‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 Finale: Scott Gimple Defends Controversial Cliffhanger

'The Walking Dead' Season 6 Finale
AMC

Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “The Walking Dead” Season 6 finale, titled “Last Day on Earth.”

The sixth season finale of “The Walking Dead” was the cherry on top of a divisive year. Ever since Steven Yeun’s Glenn evaded what looked like certain death by crawling under a dumpster (and the show decided to drag that reveal out over the course of multiple episodes), there’s been a mounting skepticism among a significant number of fans that the show’s storytelling isn’t quite on the up-and-up.

That skepticism exploded on social media when the season climaxed with the expected arrival of new supervillain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the death of a key character unexpectedly shown from that character’s POV. The fatal cliffhanger means the audience won’t find out who actually died until at least six months from now (assuming details don’t leak out first) when the show is due to return for season 7.

Related

The Walking Dead Season 7

‘The Walking Dead’: Jeffrey Dean Morgan on Negan’s Finale Debut and Where Season 7 Picks Up

AMC held a conference call with showrunner Scott M. Gimple and members of the media the morning after the finale so that he could answer pressing questions. Here are the highlights of that call.

On the decision to not show who was killed, and whether we’ll see the beating in graphic detail next season…

“The reasoning behind this was in many ways what we saw last night was the end of the story of season 6. Where Rick winds up is completely different from where he started in [episode] 1 [the season premiere] and where he started in [episode] 9 [the midseason premiere]. I know obviously and I’ve known for awhile what is in [the season 7 premiere]. Presenting what occurs, to show what happened in full force, is the beginning of the next story.

“But to the showing of [the beating]… It’s an incredible work of gore by Charlie Adlard in the book. How we show that on TV? I’m certain we’ll be pushing some boundaries with it.”

On the fan backlash over not showing the death…

“I think if you approach it from a place of skepticism or with the idea that there’s some sort of negative motivation or cynical motivation behind it — if you come at it that way it’s difficult to convince you otherwise. I do think we’ve done enough on the show, we’ve delivered a story that people have enjoyed.

“I ask people to give us the benefit of the doubt that it’s all part of a plan, all part of a story. I truly hope that people see [the season 7 premiere] and they feel it justifies the way we’ve decided to tell the story. That is the way it is in our minds. I know what [the season 7 premiere] is and I feel that it delivers on what [the season 6 finale] sets up.”

On the criticism of keeping Glenn’s fate a mystery earlier in the season, and removing Yeun’s name from the opening credits…

“I know that in my heart it was about protecting the audience’s experience. There is a great deal of meta that goes on around the show. If I left the name in I think there might have been criticism in another direction of it being sloppy or not protecting the audience’s experience. Taking it out, if people choose to look at it cynically, it’s like we were trying to trick in some way. I was trying to give audiences an emotional experience and I didn’t want things like the credits to get in the way of that.

“I can see if it’s looked upon cynically that I’m doing something not to protect the audience but to play with them. It’s an incredibly smart audience, an incredibly plugged in audience. I thought it would be safer for the experience to take the name out than to leave it in and shrug my shoulders. It really is all about the audience and their experience of the story. We do care about our audience a great deal.”

Related

The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 Finale Draws Social-Media Hate

On plans to keep who Negan killed a secret until the season premiere and what happens if the actor whose character is killed takes another acting job…

“We are doing our best in all those areas. It is very very difficult nowadays, especially on a show that is in so many different places. That said, we are working very hard to put things in a place where I hope we protect it.

“We have a big ensemble and people do take jobs and have taken jobs throughout our seasons. You can be on a couple different shows nowadays. That said, we’re trying to get around that as well. It goes back to that meta stuff, the awareness of all that stuff around the show. It goes back to [removing Steven Yeun’s name from the credits]. The way we took that credit off was trying to protect a secret, and we are going to try to protect the secret of [who Negan killed] to protect the audience’s experience. I sure hope it doesn’t leak. The world is what the world is, but we’re going to try hard to make that not happen.”

On whether or not the creatives expected criticism of the cliffhanger…

“We were definitely anticipating some. I think if you have something in a story that can be criticized in some direction, it will be criticized. There is a vast audience. People in some ways now almost feel like it’s their duty to let their opinions be known. That’s great, that’s part of the world now. If you do something and think ‘some people aren’t going to like this,’ you can set your watch towards people saying so. And usually not subtlely.

“The hard thing about it is you can’t say why you do some of the turns you take because you’ll wind up telling details of the story. I do know the writers and producers and cast and crew know why we do what we do. We know our intentions are good. We care about our audience and we’re just trying to deliver them an experience.

“I suppose it’s good that everything is met with skepticism nowadays. People are thinking critically and not just trusting things that are put before them. I’d love a little more trust. But I think it’s a good thing for society that people aren’t just trusting the things that are coming across their television set. It makes the challenge for us to win those angry people back with a great story that much more important and that much harder. But that’s the business we’re in. We’re not trying to do the easy thing. When you’re a parent, your kid might have a tantrum for a lot of different reasons and you still have to love them and try to do right by them. I do want to do right by this audience. I hope to win back or assuage some of the anger.”

