If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: The stakes continue to grow higher as paths cross; The group enacts an intricate plan. (IMDB)
Writer: Scott M. Gimple
Director: Greg Nicotero
Running Time: 44mins
I mentioned last week that the season finale will have a lot of pressure to deliver and I will just say right now, it did not but that wasn’t completely unexpected. With Sonequa Martin-Green, the actress who plays Sasha, joining a new TV series, it was pretty much inevitable that something was going to happen to her but the episode devoted way too much time on her. I know that the series likes to focus on characters who are going to die but there was more than enough buildup here.
Coming to terms with what she was going to do, she listened to music from an old iPod that Eugene found. While listening, she was transported to some sort of dream state where she spoke to Abraham and Maggie in what was perhaps an attempt at closure with the both of them. Remember that Eugene also gave her some of the poison pills he made. She was intending on using them on herself but instead of taking the easy way out, she made her death worth something. More on that later.
The last episode ended with Dwight showing up at Alexandria and willing to work with Rick. There inevitably was some distrust and skepticism from Daryl and Tara, for obvious reasons, but he seemed like he was willing to help. He didn’t mean to kill Denise (he was aiming for Daryl) and since Sherry was gone after helping Daryl escape the Sanctuary, he had no one left. Dwight’s plan was to be their man on the inside. Now that ultimately didn’t happen today but he still is now.
With Gregory presumably gone to the Sanctuary, Maggie is left to lead the Hilltop. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do but Jesus was definitely glad that she was making the decision. She was leaning on leading into the fight. The Kingdom, including Carol, were heading out as well. Morgan wanted to ambush them on his own but Carol convinced him to join them instead. The Scavengers showed up to Alexandria on their many bicycles, ready to fight. They seemed baffled by Alexandria and their living arrangements.
Bombs were being set up around the perimeter and as soon as that happened, Negan and his gang of Saviors showed up to deal out some punishment. He wanted to kill a lot of people but Sasha was able to convince him to just kill one (we’ll see how that works out). Eugene tried to convince Rick to surrender on a megaphone but that didn’t work. Rick then tried to detonate the bombs but they didn’t work. Little did they know, the Scavengers betrayed them because of a better deal from the Saviors.
Negan brought a casket with him who he claimed to have Sasha inside. He wanted them to surrender, for Rick to give him one person to be Lucille’d, and all the pool stuff or he was going to kill Sasha. Of course Rick wanted to see her so when Negan opened the door, a Walker Sasha came out and attacked them. She had taken the poison pills while in the casket on the way to Alexandria. She managed to take out a few Saviors and this was enough of a distraction for them to turn the tables on the Scavengers.
Alexandria and the Scavengers were taking each other out while the Saviors were just waiting outside. Keep in mind that the Hilltop and the Kingdom have not yet showed up to the action. Negan eventually had Rick and Carl on their knees. He threatened to kill Carl and then take Rick’s hands. Being Rick, he didn’t care and vowed to kill him anyway. As Negan was about to hit Carl, the Hilltop and the Kingdom finally showed up with Shiva getting the first bite. Once the battle got too much, the Scavengers and the Saviors fled.
Back at the Sanctuary, Negan wanted to know how Sasha got so close. Eugene told him that she suffocated in the casket which he didn’t exactly rule out. He then addressed his army of Saviors, telling them that they are going to war.The episode ended with Maggie reciting a sentimental inner monologue about where they were and how far they’ve gone, how they went from strangers to family. Daryl then finds a toy soldier within the Alexandria fence with a message saying “Didn’t know”, perhaps from Dwight. Ezekiel, Rick, and Maggie addressed the people as the leaders of the three colonies.
Overall, based on how the season has gone, this episode wasn’t going to satisfy everybody. It was still sort of exciting, albeit predictable, but it didn’t for me because after the first episode, this season, and most of this episode, was all build-up to this battle (and then Sasha’s death) which was underwhelming to say the least. There was no way that it was all going to get resolved here but I would have liked more of a payoff. Negan, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, was almost as menacing as he was in the first episode but I wish there was a little more consistency with the character. At least there’s no cliffhanger this time.