Are you serious? Finale already!? This season has flown by, now I know there’s been quite a few headlines about falling ratings and lowered quality and maybe I’m just a fanboy but I don’t see the lack of quality, yes I have issues with the show…even with this episode, but the good FAR outweighs the bad to me. We jump into TWD world at the calm before the storm. In retaliation for Sasha’s incursion into the Sanctuary, which is named the first time in this episode, the Savior’s plan to head to Alexandria to deliver punishment in the form of Lucille. Meanwhile all three communities on the side of good are ramping up for war with quick shots of Hilltop, The Kingdom, and Alexandria preparing for what’s coming. The episode, however, doesn’t focus on that as much as you’d like it to…this is a Sasha episode. We’ll get to more on that later.
I should advise now that there will be some spoilers ahead so watch the episode before reading ahead. The episode starts with a revist from a departed favorite, Abraham. Throughout the episode are quick cuts of Sasha and Abraham and Sasha and Maggie, even by the end of the episode I couldn’t discern whether these were flashbacks or dreams, but I was bothered that they didn’t give Glenn a final send off. The entire episode Sasha and Maggie are looking into the distance, I assumed it was a dream and they were watching Glenn and his child play…turns out they were just watching the sunset. Back to reality we find Sasha in her cell ready to cooperate with Negan, even negotiating down to just killing one person for punishment, Negan REALLY likes her for whatever reason…probably those big lady balls he talked about last episode. Watching them is really quite fun, like an alternate dimension Sid and Nancy if Nancy was all depressed and hated Sid. Ok, not like them at all then.
At Alexandria, we pick up right where we left off, with Dwight staring down the barrel of Rick’s Peacemaker. Not surprisingly it takes about two seconds for Daryl to pin him against the wall with a knife to his throat. Daryl is straight feral with so much insanity in his eyes, it’s an amazing shot that is going to make it onto t-shirts and fan drawings in no time. They end up taking the chance on Dwight and the uneasy alliance is formed. In come the scavengers and we resume the weirdness of their crew, with bangs lady telling Michonne that she “will lay with him (Rick)” after they win…very odd. Jumping over to the kingdom we get a shot of Carol training the recruits when they happen upon Morgan who looks like hell and has obviously spent all his time wacking walkers, Ezekiel decides to go full Medieval and delivers a rousing speech bringing Morgan off the ledge.
Here’s where we get to the spoilery bits, and with what I had the most problem with. Full disclosure I couldn’t help myself from comparing it to the comic book counterpart, mostly because that particular scene was one of the most surprising in the series. In the show, Sasha’s sacrifice is telegraphed from jump street, and I don’t just mean their habit of spending the entire episode focusing on the person who’s about to bit it, I mean they literally show Eugene give her the poison and, for some stupid reason, show her taking the pills. Negan is taking her in a casket, for theatrically effect, as a bargaining chip to Alexandria. He gets there, they have some words and he opens the casket to show Sasha alive, he’s wrong. He’s immediately attacked by zombie Sasha and almost bitten causing calamity and allowing the survivors to get a fighting chance against the saviors and the scavengers who apparently got a better deal from Negan and turned on them. Now, in the comics it’s a girl named Holly and the war has already begun. Same deal he brings Holly to Alexandria with a bag over her head as a bargaining chip. All seems right until Holly is released into Alexandria and they remove the bag revealing she’s a zombie surprising everyone, reader included. Not only that but in the comics it was a Trojan horse thought up by Negan, not an reverse trap on him by a survivor.
Credit where it’s due, once they are off the map it does allow some tension to build. After a viscous firefight Rick is shot in the side and Carl is captured by Negan. In one of the most tense moments in the series Negan lines up Carl and tells Rick he’s going to smash his head in…Rick actually has some balls this time and says no matter what Negan does, Rick will kill him, it really is an amazing scene only topped by what happens next. The survivors are beaten and restrained there is no hope, Negan raises his bat andddd…..
SHIVA!!!! That glorious tiger finally gets her combat debut tackling Negan (who’s reply of “It’s a God Damned Tiger! is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen) and just eviscerating a pile of Saviors. In come the Kingdome and Hilltop battling back against the bad guys and saving the day. Everything about this 10 minutes was perfect. Even the 80’s style synth backing music worked somehow. Jerry’s carrying a battle axe, Shiva’s having dinner, Morgan’s bo staffing people to death, complete pandemonium! If there’s one gripe I have it’s that Jesus isn’t showing doing much more then firing a weapon. He’s supposed to be the top dog combat wise and I can only hope that they take advantage in the future. The battle is one but there is one last moment that will make you reach for a Xanax, when Daryl stands on a trailer looking over the wall making sure everyone is gone. You can almost hear a gunshot happen as he stands there fully exposed….I guess it’s time we accept Daryl will never die.
An amazing finale to a good season, the world in which this takes place has been changed and we can only hope they bring the same fervor to the 100th episode in October. Until then deadites!