(Spoilers ahead!)

For well over an hour, the show ratcheted up the tension and the stakes in the wildly anticipated The Walking Dead Season 6 finale, “Last Day on Earth.” As Rick, Carl, Aaron, Eugene, Abraham, and Sasha desperately sought passage to the Hilltop community and medical assistance for seriously ill, pregnant Maggie in their plucky motor home, they ran into roadblock after roadblock put up by increasingly large and intimidating bands of armed Saviors, the malignant, extortionist “community” under the despotic rule of the enigmatic, ominous Negan.

Tightening the Noose

Time and again, with Eugene intently poring over the map that could lead them to Maggie’s salvation, Rick and co. were forced to turn around and head back the way they came as the Saviors denied them passage, shrinking their options, tightening the noose. A side-story had Morgan chasing down and eventually rescuing a dispirited, injured Carol to bring her back into the Alexandria fold, but all thoughts were on the looming, inevitable confrontation with Negan himself.

The Walking Dead Season 6 finale rick motor home

Finally, with night falling, after a spectacular roadblock made of flaming piled timber and another with a grisly prisoner execution, Eugene persuaded Rick and the others to take off on foot porting Maggie on a stretcher while he ran interference on the road in the motor home. The Ricks didn’t get far into the woods when they found themselves surrounded by Saviors in a clearing, whistling eerily, discordantly. With tension approaching the explosion level, Glenn, Michonne, Rosita, and a wounded Daryl were tossed onto the ground and all eleven Ricks were forced to their knees.

The Walking Dead Season 6 finale Maggie stretche

Negan Appears

An almost unrecognizably lean, evilly grinning Jeffrey Dean Morgan FINALLY appeared as Negan, sauntering out of Rick’s (now appropriated) motor home with his barbed wire-sheathed baseball bat Lucille. He babbled on about being forced to kill one of them because of the Ricks’ killing of an “unacceptable” number of his minions over the last several episodes, and how the Ricks were going to have to give up half their stuff to him, and blah blah blah, dragging it O-U-T as the seconds ticked down to the end of the episode, the season, and the life of one of our heroes.

The Walking Dead Season 6 finale lineup

I could no longer watch The Walking Dead Season 6 finale. Nor, of course, could I not watch, and ended up peering through a narrow crack between my knees. At last, Negan began a macabre version of eeny-meeny-miny-mo to select his victim, did so, and started whacking, sickeningly on… someone. We don’t know who, and they’ve done it to us again.

The Walking Dead Season 6 finale Schrödinger's Cat

Schrödinger’s Cat

Then it occurred to me that the real victim of this terror tactic is Schrödinger’s cat. The victim — whoever it is — is in a state of suspended animation, both alive and dead, for seven freaking months until Season 7 begins, just like in the famous thought experiment. To recap the experiment, loathed by cat lovers everywhere: we put a living cat into a steel chamber along with a vial of hydrocyanic acid. There is a tiny amount of hydrocyanic acid, a radioactive substance, in the chamber. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, it will trip a hammer, which will break the vial and kill the cat.

The observer cannot know whether or not an atom of the substance has decayed, and cannot know whether the vial has been broken, the hydrocyanic acid released, and the cat killed. Since we cannot know, according to quantum law, the cat is both dead and alive, in what is called a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of the cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes either dead or alive; just like Negan’s victim.

The Walking Dead Season 6 finale Rick Lucille

The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale – Both Alive and Dead

Not that it means much, but almost everyone thinks the victim is Glenn, like in the comic, because he has survived so many unlikely situations, had never killed a human until the raid on the Saviors compound, and because he came unglued when Negan threatened Maggie.

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