We’ve often heard that everything on The Walking Dead means something, and now it’s time to take a look at three titles before tonight’s finale!
I binged watched The Walking Dead during Season Four, and finally caught up with it two weeks before the season four finale. Since then I’ve rewatched countless times and fell down the fandom rabbit hole of theories, metas, and hanging onto every word that show runner, Scott Gimple, says.
Before the finale tonight, which will most certainly be the precursor for the “All-Out-War” arc from the graphic novels, I wanted to take a look at three titles that have forged the way for the series from season six until now.
“Last Day on Earth” was the title for the season six finale. We were left on a cliffhanger for months afterward, but the moral of this title and what it meant to the audience has taken me a long time to wrap my head around.
One of the Saviors blocking Rick’s way asks him:
“What if it’s the last day on Earth for you? For someone you love?”
The writers are prepping us for what’s to come, but also for what we’ve always known about the world of The Walking Dead. Tomorrow is never promised. Sometimes bad things happen and they’ve never gotten to say their goodbyes to the people they care about or settle their issues.
Rick to Lori.
Daryl to Beth.
Maggie to Beth.
And so many more. So, when this episode ends on a cliffy, we’re forced to ask ourselves which members of our group have finally settled things between themselves and the people they care about.
“The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” is the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead and the embodiment of season seven for me. It also finally put to rest the question:
Who did Negan kill?
This episode title is taken directly from Dr. Jenner in season one. Rick tells him thank you for letting them out of the CDC, and Jenner tells him that the day will come when he won’t be.
There are multiple layers to this title.
First, as an audience, we were begging to learn who was on the recieving end of Lucille, yet when we found out, we weren’t thankful to know. We didn’t brush off our brows and think, “Well, at least that’s over with!” We stared in shock as characters we’ve grown to care about were brutally murdered.
It also shows that the day came for our group when they probably wished for the painless death the CDC had to offer. They’ve already been through so much, and now to meet Negan and feel his type of order is unrelenting. How can the group be happy to be alive when a single misstep will cost them the lives of their family members or even themselves.
How can Rick Grimes stand being forced to kneel to a man like Negan?
Which brings us to tonight’s episode, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.” Unlike the last two titles, finale and premiere respectively, this offers hope.
There is life beyond Negan. There is life beyond loss. If they make the choice to stand up and fight, they can change their world. Our group has lost, grieved, sought vengeance, and some even cowered from conflict, but all those situations brought them to this point. Where they can have a new start.
Now, that’s not to say there won’t be loss. I’m sure there will be, and we all have our theories as to who might reach their end tonight on The Walking Dead, but like nearly everything on this show, there will be a purpose, and it will keep the group moving forward.
They will rise up and join with other communities to take down Negan. Be sure that tonight, lines will be drawn and people will make decisions about which side they’ll be on going forward as we enter the “All-Out-War” arc that is sure to take up most of season eight.