Previously on The Walking Dead, “Worth”
The Walking Dead has a lot of problems, and they were all on display in this finale. The most offensive is their insistence on putting their characters where they want them to be even if it is completely incongruous with the episodes leading up to it. It was obvious from the mid-season premiere that Rick’s mercy would prevail over his wrath (But did it really, though? More on that later.), but we had to sit through seven and a half episodes of his wrath with no mercy in sight. The Walking Dead isn’t interesting in nuanced or gradual storytelling. They’re going to give you big moments in premieres and finales with nonsense in between.
Negan had an okey-doke within an okey-doke. The men he sent to the location in Dwight’s message to Rick were nothing more than sacrificial lambs. He knew Rick and crew would kill them (they did) and find a new map with Negan’s true location (they did). THIS is the real trap because when Rick arrives, they’ll be surrounded by Saviors. Negan lays out this real plan to Gabe on their way there — for some reason. At his first opportunity, Gabe stops, drops, and rolls out of the car and flees into the woods. Negan’s caravan stops to chase him even though Gabe is blind and on foot. He has absolutely no chance of reaching Rick in time to warn them. In fact, he’s almost killed by a walker until Laura, the Savior, saves him. THEN, Negan spares Gabe yet again.
Once they have Rick and friends surrounded, Negan jumps on a bullhorn to tell them that Dwight didn’t betray them, but he’ll have to stand there and watch them die while wearing a giant A on his shirt cause he’s… an adulterer? Asshole? I don’t know. Then Negan counts down from three and all the Saviors fire their guns — including Negan who has his pointed at the back of Gabe’s head — and their guns misfire because someone is still under the mistaken impression Eugene is an interesting and necessary character worth redemption.
Some Saviors are killed, but most give up. Rick chases Negan down and they have their third brawl of the series. When Negan has Rick weaponless and on his knees, Rick begs for ten seconds to convince Negan of a truce, for Carl. By the time Negan reaches eight, it appears to work. He’s in tears and seems poised to drop Lucille. Then Rick slits his throat.
At this point, I was thinking the series has to be done. Rick just shat all over his son’s memory and spit on it for good measure. Even Negan knows this as he tells Rick (while trying to hold his throat together) to look at what he did.
“Carl didn’t know shit.”
Maybe it was this that causes Rick to tell Siddiq to save Negan. Maggie loses her entire shit. She didn’t get a letter from Carl. And if she did, she didn’t read it. And if she did read it, fuck Carl. He’s dead. As is Glenn, who Negan murdered in front of her. Maggie’s wrath has told her mercy to have a seat.
Some time passes (a day or so) and everyone is working together to rebuild not just Alexandria and Hilltop, but the Sanctuary as well. The Oceanside women showed up at the last minute to help Tara fend off the Saviors at Hilltop, so they’re part of the family now as well. I guess.
Daryl gives Dwight keys to a car and tells him to leave and never come back. Dwight heads to the house where he was supposed to meet Sherry the first time and finds another note from her. We assume they’ll meet up where they had their honeymoon. Morgan goes to the junkyard to tell Jadis, whose real name is Ann, she’s welcome to go live with Rick and she agrees. But Morgan is staying put because he cannot abide all this level-headed thinking and non-murdering. Also, he’s got a new gig in Texas.
Rick and Michonne visit Negan’s hospital bed to tell him he’s going to rot in Morgan’s homemade jail cell for the rest of his life; that and watching the world flourish around him will be his punishment. And if they’re not going to show jailhouse Negan next season, I’m out. Cause this is just a fucking mess.
We’re supposed to believe that just the day before Rick was lying to men, saying he would spare their lives only to murder them minutes later, but that after reading Carl’s letter he saw the light? The letter, which wasn’t all that powerful, was more powerful than Carl pleading with him on his deathbed? And he decided to give Carl’s way a chance AFTER slitting Negan’s throat?
But don’t expect things to be all prayer circles and hair braiding in season nine. Maggie makes it clear to Jesus and Daryl that they’re going to bide their time and then show Rick and Michonne they were wrong. Daryl is onboard even though he JUST let Dwight go and so is Jesus because I been telling y’all that Jesus is the fucking Feds.
What did you think of the season finale? Will you be back next season? Leave your BRIEF thoughts below, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave them on our Facebook post for this review and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast.