By Contributing Writer, The Lady Cocotte
This is it. Now matter how much I’ve tried to pretend it’s not true, tonight really is the season finale of The Walking Dead. When Rick decided to start butchering Saviors, Maggie warned him it was going to cost something. Tonight is when they start paying, in blood. Just to prove how much the Alexandrians are up against, the show opens with the Saviors hunting someone through the woods. The man is bloody and terrified. As the Saviors chase him, they whistle their eerie song. They surround him and the leader asks, “Why the face? I hope you’re not putting this on us. We showed your people a way forward. We gave you rules. You broke the rules so folks had to die.” And they beat him. He begs for mercy but it’s too late. The Saviors don’t mess around.
After her collapse last episode, Maggie needs to see the Ob-Gyn at Hilltop. Rick, Abraham, Sasha and Eugene prepare the RV for their journey. Enid doesn’t want to be separated from Maggie. Even though he’s going, Carl thinks she should stay at Alexandria so he locks her in a closet. She’s not going anywhere. Um, excuse me. Why is no one paying attention to Carl? These are not the actions of a sane man. Aaron demands to join the party. “You’re just gonna have to punch me in the face and tie me up again,” Aaron explains to Rick. “Cuz that’s what it’s gonna take to stop me.” Rick likes his moxie and welcomes him onto the RV. Father Gabriel assures Rick that he can handle Alexandria’s defense. Spencer asks if they should try and make a deal with the Saviors when they come. “Tell them to wait,” Rick growls. “I got a deal for them.” With that, they head to Hilltop.
Rick tries to reassure Maggie that everything will be okay once they get to Hilltop. “Things have happened but it’s always worked out for us because it’s always been all of us. That’s how I know. Just as long as it’s all of us, we can do anything.” They come across a roadblock of cars and people. Abraham asks, “Are we doing this?” Rick decides to try talking. He suggests they make a deal. The head Savior likes that and offers: “Give us all of your stuff. We’ll probably have to kill one of you, that’s just the way it is, but then we can start moving forward on business. All you have to do is listen.” Rick doesn’t like that deal. Instead, he wants all of their stuff. “But I’m thinking I don’t have to kill any of you. Any MORE of you.” Uh oh. Rick’s gonna pay for that one. At an impasse, Rick chooses to leave. The Savior warns him, “Okay, friend. There’s plenty of ways to get where you’re going.” Rick just can’t let him have the last word. He shouts out, “You wanna make today your last day on earth?” Oh, jeez. The Saviors aren’t intimidated. The leader encourages him to be extra nice to everyone in the RV in case one of them dies. “I know you are but what am I?” Rick responds (edit: that’s not what he said but it might as well have been).
Morgan is looking for an injured Carol. He comes across a horse, all saddled up and ready to ride. Things are looking up for Morgan. As he rides along, looking a lot like Rick in season 1, he sees Carol curled up in a doorway. Through her pain, Carol complains that she told them not to come after her. “And I’m gonna start listening to you, real soon,” Morgan promises with a grin. And then he sees her injury. The grin disappears fast. He bandages her up but explains that she needs stitches and antibiotics. Carol refuses to go back to Alexandria. He tells her about all of the people waiting for her return, all of the people that love her. But that’s exactly why she had to leave. “If you care about people, there are people to protect. People you will kill for. If you don’t want to kill, or if you can’t, then you have to get away from them. You do not get both.” Morgan refuses to understand. And he refuses to leave her alone to die. Carol pulls her gun on him but she doesn’t look have the conviction she did the last time she aimed a weapon at him. Realizing the futility, she gives up. “If you care about anyone, there’s a price, Morgan. And you’re gonna pay it. I have and I can’t anymore.” Morgan steps outside to clear a walker. When he gets back, Carol is gone. I mean, come on. You never leave Carol alone. You’d think Morgan would know that by now. He hops on his horse and begins the chase anew.
