Last night, we all crowded around our variously sized phones, tablets and television screens to watch TWD’s mid-season finale. Despite a few recent missteps, we arrived to our couches with hopeful anticipation that the episode would finish out the series’ first half as heart-poundingly great as it had begun. Instead, “Start to Finish” left us hanging and teased us to a lame, anticlimactic ending that was so dull, we couldn’t even be bothered to finish ourselves off. Personally, I was so bugged by the utter nonsense of what did go on that I rammed right through two other shows and basically forgot what I’d watched until this evening.
The Walking Dead has suffered uneven writing over the years, and that couldn’t be more evident than it is with this sixth season batch. The first few episodes charged out the gate, leaving us hyped up and breathless, but after a slowdown with the Morgan-centric “He’s Not Here,” we’ve practically crawled to the finish line to heave a disappointed sigh. Perhaps these observations are a byproduct of the split-season format — we can’t aptly assess it as a whole — or maybe the writers believe the promised bloodbath ahead will change viewers’ minds. Either way, I’ve got a few ideas about what should have happened, because simply leaving a bajillion storylines dangling does not a compelling cliffhanger make.
Maggie and Glenn Should Have Been Reconciled.
Don’t even get me started on that false tension of having Maggie chased by walkers, then scrambling up a ladder to safety. For a millisecond, I thought the writers might actually have taken my suggestion, but after it became clear she was safe, keeping them apart through the entire hour was ridiculous. In what turned out to be an entirely emotionally empty episode, we deserved one heartfelt moment.
We Needed a Check-In with Daryl, Abraham and Sasha.
That prologue scene should have been part of “Start to Finish,’ not an afterthought buried in the following (albeit, fun) series the network wants people to watch. Of all the times we could have had — should have had — an extended episode, this was it. Instead of all that crappy, sappy Deanna bullshit, we needed at least one scene returning to this powerhouse trio, all of whom we’ve truly missed this season.
Gabriel Should Have Died.
We were calling for his death in the last season finale, so how is this guy still alive? Stokes is a truly useless character, and Seth Gilliam looks like he’s phoning in the performance. Call it bloodlust, call it justice, call it whatever you like; Father Gabriel’s zombie tryst is long overdue. It might have provided satisfaction enough to overlook the rest of the mess.
The Wolf Should Have Killed Someone, Maybe Even Morgan.
Sorry — yeah — another call for death. We like to think this series is about survival, but Steven does have a point; it’s also about death. It’s impossible to believe that captured Wolf would let anyone live, never mind all the people in that room with him. As much as I adore Lennie James and Morgan Jones, karma dictates (as does that other loose Wolf with a gun) that Jones should die. At the very least, instead of leaving with a hostage, the Wolf should have just (and I fully expected him to), sliced Denise’s throat (love Merritt Wever). I’m still reeling from the idea that Tara, Rosita and Eugene gave over their guns without a second’s hesitation. IDIOTS. It’s just as inexplicable that the Wolf didn’t immediately kill Denise when they did, but hey, I’m not writing this thing.
Sam Deserved to Be Medicated.
I’m not usually an advocate for medicating children, but look at that poor kid! If we thought Lori would remain the uncontested worst Walking Dead mother, guess again, because Jessie has stolen her crown (and what’s up with Rick falling for both women?). You’d think at some point she’d have found a way to help him deal with the madness, but instead she’s got him pretending his life away. Every time there’s a situation, Jessie simply tells Sam to lock himself up, pretend something, and then she walks away. There’s no counselor
or psychiatrist on hand so at least round up a mild tranquilizer, because even the zombie guts can’t hide a frightened child’s call for his useless mother.
*Bonus Dreamy Absolute Bloodlust: Carl Should Have Beaten the Crap Out of Jesse’s Other Son.