In season 8 Episode 15 of The Walking Dead saw the setup for what would be the season finale. Negan had laid a trap and Rick & co were planning to walk into it. How would the season finale play out? Let’s see.
Spoilers ahead, read on if you dare.
Normally with our reviews, we would take the main plot lines and break them down but this week was essentially one long scene with little alternate plot-line so instead, we discuss what happened and how it worked out.
The Beginning of the end.
Negan had sent a fake map to Rick, via an unassuming Dwight, detailing “ambush points” that the Saviors will be and at what time. When Rick shows up they attack, simple. Well not quite so simple as Negan actually sends a small squad to the first point, sacrificing them to the cause. They were planted with an alternate map which was the actual trap and would lead them all to their potential doom.
This was a nice touch and showed how serious Negan is about ending his nemesis. When the encounter happened the Saviors were dispatched of easily and with brutal efficiency.
Jesus Saves Morgan
Morgan killing a surrendering Savior leads to Jesus giving him some much-needed guidance. It was good to see Jesus back at the forefront and it was a great idea to have him helping Morgan with his psychotic tendencies. He talks to him throughout the episode to remind him that the pointy end of the stick is for Walkers and the blunt end for humans.
Eventually, it pays off and Jesus looks pleased with him. We hope to see more of Jesus in the next season as he has been sorely missed in the second half of this season. Also was it a coincidence that Jesus has returned to the season just after Easter? Just a thought.
War is War
After Rick & Co’s encounter with the fake Saviour outpost, they head to a big empty field on top of a hill, picturesque as it may be they look like sitting ducks. They stop at one point and ask each other if they’ve ever seen one as big as that.
Now maybe it’s because we were only watching on a 42” screen but we had no idea what they were talking about. This would be revealed later on to be an immense hoard of Walkers heading their way.
Pretty soon Negan’s familiar whistle comes over a loudspeaker and they learn that they’re surrounded.
What happened next is like a homage to Zulu as the Saviors appear over the ridge as our heroes prepare to fight. Before ordering their massacre Negan plays the classic super villain role and explains to Rick that not only will he dies but so will Gabrielle whom he’s brought along and that Dwight gets to watch and live with his actions. He also tells them that Eugene is responsible for making all the bullets that will kill them.
So far so good, this is a good way to set up a final battle and Rick’s people look utterly screwed. Having Negan explain his plans is a little hammy but ultimately it sets up some further developments for later on.
Negan orders the Saviors to massacre them and as they start their assault, all of the guns explode, taking out half the saviors while the others flee. Yes, Eugene has switched allegiances, again, and sabotaged all of the weapons.
We see Negans hand, which is badly damaged before he grabs Lucille and makes a run for it. The following scenes are basically of Saviors being slaughtered and eventually the remaining members surrender and are rounded up. Eugene is set upon by some Saviors but is saved by Rosita.
Yet again we are getting sick of Eugene’s script, it’s just getting ridiculous now. He’s hard enough to understand with that accent without everything he says being in some bizarre babble. Sort it out already, it gets weirder every episode.
Negan Vs Rick: The Final Battle
Eventually, we see Negan as he runs from Rick toward a familiar tree. It’s the one from the weird flash forward from earlier in the season with stained glass windows hanging from it, quite what that’s about we have no idea.
One window smashes as Rick shoots at Negan and he ducks behind the tree, waiting to get Rick with Lucille, which he does. They brawl for a bit and eventually, Negan gets the upper hand. Rick pleads with him to wait 10 seconds, using Carl as a distraction before slashing Negan’s throat with a piece of the broken window.
So that’s that, Negan falls the floor, blood flowing from his neck. He tells Rick he’s failed Carl in some home truth final words. That’s the end, right? Wrong.
Rick Turns around to see all his people and the remaining Saviors watching. Maggie steps forward to see Negan’s corpse and quickly loses her cool when Rick tells Saddiq to save his life.
Rick then gives a big speech to everyone about his vision for the future, a world where they live in peace and work together to wipe out the oncoming horde. He grants all the Saviors their lives and tells everyone to go home and make preparations. Maggie has to be dragged away as she screams for Negan’s death.
The rest of the episode was just tying up loose ends and setting up next season. Negan is seen tied to a bed with his wound treated as Michonne and Rick tell him he’ll be kept alive in prison for the rest of his life as an example to the new society.
Morgan heads to the junkyard to get Jadis whom Rick has offered a place at Alexandria, she accepts and also reveals her real name to be Anne, but Morgan says he’s staying at the junkyard on his own to “sort through some stuff”.
Daryl drives Dwight out to the woods and Dwight gets on his knees expecting an execution, thankfully Daryl lets him live and banishes him. The last we see of Dwight he’s gone back to his old house and is reading a letter from his wife that just says ‘Honeymoon’ on it but from Dwight’s reaction he knows where she is so could this be a happy ending for him?
Finally, we see Maggie behind her desk at the Hilltop doing her best Godfather impression. The music turns darker as she explains to Jesus that Rick has made a mistake and that she is going to build up The Hilltop to be powerful enough to make Rick and Michonne realise their mistake. Daryl emerges from the darkness and agrees that they will know their mistakes. Ominous doesn’t do it justice.
Are we to believe that next seasons villains will essentially be the immense horde and The Hilltop? It sounds as though Maggie planning on killing Rick and Michonne and Daryl is on board with that. Maybe they just intend to break in and kill Negan, even if it means there’s some collateral damage along the way.
All we know is that Maggie has certainly been acting irrationally over the last few episodes and she would make a great villain for Rick to face, especially with so much shared history.
We were quite sad to see Dwight banished as well, he proved himself to be on the right side in the end. With Daryl set to face off with Rick would it be too unfeasible to think that he could turn up again to join Rick?
Another factor to this potential face-off is Jesus, he’s proved time and again to be a good and honest man so will he be willing to stick with Maggie after she’s seemingly lost her mind and become obsessed with revenge? How will Carol deal with that as well, she usually sides with Daryl but would she do it against Rick?
Everything appears to be set up for next season although a few loose ends remain, The Helicopter and the Mysterious Stranger and her gifts will no doubt come up again but for now, we will just have to wait for next season to start in the autumn of 2018.
Did you enjoy the season finale and what are you theories and predictions for Season 9 of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below.