Previously on The Walking Dead: Simon’s attempt to overthrow Negan and take over as leader of the Saviors did not work out in his favor, as he ended up being betrayed by Dwight and getting choked to death by Negan and joining the other Walkers in being chained to the fence. Dwight’s disloyalty was discovered by Negan as well, and Negan made it clear that he would be punished for his disloyalty as well, and Michonne made one last effort to end the All-Out War peacefully by contacting Negan and reading him the letter that Carl left for him, only for him to tell her that there would be no peace and that he had every intention of killing her, Rick, and everyone else.
THE STORY SO FAR: After fifteen episodes, after lots of shifting alliances, lots of profane hip-dipping speeches by Negan, after all of the ‘Old Man Rick’ visions we’ve been repeatedly teased with, after all of the prolonged gunfights where people just spray bullets at each other as if bullets are an unlimited resource in the Zombie Apocalypse, the All-Out War has finally come to an end.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: The All-Out War finally comes to an end.
Oh, right. You’re expecting more in this section of the recap. Well, let’s see…
Rick’s opening conversation with Siddiq about Carl and how he was bitten in the first place. Rick’s flashbacks to his time spent with Carl when he was younger. Eugene proving that he wasn’t a completely worthless coward and sabotaging the manufacturing of the Saviors’ ammunition so that they’d explode when fired. Seeing the Not-Amazons show up with Molotov cocktails in hand to use against The Saviors. Rosita punching Eugene in the face for vomiting on her. Daryl and Dwight’s final conversation with each other before Dwight is released and sent away to look for his wife and find something resembling redemption. And Rick and Michonne making it clear to Negan why he’s being kept alive and how he’ll be locked away in a cell, and be forced to watch as their community is rebuilt and made better.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Scroll down further for answers.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: Of course he is.
MICHONNE?: Yeah, as she’s putting her katana to good use against the Saviors and then delivering her warning to Negan alongside Rick at episode’s end
CARL?: Still dead, but we do get to see him as a little boy in flashbacks
JUDITH?: Like you actually give a shit.
MORGAN?: Yeah, we get to see him before he hangs up his body armor for good, invites Jadis (whose real name is Anne) to leave the junkyard and join Rick and company to stay with them, and heads on over to join the cast of Fear The Walking Dead, but not before seeing him have hallucinations of Jared haunting him from beyond the grave. And if I had to deal with that on a regular basis, I’d get the hell out of town as well.
CAROL?: Yes, and she prevents Morgan from impaling Henry with his staff during another one of his hallucinations.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: Still alive, and not only does he keep Dwight alive and threaten to kill him if he ever sees him again, before sending him away, but he’s also plotting against Rick and Michonne to kill Negan once and for all.
PLOTTING AGAINST RICK AND MICH—WAIT, WHAT?! WHAT IS THIS?!: During Rick and Negan’s fight, Rick is able to gain the upper hand and take Negan by surprise by
whipping out his knife using a long shard of glass from a broken stained-glass window and slitting his throat. And you’d think that particular coup d’etat would be the end of it all. But because of Negan using his last words to taunt Rick about Carl, Rick decides to show mercy to Negan less than a minute after attempting to kill him and calls Siddiq over to save his life. That doesn’t make Maggie (who watched helplessly as Negan murdered Glenn, her husband and the father of her unborn child, which you’d never know she’s carrying due to the slow passage of time on this show and Maggie showing very few symptoms of pregnancy) very happy, who screams angrily at Rick and tells him that Negan should be dead and that all of this isn’t over unless she’s dead. Rick, ignoring all of this because he knows what television show he’s on and how it has a tendency to stretch out lives and plotlines longer than necessary, instead tells all of the Saviors that they can either live among them in peace, or go back to their own Sanctuary to live in peace, and make sure that something good comes after all of this. But Negan’s way of doing things is over and he will kill them if they refuse to accept that.
SO…WHAT?! IT’S RICK & MICHONNE VS. MAGGIE & DARYL NOW?: It’s Rick & Michonne vs. Maggie & Daryl & Jesus. Let’s not forget about Jesus and his luxurious locks of hair in all of this.
JESUS?! WASN’T HE PREACHING TO MORGAN ABOUT NOT KILLING PEOPLE IF YOU DON’T ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO?: Yes, he was.
SO THEN, WHY IS HE A PART OF THIS SCHEME TO KILL NEGAN?: The best and only answer that I have for this question is:
DO WE FIND OUT ANYTHING NEW ABOUT THAT MYSTERIOUS HELICOPTER FROM A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO?: No, we do not.
IS LAUREN COHAN STILL GOING TO BE A CAST MEMBER OF THE WALKING DEAD EVEN THOUGH SHE STILL HASN’T SIGNED A NEW CONTRACT WITH AMC AND SHE’S GOING TO STAR OPPOSITE SCOTT FOLEY ON ABC’S NEW SERIES WHISKEY CAVALIER?: Showrunner/executive producer Scott Gimple has said that he is working out contact details with her at this very moment, and also that it’s possible that her work schedule would be made more flexible so that she can do both shows if necessary, so…that’s all we know for now.
ALL RIGHT, DID WE GET ANY HINTS AS TO IF THE WHISPERERS ARE GOING TO SHOW UP NEXT SEASON?: Other than Rick pointing out the very large horde of Walkers on the horizon, we got no other hints. Whether the Whisperers are among that horde of Walkers remains unknown.
SO…WE LEARNED THIS SEASON THAT CHARACTERS CAN GET INFECTED BY WALKER BLOOD AND GUTS AND END UP BECOMING WALKERS, RIGHT?: Pretty much, despite the fact that the first two seasons made it very clear that everyone on the planet is infected and will turn into Walkers upon death whether they’ve been bitten or not.
AND THE WHISPERERS FUNCTION BY WEARING THE SKIN OF WALKERS ON THEIR OWN BODIES SO THAT THEY CAN INFILTRATE AND BLEND IN WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS, RIGHT?!:…Yeah.
SO…HOW EXACTLY IS THIS GOING TO WORK WHEN THEY FINALLY SHOW UP?: The best and only answer that I have for this question is:
TO SUM IT ALL UP:
I’d like to believe all of the talk from showrunner/executive producer Scott Gimple about how this season finales the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new and entirely different one. But seeing how this season ended reminded me of how Season 3 ended, in how another Big Bad with dictatorial and homicidal tendencies lost much of his power and authority, and a new day was seemingly promised, only for things to go back to the way they were before because this is The Walking Dead and Status Quo is God, after all.
But it was also recently announced that Scott Gimple would be stepping down as showrunner and that longtime writer/co-executive producer Angela Kang would be taking over duties as showrunner. Which is terrific news and worth being enthusiastic about. It truly is. And yet, I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement with several people on Twitter who pointed out how bothersome it looks that a non-White woman is given the reins to take over a television show only when that show’s ratings are declining and the backlash against it from both fans and critics has become louder and a lot more noticeable. Will Status Quo remain God on The Walking Dead, or will Angela Kang and her fellow writers be willing and able to take a few more chances that will keep fans and critics interested, and remind them all why they gave a damn about the show in the first place? Only time will tell.
See you all in October, unless I finally say “Fudge this sugar! Fudge it!” and walk away from recapping The Walking Dead for good, and your recaps end up being brought to you by…oh, let’s say, Roxana.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “The Payback” by James Brown: