All-Out War Begins With A Twist On The Walking Dead
Rick, Negan, Eugene, and especially Sasha light the fuse in the fight for Alexandria.
It's About The Journey But Also The Destination
Alert Type: Running Shot Alert.
Issue: The entire cold open is a tight shot of Sasha's very emotional face as she listens to Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free" through a set of white earbuds. She's sweaty and shaky and somewhere very dark. We can hear the sound of a vehicle moving in the background. As the cold open ends, Sasha closes her eyes and the earbuds fall out as she turns her head, as if to fall asleep. This can't be good!
Complicating Factors: We know that Sasha has a suicide pill from Eugene. We know that she is desperate for a way out from under Negan's control.
Resolution: We see Sasha listening to this same song in this same place several times throughout the episode until we learn what it means exactly.
Spoiler: This is a season finale, so make of this creepy opening what you will and what it means for Sasha.
Admit It, You Missed That Mustache
For what will probably be the last time, Abraham appears as a memory of Sasha's as she's listening to her song. In the memory, she's just awoken from a dream and Abraham has come to see her on the day they'll run into Negan and he'll be killed. Things are romantic, but Abraham tells her that he has to go with the group as Maggie's pregnancy is at risk. "Don't go," she tells him, which will be an ongoing discussion as this flashback keeps coming back during the episode. Abraham eventually convinces Sasha that they are the ones who stick out their necks for others and kick ass, and it's enough to convince her not only not to make Abraham sit this one out, but that she should come, too. It'll prove to seal both their fates. Also notable: Sasha was woken from a dream in which Abraham drowned and she did, too. But for now, the memory is interrupted as Sasha is back in her cell at The Sanctuary.
On The Menu
How Does Negan Sweeten A Deal? With Breakfast, Of Course!
Negan's not stupid. He knows that the way to someone's heart isn't just through beating friends of that someone in the head with a big bat, but by catering to their basic human desires, namely to eat the fuck out of a good, nutritious breakfast. When he comes in to tell Sasha this is the first day of the rest of her life and that the last thing he wants to see is for her to be dead ("No one's gonna watch you die, I don't wanna see that," he says, a little on the nose), he brings in a covered dish. It's a delightful breakfast! Why, there's...
Pancakes: Fluffy and marked with a happy face made of blueberries. Yum!
Scrambled eggs: And they don't look all dried up and old, they look fresh and delicious, though I wouldn't mind if they had a little pepper on them.
Fruit: Sliced strawberries and green apples make this more than just a carb and cholesterol affair.
Strings, attached: But, see, it's not just food being served, but a negotiation. Negan plans to take Sasha to Alexandria and kill three people as revenge for her assassination attempt. Eventually, she'll talk him down to one person's death because he just really liked her a lot, and not in a sexual way necessarily. "If you had a dick, I would still have these feelings," he tells her. Hey, thanks!
Is It Bright To Trust Dwight?
Who called the meeting? Rick.
What's it about? Dwight wants Negan's reign to end and he's willing to throw himself at the mercy of Rick, and particularly a very pissed-off Daryl, to make it happen.
How'd it go? Intense! Mostly because Daryl hates Dwight and because Tara was yelling for him to kill Dwight given that he's the one who killed her girlfriend Denise. When the crew finds out that Sasha is in Negan's hands, though, that changes the equation, as Jesus helpfully points out. "He could be our only chance to get her back," he says. Dwight tells Rick that Negan is on his way the next day and that he can help buy the group some time by knocking over some trees in the road. But he has a plan to beat Negan: infiltrating The Sanctuary with Negan's trucks, then going outpost to outpost and ending The Saviors once and for all. Seems like a better plan than Rick's, frankly.
Plot Lightning Round
Maggie, in the company of Jesus, Enid, and little Judith, must decide whether to bring the HIlltoppers to fight in Alexandria or stay where she is as backup as Rick has requested. Even Jesus is like, "Glad it's not me deciding this shit!"
Carol, Ezekiel, and others from The Kingdom encounter Morgan, who's in a bad way. He's wearing Benjamin's armor and seems lost as to whether he wants to fight or not, and admits that he's stuck. So Ezekiel has to give a big, rousing speech about alliances and freedom and "Capricious malevolence" and Morgan is all, "Well... [silent nod]," and it's like, really, Morgan? Really? Still with this shit, Morgan? Come on, man.
It should be noted at this point that Shiva is also along for the fight. Just throwing that out there. Because it's totally badass.
Those garbage-loving trash people led by Jadis come to Alexandria. And they ride around in actual garbage trucks, because of course they do, along with a bunch of slow-ass bicycles that definitely would have annoyed the piss out of people like Daryl who ride motorcycles.
You Gonna Field This Question, Rick?
Situation: Jadis, seeing Alexandria for the first time, is welcomed by Rick and Michonne, who tell her that she's now a part of this whole thing. She takes it as an invitation for a little more.
What makes it awkward? After ascertaining that Rick is Michonne's, Jadis tells her, "I lay with him after. You care?" Yeah. She kinda does.
How is order restored? A shocked Michonne and Rick say they have to get back to work. Jadis gives one of her friends a "Hey, I tried" look. I don't care what anybody says, I love Jadis and her bonkers style.
BrainteaserQ How many demolitions "experts" does it take to wire up some dynamite to blow up Negan?A Three if Rosita is one of them.
