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"Last Day on Earth" is the sixteenth and final episode of the sixth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the eighty-third episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 3, 2016. It was written by Scott Gimple & Matt Negrete and directed by Greg Nicotero.
Light streams through holes in the wall of an unknown, pitch-black room. Heavy breathing comes from inside. Muffled voices and a whistle can be heard outside.
The Savior who survived the encounter with Carol follows her tracks. He grasps Carol's rosary beads.
A man flees through the woods. A group of Saviors whistle all around him. They catch up to the man and take him captive. The group's leader tells the captive that his people at the library had to die because they broke the rules. The Saviors beat the man.
Carl urgently packs guns into his bag. He and Rick are planning to take Maggie to the Hilltop for medical care. Enid begs to come along, but Carl refuses. Rick meanwhile loads more bags into the RV. Sasha, Abraham, and Eugene insist on joining as well.
Enid pleads with Carl to join the group. He locks her in the armory. Enid screams at Carl, asking what will happen if he and the others don't return. "Just survive somehow," he says, echoing her personal mantra.
Rick works on the RV. Aaron, too, insists on accompanying him to the Hilltop. Rick relents. Gabriel updates Rick on the safety measures that he has implemented, in case the Saviors attack while Rick and the others are gone. "I will not fail you," Gabriel says. He asks if Rick is comfortable leaving him in charge of Alexandria's defenses. Rick says that he is. The RV departs with Rick, Carl, Abraham, Sasha, Eugene, Aaron, and a bedridden Maggie on board.
Morgan rides the horse through a town and spots Carol huddled in the doorway of a library. Nearby are the bodies of several men killed by the Saviors. Morgan inspects a knife wound on Carol's torso and insists on helping her.
The Saviors drag their captive onto the road. "This is us about to make an example out of you," says the leader. They stand in the middle of the road, waiting.
Maggie lies in the back of the RV. Rick assures her that the doctor at the Hilltop will be able to help. "As long as it's all of us, we can do anything," he says.
Morgan dresses Carol's wound inside the library. The building seems recently lived in. He proposes they leave for Alexandria at dawn so that she can get stitches and antibiotics. She refuses.
Abraham spots a group of 8 Saviors standing in the road, who have blockaded the road with their vehicles. Abraham asks Rick about attacking them, but Rick declines. They step out of the RV, and Rick offers to make a deal. "Give us all your stuff," the leader commands, "We'll probably have to kill one of you" he continues "...but then we can start moving forward on business." Rick counters with the same question but says he can do it without having to kill any more of them. The Saviors spray a 'X' onto the captured survivor, and the leader states that they are unwilling to negotiate. Rick announces that they will be leaving. Before getting back in the RV, he asks "What if it's your last day on Earth?" The leader poses the same question to Rick, then says, "Maybe you should be extra nice to those people in that RV, because you never know."
Back in the dark room, the heavy breathing continues.
In the RV, Carl asks Aaron why he didn't stay back and help guard Alexandria. "I owe her," Aaron says of Maggie. "I owe them," Carl says of the Saviors. Eugene studies a map with Sasha to figure out an alternate route to the Hilltop. He finds a path that is longer but offers long-range visibility.
At the library, Carol explains to Morgan that she cares about Rick's group, which means she would have to kill to protect them. "If you don't want to kill, or if you can't, then you have to get away from them. You do not get both," she says. She orders him to leave, briefly raising her gun at him. But then, she wearily lowers it, knowing she doesn't have it in her to fire.
As Abraham drives the RV, he tells Sasha he is ready to bring new life into the world. She smiles. Rick's group encounters another, larger group of Saviors consisting of at least 16 men and their vehicles, blocking the road. Rick sees that they are significantly outnumbered and tells Abraham to turn around slowly. A Savior fires his rifle in the air as they retreat.
Outside the library, Morgan finds a walker dangling from a noose. He stabs it in the head then cuts it loose. Back inside, he finds no sign of Carol. He gallops down the road on his horse to track her down.
The RV encounters yet another roadblock: this time, a line of walkers chained together across the road. The group gets out to investigate. Eugene says that such an elaborate roadblock took a lot of people to accomplish. Aaron notices that one of the walkers has two of Michonne's dreadlocks stapled to it, and Sasha notices Daryl's crossbow bolts embedded through another walker's chest. As Rick makes to kill a walker, Saviors fire at them from the woods on both sides of the road. Rick cuts the chain, letting the walkers loose, and the group quickly dispatch them. They pile into the RV and drive forward.
