The Walking Dead season 8 finale review: Rick's decision; surprise consequences


The Walking Dead season 8 finale set off to do the seemingly impossible - wrap up the long war of the Saviors against Rick and his allies. Rick, however, has other plans: Negan will spend the rest of his life in a cell, a living symbol of the savage life they're leaving behind for good.

Read this season's previous reviews below. This has not been subtle messaging.

Rick, of course, wasted his last bullets firing on Negan from a distance. If you liked the swerve, that is.

Morgan said at least one thing that made oodles of sense when he told Rick, "We are worse than we were, me and you" and that killing the Saviors in the bar was wrong.

Along the ride, Negan confesses that he's going to kill Rick and all of the communities.

Morgan is still freaking out and seeing things, so Rick suggests that he hang back. We knew that was going to be the final masterstroke.

It did not work, however, during the first half of the season when Jesus made a decision to endanger everyone by sparing the Saviors in mid-battle plan. Rick repeated Carl's vision for the future as he and Negan stared deep into each other's eyes and stood uncomfortably close. When Jesus did it, it was just arrogant and foolish. With fully loaded guns thanks to Eugene and the element of surprise, Negan thought they were done for.

There were still a couple of chances for director Greg Nicotero and his team to indulge themselves, including a firebomb assist from the Oceanside gang (everyone figured they'd show up eventually, right?) and the looming threat of a giant horde of walkers, all presumably drawn by the racket everyone has been making in the last season or so. He had actually wanted to kill Rick but didn't want to do it in front of Carl. So now.those two will pay. The Season 8 finale reveals Maggie is not only tearing apart the Rick-Daryl bromance, she's plotting a coup against Rick. Not one bit. Daryl's all in on double-crossing Rick and Michonne somewhere down the line? We weren't ready to see Maggie go just yet! At another point, Jesus urges Morgan not to kill, and he doesn't. He thinks it was wrong to spare Negan?

The rest of the Saviors started to surrender while Negan ran away, but he didn't get far before Rick went after him. What does that mean?

Daryl had an opportunity of his own to kill Dwight after everything that happened; yet, instead he gave him an opportunity to move forward.

He then told the surviving Saviors, "We're all gonna go home now".

And it was literally a 30 second scene. There was a real change at peace between all of the communities for a change, which is certainly exciting - yet, also something that is probably an ideal that can never completely come to pass. It was brief, but it sort of spoiled the stew.

"There could be a little pain coming", he adds of Negan. I understand, as someone who's watched this show for eight years now, that Rick's the central character and the de facto leader, but given that this "new world" involves alliances and no true figureheads, why didn't Maggie, Daryl, or Jesus (yeah, you - ya hypocrite) just overrule Rick? She also believes Michonne was wrong for holding her back. This is the hill she's dying on? We saw all the "heroes" prep for war, like we've seen so many times before. Morgan says he needs to go so they can finish it. When that didn't work, Rick straight up slashed Negan's throat with a piece of glass. He promised, guys. A new world is beginning now, and it started with Rick sitting beneath that tree, just as we'd seen him do in the midseason premiere. Negan's attempted ambush-of-an-ambush turned into a bloody mess as all the Saviors' guns malfunctioned, and Negan's gun hand did not make it through unscathed, either.