Diva here, breaking the 4th wall.
Spoilers ahead, Sweetie…
I’ve written about The Walking Dead since the first fall of this blog and have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the discussions surrounding characters, plot devices and story arc. So many intelligent, thoughtful people watch this show, and I’m always excited to be included in the ranks. Currently, some of those people are displeased with the S6 finale, which I totally get, but I’m not one of them. You see, I’ve always thought that TWD tells the story of the Tribe as a group and as individuals, finding their way in post-apocalyptic times, which, these season has given us in bulk. We’ve seen Rick, Carl, Michonne, Carol, Morgan –hell, even Eugene– evolve into different versions of themselves, the versions they have to be to survive. Most of the time, the characters are terrifying because we relate to them, because we can find ourselves in each one of them. This is what makes the show so incredible–the writers give us a peek into our own psyches, daring audiences to explore our own morality and often, come up short. Each character we have met could be us, if we were faced with the same difficult choices. This is why Terminus scared us, why the Governor broke our hearts and yet we still hated him, and this is why Neegan terrifies. Regardless of the winding roads writers took us down, the story remains the same, and you know what? I’m not mad at that. It’s easy to critique the way we got to that final moment that changed everything, after the fact. In sports, they call this Monday-morning quarterbacking. In blogging and recapping, we call this…errr…the same thing. The thing is, we’re going to come back in October, we always do. The Tribe is us, and we are them, there’s no escaping the pull of The Walking Dead. That being said, yes, the writing needs to tighten up. Yes, showrunners need to abandon the 90 minute episodes and tell a concise story in one hour. Yes, everyone needs to follow through on storylines and be better at their jobs–but don’t forget how far this show has come and how much the characters have evolved into ones we love, fear, respect and want to see succeed, until their dying day.
Speaking of dying days, this is the story leads us to an inevitable ending, which, of course, is a very long and winding road the Tribe must take to Neegan. As members are scattered and scared, a pregnant Maggie has baby pain and blood, and Rick decides they’re going to take her to the doctor at Hilltop. With Dr. Denise dead, there is no other option if Maggie and Glenn want to have a healthy baby. The incident harkens back to Abraham questioning the choice to have a baby in a post-apocalyptic world. The journey to Hilltop is obviously fraught, if the flashes to the Saviours terrorizing pretty much every group in the area are any indication, and it seems almost selfish for Rick, Michonne and the gang to head outside the walls into what surely is a trap.
Turns out. It’s a trap. The Saviours have every road to Hilltop blocked–it’s not difficult to figure out how–they’ve got a map, just like the Tribe, most likely, and it wouldn’t be difficult to figure out that the Tribe would want to head to safety if they thought the Hilltop roadways were compromised. It seems that there are hundreds of Saviours, and they have the run of the immediate area. What is terrifying about the Saviours is that they are a group of narcissistic murderers who seem to have found a bigger, badder narcissistic asshole to lead them to complete anarchy. If we thought that Rick and the Tribe had “gone too far” in the past few months, the Saviours are like an entire group of Merles with really amazing hunting and murdering skills and a complete disregard for human life.
They taunt the Tribe, seeking revenge for all the mayhem the Tribe has caused in what is clearly “Saviour turf” and shamelessly fucking with them. Maggie’s crisis seems less scary as the Tribe cuts and runs in circles, with the whereabouts of Daryl’s group unknown and those left back at Alexandria incredibly vulnerable. We are reminded that the Tribe in no way is as ruthless as groups such as the Saviours, or the majority of those they have met across the years. The reason Rick has become so vicious is not because he has a love of violence, but because of those they have already encountered. The Tribe, for the most part, is willing to talk out and walk away from problems, but will step up to do what they must when forced into a corner. The Saviours, on the other hand, do not seem like the type of people to compromise.
Pretty much everyone but Morgan has been captured by the Saviours, which becomes evident as Rick is finally cornered and forced to surrender. When we see Negan, the Saviour leader does not disappoint. He is as twisted and cruel as any of the Saviours, obviously an overwhelming force to anyone who meets him. What’s worse is that he has all his bases covered and all his confidence seems well deserved. The Tribe is out maneuvered, out smarted and out of ideas. On their knees in the woods, they are meant to pay for their sins against those they slaughtered back at the Saviour compound. The strange and winding speech that Negan gives the group right before he pulls out Lucille to murder a Tribe member is much like the road he forced the Tribe to take to get to him–meant to shake nerves and reveal the helplessness destined to carry over the summer break.
The Walking Dead returns October 2016. In the meantime, I’ll be watching Fear The Walking Dead.
Fighting zombies over on Tumblr.