Having been steadily employed by AMC and adjacent to all things Walking Dead for several seasons now, Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick isn’t likely to turn on the zombie smash thriller, even after a controversial finale. That said, a recent Q&A saw the Nerdist moderator heatedly defending the cliffhanger conclusion to Season 6, insisting, “it’s not poor writing, it’s exceptional storytelling.”

The exchange in question took place during a Q&A with Facebook fans, in which Hardwick passionately defended a conclusion that saw Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan bludgeoning to death an unseen member of Rick’s group. Comic fans well-anticipated who might be on the receiving end of his barbed-wire bat “Lucille,” but Hardwick got heated in defending the cliffhanger approach:

The cliffhanger was not poor writing. Here’s what I would say. Just because you don’t see the purpose doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a purpose. I think people need to stop projecting that onto … it’s not poor writing, it’s exceptional storytelling because you’re going to be talking about this for seven months and if you had seen who it was, how would that have changed things?

Well, we’d be talking about exceptionally different possibilities for the series, but Hardwick went on to take a shot at American Horror Story in the process:

Let me give you a perfect example. Love the first few seasons of American Horror Story, but I felt like they kind of started weenie-ing out at the end because they never really explained anything in the end. The Asylum season I thought was incredible. So well acted, so many great storylines, but in the end, they were just like, ‘I don’t know.’ If this were a series finale, then you might have a gripe, but you cannot say what has happened on this half of the season is poor writing. That is fucking asinine to say that.

Oh, did you think that was the last F-bomb Hardwick would drop? Heck, even Negan might blush at this point:

For this show to have these kinds of storylines and this kind of character development and this kind of drama this far into a series where they still give a shit is epic. It is not poor writing, it is the fucking opposite of poor writing and I will defend this show until I’m blue in the fucking face and my eyes are crying tears of blood. This is exceptional writing. You don’t have to like it, of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion but you cannot make a statement that’s some kind of attempt at an objective universal statement that the show is, I mean that’s just crazy. It’s your opinion, it’s not poor writing.

The conversation between fans and Walking Dead authority figures isn’t likely to change, what with bosses still insisting on the reasons behind Glenn’s infamous dumpster fake-out, but will fans have the same optimism of Season 7 this fall? Will the reveal have been worth the blowback?

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