Back on the move, Rick notes that the Saviors were only firing at their feet. "They want us in this direction," he realizes. Aaron informs Rick that Maggie's fever is worsening. They soon come upon a still larger roadblock of Saviors in the road, this time consisting of about 40 Saviors. Once again, they turn around.
Rick sits by Maggie's side and tells her the Saviors are gone. "I believe in you, Rick," she says.
In a nearby town, Morgan spots Carol's rosary beads on the ground near a freshly killed walker. Meanwhile, the injured Savior finally catches up with Carol and shoots her in the arm. He says he plans to watch her die, slowly, as his friends did, and as he likely will. Carol smiles, admitting that she is happy to die. The Savior shoots her in the leg. Before he can finish her off, Morgan arrives and orders him to stop. When the Savior refuses, Morgan shoots him multiple times in the chest, throat, and finally in the head, killing him. Carol begs Morgan to let her go, but he refuses. "You're going to come back from this," he says. Two men wearing armor approach on horseback: one of them is the man from the barn. Morgan shakes his hand, and he agrees to get Carol medical assistance.
Rick's group encounters a giant wall of logs blocking the road. Eugene notes tire marks on the road and concludes that such an endeavor took vast manpower and a lot of vehicles. Abraham expresses fear for the group's safety. As they investigate, the Saviors hang their captive from a nearby overpass. Rick stops Aaron from shooting the captive's noose, saying they need to conserve bullets. The man chokes to death. Meanwhile, the logs erupt in flames behind them, with the Savior from earlier remarking that it may be the last day on Earth for one of Rick's people. Startled, Rick orders the group to return to the RV and they hastily drive away.
As the survivors debate their next move, Eugene points out that the Saviors are probably looking for the RV and might not expect them to travel by foot. After nightfall, Rick and Eugene go over the plan: Eugene will drive the empty RV to lure the Saviors. Eugene hands Rick a recipe for making bullets, in the event that he gets killed. Rick smiles and says that they're lucky to have Eugene with them. Abraham approaches. Eugene asks him why he was never allowed to drive. Abraham says that he didn't think he could, but concedes that he was wrong. "You're a survivor," Abraham says fondly and holds out his hand. Eugene hugs Abraham.
Rick's group carries a very weak Maggie into the woods on a stretcher. Eugene gets in the RV and drives away. Marching through the woods, the survivors suddenly hear whistles coming from every direction. They realize that they are surrounded by the Saviors. They run but are herded in a large circle and up back on the road, enclosed by over 100 Saviors and their vehicles. Eugene, too, has been captured. The head Savior from earlier takes their weapons and forces them to their knees, denying Rick's frightened pleas for negotiation.
Inside the dark room, which we now realize is a van, we hear the leader talking to Rick's group outside. Dwight opens the van and drags out Glenn, Michonne, Rosita, and a gravely wounded, but alive, Daryl. Dwight kneels them down with the others. The Savior knocks on the RV's wall, exclaiming "let's meet the man".
A man wearing a leather jacket and red scarf steps out of the RV. In his hand is a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. The man then greets Rick and reveals himself to be Negan. He berates Rick for killing a load of Saviors. Negan goes on to explain his proposed New World Order, "You work for me now. You have shit, you give it to me." He explains that he is letting them live so that they can work for him but warns that he has to "beat the holy hell" out of one of them as punishment for killing his men. "This is Lucille," he says of the bat. "And she is awesome." He reveals that the entire set up, including the roadblocks, was simply to decide "who gets the honor" of dying. He eyes up the group and seems impressed when Abraham squares up to him. When Negan threatens Maggie, Glenn screams and lunges at Negan but is pulled back in line. After more taunting, Negan claims to have an idea of who to pick to be killed. He starts a game of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe".
"Eeny… meeny… miny… moe," he begins, pointing Lucille down the line of survivors. As he recites the rhyme, he continues pointing Lucille. "And you… are… it," he finishes, picking his victim. Negan warns the group not to move or say anything, threatening to have Carl's other eye out and fed to Rick. "You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry," he says, raising the bat. "Hell, you're all going to be doing that."
Negan's bat comes crashing down on his victim. From the point of view of the victim, blood trickles down their face. Negan gleefully taunts that they are "taking it like a champ" and beats the victim over and over again, to the horror of the other survivors.
Special Guest Star
- First appearance of Simon.
- First appearance of Negan.
- First appearance of Colton.