Related

‘Walking Dead’ Star Andrew Lincoln Talks Negan’s Victim, ‘Brutally Damaging’ Season 7

On whether or not the actor whose character is killed already knows his or her fate, and whether any of the other cast members know…

“I can’t let you behind the curtain on that one. The spoilery-ness is just way way way too intense. I would say … I’m so afraid to open my mouth on this one. There are far too many landmines there to traverse.”

On whether or not fans can figure out who was killed from clues in the sequence…

“I believe there is no way. There are a couple of things in there that might help people, possibly limit the amount of people who are vulnerable. But I would rather people not go down that route because I truly don’t think there is a way to puzzle it out definitively.

“The reasoning behind that is these are incredibly smart fans to start with, and then you put it to this incredible crowdsourcing and they will get it. I’ll tell you with certainty, people will figure out what happens in [the season 7 premiere] even though there aren’t clues to determine it. And I’m not talking about spoilers, people will figure it out even if there’s no way they should be able to. I’ve seen it again and again. If you put very smart people together, I don’t know if we’re talking about the collective unconsciousness or something…

“Granted it might be one comment among 1000 comments. Luckily there will be a lot of theories floating around. I hope it doesn’t become the dominant one.”

On the lack of deaths of long running characters in season 6 and balancing the expectation to kill major characters with creative needs…

“It’s something we lived with since the beginning. It’s about those deaths meaning something to the story and to the other characters. I know that what’s coming up is going to change everything with the story. Whether [the death] is a fairly new or an OG character.

“There is a long running plan to this show. Characters will meet their end, but also some characters will not meet their end, at least for awhile. There are no immortal characters, I don’t mean to say that, but it is part of the bigger story. In the comics there are some pretty OG characters left, and there are some that departed a lot quicker than their counterparts on the show. It’s a balance. Once you plan things out and you look at where things are going and where people are going, that helps.

On whether or not Corey Hawkins’ Heath will return (in light of Hawkins being cast as the lead of Fox’s “24” reboot)…

“We will absolutely see Heath again. At this point we’ve had to ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ it a little bit. We’re hoping to have him in a certain episode for a certain thing that would lead to another thing. We have a lot of contingency plans because he’s the new Jack Bauer, he has skills now and you don’t want to mess with him.

“It’s a problem, but thematically with the character luckily I had been thinking about this possibility for awhile, and really just trying to find several different ways to get to where I wanted to get with the character [even] if we don’t get there on the exact schedule that we hoped to.”

Related

The Walking Dead Review Season 6 Episode 16 Finale Negan Jeffrey Dean Morgan SPOILERS

Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season Finale Finally Brings Negan Up to Bat

On what to expect from season 7…

“The world opened up this half season, it opened up to some light places and some dark places. In the next half season, the world is going to open up even more. We’re going to have a wide variety of locales, tone and character. I’m very excited for all the different stories that are going to be told.

“I haven’t done the math but I think there’s going to be the biggest variety of stories we’ve had yet. I can say without spoiling anything that things are going to start of very, very, very dark. But that won’t be the whole season. It’s not going to be darkness upon darkness upon darkness.”

On feeling a kinship with the showrunners of “Game of Thrones” [who also ended their most recent season on a cliffhanger death]…

“I would love to sit down with those guys. I would buy them many beers. We could commiserate. We could compare notes. It’s a weird thing, it’s a hard thing. If you want to put the audience through an experience that mirrors the character’s experience it’s not pleasant, it’s challenging. It sometimes runs counter to what entertainment is.

“People have so many choices and there’s a certain flattening of emotion. I do believe that people want to feel and make them think and imagine and wonder and even be angry sometimes with the world of the characters. Or how much information they get and when they get it. I know it’s all in service to give the audience something.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 128

Leave a Reply

128 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Kerry says:

    Cliffhangerers can be great, if handled WELL, (like the West Wing season 1 finale where the President was fired on and you didn’t know who was shot “Who’s been hit? Who’s been hit?” Or many of Shonda’s season finale’s on Scandal when Olivia’s father first showed up, or How to Get Away with Murder, finding out who shot whom?) A cliffhanger should leave you on the edge of your seat, be unexpected, a twist you never saw coming. This was just a let down and a ratings ploy in disguise. Utter bullcrap.

  2. Elise Mann says:

    Gimp-Kirk made horribly disingenuous comments on TTD when he/they dared to compare ST-TNG with Sunday nights’ appalling Season 6 finale. By telling the audience that he enjoyed the anxiety of hearing Commander Riker saying, ‘Mr. Worf, fire’ – he feebly and wrongly made the comparison that TWD’s fake out ending was OK, even with the preposterous black screen that failed to work for gifted writer David Chase and certainly failed for GimpKirk. There IS no commonality between the two. STTNG never lured fans into over-hype about a main character’s death and then fail to follow through. No. Is GimpKirk really that simple to not understand the difference? I suspect that the colossal hubris I heard and saw emanating from this duo was simply emblematic of their nonchalance towards the fan base. Unfortunate cop out with wide ranging repercussions. Kirkgimp needs to STOP begging us to understand that Season Six ended and the ‘new’ story will begin in the Fall. KirkGimp’s flawed beseeching is not even a good effort at backpedaling. He allowed the well developed characters to stop being those characters and to then morph into swallowers of stupid-pills who suddenly began acting like imbeciles. They choked (to the sponsors, ratings, whatever) and now the detritus of a once wonderful piece of entertaiment is a slag-heap led by a sadistic and boring soliliquist in baggy pants surrounded by squishy sound fx on black-screen (way to save $$) amid frustrated and ill-used actors. Wasteful, unforgiveably LAZY writing.

