All of The Walking Dead season 8 has led up to this final battle in the finale. Sure, there have been lots of attacks on both groups’ communities. But “Wrath” brings both groups out into an open field for the battle between the Saviors and Rick’s group — or, rather, the battle between Rick and Negan.

Rick and His Friends Prepare

Before Rick heads out to go over the battle plans, he asks Siddiq how Carl died. Siddiq explains that his mother, who died, believed that the souls of people who have died are trapped in the bodies of the walkers, so killing them allows them to move on to the afterlife. He had told this to Carl. So as they were walking back to Alexandria, they ran into a group of walkers, and Carl wanted to honor Siddiq’s mother by killing them. Siddiq tells Rick that Carl died paying respects to a woman he never knew.

Outside, everyone is preparing for the battle between the Saviors and Negan, based on Dwight’s intel. Though they question it, they create their strategy accordingly.

Alden and the captured Saviors head outside the Hilltop walls to clear the walkers for when the group will roll out to battle. Maggie makes it clear that Alden and the rest of the prisoners will not be fighting alongside them, and they will stay at the Hilltop.

Morgan is still freaking out and seeing things, so Rick suggests that he hang back. Morgan says he needs to go so they can finish it. He believes that everyone must die and must pay for taking everything from them.

Negan and the Saviors Prepare

Eugene and Gabriel watch as the Sanctuary prepares for war. Negan wants Dwight to watch as the group he wanted to help falls as a result of something he did, so he loads him into their trucks to go along to the battle. After Eugene tells Negan that his bullets are good, he tells Negan he’ll ride along to the battle too. Finally, Negan asks that Gabriel ride along so he can confess his sins.

Along the ride, Negan confesses that he’s going to kill Rick and all of the communities. He says he sent a decoy group of Saviors to the original spot that Dwight told Rick about. On one of those decoys, Rick will find a map showing where Negan will be; however, it will be a trap, as Rick and his group will be surrounded by Saviors and won’t survive the attack. At this point, Gabriel throws himself out of the car, but Eugene and Negan find him in the woods and load him back up.

The Battle Begins

Just as planned, Rick kills the decoy group, and Ezekiel finds the map to lead them to Negan. As they walk to the next location, Jesus speaks with Morgan about the struggles he’s been having. He tells Morgan that he doesn’t have to kill everyone to save his friends. Jesus then offers Morgan a suggestion of using the dull end of his staff on the living so as not to kill them.

Right after the group spots an enormous herd of walkers in the distance, they hear whistling in a field. Negan’s voice echoes as he taunts them. He says Dwight is there to watch, and Gabriel is there to die too. After Negan counts down from three, the Saviors surround Rick and open fire. However, the guns backfire on them, giving Rick and his friends a huge opportunity to attack. Negan’s hand gets injured, and he immediately knows that Eugene messed with the bullets. Negan runs as Rick’s group advances and attacks.

At one point, some Saviors want to kill Eugene, but Rosita saves him. At another point, Jesus urges Morgan not to kill, and he doesn’t. Eventually, Laura, of the Saviors, surrenders, and the Saviors all kneel down. Rick goes after Negan, and they fight once again. Negan tells Rick that during that first encounter when he killed Glenn and Abraham, he made a choice to kill them. He had actually wanted to kill Rick but didn’t want to do it in front of Carl. He tells Rick that maybe if he had killed him, Carl would still be alive.

After some more fighting, Rick asks Negan for 10 seconds to explain how there can be a better future. Negan counts down and, for a brief second, thinks that maybe Rick is right. But Rick takes advantage of that and slits Negan’s throat. Then he tells Siddiq to save him, and Maggie flips out. Michonne holds Maggie back as she screams that they have to make it right and that the war isn’t over until Negan is dead.

Rick tells the Saviors to put their hands down. He wants everyone to go home but tells them that Negan’s way of doing things is over. He adds that anyone who can’t live with that will pay the price. Rick says everyone needs to live in peace and fairness. He says that after they go home, the work begins and the new world begins. He believes that there has to be something afterward.

