SPOILER-ISH talk ahead (if you still care)

After too much hype and buildup, the season six finale of The Walking Dead aired Sunday. It was titled "Last Day on Earth," and, um, ah, it was 90 minuets long. If you like traveling the back roads of Georgia in an RV, I guess you'd like this episode.

Anyways, after Maggie started to have pregnancy compilations last episode; Rick, Carl and an assortment of B and C characters piled into an RV to drive to the Hilltop and see the doctor there. Along the way the group ran into (literal) roadblocks from the Saviors. They'd come up to them, turn around, find a different highway and run into them again.

Also, Morgan finds Carol at a library, they talk, Carol is shot by a Savior from last episode, Morgan shoots that guy then they meet two guys in what looks like dirt-biking gear.

After about 85 minuets of this pointless tension, the Rick group is surrounded by the Saviors and meet their leader Negan. Negan talks for way too long and then beats someone to death (off camera) with a bat. Who? We won't know until October. Oh, and Daryl's gunshot was full-on Holy Grail: merely a flesh wound.

That's about it. Maybe if I hadn't read the comics the show is based on I would have enjoyed this episode. Going into it with the full knowledge of who the Saviors are, who Negan is and several possible plots points made for boring viewing.

I can see what the show was going for. The last few weeks have shown Rick's confidence growing into dangerous hubris. He's beginning to think that the group is not just in a better place but indestructible. I think this episode was meant to show how wrong Rick was and to demonstrate the breakdown of his confidence. The episode did that very well, you can see Rick taking that emotional journey over and over on Andrew Lincoln's face at the end when Negan has the group down on it's knees.

The end of the episode, and the offending cliffhanger that the season ended on, may also have had more impact if not for a couple of story problems that set up the knelling confrontation.

First, after running into a few Savior roadblocks, Rick tells Carl that our group isn't going to confront the Saviors yet, they need to do it on their terms. OK, great idea, head home then. But, what about Maggie you say? They said she was 'burning up.' She had a fever, so she needs a fever reducer and antibiotics. Just the things that were brought back to Alexandra after the doc helper Daryl find his crossbow on the train tracks. Maybe the Saviors were surrounding them the whole time, but that didn't seem established until later. In fact, if they had got caught during an attempt to return home, that would have been more dramatically satisfying.

Second, it seems that world of the zombie apocalypse is free of country and dirt roads. There has to be more roads to the Hilltop than just the paved highways. After a while it felt like the group was just starring out an out-of-order escalator and wondering how to get up to the next floor. There was just too many contrived obstacles to make the drama, and our group's peril, feel real. By the end, I just didn't care.

Ultimately, this may be the price we nerds and geeks must pay when what we enjoy goes mainstream. The pressure from network and sponsors to deliver audience numbers may have transformed our character drama set in an extreme environment into a prime-time soap opera. TV already did the 'who killed JR' thing, I don't need that from this show.

And yeah, yeah, yeah; the dirt-bikers are probably from The Kingdom, another settlement in the area. But, at this point I'm not sure I care.

See Also:

More From KYBB-FM / B102.7