Lots of explosions, a major character death, and enough pointless slowmo shots to give even Zack Snyder pause. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for The Walking Dead midseason finale.

Rick Rolled

Did I miss how The Saviors cleared out that massive horde of zombies overrunning the Sanctuary? Because that looked like a pretty tall order even with unlimited ammunition. I know Eugene has become quite the bulletsmith, but he’s not a damn Christmas elf.

Anyway, Rick and the Scavengers realize that The Sanctuary is back under Savior control moments before they start getting shot at. This leads to Rick having a flashback to him and Carl arguing about whether or not it was right to kill The Saviors, thus all but ensuring that Carl is (probably) going to die soon.

Back in the present, Rick gets randomly saved by Carol and Jerry.

Party Foul

Remember how dumb Rick and Daryl’s little side adventure was? Well the one Aaron and Enid took this episode is much, much worse.

First off, the whole idea of going to Oceanside to ask for help is stupid. Why would these women even consider helping the same people who forcibly took all their guns from them?

Then, after loading their car up with booze as some sort of stupid peace offering, they show up in the dead of night (and stop near the community to take a nap) and the Oceansiders UNDERSTANDABLY send out a scout team to see who the hell is creeping around their town. Aaron gets out with his gun drawn and gets attacked. Enid mistakes his attacker for a turtle and shoots her dead. Turns out Enid managed to kill the leader of the Oceanside Community. Ain’t enough booze in the world to fix that mistake.

Fire Sale

Back in Alexandria, Daryl and Tara go with the Dr. Evil method of conflict resolution and assume that their plan went off without a hitch, effectively taking the Saviors down for good. Meanwhile, we see Carl writing a note to his father, which might as well be stapled to an official death warrant.

That night, Negan shows up and starts screaming into a megaphone about how mad he is and all the terrible things he’ll do if the Alexandrians don’t surrender. Carl puts a plan in motion to evacuate the town. Michonne disagrees, but since Carl’s big death scene was coming up at the end of the show, she defers to him.

Carl goes up to the fence and manages to have an admittedly ballsy exchange with Negan, providing the perfect distraction for the convoy of evacuees to escape. Negan responds by firebombing Alexandria with an unlimited supply of RPGs. Just as Carl nears the exit, a car explodes near him. Thankfully, there’s way too much time left in the show by this point for that to be the cause of his death.


As she drives back toward the Hilltop, Maggie totally jinxes her group by saying she doesn’t think The Saviors would give up easily. As you might expect, this results in their convoy being surrounded by a bunch of whistling assholes–along with Jerry getting taken hostage.

Simon tells Maggie that he needs her to make him look better since he screwed things up by trusting Gregory. He then kills Neil (yeah, I didn’t remember him, either) and gets her to agree to go back to The Hilltop and make sure the community keeps producing for The Saviors, which was a much better option than the other he offered: Getting into Sasha’s old coffin.

Maggie asks if she can take the coffin to bury Neil in. When she gets back to the Hilltop, Maggie takes out one of the Savior prisoners and shoots him in the head. The she puts him into the coffin and sends it as a message to Negan.

I know this is supposed to be a big character-defining moment and all, but c’mon. She should have shot that guy (and the Skeevy Savior) a long time ago. And how bad is Simon at reading people? I get that anyone who has faith in Gregory is most likely brain damaged, but could he also really dumb enough to think Maggie would do what he asked?

Kingdom Come

The Saviors go looking for Ezekiel, who flees behind some bad stage props. Later, Gavin tells the Kingdom community that The Saviors are moving in while they fix up The Sanctuary for them. He also begged them to give up Ezekiel before unlimited bullets had to start flying.

Ezekiel sets off a giant explosion to distract The Saviors, then tells Carol to save his people. Morgan overhears Gavin’s plan to capture Ezekiel so they can bring Negan his head.

The parts of the episode in Kingdom were dumb. Let’s move on.

Iron Horse

Dwight leads a bunch of Saviors into an ambush by Tara, Daryl, and Michonne. Dwight then turns on The Saviors and starts shooting them himself. It’s pretty awesome.

When they get to Alexandria, though, it’s quickly apparent that their homeowner’s insurance will not cover the damage that has been done to the town.

Mullet Mea Culpa

Eugene starts to feel about things (again). He somehow manages to give the Sanctuary guard watching Gabriel a bad case of diarrhea and encourages him and Dr. Carson to escape.

What a guy.

Spaghetti Beatdown

Rick makes it back home to Alexandria and is dumb enough to walk into the one home (his) that has been blown to smithereens. Of course Negan is there to kick his ass.

The two fight. Both seem unwilling to kill each other, especially when Rick has two chances (once with Lucille and the other with his gun). The fight ends with Rick flying backwards out the window and running away like a pansy despite having a loaded firearm in his hand.

He later comes across Michonne, who has gone full John Wick and is tearing a path through the town. They escape to the sewers with the others, where Dwight explains that his cover is blown and he can’t go back.

Rick finds Carl, who lifts his shirt to reveal that he was bitten (apparently a couple episodes ago when he rescued Siddiq).

The Verdict

I guess Carl’s dead now, which makes the actor’s parents’ comments about how proud/happy they were over his contract being over makes sense. I suppose he could survive the wound somehow, but I didn’t see any magical dumpster bandages laying about…

…although I do find it odd that Carl was able to walk around like everyone was fine with a zombie bite for so long. Even if it was just one or two days (hard to tell with all the stupid flashbacks), that doesn’t really line up with what we’ve seen before. Hell, Gabriel just got the shakes just from zombie guts being smeared all over him.

It makes the death feel a bit hollow and pointless. Combine that with the stupidity of Enid/Aaron, and multiple plot holes, and the fact we didn’t get to see Eugene die, and it’s another barely average episode that continues the show’s overall downward trajectory.

From this point on, I’m rooting for the walkers.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 8 ‘How It’s Gotta Be’ Review
Is it good?
Another barely average episode that continues the show's overall downward trajectory. 
Much as I hate the unlimited ammo/explosives everyone seems to have, at least it makes for some cool fight scenes.
Maggie's pregnancy might not be showing yet, but her ruthless/awesome leader side definitely is.
The big character "death," is not only pointless, but painfully telegraphed.
Enid and Aaron are idiots.
Of all the plot holes this episode had, Simon's poor judgement might be the worst.

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