  3. CatBlue says:

    I felt let down by TWD for the entire second half of Season 6. Rick, et al made mistakes and acted in ways that were the antithesis of everything they had done previously to survive. I have read the comics, watched from the beginning and even got my friends into the show when AMC ran marathons. I never thought I would reach the point when I didn’t care who died, but the Season Finale did that for me. That bloated, repetitive, poorly written finale completely numbed me to the story. Reading Gimple’s defense of this wretched mess at least explains why he thinks nothing of insulting the viewers intelligence. He thinks we’re children! I don’t watch FTWD and I now I have lost interest in TWD.

    Gimple and Nicotero should take a page from Shonda Rhime’s book. There have been many shocking deaths/murders on her shows. Shonda and her writer have often been rather straight-forward about these deaths and showing us who committed the murders without any loss of suspense or eagerness to see where the story goes. Coming up is a Scandal SPOILER ALERT!!!

    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *

    On tonight’s episode of Scandal Olivia Pope’s character gets back at the former Vice President, who was responsible for her kidnapping. As he taunts her she snaps and bashes his head in with a metal chair. It was brilliant, because she had finally, definitively crossed over to the dark side! But I digress. I think I found it particularly satisfying because it accomplished what Gimple and Nicotero couldn’t do with all their gimmicky storytelling this season. Olivia Pope is ultimately the better Negan. You can read a recap and see the scene on abc.go

    • DM says:

      Lighten up, Francis… Jeez, do something else with your life for six months (complain about GoT?) and then come back to see what happened.

  4. James English says:

    Gimple is his own worst enemy. His condescending non-explanations tend to make things worse. He’s starting to sound a lot like Lindelof and Cruse during their Lost days, and we all know how that turned out.

    One big problem with the cliffhanger ending is that it gives fans nothing to work with. One reason the “who shot J.R.” thing was successful was because cliffhanger season endings on non-soap opera shows at the time were pretty new things. Most importantly, though, there were a lot of possibilities to consider. Since J.R. had done bad things to all the suspects, multiple times, there were a lot of potential motives. Viewers could think back to past episodes and try to look for clues, intended or otherwise.

    The cliffhanger on TWD is nothing like that. The only thing to speculate about is who was killed, but there is no real mystery to solve. Negan chose the victim on a whim, and had never interacted with any of them. Viewers can’t make an informed guess. There is nothing to discuss or debate.

    They could easily have identified the victim and left viewers to discuss “what happens now?” That would have led to a lot of excited speculation. This particular cliffhanger ending has simply angered a pretty sizeable number of viewers, if not the majority. More people on social media are talking about how they feel used and tricked, rather than focusing on the question of which character was killed.

  5. JJ says:

    “I’d love a little more trust” – SG. Well, to quote Daryl Dixon here, “Yeah, and people in Hell want slurpees.” :/ The trust has been given over and over again. You can only break it so many times before fans withdraw it. It’s time to earn it back, not just ask for it.

  6. Ana L says:

    I read this article with interest to see how AMC and Mr Gimple viewed the reactions to season 7 and the finale.

    I have been a long-time fan and am passionate about the series. I think the cast and crew are highly talented.

    Sadly this season does not seem to have made best use of this talent. In my humble opinion whilst your cast delivered the scenes magnificently the story and editing fell short.

    I have been left feeling manipulated as a viewer. I am intelligent and very busy. I am left ambivalent towards who has been killed in the finale. I am sad to say the only thing you successfully killed in that finale was my passion for the show.

  7. DJ says:

    Sadly, based on the answers given, the writers and producers are extremely out of touch with what fans want, and considering all they had to do was turn to YouTube and social media to lesrn that we fans didn’t want a cliffhanger, it’s hard to believe they are making decisions based mostly on the fans experience. I loved season six all the way up to the last moment and then I suddenly felt edactly how you do when a sports team you love is winning the championship game and loses in the final moments of the game. I was totally let down, as were everyone else in the room. You could feel the tension building, you could feel the excitement and anticipation… The moment we had waited for for months had arrived… Everyone was leaning in towards the TV and I can’t ever remember a build up in a TV show that had so many people excited…. Negan stopped and told someone they were it… Some of the people in our group started making noises they were so excited… “Wham!” So exciting… Wham, wham, wham. Then, suddenly there was an ad for Fear the Walking Dead and everyone let out a collective sigh. It took a few moments until the first person blurted out, “That’s it. I quit the Walking Dead. I’m sick of them toying with me. That sucked!” Unfortunately for the producers, most people I’ve spoken to feel the same. One of my friend said it felt like having erectile dysfunction on your honeymoon. I don’t know if I care enough to tune in again, but maybe I will. For the first time ever though I’m just happy Game of Thrones is on soon so maybe I don’t need Walking Dead anymore. One thing’s for sure: I will not be watching Fear the WalWalking Dead after this huge letdown.

