In case you didn’t gather from the post title, this post contains spoilers (note the bold and coloured font to indicate that I’m serious about spoilers). If you’ve yet to watch the season 7 finale, you likely don’t want to read ahead although, quite frankly, I don’t think you’re missing much. With that out of the way, let’s get to the real heart of the matter.
Walking Dead, that season finale was absolute crap.
I feel it’s important to mention that I’m one of the few fans who’s given this season a fair shot, or at least this is how it feels to me. It’s been widely criticized as a slow-moving and, well, crappy season, but I was like that loyal friend who sticks up for a bad friend long after everyone else has phased her out. I defended the season premiere, believing it was important that Rick and crew finally be presented as something other than invincible. Sure it was violent, but it was getting pretty old watching Rick and crew outsmart all their enemies so easily. I even defended the terminally slow plot development throughout the rest of the season. We needed to get familiar with all these other players, to see Rick’s crew in a different mode, trying to come to terms with their new reality while still attempting to forge alliances. I feel like my patience and loyalty should have been rewarded with a damn good season finale. But instead I got a slap in the face. That friend I’d stuck up for long past everyone else up and phased me out. Uncool.
It didn’t even happen in slow and dramatic fashion. No, Walking Dead crushed my dreams for a good season finale all in one fell swoop. All I need are five words to tell you the straw that broke this camel’s back: the mother f’ing leaping tiger.
Look, there were generally a lot of problems with this season finale, most notably:
–Supposedly dramatic Sasha suicide-in-a-coffin complete with ominous foreshadowing flashbacks: Yawn.
–Ridiculous and annoying way the trash people speak: Seriously, what about the zombie apocalypse made them abandon normal speech patterns!?!
–‘Bad guys’ who seem incapable of hitting a human target while every member of Rick’s crew is a dead eye: Even the most useless of Alexandria residents were transformed into killing machines, it seems.
–Rick gets shot but it doesn’t slow him down in the slightest: I suppose he’s used to it by now?
–Holy shit, amidst a literal sea of gunfire how does Negan not even get grazed by a bullet: I am left to assume he must be surrounded by an invisible force field.
And those are just a few of the things I struggled to comprehend. Yet I was willing to let go of all these things as a loyal fan. As I’ve written about before, I’m generally good with suspension of disbelief.
But that perfectly timed tiger leap was the final straw. If you’re going to have a ridiculous plot device swoop in to save the day, can we not do better than a CGI tiger? Now I haven’t read the comics, so perhaps this is something they have to do to follow the storyline…but I really don’t care. After investing in seven seasons, I expect more than a CGI tiger as a superhero. And don’t even get me started on the improbability of this tiger’s impeccable timing nor his ability to discern good guys from bad. Carl was but seconds away from a deadly date with Lucille when this tiger seized hold of a dramatic pause. Now that is some serious animal instinct for opportune timing. And not once did he attack one of the good guys, not once. Ezekiel, though I can’t stand him, deserves to be recognized for his apparent phenom status as an animal trainer. Credit where credit is due.
In that ‘moment of the leaping tiger’, as I now call it, I felt as though the show stepped all over my loyal heart. My only response was to proclaim, out loud and largely to myself, “Oh, come ON!!” That was the moment I feared me and Walking Dead might be done for good. By the end of the episode, I no longer cared who lived or died, not even when it was unclear whether Michonne had survived her battle with the cryptic blonde trash lady. By the time we got to Maggie’s melodramatic and protracted monologue homage to Glenn, all I wanted was for her to STFU. I’m sure that comment will anger Glenn lovers so let me emphasize that I loved Glenn and barely survived Glenn’s death fake-out mid-season 6. But I no longer care, not about Glenn and not about anyone (well, other than Daryl and Carol, who are now the only two characters for whom I have any emotional attachment). What I’m trying to say here is that this episode, especially as a cap to this crap-heap of a season, has left me immune even to Glenn’s emotional draw.
The only, and I mean only, redeeming quality of this entire season, as far as I’m concerned, is that the season finale brought Carol back to being a total badass hell-bent on slaying bad guys. I think we can all agree that the post-zombie-apocalypse world is far better with a bad-ass Carol in it. In my mind, a season 8 with Carol taking out the entire Saviour army is pretty much the only thing that can bring me back to true fan status.
Seriously, Walking Dead, that was terrible.