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

police drama DGA Pixar Pride Month IFC based on movie cooking Toys FXX Oscars Elton John HBO Showtime Animation latino Schedule Disney+ Disney Plus series Rocky Calendar TV Land discovery Rocketman Reality Competition crime dc Infographic Masterpiece children's TV NBC Peacock Musical DC Universe DC streaming service PaleyFest Creative Arts Emmys El Rey Film Festival Vudu hispanic Mystery Ellie Kemper YA Sundance 21st Century Fox Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix Christmas movies joker dragons hist FOX finale TV Trophy Talk free movies binge Rom-Com Epix Awards USA Network Musicals The Witch Music Marvel Studios aliens cults HBO Max Star Trek First Reviews Mindy Kaling Disney streaming service blaxploitation rotten movies we love Binge Guide Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Comic Book Extras Mary poppins natural history Paramount Network book FX YouTube Premium 2017 Tomatazos cancelled TV shows Hallmark Heroines WarnerMedia SundanceTV Writers Guild of America teaser History television doctor who unscripted Best and Worst Chernobyl Thanksgiving Disney Apple TV+ docudrama jamie lee curtis spy thriller Arrowverse tv talk BBC Ghostbusters movies facebook werewolf BBC America kids Amazon CW Seed cartoon Awards Tour sports Captain marvel Crackle anime Acorn TV GLAAD foreign The CW YouTube Red TV renewals DirecTV renewed TV shows Syfy adaptation Adult Swim Walt Disney Pictures Marvel A&E game show Martial Arts Shudder spain TruTV TBS President Christmas Warner Bros. mutant Star Wars indie transformers E3 what to watch Apple TV Plus travel Hallmark Christmas movies Cosplay Mary Tyler Moore Sundance Now dramedy CMT SXSW Watching Series animated singing competition Ovation toy story Mary Poppins Returns Television Academy festivals Marvel Television canceled TV shows cars south america GIFs cancelled television batman Marathons Drama Disney Channel BET comiccon Opinion E! revenge comics streaming Comics on TV spider-man 2019 psychological thriller Trailer Columbia Pictures Comedy Central golden globes Bravo Comedy Universal spanish language award winner TCM Reality Valentine's Day sequel MCU disaster Turner Election Country VH1 San Diego Comic-Con Fantasy RT21 Action canceled Western Cannes New York Comic Con 24 frames Stephen King video Song of Ice and Fire Photos AMC game of thrones green book OWN stand-up comedy quibi halloween Superheroe PBS YouTube Pop CNN NYCC science fiction Quiz richard e. Grant medical drama Brie Larson Nat Geo 2018 MSNBC Podcast casting Premiere Dates 2016 Pirates spinoff Lifetime The Purge Super Bowl ratings theme song DC Comics anthology comic IFC Films 007 TIFF TCA 2017 Amazon Prime TCA cats political drama Spectrum Originals WGN breaking bad boxoffice CBS Tarantino thriller dceu Amazon Prime Video Red Carpet Family TLC The Arrangement Disney Plus period drama CBS All Access Black Mirror cinemax Emmys Fall TV independent A24 ABC Family Mudbound Crunchyroll technology National Geographic true crime slashers versus Hulu Shondaland Freeform APB Spring TV Apple vampires TNT mockumentary Biopics Set visit Holiday politics Women's History Month historical drama Nominations justice league Britbox Polls and Games diversity 2015 Sony Pictures Spike LGBT See It Skip It zombies Tumblr Pet Sematary Character Guide Box Office Dark Horse Comics RT History Year in Review romance 45 zombie Horror Esquire zero dark thirty X-Men Certified Fresh robots Turner Classic Movies First Look composers 71st Emmy Awards ghosts harry potter elevated horror sitcom screenings ITV Starz war Sci-Fi Winners Trivia Lifetime Christmas movies American Society of Cinematographers Paramount strong female leads crime drama space Winter TV Lucasfilm ABC Cartoon Network Logo blockbuster Rock Countdown 20th Century Fox Fox News christmas movies biography adventure Interview SDCC Anna Paquin Classic Film Nickelodeon MTV cancelled TV series Netflix Emmy Nominations Lionsgate Video Games The Walking Dead serial killer Sneak Peek Film talk show psycho ESPN social media crossover USA miniseries crime thriller Teen Food Network cancelled witnail supernatural GoT Summer Grammys VICE Superheroes cops romantic comedy LGBTQ Kids & Family Holidays nature