  8. Rosa says:

    “It makes the challenge for us to win those angry people back with a great story that much more important and that much harder…”

    You know, the problem is you cannot win all of us angry people back because some of us won’t continue watching the series. Did you really think we’d now spend the next 7 months being excited about what’s going to happen in season 7? And please stop comparing YOUR AUDIENCE to children throwing a tantrum – huge mistake!!

    “I’m very excited for all the different stories that are going to be told.”

    Well, that’s great. You are obviously producing the series for your own excitement, not for your audience’s. I’ve watched TWD every week with 5 of my friends since S1E1 and none of us was in any way excited about the finale, we were all utterly disappointed because it was the most anti-climatic finale we’ve ever seen and now we’re just not interested any more. Heck, we don’t even care any longer about who died or who didn’t. That’s so sad. Too many cliffhangers have been starting to bore us and now it’s just been too much, it’s become too lame. You haven’t just killed a main (?) character in the most unexciting way possible, what you’ve done was much worse: you’ve killed the whole series for us. Now that really did come as a surprise.

    RIP TWD

  9. digitalwitch says:

    His explanation has further angered me. Will not be watching Fear!

  10. Lizette says:

    Scott Gimple, please understand it was not about skepticism or instant gratification but rather how your cliffhanger was terrible!
    It not on par to the great cliffhanger classic (according to my mom and grandparents) of Who shot Jr.?, modern version of or Lost or Game of Thrones.
    Your version of a cliffhanger was terrible,gimmicky and a poor choice, plain and simple.

  11. Bill B says:

    What a bunch of bunk! Usually I’m only this angry about a TV show because it’s been cancelled abruptly. I don’t believe a word Gimple says about protecting the audience. I was disappointed and annoyed by the way they handled the Glen dying or not dying nonsense and then making us wait for so long to find out. I don’t trust him, can’t believe a word he says. I’m convinced the Glenn story line was designed to make his eventual death even more heart wrenching. They’ve gotten to gimmicky, too manipulative and play too many games. They may well have lost this loyal fan. It’s a shame too because they nailed the Neagan casting and I should be looking forward to what to come but I’m really not now.

  12. Gimple and Nicotero are full of themselves. I honestly wonder why Nicotero hasn’t found a way to play all the parts himself.

  13. Davis says:

    Wish Gimple would have offered up the same level of intelligence for his audience as he tries to muster while backpeddling excuses for the trainwreck that was season 6’s finale. 

  14. cfh0384 says:

    And Gimple can go eff himself. I will not watch season 7. I have destroyed all my dvd’s and I got really creative with it :). I am done with the show. I will stick with the comics that I have been reading since 2005.

  15. cfh0384 says:

    Yea, screw Gimple and Nicotero. It was Glenn who died. Look around and find the leaked audio. Kinda cements it.

  16. firegimple says:

    Did Gimple just call TWD fan base “children” throwing tantrums?! Gimple really is an a-hole who just doesn’t get it. Let’s hurt Gimple where it counts — his $$$$. All of us “children” who aren’t happy with S6 finale need to take our “allowance” money and spent it elsewhere — not on ratings nor buying episodes, or season DVD/BluRays.

    #fireGimple for the disrespect he shows for the fan base who helped make him and the show rich for 6 entire seasons!

  17. Sweetmamazombie says:

    Watching this cliffhanger was like being in the sack with somebody–he got his, but I didn’t get mine.

  18. Jason says:

    All this focus on the ending (badly handled) misses the bigger problem, the story and the characters. Most of the character behavior and decision making in the past couple of episodes was, well, out of character. The illogical decisions only made sense in the context of setting up a contrived ending where our characters are 100% powerless (and clueless) against and omnipotent and all powerful foe. That formula is tired and boring.

    Audience interest at end of season is maintained by keeping an array of plausible unknowns, possible (exciting) outcomes and complex, if conflicting, emotions.The audience cares about characters because we get to know and understand them. When they behave out of character, the magic is lost and all the sudden I can feel the set, the acting and am aware of all the cheesy production details like overly ominous sound effects.

    Back to film school, Storytelling 101 is a required class.

    • JJ says:

      Yeah, that’s why the fan backlash isn’t just about the cliffhanger. A lot of the character moments this year were just straight up, WTF moments. But I think most fans would be willing to overlook many of the problems that plagued the show this year if they had done the Lucille moment justice. When they ruined that….it just augments the anger that was already festering about the creative decisions.

    • jujubasd says:

      This has been such a problem all season especially for Morgan and Carol. My husband and I would always talk about how much their character and sudden change in behavior/motive has been so contrived that it makes them unlikable. You can see this in other characters as well. Then there were some problematic time hops. Rick falls for a married (albeit abused) woman, kills her husband, then mourns her. But a few episodes later is suddenly in a relationship with Michonne? The hell just happened.

      Gimple has gotten sloppy because the show has the numbers. So he takes for granted that the fans will continue to watch poor storytelling

  19. Sue Snell says:

    Dear Mr. Gimple-

    You’d love a little more trust? Trust is earned- and/or lost. We trusted Frank Darabont and the show has been on a steady decline since he left.

    Look up the meaning of the word “hubris”- you are Captain of the Titanic- pushed by those who control your pursestrings and are above you in the corporation to go off course and lose control of the vehicle of which you were in charge.