Back on the road, Carl asks Aaron why he came instead of staying to protect Alexandria. “I owe her.” Carl’s reason for going? “I owe THEM.” Boy is spoiling for a fight. On the other end of the spectrum, Abraham asks Sasha if she could ever consider getting pregnant. Because he could, now. “Just so you know…” And then they come upon another Savior roadblock. Sasha asks if they’re making their stand. Carl jumps in, “Yeah. We end it.” But Rick is feeling cautious. They’ve been waiting for them. They’re prepared. He wants the advantage. So they back up and look for another route to Hilltop. The Saviors shoot into the air to acknowledge them but they let them go. Sasha points out it wasn’t the same men from the first encounter. “Same outfit, different soldiers,” Abraham clarifies. They’re trying to stay confident. And then they come across a new roadblock: a group of walkers chained across the road. They get out to investigate. Eugene muses, “Putting together a Red Rover like that takes people. A lot of them.” Then Aaron notices that one of the walkers is wearing some of Michonne’s dreads. Rick starts seeing red. Sasha points out that another is wearing Daryl’s shirt. Now things are getting serious. Rick rips the dreads off and is about to slay the walker when gunfire breaks out. They’re being shot at! Everyone covers Rick while he hacks through the walker blockade. They jump back on the RV and take off. Well, things are heating up now. As they drive along, Rick fondles Michonne’s hair and the seriousness of the situation starts to sink in. “They were firing at our feet. They blocked the road but they weren’t trying to stop us. They want us in this direction.” They don’t get far before they’re faced with the largest group of Saviors yet. Rick tells Abraham to go back. Abraham asks, “Where?” That’s the big question, isn’t it?
Morgan finds Carol’s crucifix in the road. He doesn’t know that her Savior stalker had it last. Carol stumbles along, clutching her stomach wound. She gets attacked by a walker and after a struggle kills her. Before Carol can take a calming breath, her stalker jumps her. They roll on the ground but he gets her gun. He’s close to death but he has the upper hand. “So here’s how it’s gonna go: you’re gonna lie there and I’m gonna watch you die, slow, just like my friends did back on that road. Just like I’m gonna. Let’s see who wins, bitch.” For good measure, he shoots her in the arm. Carol writhes around in pain but soon that turns to laughter. Her stalker doesn’t like that at all. He asks her what’s wrong with her. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m gonna die so there’s nothing wrong with me anymore.” That’s not how the game is supposed to go so he shoots her in the leg. He enjoys her screams of pain. “You think you suffered enough now?” He asks her. “No, probably not,” Carol replies. And then he gets it: she wants to die. He starts to walk away but she calls him back. She tries to goad him into finishing her off. He strides towards her, gun raised but Morgan’s voice rings out. “Stop.” He has Rick’s gun aimed at the stalker. He tells him, “You can survive this. You can.” But all the stalker wants is Carol dead so he aims at her again. Morgan begs him to drop it but he won’t. So Morgan shoots him, six times. Empties the full clip into him. See Morgan, if you care about people, you have to kill to protect them. Carol begs Morgan to let her die. “It’s not your turn. You are gonna come back from this,” he promises her. They’re interrupted by the guy Morgan and Rick met at the barn, with a friend on a horse in tow. “I found your horse.” Morgan explains. “I found my friend, too. She needs help.” The guy looks back at his friend and reaches out his hand to Morgan. “Then let’s get you some help.”
Maggie is getting worse. She asks Rick if they’re close and he lies to her. “We’re getting there.” But they’ve encountered another bump in the road: a huge pile of logs cutting off all access. Eugene deduces that the Saviors needed a lot of people and heavy machinery to build it. “What it indicates,” Abraham adds. “Is that we’re neck deep up shit creek with our mouths wide open.” He certainly paints a pretty picture. Before they can formulate a plan, the man from the show opening falls down from an overpass, hung by the neck with a chain. Aaron wants to shoot him free but Rick cautions it won’t work. And they need to conserve ammo. So they just watch him die. Talk about demoralizing. These Saviors know their shit. Once he’s dead, the logs start burning. Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Off camera, the Savior leader asks Rick if he’s treating his people good. “Like it’s your last day on earth? Or maybe one of theirs? Better go. It’s gonna get hot. You go get where you’re going.” Creepy! Rick gets everyone back on the RV and they take off again. But where is it they’re going?
They stop in the woods to hatch a plan. Maggie desperately needs the doctor so the still want to get to Hilltop. But, so far, every route has been blocked by the Saviors. They’re ahead of them, behind them, they’re everywhere. “But they’re not waiting on us, per se,” Eugene posits. “They’re waiting on this rust bucket. And they don’t know the moment to moment occupancy of said rust bucket. And the sun sets soon.” As Rick realizes what Eugene is offering to do, his eyes fill with tears (okay, maybe they were my tears). Before they separate, Eugene gives Rick the recipe for building bullets in case he doesn’t make it. Rick thanks him for everything he’s done. He readily accepts. When Abraham goes to say goodbye, Eugene ask him why he never let him drive the truck. “I didn’t think you could do it. I was wrong. You’re a survivor. You always were. We just didn’t know it. Me and you both.” I’m bawling like a baby but Eugene takes the praise with a lot more dignity. They embrace. I’m not okay with this. They bring Maggie out on a stretcher. She thanks Eugene and they head into the woods on foot. Eugene climbs into the RV. He takes a moment to mourn which turns into pride. And then he’s off.
