Robert Kirkman Responds to Fan Outrage Over Walking Dead Cliffhanger
Spoilers for The Walking Dead follow!
The season six finale of The Walking Dead has already become one of the most controversial finales in history, with the vast majority of fans (ourselves included) expressing outrage and disappointment over the cliffhanger ending. In a "letter hack" that accompanied issue #154 of the comics (Reddit), Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman tried to respond to those fans with a lengthy message, which basically states that they weren't trying to manipulate the audience, they "just wanted to give us something to talk about":
All right, let's pretend for a minute that they weren't trying to manipulate the audience (they were), and blow past the fact that Kirkman talks about "some" loving the episode and "some" hating it as though the two groups are in equal numbers. Even if the producers really were just trying to "do something cool," they didn't. This had the potential to be The Walking Dead's Red Wedding moment, but they blew it. And as for giving us a few more months to "hope," it would have been much more powerful to let us "grieve" for three months, rather than presumably blowing past the major character death in an episode or two.
But what bothers me most is that Kirkman (as well as many other defenders of the finale) are acting like fans are simply upset that it was a cliffhanger. TWD fans aren't angry that the season ended on a cliffhanger, they're angry that it ended on a terrible cliffhanger. It's not valid to compare the ending to TNG, because TNG did cliffhangers right. Fans aren't upset every time there's a cliffhanger on television precisely because some shows do it right, while other shows do it wrong. For a few recent examples, fans loved when The Vampire Diaries ended on a cliffhanger after seasons one and three, or when Battlestar Galactica had that huge reveal at the end of season two, because those cliffhangers were actually revealed. Fans "had something to talk about" when Vampire Diaries revealed that Elena had turned into a vampire, or when BSG revealed that there was a time jump and the Cylons had taken over.
Similarly, we would have had something to talk about if one of our favorite characters had died brutally in the last few minutes of the season finale, and we felt the emotional impact because we actually knew who it was. So, good try, Kirkman, but no dice.
The Walking Dead returns this fall on AMC, if you're still watching, that is.