    Characterization? Plotting? Understanding of the contract a storyteller has with his audience? You understand these as well as Dan Quayle understood what made a character fictional.

    You, sir, are not in the same league with “Game of Thrones”. You are McDonald’s to their Le Cirque, you are Frank Wildhorn to their Stephen Sondheim, the “Two Broke Girls” to their “Cheers”.

    Kirkman is a seemingly arrogant, ill-informed, bigoted, misogynistic and racist douche who somehow hit it rich- the Donald Trump of comic books. You are both as out of touch with reality as Anna Nicole or Jeb! or Norma Desmond.

    I hope spoilers leak all summer so that your rating/advertising ploy bites you in the ass. I hope your ratings plummet. I hope you realize that what was killed in the finale was your show’s momentum, your connection with your audience, your ratings and your livelihood. But you can console yourself with the paycheck and continue to dismiss the fact your condescending, smug, disdain for those who supported your show is now unmasked.

    Oh- and be sure to give the water skis back to the Fonz.

    • Derek Overman says:

      Unfortunately, Darabont wasn’t really bringig a whole lot to the table either. The pilot was good albeit ripped of 28 days later a ton. All of the character seemed like stereotypes, Merle and Daryl, the rednecks, a black guy named T-dog. LOL. The first season had a good pilot and decent finale, then meandered in the middle. This show is all about meandering, no matter what producer is running it. This finale was the final straw for me. I have watched to show all 6 seasons, and have been close to quiting, but last episode was the final straw. No end game in sight, showrunners that have no balls. What more needs to be said??

  20. John Black says:

    Loved the cliffhanger, it was the only redeeming feature of season six (especially the last 8 episodes). The production values, scripting and acting seem to be on the wane?

  21. Rudy says:

    From what I understand, not even the cast knows who got it and won’t know until they receive the new script. I think the cliffhanger was absolutely PERFECT. This was true writing and thought for the visual that is this amazing amazing show. As the Writer, Producer, explained it perfectly when they said, “it doesn’t matter who got it, that was not the point of this episode. It was to introduce a new villain, open a new chapter within the group, but more importantly, have US, the audience and fans FEEL what the group was feeling. Defeat, fear, helplessness, and death”. There would be no rescue as at Terminus. No valiant fight as at the Prison. No pull from within as with the Bikers or the Wolves. This was it. Somebody is going to die and there is NOTHING WE could do about it. We had the cream of the cast there on their knees, so it doesn’t matter who got it. It still doesn’t. Because there’s NOTHING We or the Group can do about it. That my Friends is why we’re soooo upset.

  22. Heres the thing, if you can keep who was killed a secret for 7 months until the next season starts, than I give you props! But in this day an age I guarantee that whoever died will be leaked somehow, just like when Glen ‘died’ and his pic being on set later on was leaked so everyone who freaked out knew he was still alive. It’s makes no story telling sense pay off wise. All season NEGAN THIS NEGAN THAT, build build build, and then you dont give us a PAYOFF by showing who he killed, and decide to try to skate by and hope that information will not leak for 7 months? Yeah sure.

  23. Flick11 says:

    Well… that interview just made it worse. You are all great writers, you should know how to write “good” cliff-hangers. You did it with the Terminus ending perfectly. Even the mid-season cliff-hanger worked. This one felt cheap. We waded though the whole of season 6B waiting to find out who it was. the whole of 6B was a lead up to this one moment. This episode was 90 minutes of lead up to this one moment. Now it feels like this whole season was a lead up to season 7. Season 6 wasn’t good enough to stand on its own without any payoff.

  24. johnson339 says:

    it’s like he doesn’t understand why the fans are upset with his choices this season, at all. we’re just spoiled children having a tantrum to him. what a smug tool.

  25. WussyPillow says:

    We don’t want your excuses, we just want you GONE!

  26. CabbagePorchDik says:

    Are we sick of his excuses for crappy television, yet? Cliffhanger endings can be great fun when well-handled, but his fundamental misunderstanding of this iconic moment, and general penchant for cheap tricks, demonstrates that he should no longer be making these decisions. #FireGimple

  27. kbrown2225 says:

    Maybe instead of defending his decision he should be listening to the legion of disappointed fans. People didn’t like it Scott, there is a message there. Learn from it. It was a long, commercial-filled disappointment that left a bad taste in the mouth of a great many loyal fans. When you disappoint that many people you should really listen to what they are saying!

  28. Dropping God says:

    A season finale of 80 minutes of non-drama that made no sense and mind-numbing commercial breaks does not make a great finale. By the time Negan showed up, I was so angry at the obvious manipulation by the writers and the endless commercial breaks, I didn’t even watch the last 10 minutes. Didn’t care at that point. Too angry. To top it off by a cliffhanger after all that, was the icing of death for the show. I didn’t watch the ending, like I said, but read about it and would like to ask… Didn’t it occur to the writers, “Hey, we did this already with Glenn, might it be a bit much to do it again so soon?” Guess not. I will not be back.

  29. Stella says:

    Everybody seems to be up in arms over Scott Gimple’s cliffhanger ending, but has it occurred to anyone that Robert Kirkman was the real one behind this ending. Kirkman has admitted that he loves these types of endings and that it was not about who died, but about Rick’s demise. He also said that his comic books had endings like this as well, that you had to wait till the next comic book came out to see what happens. This is nothing new to him.

