SPOILER ALERT: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD...READ WITH CAUTION!!!!
With the arrival of Negan only a few days away the hype for his debut in the season 6 finale of The Walking Dead has grown to enormous heights. With great hype often comes great disappointment. I don't think we will be disappointed as far as Negan himself is concerned, but there are a few things that must happen during the finale in order for it to establish itself as a truly great and significant episode, not just an OK episode with a great character introduction
1. Negan needs to be given more than 5 minutes of screen time. Knowing The Walking Dead I can foresee them saving his arrival for the last 5 minutes only to leave us with a cliffhanger that may be more annoying than satisfying. Negan is such a profound character with such a dynamic presence that he is far more deserving of some real screen time and not just a brief appearance. Forget a cliffhanger, get straight to the point and show how devastating he is going to be to our beloved survivors. What I mean by this is leave people with an end scene that lets them know that our survivors have just entered their worst case scenario, do not leave them hanging wondering if it will be their worst case scenario.
2. Someone has to die at the hands of Lucille. For those that don’t know, Lucille is Negan’s beloved barbed wire wrapped baseball bat that he holds near and dear to his heart. Just as in the comics he needs to bash in someone’s skull and it has to happen in the finale. This goes in part with number 1 and not leaving us with a cliffhanger. I can just sense Negan raising his bat to deliver the almighty death blow and then the screen quickly fading to black leaving us hanging as to who he's going to kill. That would be the ultimate slap in the face to not just the fans of the comic but the show as well. With all the hype and build up not ending the episode with a brutal kill I feel will only lessen the arrival of his character. The impact of the death won’t be as drastic or as potent if you are already anticipating it coming next season. Go for it, shock them now, forget later. Negan is THE quintessential villain that will change the entire dynamic of the show. Treat him right.
3. Either Glenn, Carol or Daryl must die. If you read the comics then you already know who dies but the show has consistently deviated away from key elements in the comics often killing characters off to surprise those that read them as much as they do the viewers. With that being said, it has to be either Glenn, Carol or Daryl. Glenn would make the most sense thanks to his countless close-calls, especially this season. He has had way too many near-death experiences that it's almost becoming comical how he survives it all. He still is a fan favorite and now with Maggie being pregnant the emotional blow would be devastating. As much as I hate to say it, Daryl as well is an acceptable death. He is such a beloved character that watching him get killed on screen would be painfully heart breaking. Watching Daryl vacate the show at the hands of Negan would definitely hit me right in the feels. Carol is another character, after all she's been through and just how awesome she has become would be gut wrenching to lose, but what would make her death strike with an even greater impact than the previously mentioned characters is the fact that she is a woman. Negan brutally killing a beloved character is one thing, but brutally killing a beloved female character would create an entrance I don't even think I'm ready for. Death is death whether it's male or female, but to me it seems so much more devastating to lose a female character, especially in the manner in which Negan disposes them.
4. Let Negan be Negan. Not to sound redundant about giving Negan a solid amount of air time, but give the man his damn time to shine. Selecting Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play the role of Negan was an amazing choice by the creators and he is going to be F’ing amazing. To be honest, I don’t think they could have made a better choice, so with that being said give the man his time to shine. Let Negan be Negan. I can only hope that aside from decent screen time we get to see him in full force. I don’t care if the survivors sit in silence and not a single word is spoken from the supporting cast, let this man do his thing. Let his character and soon-to-be overly censored mouth run wild. We have plenty of time to hear from everyone else, this has to be solely about Negan.
5. Did I mention Negan deserves a solid amount of air time? Aside from that I feel The Walking Dead needs to create a sense of dread right from the beginning of the episode. I hope they don’t waste too much time with overly long dialogue between characters, no flash backs and flash forwards, no shots of characters wandering around by themselves before getting to the meat and potatoes. I hope they get right to it, get brutal real fast from the moment the episode starts showcasing misery and suffering for our beloved cast right down to the very moment they introduce Negan. Enough with the slow burn, let’s get dirty from the start.
As much as I love The Walking Dead series it quite often puts forth seriously lackluster episodes with either truly brilliant moments or stellar finishes. For this type of finale, which really acts as an introduction to a whole new world for the characters, they need to keep everyone on the edge of their seats from the very beginning. Don't just finish strong...Start strong, stay strong, then end it with an incredible bang.