It’s Rick vs. Negan as the communities join forces in the last stand against the Saviors and all-out war unfolds.
The end of Season 8 of The Walking Dead has finally/mercifully come to pass. Let’s see how we got to this year’s finish before spending the next 8 eight months complaining about how bad this show’s gotten since Season 5.
The episode opens with Rick asking Siddiq how Carl died. Siddiq reveals that he told Carl about his mom’s wacky belief that zombies had souls and that murdering them was a kindness. Carl, being the idiot that he is, decided to help Siddiq by getting himself bitten/dead.
At this point, I full expectedy Rick to start sweating profusely while punching Siddiq in the face. Instead, we head outside to see Carl’s idiot child replacement, Henry, explaining Carol that he won’t do anything stupid (like running away) like he did before. To her credit, Carol appears skeptical.
Meanwhile, Alden returns with the other Reformed Saviors just in time to watch Morgan have his 23rd mental breakdown of the series…although this time it ends with him knocking the crap out of Henry, so I didn’t mean really mind.
Once Morgan gets a hold of himself, Rick actually has the gall to suggest that his old pal might not be in a state to fight. Yes, when you want advice on mental stability and how it may affect combat readiness, Rick Grimes is absolutely the person you should turn to. Thankfully, Morgan is coherent enough to point out that they are both terrible people now and should just accept it.
A Simple Plan
Back at The Sanctuary, Eugene interrupts Negan taunting Dwight to test out his homemade bullets, which appear to work perfectly. Later, Negan and Eugene ride in the same car with Gabriel to the battle. Negan “confesses” to the priest about his plan involving a walker trap for the Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom Alliance. Gabriel is shocked…SHOCKED…that Negan would do something evil like kill his enemies. He’s so shocked, in fact, that he opens the car door and flings himself from it.
As The Saviors stop and give chase, we’re treated to a few seconds of Gabriel’s infecto-vision before he gets caught. As punishment, Gabriel is made to suffer the indignity of getting yelled at by Eugene at gunpoint while Negan smiles and mutters some asinine stuff about prayers not being answered.
Sure enough, The Alliance hits the trap, which sets them on the path into an ambush.
Morgan is also still seeing dead people and clearly becoming agitated by it. Sensing his pain, Jesus decides to deliver one of the show’s patented “Maybe let’s try not killing’ speeches…which is a weird thing to say as you march off to war, but whatever. He then suggests that Morgan use the spikey end of his staff for zombies and blunt end for people. PROBLEM SOLVED!
A little while later, The Saviors surround The Alliance and start doing that stupid whistling thing. When they raise their guns and fire, however, all of their weapons backfire, killing or maiming most of them.
That’s right, everyone. Eugene ‘The Mullet’ Porter was playing the long con.
Dwight, who has been skulking in the background this whole time, takes advantage of the confusion and starts fighting alongside the Alliance.
Back at the Hilltop, some B-team Saviors are chasing everyone into the woods. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, the Oceanside community shows up and starts lobbing what might be the most powerful moltov cocktails ever created.
We’re talking walls of fire here, people. It’s almost as unbelievable as the Oceansiders joining the battle because of Aaron’s lame speech from last week.
The only thing that could have made this part of the episode better was if Tara accidentally flipped someone the bird and got shot for it. Instead, she simply smiles and appreciates the deus ex machina playing out before her.
Rick and Roll
Back at the main battle, Rick runs out of ammo (something that I thought never happened on this show). Undeterred, he runs after Negan like a dog chasing a car. Negan pops out from the behind a tree in an open field, which (unsurprisingly) manages to catch Rick completely off guard.
Despite having a serious hand injury due to Eugene’s treachery, he thoroughly kicks Rick’s ass. That’s when Ricky decides to ask Negan to do what Carl said and try being nice to each other. Negan responds with a look that appears to be somewhere between genuine empathy and constipation. Rick takes advantage of the moment by slicing Negan’s throat with a shard of glass from a nearby stain-glass window hanging he broke.
Before Negan can bleed out, however, he commands Siddiq to save him. This understandably sends Maggie into a blind rage. Rick gets to go around killing whoever he wants when it suits him, but one little crisis of conscious and he gets to spare the man who killed Maggie’s husband. Even when he’s trying to be a better a man, Rick Grimes is still terrible.
Further proving my point, Rick then sits under the tree where everything went down, looks up at the stained glass, and gives us that weird flash back/forward shot we got months ago where he whisper rasps about how he allowed mercy to triumph over his blood lust or something.
Meanwhile, Morgan gives up his paintball gear and says he’s done fighting (because we all know how well that declaration tends to play out). Rosita confirms that Eugene really was on their side the whole time, then punches him in the face anyway for puking on her. Rosita is the episode’s MVP for this, by the way.
Happy Trails and Gather Clouds
From here, the epilogues come fast and furious.
- Alden decides he wants to stay and help the Hilltop while the other reformed Saviors go home.
- Morgan goes to hang out with Jadis at the garbage dump (because clearly no violence has or ever will happen there).
- Daryl takes Dwight out in the woods and listens to him blubber out an apology for all the bad stuff he did. Daryl responds to this not by killing Dwight, but by giving him keys to a brand new set of wheels and telling him to go find his wife (and also warning him not to come back upon penalty of death).
- Dwight finds the house him and Sherry were going to live in and a note from her hinting that she’s still out there somewhere.
- Maggie sits in a darkened room with her most trusted advisors and vows that Negan will die no matter what “We Don’t Kill” kick Rick and Michonne happen to be on this week.
Speaking of Negan, Rick and Michonne explain that he’s going to rot in the prison cell for the rest of this life. It’s supposed to be evidence of civilization, but it feels more like when a super villain in the Marvel Universe gets sent to Rykers–you just know they’re busting out of there sooner rather than later.
Once again, Morgan has a meltdown and gives up on fighting.
Once again, Rick has a “We Shouldn’t Kill” epiphany right after his own massive murder spree.
Once again, someone who killed innocent people is sent off to live in exile.
Once again, a stupid kid is used repeatedly as the lens through which we’re supposed to see the adults’ various struggles with humanity.
If the show recycled garbage like it did ideas then The Scavengers wouldn’t have had any place to live.
Oh yeah, and Maggie’s still not showing yet.