    • ___ says:

      I’m not even that pissed that it was a cliffhanger…but it would’ve been so much better IF NEGAN DIDN’T HAVE A FUCKING BEARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. ambisme says:

    Every single thing he is saying is bullshit……………He knew what he was doing, he wasn’t “protecting” anyone. I love this show so much. Gimple, do what is right; stop making the show cheap.

  31. slayde says:

    As a loyal fan who has never missed a show since S1/E1, I’m absolutely disgusted by the way this finale was handled — though I wish I could also say I was surprised. Season 6 has been virtually wall-to-wall with cheap gimmicks, impossible fake-outs, and implausible character actions. At this point, all I can see are show execs so desperate to maintain audience ratings that they’ll resort to every cheap trick they can think of. They’ve repeatedly and almost aggressively disrespected the very audience they need to stay on top; and in my book, this level of backlash has been a long time coming. I’m actually chuckling at the almost subliminal ways they continue to thumb their noses without consciously meaning to do so: having Negan bludgeon the “audience” (camera) in a move that so closely reflects the effect of the finale itself; likening us to “children throwing tantrums” because we’re vocally expressing displeasure en masse. TWD, there’s only so long you can disregard loyal viewers as you’ve done throughout Season 6 — and really right along, by constantly asserting that “No One Is Safe.” Clearly, you’ve been far too timid to part with any character whose loss might impact those all-important ratings.

    That said, from every outward appearance working for Mr. Kirkman seems like a potentially tricky gig. Just look at the number of showrunners TWD went through before finally settling on Mr. Gimple — who, based upon his collective quotes, emphatically understands where his bread is buttered. Like many authors, Mr. Kirkman seems to be (shall we say) fairly enmeshed with his source material, somewhat like an early Stephen King. What works on a page does not always translate well to a screen, of course; but it seems that certain authors can’t bring themselves to cede creative control. Human and understandable? Perhaps. But ultimately, it hurts the finished product and damages viewer trust in the storytelling integrity. From that perspective, Mr. Gimple has my sincere sympathies (although please do stop comparing me to a cranky toddler. It appears the trench is deep enough already).

    • Derek Overman says:

      The only thing that will get these show runners attention and AMC is to simply stop watching. This show was always 2-3 exceptional episodes a season surrounded by filler. You are right about the cheap tricks and gimmicks this season. They have proven that they think we are a dumb audience, and I have become so uninvested in this show. I use this show as a watch on the ipad while I play Fifa show, which is not a strong sign to begin with.

    • I agree with most of what you said but Kirkman doesn’t have much say in the show. Realistically how could he? He has to run skybound and write 3 comics and I think he’s still writing the novels as well as having a family. He simply wouldn’t have the time to also be a huge part of this show aside from being a figure head since he created the universe.

      Also, this show is at its best when it sticks to the comics almost exactly. For instance this strayed from how the scene was portrayed in the comics and the backlash is a result of what was changed. It’s Gimple’s fault, not Kirkmans.

  32. T. Walker says:

    I am so truly DISGUSTED by the horrid writing of the finale. Just a total lack of RESPECT given to FANS.

    These are experienced survivors, why would they begin talking out loud in the woods when they know they have people after them (giving their position away).

    Why would 3 group members just buck on Darryl’s leaving… knowing all Heck is about to break loose and they are needed to protect the home place?

    Why would 5 more group members leave to take Maggie to Hilltop? Rick knowing that Negan’s people patrol the roads… Why take the slow RV? Why not take the rocket launcher – blow a clearing to pass?

    They wrote like they didn’t even know these characters or their rationale.

    Viewers=Fans and they will not be pacified by claims of “trusting” where the story will go in Season 7.
    If season 7 , is anything like season 6… there won’t be a Season 8.

    • As long as we’re talking ridiculous plot points by characters who know better… Rick leading the zombie horde down the street? Why not set wind chimes on the top of the deep end of the gravel pit. The noise will keep them away from the exit indefinitely.

  33. Mr. Gimple, calling us your children who are having temper tantrums is not a great way to get on the good side of your fans. Fans who have made you all pretty darn wealthy I might add. We didn’t wait all season to meet Negan, we’ve waited all season to see who Negan kills. We were ready since episode 1, we knew it was coming and we braced ourselves and you left it like it was “Who shot J.R.” at least we knew J.R. died for crying out loud. You took something away from your fans when you decided to leave us hanging for 6 months without giving us a real definitive answer. “It will make sense to the fans” OK, well it makes absolutely no sense to us now. A Cliffhanger would be seeing who was murdered and feeling completely nauseated on how the group will ever recover from this. Instead [most] of us were left with “are you freaking KIDDING me!” Not because we have to wait 6 months but because you thought for some reason it was the best cliffhanger that ever came out of anyone’s mind. It wasn’t. When you said “that was the end o season 6” No, it wasn’t. It was part of an end with a big piece missing. That’s like ordering a steak and only eating the garnish and put the rest away for 6 months, not too appetizing.
    Not to mention that the whole show was mostly commercials and following Rick and company go from point A, B, C, D, and xyz like they were the 6 Stooges. So those final 5 minutes that we’ve waited for all season ended with a slap in the face to your fans. No tissues were needed as you said that we would need, just a few remotes that we threw across the room and smashed to pieces.

