(Spoilers ahead) When the end credits for the season finale of the Walking Dead flashed across the screen, I yelled at the TV. My sister in law yelled, my brother just gaped. We knew someone was going to die; we’d been prepared for that. We just weren’t prepared for not knowing who would die.
So, I understand other fans being upset with this uncertainty. What I don’t understand is the anger accompanying their distress, some have even accused the show of cheating the fans. Here are the four reasons why I feel upset but not cheated by the ending.
First of all, it’s a season finale, not a series finale, so while the waiting is hard, we will know in time who met their end.
Second, it’s common for seasons to conclude with a large question mark slapped unto the ending. It’s done on purpose so viewers tune in next season for the answer. The Walking Dead is not the first or the last show to follow this model.
Third, do fans really want the last scene of the season to be the look of horror frozen unto what is left of a beloved character’s face? Do we all really want that to be the image we carry with us till October? Even if they softened the blow, terrible phrase, I know, by not showing the person Negan picked and having the others call out the name wouldn’t have set well either. On The Walking Dead we dread, but expect the graphic death of the character. We saw Dale being attacked, we saw Beth being shot, we saw Tyrese being bit, ext. We almost have to see them go out, able in a morbid way to say goodbye and sometimes good riddance.
Fourth, we are not completely in the dark about who died. Negan’s sick comment about, cutting out the kid’s eye and feeding it to his dad, can be taken as Carl and Rick not being the one marked for death. Yes, that leaves quite a few other possibilities, but at least we can rule out two.
So, yes it was upsetting to not know who died, but it will be ok, it really will be. I would rather ponder the identity of who died, then know that, but know nothing else. We will all find out together and then have the story of next season to carry us through together as a fandom.
Though if Daryl or Michonne die, who’s rioting with me?