Carl clears walkers as they make their way into the darkened forest. Carl tells Rick he overheard his conversation with Maggie and agrees. “We can do anything. We’ll do anything we need to do. We have and we will. What happened to Denise, I’m not going to let anybody die like that again.” Rick’s response is cut off by the eerie Savior whistling. Shit! Shitshitshit! It’s coming from all directions. They start running. Suddenly they’re blinded by light. The whistling increases. They’re surrounded by at least a hundred Saviors. The RV is there too (damn, that was quick). They stumble around confused but there’s no way out. The Savior leader they met earlier greets them. “Good. You made it. Welcome to where you’re going.” They quickly disarm them. The leader notices that Carl has a Savior gun. Uh oh. He has them kneel on the ground with Eugene. Rick is losing it. Then they bring out Daryl, Michonne, Rosita and Glenn. Glenn starts freaking when he sees Maggie.
The leader guy tells them it’s time to meet The Man and knocks on the RV door. Out walks a man in a leather jacket with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire slung over his shoulder. “Pissing our pants yet?” He asks. “Boy, do I have a feeling we’re getting close.” He struts around in front of them. When Dwight points out Rick as the leader he gets right in his face. “Hi. You’re Rick, right? I’m Negan.” Yes! As terrified as I am, I’m also excited to finally meet the legendary Negan. He informs Rick that he doesn’t appreciate him killing his men. “Also, when I sent my people to kill your people for killing my people, you killed more of my people. Not cool.” Damn. I already love Negan. I mean, I hate him. I’m scared of him. I want him dead. But I also love him. Negan warns Rick that he’s going to realize how uncool his actions were very, very soon. Rick messed with the new world order, which is, according to Negan, “Give me your shit or I will kill you.” Pretty simple, right? He informs them they work for him now. “Now I know that’s a mighty big pill to swallow but swallow it you will.” Bite, chew, swallow, repeat. Goes quicker. Negan points out that Rick may have thought he was safe in Alexandria but he’s not. He never really was. Negan gives them the same deal he gave the Hilltop: he wants half of their stuff, full stop.”This is your way of life now. The more you fight back, the harder it will be.”
Once business is complete, Negan moves on, He tells them he doesn’t want to kill them. He wants them to work for him so they’re no use to him dead. “But you killed my people. A whole damn lot of them. More than I’m comfortable with. And for that, for that you’re gonna pay.” Shit. “So, for now, I’m going to beat the holy hell out of one of you.” Just like he did at Hilltop. He introduces them to his bat, Lucille. “All this, all this is just so we can pick out which one of you gets the honor.” He goes person to person. Abraham gives him attitude, probably in an attempt to save everyone else, but Negan doesn’t fall for it. He confronts Carl about having a Savior gun. He notices that Maggie looks like death warmed over. “I should just put you out of your misery right now.” Glenn freaks. Several Saviors have to pull him away. Negan just laughs at his torment. He warns them to not do that again. “The first one’s free. It’s an emotional moment. I get it.” Then he moves on to Rick. He figures out that Carl is his son. Rick explodes. “Do not make me kill the little future serial killer,” Negan smugly begs. “Don’t make it easy on me.” He starts whistling as he makes the rounds. Negan claims he can’t decide so he starts doing Eeny Meeny Miny Moe. The editing jumps around a lot so it’s hard to tell who is going to be “It”. And then he picks an “It” (but we don’t know who it is). “Anybody moves, anybody says anything, cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to his father,” he tells his men. And he swings Lucille down on “It”. Blood drips down the screen as if we’re looking through “It’s” eyes. “Damn,” Negan yells. “Taking it like a champ!” And he swings again. The screen goes black and all we hear is the sound of Lucille hitting “It” over and over.
Now we have to wait until October to learn who was “It” and what will become of our Alexandria crew. Thanks for going on this journey with me. The zombie apocalypse is always more fun with friends.
A special thanks to The Lady Cocotte for recapping this season. Writing a once a week recap is a big commitment. Sometimes you are sick, or busy or have houseguests or just want to DVR the show and watch it later. She has never missed a deadline. We’re so fortunate to have her at TT. Now she can focus on her other favorite show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Check out her recaps there.
P.S. Despite all the RHOA and Bravo nonsense, The Walking Dead is always the top trender on Twitter on Sunday nights. Last night, last I saw there were about 2 million tweets on the show. Thanks to you guys for watching and reading.