News

The Walking Dead Season 8 Midseason Finale: What Critics Thought About That Major Cliffhanger

Critics' have mixed thoughts about the midseason finale of AMC's zombie series and its possible impact on the rest of season 8.

by | December 11, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by AMC)

The first seven episodes of The Walking Dead‘s season 8 were a critical mixed bag, but the midseason finale, titled “How It’s Gotta Be,” concluded with a major (and heartbreaking) character development that will undoubtedly affect the series moving forward.


SPOILER ALERT: THIS ARTICLE REVEALS DETAILS OF  EPISODE 8 OF SEASON 8  OF THE WALKING DEAD.


Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the rest of the AHK crew were once again on the defensive when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors escaped the Sanctuary and sought revenge, but the real twist occurred at the very end of the episode. As Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) saw that most of the Alexandrians were safe in the sewers underneath the town, they came across a weakened Carl (Chandler Riggs), who revealed a nasty zombie bite to the torso (which he probably got when he was saving new recruit Saddiq in the woods).

Although people are devastated by the Carl twist, he isn’t actually dead yet, as star Riggs and showrunner Scott M. Gimple (on the post-finale episode of Talking Dead) were quick to remind us in post-show interviews. The writing is on the wall, though — meaning there probably isn’t going to be a bait-and-switch à la Glenn and the dumpster.

With a Tomatometer score of 64 percent (updated), season 8’s mid-season finale isn’t quite as Fresh as season 7 (78 percent), but a whole lot better than season 6 (35 percent). Here’s what the critics had to say.


THE GOOD PUNCH TO THE GUT?

The finale delivered the requisite dropped-jaw response.

“It turns out, as usual, that a big heart is a relatively fast track to death in this post-apocalyptic, rotting world.” – Laura Bradley, Vanity Fair

“Subtlety is a long forgotten and extinct practice on TWD. That means eight seasons in, it’s hard for the writers to find ways to surprise us. They did with this fall finale.” – Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files

The Walking Dead always tries to hold a big reveal for the end of their mid-season finale, and I think it’s safe to say that this one delivered fairly well.” – Jim Vorel, Paste Magazine

“Director Michael E. Satrazemis’ use of close-ups is visually striking, and shifts the emphasis to individual reactions to a crisis, which has always been the show’s strong suit.” – Noel Murray, Rolling Stone


THE GAME CHANGER?

This turn of events with Carl should finally shake things up.

“The mid-season finale is as long and tedious as so much of season 8, but a game-changing cliffhanger is a terrifying reminder that no one is ever safe.” – Sarah Moran, Screenrant

“While this has been one the more energetic episodes this year, it’s the small preview of the back half of season 8 that looks far more exciting and enticing than what we’ve seen so far this season.” – Nick Romano, Entertainment Weekly

“It was a pretty shocking twist to an otherwise-frustrating episode… Without Carl, anything might be possible. That might just be exactly what The Walking Dead needs.”  – Kelly Lawler, USA Today

But…

“Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.” – Miracle Max, The Princess Bride


Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 8 (Gene Page/AMC)

Plenty of critics thought the slow burn and nonsensical action were still too tedious.

“This is all just characters acting dumb for no reason, and it’s all too much for this episode to bear, especially when it plays out so slowly over 90 minutes.” – Jeff Stone, IndieWire

“Man, does this feel empty. Despite all the big events, so much of ‘How It’s Gotta Be’ is boring, and so little of it makes sense.” – Zack Handlen, AV Club

“The stakes in the finale didn’t feel nearly as high as they needed to (sorry Carl). It’s hard to invest emotionally in characters when they seem to be running around toting assault rifles / bin lorries etc. to no clear purpose.” – Ed Power, The Daily Telegraph

“By the end of the episode’s ‘shocking’ reveal, I could only shake my head in disgust. What a joke this show has become. A bad joke.” – Erik Kain, Forbes

The Walking Dead returns Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9 p.m. on AMC.


