different opinion as to who died in the finale. I say Glenn (I’m sticking with the comics here), others say Daryl, Aaron, Eugene or even Maggie. Which is exactly what those jerks at the writers table of Walking Dead want us to think. They want us sitting in limbo until October so that when that 9pm rolls around we are glued to our TV, just waiting, and then they’ll give us a “filler” episode about Carol and Morgan and we won’t know who died until episode 2 – because the writers of the Walking Dead are mean people, but I love them just the same.

Who do you think died? Tell me in the comments!

One thought on “The Female Perspective: Why The “Walking Dead” Cliffhanger Is Awesome

  1. If they give us a filler in ep 1 next season. I’ll lose my mind..I can’t handle that! I thought the finale was great but, was not happy (for selfish reasons) with the cliffhanger. If Game of Thrones wasn’t around the corner the sting would be unbearable. Great article!!

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