Midseason finales typically have not been kind to characters on The Walking Dead. In fact, some of the series biggest deaths have occurred during midseason finales: Sophia, The Governor’s daughter, The Governor, Hershel, and Beth have all departed at the season midway point. In the sixth season, we lost Deanna.
Deanna? Who cares?
Maybe if Deanna’s death had been the focal point of the midseason finale, it might have had a bigger impact, but with everything else going on — and the fate of so many other characters left in doubt — Deanna’s death felt like an afterthought. She handed a leadership baton to Rick that he was already holding (“they’re all your people”), and told Michonne to find out what she wants. (“I don’t know.” Enlightening.) At least Deanna went out with some bad-ass firepower, in contrast to the weakness she’d previously displayed when faced with danger.
However, unlike in previous seasons — which felt like two eight-episode mini-seasons — the sixth season is clearly using all 16 episodes to relay a story that takes place over a very short period of time. We know that Jeffrey Dean Morgan will not be introduced as Negan until the sixth season finale, meaning that the sixth season will cover the period between the discovery of the zombie horde and the introduction of Negan, and while comics readers know there’s several major events upcoming, the midseason finale has acted as more table setting for the back half than an ends to itself.
Indeed, we’ll have to wait three months to find out if Maggie survives her precarious position, and if sidelined Glenn (and Enid) can somehow save her; we’ll have to wait 75 more days to find out if Carol kills Morgan (or vice versa) over their philosophical differences (and whether Denise will fall prey to the Wolf); and we’ll have to wait 1800 more hours to see the Ron and Carl confrontation finally come to a head. Who’s dumber, by the way? Ron, for calling attention to themselves with the walkers, or Carl, for trying to stop them with fucking weave baskets? At least Carl understands people. “You need to know something. Your Dad was an asshole,” he tells Ron, and truer words were never spoken.
What will become of crybaby Sam? Father Gabriel, who pretended to be brave a lot better than Sam (SHUT UP SAM)? Jessie? Eugene, Rosita and Tara? How long will the zombie guts trick work?
It’s going to be a spectacular sequence of events, when we finally get to them. Unfortunately, that won’t be anytime soon.
In other words, the midseason finale was designed to increase our anticipation for the midseason premiere — leave us asking questions all winter long — and not to provide us with any satisfaction. It’s frustrating case of television blue balls. Even the prologue sequence offered the promise that something huge on the horizon, but like the series as a whole since Glenn’s near death experience, the promise hangs like a carrot from a stick a foot from our face, always just out of reach. (For those who missed it, in the prologue, Abe, Sasha and Daryl ran upon a few Saviors on motorcycles, who demanded their truck, weapons, porn, and emergency napkins, and told them that “All their property belongs to Negan now.”)
Everyone is screwed; we’ll need to wait three months to find out who gets fucked and who gets unfucked.
Here’s the prologue (via Uproxx)