Tag Cloud

target Sundance Masterpiece Cartoon Network godzilla kaiju adaptation ID Emmy Nominations The Walking Dead Musical award winner Turner Classic Movies Creative Arts Emmys streaming movies 1990s scary movies Universal 2018 YouTube Red facebook Hear Us Out BBC One Premiere Dates Pop hispanic heritage month toy story Chernobyl supernatural Netflix PaleyFest dceu Tokyo Olympics Awards Tour elevated horror spider-man Photos ViacomCBS critics robots TV movies Tarantino E! DC Comics stoner films asian-american Martial Arts nature Trophy Talk Writers Guild of America south america GoT revenge spy thriller Freeform BBC America Alien action-comedy Polls and Games GLAAD A&E VOD politics Tomatazos Pixar OneApp green book hispanic criterion satire Wes Anderson docudrama lord of the rings Pirates monster movies 2021 PlayStation binge scary Extras comic 45 slashers FX on Hulu prank international Super Bowl NBA Netflix Christmas movies kong Holiday rotten movies we love 4/20 WGN Women's History Month spanish Teen TCM Paramount Plus latino cancelled television ITV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt vs. Fox News Best and Worst aliens Superheroes 007 Classic Film twilight Sundance TV concert Black History Month saw Reality football Pride Month women discovery Crunchyroll jamie lee curtis king arthur blockbusters Thanksgiving Rom-Com Amazon Studios telelvision Mary Tyler Moore comic books Stephen King trailers Apple Ellie Kemper Peacock feel good ABC Family Mary Poppins Returns fresh ABC Signature sitcom news art house Best Actress Amazon Prime Video casting A24 Opinion versus game of thrones Nominations 94th Oscars zero dark thirty spinoff Sneak Peek franchise Interview social media 72 Emmy Awards sequel breaking bad true crime RT History video festivals strong female leads marvel cinematic universe Comic-Con@Home 2021 Pet Sematary E3 disaster debate DC streaming service rom-coms cancelled TV shows TNT docuseries GIFs scorecard ESPN razzies screenings game show TCA 2017 aapi BET Awards reviews Hulu broadcast HBO Go DGA adventure stand-up comedy 79th Golden Globes Awards blaxploitation slasher cults Drama tv talk Marvel independent Warner Bros. directors Baby Yoda El Rey Legendary BAFTA cancelled Nat Geo mission: impossible hidden camera black comedy 71st Emmy Awards comics nbcuniversal Pop TV Britbox golden globes christmas movies HBO Max cancelled TV series Rocketman Schedule king kong anime TCA MGM live action halloween tv Starz superman unscripted Valentine's Day remakes Video Games The Purge historical drama toronto ABC Sci-Fi Spring TV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ghosts Arrowverse television summer preview 99% Rocky TCA Winter 2020 CBS The Arrangement dogs genre suspense Family rt archives 73rd Emmy Awards children's TV justice league james bond YouTube Box Office Podcast Disney werewolf superhero First Look President young adult Sundance Now streamig fast and furious Biopics romantic comedy IMDb TV Esquire new star wars movies Oscars Tags: Comedy travel 20th Century Fox harry potter high school mob rt labs critics edition 2015 CMT comedies Paramount Pictures cinemax Star Wars spider-verse Best Director name the review medical drama singing competition Spectrum Originals Turner APB child's play boxoffice gangster summer TV cooking Comedy finale New York Comic Con Animation zombie Superheroe Heroines book stop motion obituary Mudbound batman Rock Bravo CBS All Access based on movie The Witch Disney streaming service Food Network festival blockbuster Ghostbusters The CW Disney Plus serial killer Watching Series 2019 documentaries Mystery canceled TV shows venice 2017 Star Trek Tumblr psychological thriller 24 frames free movies LGBTQ Quiz SXSW Comedy Central reboot National Geographic comiccon Best Picture Toys Ovation FX zombies Apple TV+ Summer Apple TV Plus scene in color technology movie french Set visit crime thriller marvel comics Oscar screen actors guild TV dramedy X-Men TIFF a nightmare on elm street Country Infographic theme song Prime Video talk show Endgame Epix Trailer Paramount Network Exclusive Video worst movies VH1 Calendar TV renewals FOX rotten FXX Hallmark Christmas movies black italian wonder woman psycho Discovery Channel Nickelodeon kids Fall TV The Academy obi wan what to watch best cats olympics trophy hollywood Shondaland Year in Review Anna Paquin diversity archives mutant WarnerMedia Character Guide Disney Channel Amazon Amazon Prime Paramount IFC MCU witnail dexter golden globe awards all-time See It Skip It SDCC know your critic Comic Book rt labs critic resources joker San Diego Comic-Con period drama Emmys Best Actor space NBC Academy Awards Brie Larson Spike DirecTV MTV 21st Century Fox spain new york 90s war Lifetime Christmas movies dragons Neflix sequels comic book movies OWN royal family sopranos Vudu cars Horror thriller Marathons crossover biography australia sports canceled halloween Film IFC Films Showtime Sony Pictures Holidays vampires USA Tubi Fantasy boxing Cannes Christmas romance CNN HFPA chucky Shudder book adaptation Song of Ice and Fire LGBT Crackle The Walt Disney Company Reality Competition universal monsters Fox Searchlight TruTV NYCC doctor who Mindy Kaling posters jurassic park basketball Awards foreign Red Carpet cartoon animated Hollywood Foreign Press Association Certified Fresh Mary poppins TCA Awards Syfy Broadway Image Comics Grammys dreamworks American Society of Cinematographers dark transformers Comics on TV Lifetime classics miniseries SXSW 2022 leaderboard Disney+ Disney Plus Western 93rd Oscars Action parents japan Black Mirror AMC Plus new zealand hist movies Film Festival Travel Channel Television Academy cops BET video on demand Music TV Land Hallmark mockumentary Election 2016 anthology Trivia laika police drama legend Acorn TV comic book movie History Dark Horse Comics indiana jones adenture Television Critics Association TBS science fiction political drama Lionsgate Walt Disney Pictures Countdown Universal Pictures Marvel Studios Logo Marvel Television TV One RT21 indie teaser renewed TV shows biopic Binge Guide popular 2020 heist movie quibi South by Southwest Film Festival Kids & Family Funimation HBO Columbia Pictures emmy awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina DC Universe BBC worst documentary Avengers crime nfl ratings MSNBC USA Network sag awards TLC Fargo pirates of the caribbean First Reviews Pacific Islander natural history SundanceTV Captain marvel VICE summer TV preview Musicals composers PBS CW Seed deadpool YA Winter TV die hard live event richard e. Grant Instagram Live japanese Lucasfilm dc Focus Features Cosplay Elton John mcc series streaming YouTube Premium Winners AMC crime drama Adult Swim spanish language