I was just as excited to get The Walking Dead season finale fired up on my television screen when I finally got home from a long weekend of WonderCon as I was to head down to the L.A. area Friday to geek out on three days of convention revelry.
But it didn’t happen.
Three days of practically non-stop convention plus too little sleep and too much excitement took its toll. Hard.
I was home by midnight, schlepped all my stuff into the house and looked at the television screen. I sighed. There was no way I was going to be able to take in “The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Lives” with any sort of cognizance or clarity. I sighed again and admitted to myself I was going to have to surrender to some much needed slumber. A fresh start was in order; I was in no condition to watch the show with a critical eye let alone write about it. Less than 15 hours sleep over the course of three days of conventioneering will wear on you.
Best decision I made all weekend.
So, early Monday morning, coffee in hand, I took it all in. And I was pleasantly surprised. Surprised at all the twists and turns and drama that unfolded.
Thinking about the show on the road home Sunday evening, I wondered if we were going to be witness to one particular character’s death. I noted a couple posts back “… my gut tells me this is the beginning of the end for Sasha. Her fate is sealed and her time is very short from here on out.” And we saw that meted out in an extended, very methodical (and thoroughly enjoyable) sequence of events which included ever-appearing mysterious circumstances, flashbacks, haunting, shadowy revelations and, finally, a fitting end “eulogy” courtesy of Maggie. (Bonus: We got a lot more Abraham, too.) From chapter’s beginning right through to its end we were treated to a terrific tip of the hat to Sasha.
Long, long ago – years ago as a matter of fact – I wrote I didn’t care what happened to her, that I was ambivalent toward the character. Bored, even. Of course that changed over the course of the last few episodes and I was happy to have enjoyed how the writers put the finishing touches to her as she rode off into the sunset. It was the TWD of old, where not only did we get a good story but a heaping helping of plot twists as a cherry on top.
- Has Eugene really turned over to the other side and truly allied himself with Negan’s cause? (I say he hasn’t … but, outside that smirk from episode 7’s “Hostiles And Calamaties,” we’re not seeing anything to the contrary. It really does appear he’s gone rogue.)
- Damn, I loved all the tension between Daryl and Dwight as that pigsticker was stuck in the latter’s face for an extended period of time, Tara egging Daryl on to kill him. The drama surrounding the two was ultra-thick and delicious. Then, later, to see the explanation left for Daryl, Dwight “didn’t know” the circumstances surrounding Negan’s alliance with Jadis and her clan … nice touch.
- And that turning point with “The Dumpsters” … !!! Did you see it coming? I did. It was there in conversation between Michonne and the greaser chick on the lookout balcony. “We win” she told Michonne before (supposedly) heading off to another vantage point. That was an odd, strange thing to say, wasn’t it? Turns out it was a little too odd … and very telling. If you missed it, go back and watch it again. It practically screams at you it’s so obvious.
- The entire Negan exchange with Rick about offing Carl was deja vu from the season six finale. (“Haven’t we seen this before?” you may have been asking yourself all through the sequence. Yes … yes we had. But even though Carl survived yet again there was a much different conclusion to the affair with a big turn of events.)
All in all, the best season finale of The Walking Dead in some time. For me, at least. The second half of the season definitely got better and better as it plugged along. And this final episode was a fulfilling climax to a majority of the uneven chapters we saw before it.
Now? We have six months to contemplate all that’s happened and where it’s all going …
A Few Things That Bugged The Crap Out Of Me About The Episode
- All that gunfire exchange was awkward, wasn’t it? With so much rapid-fire at everyone’s disposal, wouldn’t you expect a lot more casualties? And I’m talkin’ a LOT more.
- When Morgan came up with that pistol after plugging that dude with his staff and started firing, it certainly wasn’t graceful.
- Daryl dropped a machine gun he was carrying at one point after discharging it and immediately picked up another. Did you see any indication the one he was using beforehand was out of ammo? Neither did I. That was weird.
- And, come on: All those bullets flying and no one could tag Negan as he was waving his middle finger at the Alexandrians as he fled? I wasn’t looking for a kill shot but a courtesy slug through the wrist would have at least been realistic … right? Right.
What did you think of the season finale? What’s coming next season? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. We want to hear from you!