The Walking Dead Finale Recap 4/15/18: Season 8 Episode 16 "Wrath"

Monday, 16 Apr, 2018

The Walking Dead aired its eighth season finale tonight and aggressively wrapped up All Out War and most of the storylines it contained.

But it took Rick a while to come to that conclusion, which spared the life of finally vanquished Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in an eventful episode with no significant deaths.

What that means for next season, The Walking Dead executive producer (and now former showrunner) Scott Gimple "cannot say", he told Deadline. So Siddiq explained how his mother had believed that the dead's souls were still trapped within them until they were killed. He adds that anyone who can't live with that will pay the price.

As the Hilltoppers plotted to walk into Negan's trap (though Daryl [Norman Reedus] suspected something fishy), Morgan (Lennie James) lost it, knocking down and putting his stick on Henry.

Despite the departure of Morgan to join "Fear the Walking Dead," the show must do relatively little reloading, a challenge it has regularly faced (and one of the things that has kept the narrative fresh), sometimes with uneven results. The Season 8 finale reveals Maggie is not only tearing apart the Rick-Daryl bromance, she's plotting a coup against Rick. And they should - he rigged The Saviors' bullets and saved Hilltop from destruction. There's no going back to the way they were, "so let's just finish this".

Rick and Michonne go to see Negan, who is recovering. Negan had run away after getting punched by both Gabriel and Dwight. Negan's hand gets injured, and he immediately knows that Eugene messed with the bullets. But their weapons backfired thanks to Eugene having tampered with the bullets. Negan called dibs on the priest, and made it clear that this was his last day on Earth. Carol stops him. Morgan is hallucinating. Then the sound of Savior birdcalls filled the air. The Saviors lined up to open fire, and Every! He's still a good guy! Negan tells the other Saviors to load him up. Carl imagined a future where Judith and Negan were pals and the ex-Savior boss pitched in with gardening. Things were going well!

We also got to hear Rick's posthumous letter to Carl, in which he thanked him for "bringing all of us to the new world" - which Carl could have done if he stayed alive. Rick said that Carl was right, there was another way. As you might remember, Maggie wants Negan dead for killing her husband, Glenn. He knew it, too.

That's when Rick whipped out a knife and slashed Negan across the throat with one swift stroke. He tells her that Rick is trying to build something, and he needs all the hands he can get. Lincoln has been hush about his future with the show despite Season 9 already being ordered up by AMC with a new showunner ready to take over.

Morgan begins running. Carol chases after him. He went off on his own.

In the final scene, Rick is "speaking" to Carl. Then he tells Siddiq to save him, and Maggie flips out. Dwight was sorry for what he did, but was willing to accept his punishment. "So we're gonna bide our time, wait for our moment, and then we're gonna show him". Dwight drove to his and Sherry's house and found that she'd left a note for him that said "Honeymoon (infinity symbol)". He gives one of his Rick speaches, telling them all that they're going to go home. He tells Morgan that he doesn't have to kill everyone to save his friends. By saving Negan, Rick has betrayed Maggie in the single worst way possible. Uh oh. Maggie looked like Michael Corleone there. Do you think Rick made the right decision? He's he cop, so he believes in putting people in jail.

Gabriel stands up and runs for it into the woods. Even Carl had something to say about it.

Why is the holier-than-thou Jesus, whose season 8 mantra has been "all life is precious", siding against Rick for adopting that exact philosophy - the very same philosophy Jesus imparted on Morgan once again in this very same episode? "The season's story lines culminate in all-out war". The Season 9 conflicts will be dealing with that giant horde off in the distance and Rick vs. Maggie (that is, if Lauren Cohan is back next season).

"I mean we will have stuff to say about that soon, very soon", Gimple said. And that feels true.

Given that some fans want to see her kill Rick, she may be more like Negan than Negan ever was.

Others mostly liked it, but still wanted Negan dead. Between laughter and the occasional typical TWD tears that fans usually cry, the Season 8 finale turned #SurvivorSunday into #WTFSunday in less than 75 minutes.