That Quote"I was wondering if you would give me the opportunity to attempt to slow their jets and cool their roll."- Eugene, being helpful to Negan -
In Simpler Sasha Days
In addition to Sasha's flashback to her conversation with Abraham on the day he died, we also see multiple flashbacks to the moment when Maggie and Sasha sat on a log and told her that all they were doing was "For this," in Maggie's words. In other words, for the beauty of life. Enjoy it while you can!
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
With turkey calls, guns, and people lined up at the Alexandria perimeter, it sure looks like Rick is ready for Negan to arrive and get blown the fuck up. It's almost too perfect, right?
Everything Goes Wrong!
Rick's plan starts to unravel when Eugene shows up at the front gate instead of Negan. Rick's plan to blow up The Saviors at the gate is paused until Rick decides that Eugene is expendable enough, never mind whether he's on their side or not, and gives the order to fire the explosives...and they completely fail to go off. Jadis and her Junk-A-Long Gang pull guns on everybody and it's clear that listen all of y'all, it's a sabotage! It turns out Jadis made a better deal than the one Rick had with her, leaving Alexandria hosed. Rick totally got double-crossed, what a surprise. With things clear, Negan and Dwight (who was set free in order to work undercover for Rick) are free to come into the gate and gloat about it all.
Obligatory Negan Preening
Of course, this gives Negan an excuse to deliver a roughly fifteen-minute monologue at the gate about how badly Rick fucked up and how this is going to go very badly for everyone involved and how he wants all the guns and lemonade and Daryl and someone for Lucille and, oh yeah, the pool table and all pool table accessories. But, because he is a showman, he also brought a coffin as a visual aid. He says Sasha is in it, but that she's alive and well, which kind of ruins the whole idea of transporting someone in a coffin. But then I can't be mad at someone who tells Rick, "You suck ass!" Because it's not a lie.
It's Ultimate Coach-Class Travel!
So, how did Sasha get into that coffin in the first place? It turns out it was her idea. After telling Eugene alone that she wasn't going to be using his "allergy medicine" after all, she agrees with Negan's plan of showing up in Alexandria in the coffin for his little presentation. She offers to ride all the way there in the thing, something even Negan thinks is a little hardcore. Sasha says she wants to sleep and just needs a little bottle of water, impressing him. Negan falls for it, believing Sasha to be a huge badass. (Which she is, but for different reasons. In the coffin, though, Sasha has other plans.
She takes the pill Eugene gave her and washes it down, setting her own death in motion.
Spectacularly, Sasha emerges at just the right moment, having made no banging or scraping noises up to this point, as a walker and goes right for Negan, making him fall off the truck bed. While it kind of sucks that Sasha spent the whole season being defined by Abraham's death, at least she went out on her own terms and did it in a truly twisty and surprising way. Farewell, Sasha. We would have rather lost Rosita than you, but life's not really fair, is it?
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Negan (And Enemies) vs. Rick (And Friends)
Sasha's sacrifice causes all hell to break loose as everyone with guns begins firing.
Carl takes out some people.
Rosita is shot. Tara comes over to help carry her off.
Undead Sasha doesn't manage to kill Negan, but she does take out of his dudes.
Rick is shot by Jadis as he's trying to make another deal with her. She then kicks him off the platform they were standing on.
Michonne is getting her ass kicked by a junkyard gang fighter who was posted up in the sniper tower with her.
With Rick captured, the firefight is pretty much over and things don't look great for Alexandria.
Villain Monologuing 101
If there's scenery to be chewed after a fight, Negan is there to do it. This time, he's making sure Rick knows exactly how fucked up his life is gonna be now that Negan is going to take a bat to Carl's head. He promises to try to do it in one hard swing because he really likes Carl. But the scene still drags on, with Negan going for maximum effect on Rick. Rick offers his own hands as a sacrifice instead and at one moment, hears a scream from the sniper tower that he assumes is Michonne falling to her death. Rick, defiant to the last, tells Negan that he's going to kill him and nothing is going to change that. It makes Negan very amused. Until what happens next.
Here's An Idea
If You Have A Tiger, Bring It In Battle
Of course, the tiger could turn on you and eat all your friends, but maybe, just maybe, it will do something awesome like turn the tide of an entire battle and save a teenager's life.
Plot Lightning Round
Yep, it's The Kingdom representing in the fight! Ezekiel yells, "Alexandria will not fall! Not on this day!"
Damn, don't fuck with tigers!
The Hilltop fighters, led by Maggie, show up too.
Negan makes a running commentary of what's happening, saying things like, "That widow's alive, guns a-blazin'!"
The tide has turned enough that the junkyarders throw down some smoke and make a retreat.
Negan manages to make it out and gives a middle finger on the way.
Rick and Carl find Michonne. She's beaten up badly, but she's not dead.
Wrap It Up
Negan asks Eugene how Sasha came to die in that coffin. Eugene suggests it was lack of air and for now, Negan accepts that with a "Maybe."
Negan is not defeated. He gets his soldiers ready for war.
Maggie and Jesus find Undead Sasha in the woods and put her down. In voice-over, Maggie delivers a monologue about how Glenn helping Rick so long ago got this all in motion.
Morgan and Carol have a moment.
Daryl finds a carved soldier message, presumably from Dwight. It says, "DIDN'T KNOW."
Michonne is healing and Rick is miraculously fine after being shot in the gut.
The three leaders, Ezekiel, Rick, and Maggie, talk to their people.
In Maggie's hand, as she talks to Rick about how she was taking Glenn's lead in helping people and fighting for each other, she's holding Hershel's old watch. And that's it! See you next season!