[Spoilers for this past Sunday’s mid-season finale of The Walking Dead below, so quit reading if you don’t want to know which character death the show telegraphed way too hard in advance of its airing.]
The Walking Dead hasn’t had a lot of good news this season. Despite the much-ballyhooed war between our people and Negan’s Saviors, the first episode of the eighth season saw the show’s lowest numbers for a season premiere in five years. And now, it seems like once the audience realized the entire first half of the season would just be one long, dragged-out day in the life of a battle between the two camps, even more people decided to tune out. Not even Carl getting bitten by a zombie is enough to bring back lost viewers, apparently—and given how much people used to hate the kid, you’d think a few people would check in just for the schadenfreude.
Deadline reports the ratings for the mid-season finale of the series are down 25 percent from season seven, and the worst ratings for a mid-season finale the show has seen since 2011. While the total number of viewers, 7.79 million, is more than that for the season two mid-season finale (which pulled in 6.62 million), it’s actually worse ratings overall among adults 18-49, down four percent from that fall finale. All of which is an unnecessarily complicated way of saying The Walking Dead has taken a huge hit in viewers this season, bringing it all the way back down to where it was around season two in terms of ratings. Perhaps now the show will admit that it should try and start surprising us again. Of course, if the show really wanted to bring back some viewers when it return in February, producers may want to consider turning Carl into a Minion. People can’t seem to get enough of those little yellow bastards.