One thing I can say about The Walking Dead season finale: some shit happened. A lot of shit. More shit than I was expecting, based on last season’s hour and a half of bs. If you’re wondering about the title, I’ll get to that. Lemme start at the beginning…
The episode opened with a tight shot of Sasha’s face. She has earbuds in, and she’s sweating. It doesn’t look good for her, but at this point we don’t really know what’s going on.
Back in Alexandria, Dwight convinces Our Heroes that he’s on their side. He says he’ll go back to the Sanctuary (where Negan lives, apparently) and slow the Saviors down on their way to Alexandria, giving Rick and team time to prepare for their arrival. No one really trusts him, but they agree, and off he goes.
Meanwhile, Ezekiel and Carol are leading the Kingdom’s troops to battle when they run into Morgan. Ezekiel talks him into coming with them, and they set off again. I hope such a tiny number of fighters is due to budget constraints and not because they actually only brought like 5 folks. Not that I should complain, really.
The Trash People show up to help get ready for the Saviors’ arrival in Alexandria, and I dunno. There was just something squirrelly about them. First, Jadis asked if she could “lie with” Rick after everything was over, and Michonne was unimpressed. Then everyone was just so. Savior-looking. And, like I said, squirrelly.
So I wasn’t SUPER surprised when, surprise, the Junkyard Gang turned traitor because Negan made them a better offer. Rick should’ve known that was gonna happen; they’re survivalists. Negan’s group obviously offers the best chance of survival at first blush. Jadis even sort-of warned him a few minutes before their betrayal when she said they don’t get involved, they take…then offered that maybe there was another way.
Anyway, getting ahead of myself.
In Hilltop, Maggie is meeting with Jesus and some of the others to decide what they’re going to do. Gregory is gone (thankfully), but ofc that means he might’ve told Negan all sorts of things about what’s happening at Hilltop. Traitors everywhere.
After some tense bomb-laying scenes, Negan and co. show up at Alexandria, but they send Eugene in first to negotiate. Rick asks him where Negan is, and his answer? “I’m Negan.”
Rick signals Rosita to blow the bombs, but when she hits the button nothing happens. That’s when the Garbage Pail Kids turn their guns on Rick’s group and reveal themselves for the stinkin’ (probably literally) traitors they are.
Negan pops out and monologues then makes his demands: Rick has to pick someone to die. He wants all their lemonade, Daryl, and the pool table with all the cues and the chalk, too. But I guess not the balls, because he didn’t specify.
Apparently he has Sasha stashed in this coffin they brought with them to be, like, symbolic?? And when he opens the coffin out she pops…as a zombie! She immediately goes for Negan, but some other dude pulls her off and she bites that guy’s face off instead. Unfortunately.
All hell breaks out, but it doesn’t come to much. The Alexandrians are outmatched by the Savior/Scavenger combo, and in the end Jadis shoots Rick in the side and leads him to kneel before Negan, Carl beside him. Negan tells Rick he’s going to kill Carl and then take Rick’s hands, but Rick don’t give a fuck. He promises to kill Negan no matter what he does.
And then this happens:
Like I honestly. Of all the curveball shit, you know Negan was NOT expecting a tiger. (A TIGER?!) So anyway Maggie and the Hilltop folks + Ezekiel and the Kingdom show up and kick a lil’ ass. Negan’s unhappy to see Maggie alive and shooting people, but all he can really do about it is flee with his tail between his legs.
During the battle, Michonne was up on the roof fighting with Jadis’s second in command. They flirted with the idea that she might be dead, but they weren’t super serious about it. Carl and Rick find her bloody and battered but alive, and the episode ends with a rousing monologue from Maggie as she rallies the troops. We see Michonne and Rosita both recovering in the makeshift hospital.
In the Sanctuary, though, Negan isn’t idle. He’s got a big ol’ group of people ready to fight for him…and it seems he suspects Eugene had something to do with Sasha’s death in that coffin. But he doesn’t suspect Dwight at all, who manages to get a message to Daryl that he didn’t know about Jadis’s double-dealing.
Last week I worried that this episode would be boring, and with the exception of a few Negan-heavy moments, it wasn’t. My main quibble has to do with Sasha’s death.
Obviously she used the suicide pill Eugene gave her last week (completely unbeknownst to him, though of course NOW he knows that’s what she did), but the scenes…there were flashbacks of Sasha with Abraham right before his death last season. Y’all know how I feel about Abraham (I’ve never been shy about it), so I was annoyed, to say the least, that so much of Sasha’s decision to sacrifice herself was tied up with Abraham. Why couldn’t Sasha just be Sasha? Why did she have to be part of this forced, goofy pairing?
Also, sort of beside the point, but why Abraham in flashbacks instead of GLENN?? Yes there was a nice ode to Glenn with Maggie and the pocket watch at the end, but I would much rather have seen Steven Yeun in a scene with Lauren Cohan. The episode felt bogged down by the Abraham scenes, and ONCE AGAIN the show made a female character’s journey somehow, some way, about a MAN.
I’m going to miss the character of Sasha and Sonequa’s lovely face, but she’s been entirely wasted this season. We all knew her death was coming. I’m glad she went out her way rather than at Negan’s hands or through some other violent means, but I’m frustrated that they had to bring in Abraham to, apparently, give it weight and/or meaning. It couldn’t have that on its own? Without a dude?
Honestly this show is so damn frustrating. They keep making the same mistakes over and over: sidelining female characters in their own storylines, constant chitchat, bizarre pacing issues. It’s exhausting. Are they going to change anything next season? Somehow I doubt it. Obviously this episode set up an all-out war between Rick’s team and Negan’s, but HONESTLY you can’t fill 16 episodes with nothing but a war.
Except they will likely try. Which would be worse. And I guess we’re gonna get more Dwight and more Eugene, but of course no more Sasha because she went zombie.
Overall this season has been a bit of a mess. They never got their groove, and when the best thing you can say is “finally they started handling more than one storyline per episode,” you know there’s some trouble going on.
Episode Grade: B. It was fine, ya know. Fine.
Season Grade: C- because ergh.