    • kbrown2225 says:

      Excellent comments!

      Yeah, this was the first episode that I actually fast forwarded through some parts.

      Calling disappointed fans children having temper tantrums is the hieght of hubris, R. Gimple. Get a cluw, we didn’t like it!

  34. bucktown says:

    Scott Gimple is so full of it. His explanation about why it ended where it did implies that the show is really only about 1 character – Rick. All other characters are then at the service of his development. If that were true though, why follow any other character’s experiences? Is that just filler? Why have POV shots that are not Rick? Gimple then is incredibly inconsistent about what the show is supposed to be. This season has especially proved that any “character’s” growth or development is only for the eventual shock value created by their death. Law of diminishing returns called…

    He also asks the fans not to be cynical, but then condescendingly goes on to compare the fans as kids having a tantrum. And of course he is the mature father figure. Sorry, Gimple. You are just a terrible writer.

    Also, why exactly is Kirkman involved at all in the writers room? Does he have like an ironclad contract? The dialogue in his comics is absolutely atrocious, and his plotting has a 80s action flick logic. Let him stick to the comics and let a mature showrunner take over that doesn’t have to rely on tricks to tell a good story. The show has basically just turned into the comics now, which is not a good thing.

    • 100% agree! I was wondering why Kirkman was on The Talking Dead last night. He was acting like he’s the front runner of the show.

      • T. Walker says:

        You saw that too! I hated his smugness. He was so patronizing and self-serving.

        Season 7 maybe DOA (Dead on Arrival). Season 6 was an almost flat-line, with just a few heart arrhythmia’s. The beginning was so promising and had a glimmer of balance… now MEH!

  35. Betty Hamburg says:

    That’s way too much explaining for a feeling of confidence from Gimple. And it didn’t seem cynical at all. It seemed lazy and commercialized, which is the opposite of what I want from this show. I’ll keep watching, but for the best season yet, they took the last three episodes and made a forced, unbelievable storyline. Sorry Gimple, a little too defensive for me to believe.

  36. Tony says:

    I think the two best things about the last episode were the apearance of Steven Ogg AKA Trever from GTA 5 and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan! Great stuff as always from TWD!

  37. james ward says:

    All the people that are moaning and saying “thats it I wont be watching again”…………………………….you will be watching it again and you will be writing the same rubbish at the end of the next season. And that it what it is about :)

    • Derek Overman says:

      I will personally not be coming back in October. This was the final death nail for me. Ash vs Evil dead premieres around the same time, and the first season of that show was fun, hilarious, scary, and just an enjoyable experience. It sure beats this melodramatic snoozefest, that wastes so much potential. C-Ya

  38. Zombied Out says:

    Mr. Gimple’s arrogant attitude will bring him down to the same place that it got TWD’s main character, Rick. Better check your attitude towards your fans, because you are destroying what was a great show. I no longer care who died and by next fall I will care even less.

  39. Christian says:

    Alright, let’s play a game. One of you writes a script and draws up a storyboard that shows the actual death and has just as much intensity and shock as the direction they went with. And please, don’t just cite the events of the comic. Explain exactly how it would go down, from the visual, audio, editing, and writing. And give me something with just as much impact.

    Stop whining about tv shows. It’s someone else’s story, you just get to watch it after it’s made. They aren’t making it for you, they’re making it for themselves. Any artist who makes art for his audience and not himself doesn’t amount to much. The fact that they love the direction they took and you’re all screaming about how awful it is demonstrates that. Don’t tell people how to do their jobs. Don’t tell artists how to create art. You’re not even mad about the quality of the show, just the existence of a cliffhanger. Seriously, get over yourselves.

    • jujubasd says:

      Lmfao. Yes. He did it for himself and the 6 figure take home.

      Please. This is one of the most asinine arguments out there. Have you ever been to a restaurant and the food tastes like crap? Well. You can’t say anything cause you haven’t been to culinary school! Have you ever had a shitty professor? Oh. Well you can’t say anything because you haven’t worked in academia and aren’t an educator.

      Poor storytelling is poor storytelling. He didn’t do it for himself. He did it because he and the producers thought this will make fans excited for season 7. Except all season people have been talking about how the show has jumped the shark. That happened under Gimple as show runner. They did what they thought will keep numbers up rather than completing the story fans wanted told. And now it’s backfiring on them more than killing of Glenn or Daryl would.

      I’m so sorry you get pissed off at people being critics. Maybe we should all barf glitter and rainbows

    • They wouldn’t have a show without fans, so, yeah, we’re going to get angry when we’re left with a half ass cliffhanger.

    • Laurel b says:

      “they’re making it for themselves” LOL right, get a clue.

    • Betty Hamburg says:

      I could do that easily. I already have in my head. Wouldn’t be hard at all.

  40. Cyndy Smith says:

    I still did not enjoy last night’s show. The only hope were the guys from The Kingdom. The rest was a awful downer the entire time. No fun. Just nasty depressing.

