I’ve seen a lot of people complain that Season 8 of The Walking Dead sucked, the show is going downhill, and they hoped it would end soon. I’ll admit, there were times when even I said that I couldn’t wait until this whole story arc with the Saviors was over. But this season did have its high points, as well as its really emotional and well-written but equally bad points (see my Homage to Carl Grimes). Finally, Season 8 culminated into what turned out to be a very satisfying Finale to All Out War. Warning: As this is a recap, I will be discussing the episode in detail so there is nothing but SPOILERS ahead!
The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale – “Wrath”
When we left off on the episode titled “Worth”, Negan had just killed Simon in a man-to-man battle for which I was so happy! At the conclusion of the battle, Dwight sent Gregory off with a map and a warning written on it for Rick’s people. It seems Negan was anticipating this move. As it turns out, the person Negan picked up at the end of “Still Gotta Mean Something” was Laura, the Savior who got away when Dwight turned on the Saviors. As a result Dwight ended up getting the capital “A” sweat suit treatment. It would’ve been the icing on the cake if they had shown him in confinement with “Easy Street” playing, but as we learned at Fan Expo Dallas Austin Amelio absolutely HATES that song!
One of the things I have hated the most about this season is what it did to Eugene’s character. Sure, he’s always been a selfish coward, but in Season 6 Eugene had really redeemed himself during “Last Day on Earth”. It seemed as though he was really enjoying the life and position he had with the Saviors. He had numerous good ideas that helped the Saviors have an advantage time after time. The last straw was when Rosita and Daryl tried to take him back to the Hilltop so that his brilliant mind could be useful to them once again. Eugene slipped away during a walker attack and then went back to the Saviors. When Negan asked him if he was sure he wanted to be there to see the slaughter, he proudly said that he did.
In a final effort to make peace, Michonne called Negan on the walkie and we finally got to hear what Carl wrote in his letter to Negan. Instead of accepting that there could ever be peace between their people Negan told Michonne this was all Rick’s fault before smashing the walkie. Negan wasn’t entirely wrong; Rick has made some careless decisions for the past couple of seasons. Hell, there have been times throughout Season 8 in which I actually was mad at Rick and was glad to see Negan’s human side. Negan sacrificed some of his men as a part of the advantage Rick thought he was going to have based on Dwight’s tip. This is a tactic that I know Rick would never use. That is one thing I will give Rick: he does everything he can to save HIS people and would never purposely sacrifice any of them. Meanwhile, Aaron was still trying to convince the ladies of Oceanside that they needed to fight. Even in a weakened state he continued to fight off walkers and even killed one that was approaching the people of Oceanside. These people are just so stubborn!
Then it happened. The Saviors revealed their ambush. Negan had a gun to Father Gabriel’s head and the Saviors all had guns pointed at Rick’s people. Just when things looked bleakest, the moment all the Saviors’ guns started firing, they backfired in all their faces! Negan’s hand got blown to bits! It was magical! Turned out Eugene had sabotaged all the bullets! And to top it off, the people of Oceanside finally joined in on the fight! So much excitement!!! So many exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!
Rick and Negan finally had a proper one on one fight without walker interference in which Rick and Negan both showed their vulnerable sides. Negan admitted that he had already made his decision about who he was going to kill and that the whole “Eeny Meenie Miney Moe” game was just an act. He did it to spare Carl of having to see his father killed in front of him. And then Negan thought he had made the wrong decision and had he killed Rick instead maybe Carl would still be alive. Rick almost seemed desperate in his glassy, emotional eyes seemingly trying to reason with Negan man-to-man, the way Carl had wanted. When Negan once again refused peace, Rick sliced his throat with a piece of broken glass from one of the stained glass pieces hanging from the tree. It was finally over. The Saviors put their hands up. Rick gave them all a speech about how they could all live in peace. That they needed to become something different and that Negan’s way of life could not work anymore.
Then, Rick did the unthinkable…he told Siddiq to save Negan. Maggie flipped her lid. She began screaming at Rick, “No! He killed Glenn!” to which Michonne responded by holding her back and embracing her to the ground. Maggie was understandably quite upset by this decision. While I am glad that Negan will live, I love the dynamic his character introduces and I love JDM, I honestly don’t understand what purpose it fulfills to feed and keep alive someone who brutally killed many people, namely Abraham and Glenn.
Next we see Daryl drive Dwight into the woods with a truck and Dwight believes Daryl brought him there to kill him. Daryl stews on it for a moment, lip quivering with anger, before giving him the keys. Daryl tells Dwight he needs to make it better, he needs to find her (his wife Sherry), and that if he ever sees him again he will kill him. Dwight drives to the house he knows Sherry has taken up residence and finds a note left behind addressed to him that says “Honeymoon” with the infinity symbol. Dwight smiles. I really hope that even though Dwight is not with Rick’s people anymore that this is not the last we’ve seen of him. I hope we do continue to see what kind of life he could have with Sherry now that they are both free of Negan’s tyranny.
Lastly, we see Maggie talking to Jesus. She tells him that she agrees that killing the Saviors was wrong and that she was glad they were able to find peace with them. But then her tone turns very dark as she says that saving Negan, that was wrong of Rick and Michonne to do. It seems that Maggie intends for them to “bide their time” before taking them down. I don’t know whether she means to take them down in a violent way or just overthrow Rick’s leadership somehow. What surprised me the most was Jesus’ willingness to follow-through with this plan. He has always been the more peaceful person, though he will kill someone when he has to. I was less surprised by Daryl joining in on the plan after the somewhat falling out between him and Rick a while back. This whole twist just has me concerned for Season 9, especially with the uncertainty of Lauren Cohan’s continuation with TWD.
Morgan did make his journey over to Fear the Walking Dead. “Wrath” shows Morgan going to the junkyard and talking to Jadis where she then leaves him before telling him he could call her “Ann”. I did stick around for the Season Premiere of Fear, namely to follow Morgan. I really have not watched Fear up to this point and I’m still not fully convinced that I want to at this point but it was a good way for the shows to cross paths.
Aside from the strange anti-Rick plot at the end, this finale was very satisfying to me. It was everything I wanted it to be. We even saw in the end that Gabriel was getting his vision back! It’s going to be a very long wait until October. What do you think will happen in Season 9? Let us know!