LOS ANGELES, April 5 — SPOILER ALERT! Do not proceed any further if you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead entitled “Last Day on Earth”.
Andrew Lincoln has tried to calm fans who felt emotionally manipulated by the cliffhanger ending to Season 6 of The Walking Dead.
In the season finale that aired on Sunday, fans of the zombie-apocalypse drama had been bracing for a principal character to die with the introduction of Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a major villain from the comic book on which the AMC series is based.
But when said death arrived, it was unclear which character was on the receiving end of a fatal beating from Negan’s barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat. The scene was shot from the character’s POV, leaving his or her identity a mystery.
Needless to say, fans were less than thrilled.
According to Variety, social-media analytics company Canvs found that the final scene of the show’s Season 6 finale drew overwhelmingly negative reactions from viewers on Twitter.
The company, which analyses the emotional content of social-media messages, said that more than 70 per cent of all reactions on Twitter during the closing moments of the episode expressed feelings such as “crazy,” “dislike,” “hate” and “upset”. “Love” accounted for only 15.2 per cent of all reactions, “good” for only 6.4 per cent.
In contrast, a majority of responses to the previous season finale’s last moments included emotions such as “love,” “excited,” “good” and “happy,” with “hate” accounting for only 10.4 per cent of reactions.
Following the fan backlash, Lincoln defended both the episode and the plot twist to The Wrap.
“I’m sorry the fans are angry about it because I think it’s a very thrilling and shocking way to leave a season,” Lincoln was quoted as saying.
“People have four or five months to recover from that. And conversely, from a writing standpoint, it’s daring what they’re doing. As a returning episode, to kill one of us to start the season? It’s not the usual way one would start off as a writer.”
The actor who plays Rick Grimes on the show added that he understands why fans may be angry.
“People are well within their rights to feel whatever they want,” he said.
“If they feel robbed, it’s a completely valid thing. But a guttural reaction, an upset, that’s the point of drama. I don’t go to a theatre or movie and not feel things. I want to feel things.”
Season 7 of The Walking Dead will air later this year.