The Walking Dead gives us suspense, drama, and great acting in the Season 6 finale “Last Day on Earth,” but not a whole lot of closure. Rick and a crew leave Alexandria in order to get Maggie to the Hilltop to see the doctor. The trip doesn’t go quite as planned. We finally meet the dreaded Negan, who is played with great prowess by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The others deal with the Saviors, and Carol and Morgan follow their own journey.
Dear Walking Dead—What’s the Deal with “Last Day on Earth”?
The Road Trip from Hell
Maggie’s pregnancy crisis forces the gang to head to the Hilltop. Now that Dr. Denise is dead, Maggie’s best chance is with Dr. Harlan, whom we learned is an obstetrician in “Knots Untie.” Rick realizes that going on the road will be very dangerous because the Saviors are targeting them. Sasha, Abraham, Carl, Eugene and Aaron all insist on joining Rick and Maggie. Even Enid had hoped to get in on the action.As they drive in the RV, Rick tells Maggie everything is going to be all right. He has tremendous faith in their group:
“Everything we’ve done, we’ve done together. We got here together and we’re still here. Things have happened, but it’s always worked out for us ’cause it’s always been all of us. That’s how I know. ‘Cause as long as it’s all of us, we can do anything.”
Rick’s overconfidence doesn’t bode well for the group and, before you know it, they find themselves at a roadblock held by a dozen Saviors. Wonder how long those dudes have been waiting there? A mustached Savior tells Rick, “Maybe you should be extra nice to those people in that RV, because you never know [snaps his fingers], just like that. Be kind to each other, just like you said, like it’s your last day on earth.” The foreshadowing in “Last Day on Earth” is pretty heavy-handed. The Walking Dead writers probably realize that between the comic book readers and the media, most of the audience is expecting a death in the finale.
Their detour takes them to a larger group of Saviors blocking the road. They back up and Eugene finds a new route, which turns out to be obstructed by a group of walkers chained across the road. Looking at the walkers, they find the dead adorned with items belonging to Michonne and Daryl. They don’t seem as panicked as we’d expect, and it’s not clear why they continue on their journey at this point. Perhaps they already realize their retreat will be blocked.
Eugene notes that the Saviors are pushing them North, and finds a new course. This takes them to a road that has been made impassable by hundreds of logs. It’s become clear that the Saviors have far more people and resources than anyone from Alexandria realized. For that extra touch of terror, the Saviors hang a man off the overhead bridge. When Aaron suggests he can shoot the chain, Rick tells him not to, because “we’re gonna need the bullets.” In the world of Rick Grimes, practicality outweighs compassion.
They realize all the main roads are probably blocked by the Saviors, who are watching for the RV. Eugene volunteers to continue to drive the RV, while the others carry Maggie on foot. As they prepare to leave, Rick tells Eugene that they’re lucky he’s here, to which Eugene responds, “I won’t argue with that.” Eugene has an emotional goodbye with Abraham, which seems meant to lead us to suspect he won’t survive:
Abraham: You go steady on the pedal. You don’t make that thing gulp.”
Eugene: “How come you never let me drive the truck?”
Abraham: “I didn’t think you could do it. I was wrong. You’re a survivor. You always were. We just didn’t know it. Me and you both.”
Eugene: “Thank you.”
Even if the writers are trying to trick us, it’s still a nice scene.
The Way of Compassion
Morgan continues his search for Carol. Either Carol leaves quite a messy trail, or Morgan is an amazing tracker. Probably the latter. Morgan finds a saddled horse standing in a field. Looks like Morgan was right and the guy that Rick shot at in the episode “East” really was just looking for his horse.
Upon arriving in a town, Morgan rides the horse down the middle of a street, echoing Rick’s horse ride through downtown Atlanta. Let’s hope it ends better than it did for Rick’s horse—or Buttons, for that matter. Following the trail of dead bodies, he manages to find Carol.
Morgan patches Carol up, suggesting they head back to Alexandria in the morning for stitches and antibiotics. Carol may have come around to not wanting to kill people anymore, but her approach to it remains very different from Morgan’s. She tells Morgan, “If you care about people, there are people to protect, there are people you will kill for. If you don’t want to kill … or you can’t … then you have to get away from them. You do not get both.” She begs him to leave, saying, “If you care about anyone, there is a price, Morgan, and you’re gonna pay it. I have, and I can’t anymore.”
Morgan leaves Carol, and finds himself a hanging walker to cut down. He decides to go back for Carol, but she’s gone. Morgan gets on his horse—who thank goodness is still tied in front of the library, unharmed—and begins to track Carol again. On the ground he sees the rosary from the scene of Carol’s conflict with the Saviors and realizes Carol is in trouble.
The Savior driver has caught up with Carol. He wants to watch her suffer and die, just as his friends died. After being shot, Carol smiles, relieved that she’s going to die. So the Savior shoots her once more, and asks, “You think you’ve suffered enough now?” She replies, “No, probably not.” Carol’s guilt seems to strike a chord with the man and he begins to walk away. She calls to him, saying, “What, are you done? Unless you kill me now, I’m not gonna die!” Before the man can shoot Carol again, Morgan arrives, holding the gun Rick gave him. He asks the Savior to drop his gun, telling him, “You can survive this.” The Savior tells him, “No,” forcing Morgan to shoot him in order to save Carol. This incident reinforces Carol’s earlier statement to Morgan, that when you care about people you end up having to kill to protect them.
Rick, Carl, Abraham, Aaron, and Sasha carry Maggie down a wooded road. Carl tells his dad that he’s not going to let what happened to Denise happen to anyone else. Before Rick can respond, they hear whistling from the woods. It’s gets louder, and the terrifying sound of people whistling throughout the woods grows. Rick tells them to run, but it’s too late, they’re surrounded by what seems like hundreds of Saviors. Eugene is there, as well as Glenn, Michonne, Rosita, and Daryl. There’s no one coming to save them.
Negan’s introduction is meant to terrorize the group into submission. Negan tells Rick, “I do not appreciate you killing my men. Also, when I sent my people to kill your people for killing my people, you killed more of my people. Not cool.” Negan shows them his barbed wire bat, Lucille, and tells them he’s going to beat the holy hell out of one of them. Abraham stands up to offer himself, but Negan doesn’t seem impressed. Negan draws out the moments of terror, approaching Carl, then Maggie, and then telling Rick, “Sucks, don’t it. The moment you realize you don’t know sh*t.” He tells them he can’t decide, and then chooses a victim randomly. He tells the others, “Anybody moves, anybody says anything, cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to his father and then we’ll start. You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry. Hell, you’re all gonna be doing that.” We see Negan from the victim’s perspective, as Negan proceeds to them with his bat.
We never see Negan’s victim. Instead, we get a splatter of blood on the camera, again. That vital information is being saved for the Season 7 premiere. “Last Day on Earth” built up the tension throughout the episode. As the roadblocks continued to alter their paths, it became clear they couldn’t avoid a collision course with the Saviors. Unfortunately, our anticipation was left unfulfilled when the last scene cut to blood. Despite this, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln were standout performances in this episode. It’s clear that as well as the Saviors, there are other communities around. With deadly groups like the Saviors around, it’s refreshing to see another, in the story with Morgan and Carol, willing to help a stranger. Despite the positives of the episode, leaving the audience guessing the identity of which major character was killed negatively overshadowed “Last Day on Earth.” Like Morgan, we believe that shows, like people, can come back. And we look forward to seeing just how this story comes full circle in Season 7.
For our full review of “Last Day on Earth” click here.
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