This past Sunday was a major one for fans of AMC's The Walking Dead. The extended Season 7 finale saw all out war break out between the various communities outside D.C., giving a much needed payoff and conclusion to the season's main storyline. And while it seems like fan reception for the episode was much more positive than last season's Negan cliffhanger, it didn't do as well in the ratings. Not by a long shot.
Because while The Walking Dead always boasts impressive viewership, Season 7's finale was the worst rated finale since all the way back in Season 2, via TV By The Numbers. This Sunday's episode got a 5.4 rating among adults 18-49, amassing a total of 11.31 million viewers. While these are numbers that lesser known shows would kill for, they're significantly lower than past season finales. The last finale scored 6.5 among key demographics, and a total of 14.19 million viewers.
The last time a Walking Dead finale numbers were so low was during the show's snail paced second season. Season 2's finale scored 4.7 and was watched by a total of $8.99 million people.
Despite the major action and Shiva's face eating action, The Walking Dead took a pretty serious hit with these numbers, most likely reflecting the less than thrilling season. Season 7 as a whole will likely be deemed a season of set up, as the various communities and large ensemble cast needed to be slowly explored before the war against Negan and The Saviors could erupt. Nearly every episode this season was a capsule episode, focusing on just one location and a handful of characters. While this helped us understand the psyche of the supporting cast, the pacing came to a screeching halt and resulted in a loss in viewership.
That being said, Season 7's finale episode "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life" was a pretty thrilling hour and a half of television. The episode was chock full of exciting plot twists that kept the audience on the edge of their seats. The episode also essentially memorialized three different main characters, who were the last major characters to meet their maker on the show. Fans got the action they craved, as well as the emotional stakes which kept the finale from spinning off into madness.
Now the question is whether or not these issues will continue to plague The Walking Dead. Season 7's finale has the potential to swing back over naysayers who have dropped off their weekly apocalyptic drama. And one thing is clear: Season 8 better keep the capsule episodes to a minimum. We need to se all our favorites, in as many episodes as possible. Because let's get real: it felt like characters like Carol weren't even on the show this season.