It is fair to say that The Walking Dead season 6 finale on Sunday didn’t leave many fans of the series satisfied. The episode ended with the much-hyped first appearance of long-hinted antagonist Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who proceeded to deliver a lengthy monologue, threaten to strike one of the show’s regulars with his barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat, and then finally do so. But which of them he had actually struck will remain a mystery until season 7.
To say the reaction to this turn of events was negative is an understatement. Walking Dead fans had just sat through an unusually long, slow-moving 90-minute episode, including a final scene that approached the 10-minute mark. For that to end without any resolution was undoubtedly disappointing -- especially since the show is in the second half of its "half season" structure and certainly wasn't going to return to resolve the cliffhanger until next fall.
So, some outraged Walking Dead fans are doing something about it. They’re demanding answers (by way of a petition), to reveal who actually died.
The petition -- titled "The Walking Dead Season 6 Cliffhanger - Show Us Who Died!" -- was posted to Change.org, for submission to AMC. It demands that:
"I would like AMC to show us who Negan killed in the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead. We want this either in an interim episode that borders Season 6 and 7, or a short R-Rated webisode that shows us the death in all it's bloody glory. Either of these are fine as long as it's released before May 30th."
The petition had gained 538 signatures, out of a goal of 1,000, as of Tuesday night.
While the storytelling decision may have been unpopular and bordering on inconsiderate to the fan base, but there comes a time to accept what's done is done. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple certainly has a it's unlikely for him or anyone at AMC to deviate from that because of a fan petition. Moreover, like it or not, the cliffhanger will almost certainly deliver high ratings that AMC isn't going to pass up in favor of an "interim episode" -- those take time to produce, you know -- or even a webisode. While this petition seems like an overly emotional reaction to disappointment it's not uncommon -- even for The Walking Dead, as fans petitioned to bring Beth back from the dead a few years ago.
Meanwhile, at least someone knows what’s happening before next fall -- Daryl himself (Norman Reedus), gave an interview with the Today Show this week in which he revealed that he knows what happens in the controversial scene, but didn’t share the outcome. "I know what happens and it's gutwrenching to me," Reedus told the Today hosts while promoting his new movie Sky. Of course, it’s likely that Reedus is aware which of his castmates is about to depart, and the odds of him knowing are even better if it's him.
The Walking Dead season 7 will premiere in the fall of 2016 on AMC.