Meanwhile, back at the Hilltop, the Saviors approach. Tara helps the community evacuate but hangs back to buy the group some time. Alden and the prisoners stay with her. However, as they are about to open fire, an explosion occurs when the Saviors approach the gates. More fireballs come, and Tara sees that it’s Aaron with the women of Oceanside.

The Beginning of Something After

Immediately after the battle, Rosita asks Eugene if he is the one who tampered with the guns. He says it was and that he was inspired by Gabriel to modify the bullets.

Morgan gives Carol his armor and tells her to give it to Henry. He tells her to tell Henry that he’s going to be okay. When Carol asks if that’s true, he says he’s going to try and that he needs to be okay. He then walks away. Later, he heads to see Jadis and invites her to go to the community. He tells her that Rick is trying to build something, and he needs all the hands he can get. Morgan tells Jadis that she doesn’t want to be alone, as everything is about people. She asks for his name and then introduces herself as Ann. She agrees to go, and he tells her that he needs to hang back and wants to be alone.

At the Hilltop, Alden tells Maggie that most of the prisoners are heading back to the Sanctuary to make something out of it. However, he says he’s been reading the Key to the Future book and he wants to stay and build things — to make things real for the people. He adds that that’s what he wants to do with his life, and he owes that life to Maggie. She just says okay.

In the woods, Dwight is with Daryl. Dwight believes Daryl is going to kill him, so he apologizes and says he’s ready. Daryl just tosses car keys at him. He tells him to go and keep going. He adds that if he comes back, he’s going to kill him. Dwight pulls up to his old house and finds a note with the word “Honeymoon” and an infinity symbol on it from his wife.

Jerry, Henry, Ezekiel, and Carol head back to the Kingdom. And Gabriel prays in his burned-down church.

Meanwhile, Maggie sits with Jesus. She says that she made the right decision in not killing the Saviors they had as prisoners. However, Rick was wrong in his decision not to kill Negan. She also believes Michonne was wrong for holding her back. Daryl backs her up. When Jesus asks what she’s going to do, she says that they will build the Hilltop back up and make it work better than before. She wants the community to thrive for the people. But she also wants them stronger and wants them to defend themselves better. She tells Jesus that they will bide their time, then waits for their moment and show Rick and Michonne just how wrong they were.

An Example of the Future

Rick and Michonne go to see Negan, who is recovering. Rick tells him that Carl wanted something bigger, and Negan is going to be a part of that too. Rick says they won’t kill or hurt Negan, but rather he’s going to rot in a cell for the rest of his life. He says that by keeping him as a prisoner, he will be evidence that they are making a civilization.

In the final scene, Rick is “speaking” to Carl. He says that he remembers the past and them walking along a path when Carl was a child. He believes that the vision he sees is Carl showing him the new world.

I am pleased with the ending of season 8. I had my doubts and thought that either Rick or Negan would be killed, but that’s not the case. Now there’s hope for a future, just as Carl pleaded with Rick for.

I was surprised that Eugene did what he did. I was convinced after the previous episode that he’d completely gone “Negan,” but in the end, he did the right thing to help his friends. The question is, just how long had Eugene been planning this?

However, I have a feeling that Maggie and Daryl may put a kink in those plans. Not right away, of course, but in the near future things are going to get awkward between Rick and Maggie. I think making Maggie a sort of villain character is a poor choice and direction for The Walking Dead series. I really think that Rick has the right idea about building the future. But only time will tell if Maggie will feel the same in the future.

Did you like the season 8 finale? Do you think Rick made the right decision? Is Maggie right to bide her time and then show Rick why she thinks he is wrong? Do you think Negan will stay in jail for long? Will the communities really be able to work together and grow into a new world? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Walking Dead will return for season 9 in the 2018-2019 TV season on AMC.

(Image courtesy of AMC)




Contributing Writer, BuddyTV