- First appearance of Keno.
- Last appearance of Roman.
- Last appearance of Abraham Ford. (Alive)
- The title of the episode, "Last Day on Earth", refers both to a recurring dialogue between Rick and Simon regarding treating loved ones as if it was their last day on earth and the fact that, for one member of Rick's group, this was literally their last day alive.
- This episode marks Danai Gurira's 50th appearance on the TV Series.
- Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambler) does not appear in this episode. This is the first time a regular character that hasn't been killed off has been absent from a season finale. Masterson was absent due to her being pregnant and has been absent from the final four consecutive episodes of this season.
- This is the second season finale to be 90 minutes long, after "Conquer".
- Andrew Lincoln was quoted as saying about the finale, "It was the first day in the whole six years of working on The Walking Dead that I was late for work because I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn't get back to sleep. I was so angry and frustrated and I felt sick. And that was just after reading it" implying a significant event will happen in this episode. Lauren Cohan also said, "[Hearing] the word 'finale' gives me a physical reaction because it's the hardest day on set that I've ever had in my life. I never even imagined that as an actor you could have that experience. It's one of the most raw experiences that I think any of us have ever had. Andy talks about being late to work; I didn't want to go to work that day. It took a really, really long time for everybody to feel okay again after the finale, let's put it that way".
- An uncut version was released of Negan's entrance where he was allowed to mirror his comic counterpart when it came to foul language. Negan uses the word "Fuck" 23 times in total.
- According to various official TV guides, the original title for this episode was "Something to Fear", but was changed for unknown reasons.
- Negan says to Rick "You are not safe", which mirrors what Rick says to Carl in "Strangers".
- This is the first episode of The Walking Dead to air in April worldwide.
- This episodes cliffhanger was largely panned by critics and led it to receive the third-lowest rating of all time for an episode on Rotten Tomatoes, behind "Start to Finish" and "Now". It has also become the lowest rated episode on IMDb, at the time, with a 6.2, far below the second-worst rated, "Still", with a 7.2. Eventually, a variety of mixed opinions were raised and it's impressionistic nature, necessity and execution remained controversial for the months following.
- Despite this controversial reception, the cliffhanger did succeed in gaining the interest of the fans and the final scene was dissected and analyzed by many, sparking several theories. Many theories even saying that multiple deaths would happen or that another individual not originally present in the scene could be brought and killed so no fan could successfully predict the outcome.
- Additionally, despite the show's attempt to keep the deaths quiet, the deaths were leaked through filming spoilers in July 2016. However, a surprising majority remained unaware of this and ratings and most reviews were not affected.
- It was revealed in "Wrath" that the outcome of Negan's game of "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" wasn't random and that he chose to kill Abraham, because he didn't want to kill a father (Rick) in front of his son (Carl).
- It's hinted in "What We Become" that D.J. may have been present during the events of this episode and "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be".
- Although this may not be the case as Michonne's memories are very warped during her hallucinogenic experience, so several characters are present where they weren't originally, like Laura dying at the Satellite Outpost. It is most likely that Michonne was simply imagining these events with Saviors she was most familiar with, such as D.J. and Laura, who joined Alexandria after the Sanctuary fell.
- Rick's group being ambushed on the woods at night by a large number of Saviors and being forced to kneel is adapted from Issue 100.
- Negan introducing himself to Rick's group and his speech of the new world order is adapted from Issue 100.
- Negan choosing to beat one member of Rick's group to death with Lucille as punishment for the deaths of several Saviors is adapted from Issue 100.
- Negan being impressed at Carl for not showing fear is adapted from Issue 100.
- Negan doing a game of "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" to choose his victim is adapted from Issue 100.
- During the POV shot at the end, there is nothing behind Negan, despite the fact that Rick's group is surrounded by cars and Saviors, although it is possible that AMC did this on purpose to not reveal the position of the person who Negan killed.
- During Negan's speech, when he says "So someone knocks on your door, you let us in, we own that door", he takes a few steps to to his left, and stands in front of Daryl, but then seemingly teleports mid-sentence as he's shown standing in front of Rick when he says the second part of the sentence.
- During a POV shot in the van, we can hear Simon as he tells Carl, "Yeah. It's yours," refering to his gun. You can hear a door open but later when we see the Savior talk to Carl in a different scene, the van stays closed until Rick's group are on their knees.
- "Last Day on Earth" Receives 14.19 Million Viewers - Zap2it (April 5, 2016)