It's no secret that The Walking Dead has struggled to maintain ratings this season, with a steady decline following the heights of the Season 7 premiere episode. Despite Episode 1 being watched by a monumental 17.03 million in the 18 - 49 demographic (the second most-watched episode of the entire series), ratings then nosedived to a 10.40 million low for Episode 6.
Now ratings for the mid-season finale have been tallied and the numbers have revealed that although ratings had slightly raised to 10.58 million after the Episode 6 low, "Hearts Still Beating" was still the lowest rating mid-season finale since 2012.
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The tradition of a heart-stopping winter finale episode has been around almost since the beginning of #TheWalkingDead, with the exception of Season 1, which was only six episodes long. Take a look through all of the mid-season finale episodes over the years and their ratings, and see if you think the ratings for the Season 7 episode, "Hearts Still Beating" are deserved or not:
Season 2: "Pretty Much Dead Already" — 6.62 million
Otherwise known as the episode in which Rick shot a little girl in the head, "Pretty Much Dead Already" was a savage episode that finally solved the mystery of where Carol's daughter, Sophia had gone. Not only did the episode finish with a bang, but it also set up the downfall and ultimate death of Shane Walsh, who was warned about his increasing loss of humanity by Dale during the episode.
Season 3: "Made to Suffer" — 10.48 million
Season 3 saw a huge jump in numbers for The Walking Dead, and the mid-season finale managed a massive 10.48 million viewers. Audiences tuned into watch Rick and the gang take steps to save Maggie and Glenn, who were being held by the Governor in Woodbury. Meanwhile Sasha, Tyrese and their group were also introduced, and Michonne killed the Governor's reanimated daughter (another child death!) and blinded him in one eye. As the episode drew to a close the group mostly managed to escape Woodbury, with the exception of Daryl who was captured by the Governor's men.
Season 4: "" Too Far Gone" — 12.05 million
Still one of the most heartbreaking episodes of the entire series, "Too Far Gone" was the episode in which our beloved Hershel was brutal beheaded by the Governor. As the residents of the prison recover from a flu and the prison adjusts to life without Carol the group is attacked by the Governor, out for revenge after the destruction of Woodbury in Season 3. Many of the group were killed as they attempted to escape. As the episode drew to close, viewers were left wondering the fate of many of the group, including baby Judith.
Season 5: "Coda" — 14.81 million
After disappearing back in Season 4, audiences were delighted to find Beth alive and (relatively) well in Season 5. However the good times were short lived after the mid-season finale, "Coda", ended with the fan favorite being killed after an exchange gone wrong. The episode also showed just how savage Rick had become, brutally executing escaping officer Bob Lamson, and it also revealed in a post-credits scene that Morgan was alive and on the group's trail.
Season 6: "Start to Finish" — 13.98 million
After reaching Alexandria in Season 5, the safe haven was breached in the Season 6 mid-season finale when it was overrun by a massive herd of walkers. Former town leader, Deanna Monroe was bitten and left for dead (meeting her maker by running into a crowd of walkers); the captured Alpha Wolf made his escape with Denise as a hostage; Glenn and Enid make their way back to Alexandria; and finally Rick, Carl, Michonne, Gabriel, Judith, Jessie and her sons make their escape through the herd using the walker-guts cover approach. The episode ends with little Sam panicking and repeatedly calling out for his mom.
Season 7: "Hearts Still Beating" — 10.58 million
After spending the season jumping from place to place, the Season 7 mid-season finale followed multiple characters across multiple settings as Negan brutally killed two more residents of Alexandria and Rick realized that action needed to be taken. Meanwhile Maggie is on the verge of taking over leadership of the Hilltop, Richard is attempting to get Carol and Morgan to support his plan and there's also the mystery of that boot-wearing lurked.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Episode 9 and Season 7b in February, 2017.
What season had your favorite mid-season finale?