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The Walking Dead finale spoilers are in this article. If you haven't caught the episode, yet, get on that already!
Season 6 was a tumultuous year for fans of The Walking Dead. Between the first half of the season teasing Glenn's possible death for multiple episodes and the second half building up to a violent entrance from Negan, there was a lot going on. Near the end, the expectation was that we would be saying a final goodbye to one of the good guys. Unfortunately, showrunner Scott M. Gimple chose to withhold showing the identity of just which one of the good guys was murdered by Negan and Lucille. Plenty of viewers weren’t exactly thrilled with the ending, but Gimple says that he wants fans to know one thing about the finale. Namely, he wasn’t trying frustrate the fanbase.
We never intended to fuck with people. You all just saw the episode and I want to go on record and say we were not trying to fuck with you.
Scott Gimple’s comments came from a Q&A (via Variety) following an early screening of the finale. He clearly knew ahead of time that he was in for a storm of criticism for how he was ending Season 6. A cliffhanger is always a risky business, and leaving everybody hanging about the identity of Negan’s victim is one hell of a cliffhanger. No wonder he wanted to go on the record to say that he wasn’t trying to fuck with people.
At the same time, it’s hard to believe that Scott Gimple wasn’t trying to fuck with people just a little bit. He’s gone on the record as saying that the final scene was constructed so that there were no solid clues that fans could use to really narrow down the list of candidates. Gimple also hasn’t exactly been shy about dropping cryptic comments about what he’s planning on delivering during the Season 7 premiere.
Of course, Gimple couldn’t have exactly hit the press circuit and started revealing who Negan had killed. His job as showrunner is to tease and tantalize rather than outright tell what is happening. If this particular cliffhanger hadn’t come at the end of a season that had already featured an abundance of close-call cliffhangers, fans might not be as frustrated as they are now.
Only time will tell if the frustration will last. There’s always the chance that Scott Gimple will pull off a Season 7 premiere that makes us all glad for the handling of the Season 6 finale. It will be a minor miracle if he manages to keep a lid on spoilers to keep investigative fans from figuring out who isn’t on set as a regular, but The Walking Dead has managed some epic surprises in the past. The resolution of the identity of Negan’s victim may be worth the wait.
Unfortunately, The Walking Dead doesn’t return until October, so that wait is going to be pretty long. For more zombie action in the same universe, you can tune in to Fear the Walking Dead on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. To see what shows are coming back in the meantime, be sure to check out our schedule of summer TV premiere dates.