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

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