  41. So, viewers who are unsatisfied with an episode are children having a tantrum? Bad analogy for a show that claims that they are concerned about their audience. The writers work to develop a world that sucks viewers in, causes them to become attached to characters and the fact that they are unhappy when there is a tremendous, 90 minute, tense buildup with no resolution is not the same a child that is unhappy with their toy. If the showrunners do, as they claim, know what they are doing, the reaction from fans of the show is entirely predictable. I just think that what they are seeking for their “audience experience” is different from what the audience actually wants.

    • Betty Hamburg says:

      Sorry Liz, I misread your comment. My bad. I agree with you completely.

    • Betty Hamburg says:

      No tantrums. It’s a free country and we do pay them to produce the show. All your references to toys makes me wonder why that’s your obsession. Feel free to love the episode. Others feel free to hate it. This is how market based economies work. You seem to be whining more than those you criticize for whining.

  42. Sovia M. says:

    What a complete and utter load of BS. Can he REALLY be dense enough to say “[I] feel a kinship with the showrunners of “Game of Thrones” [who also ended their most recent season on a cliffhanger]”. WTF? Seriously? I think we all know it was Jon Snow that got a knife in the belly, not some nameless actor we did not get to see. It is time Gimple gets his head out of his rear-end and begins respecting his audience because that is what it comes down to: This group of tantrum-throwing kids who make you rich, you pompous. arrogant, out-of-touch fool.

  43. GimpleGTFO says:

    LOL. Please don’t compare GoT to TWD ever again. TWD wishes it was anywhere in the ballpark of GoT when it comes to compelling storylines and brilliant acting/writing. Literally nobody was mad at the way the last season of GoT ended in terms of feeling manipulated or having a previously written and well known scene neutered for the sake of GOTCHA ratings grab cliffhanger bullshit.

    • Derek Overman says:

      GoT is another massively overrated show. So many storylines in that show are just filler. Hardhome was a fantastic episode, but that was about the only standout in a season of average episodes. The acting is always good, but I find too many of the storylines to be underwhelming and not a lot happening. Honestly the White Walkers are the only thing that is keeping me riveted on that show. The political kings landing crap falls short of compelling every time.

    • The GOT tv series is garbage.

      • Betty Hamburg says:

        I agree. GoT has nothing on TWD. So the previous commenter is right in a sense – don’t compare them. GoT is commercialized and up until last night, TWD was not (not talking about products, talking about writing, acting, and vision)

  44. Danaan says:

    Gimple is pompous and patronizing. Comparing the audience to a ‘tantruming child’ is not the way to win trust. And yammering about wanting the audience to have an ‘experience’? Really? They had a shot at making a fantastic finale that would have been a mindblowing experience and totally blew it. He is an idiot and they need to find a different showrunner, soon.

  45. Storie says:

    I loved it, intense, adrenaline at the edge of my seat, but some parts were cray cray, like wtf was up with Carol leaving Alexandria at a time like this and wanting to die, grrl please. As a matter of why did all the strongest leave all the weakest of Alexandrians with the exception of father Gabriel behind.

  46. Kate says:

    Also, the “kids” throwing a tantrum are the reason you have a job right now. So maybe insulting them is not the best idea.

  47. Jaquie M says:

    He sounds like a frack’ing politician. The way it ended was BS and the ONLY reason for it was to make sure people tune in for Season 7, but it backfired. I mean, all emotion aside … what is the difference in showing it to us now or later? NONE other than the simple manipulation of their audience. What creators need to realize tough is that yes, we can be loyal, to a point; mess with that loyalty too much and we’ll simply tune out. All in all, it is like a relationship. One side cannot and will not hang around for long if the other side plays stupid games. I for one am out, and I truly mean that. I stopped watching Homeland when Brody was killed off and three other shows when their cliffhangers and games became obnoxious and/or I felt as if the show-runners were being too manipulative with the audience. I’ll catch who died somewhere on social media at some point, but it is adios TWD. We had a good thing until you decided to treat me like an idiot :).

    • Laurel b says:

      EXACTLY – I wasn’t surprised at the BS ending of the season after the one eared guy sneaks up on Darryl in the forest – it was obvious that they were making a bunch of stupid events so they could have a climatic season ending which they then failed at.

  48. Laurel b says:

    Sorry but the end of the season sucked horribly do to incredibly bad writing. Someone, ANYONE sneaking up on Darryl in the woods LMAO pure BS – strike one. Rick and company running around like scared rabbits and go down without firing a single shot – WHAT? Strike two. Ridiculous ending of the entire season by not showing who died – STRIKE THREE and you just lost some loyal viewers who have tuned into every episode since season 1 episode 1.

  49. Anthony says:

    This is just bullshit… I’ve been a fan from 101 but that ending was bad to what could have been the most memorable ending of a season in the TV history and they choose to PoV… Big screw up now I’m even interested in who died I’m just pissed

  50. Kate says:

    Sure Gimple, I’ll buy it. However, I could’ve gone without all the hype surrounding Negan, the 5 other cliffhangers and the constant question of “who is Negan going to kill?!” I’ll also try to erase from my memory the 40 minutes I sat there watching commercials and the other 20 I spent watching a Carol storyline that was completely rushed. Poor Chris Hardwick had to sit there and pretend like what he watched was any good while assuaging fans and faking technical difficulties. Scott, you can do so much better!

More TV News from Variety

Loading