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It's A Whole New Post-War World On The Walking Dead

But that doesn't mean the fates of Negan, Dwight, Eugene, and Gabriel are certain as All Out War winds down.

And at last we have come to the season finale, in which we will learn whether Rick is actually good or evil (just kidding, he's totally evil); whether Negan will prevail or face humiliating defeat; and, most importantly, whether Jerry will show up and make me feel good about this show because I really need all the positivity I can get at this point.

Onward! We fade up from black as we hear Rick say, "I remember." To the strains of plucked guitar, we see Rick in his short-sleeved police uniform holding a small boy's hand as they walk down a country road toward some cows. This was the point where, not even ten seconds into the episode, I got out of my chair bellowing, "Oh, fucking come on!" because I thought Carl's words about this scene were lovely and we didn't actually need to see Rick and his now-dead son to get the visual.

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It just seems like overkill, and beating the audience over the head with a barbed bat, but you'll see that, by the end of the episode, I came around on it a bit. But boy was I annoyed when this came on, let me tell you. As they walk, Younger Rick puts his hat on the boy's head, then takes it off. They walk and walk. The boy turns back at us. The scene fades to black.

Then we get a very weird montage of close-up zombie faces, as if to remind us what show we're watching, but also maybe they are remembering walks with their own kids or parents? Is that what this is? Or are we burning off the last of the year's makeup budget? The folksy music is still playing over these close-ups as if we're supposed to feel like we're really getting some good walker moments here.

Alden and some other former Saviors who now side with Hilltop are walking ahead of a small herd of walkers, presumably leading them somewhere.

Inside the Hilltop mansion, Rick passes by a bedroom mirror on his way to put a blanket over the baby he found. Rick hears something and stares at the open door through the large mirror. He makes like he's about to grab his gun, but it's just Siddiq coming to give the baby a bottle. Rick awkwardly switches places with him as Siddiq approaches the crib. "How did it happen?" Rick asks. Well, when a man and a woman have sex, sometimes a sperm meets with an egg and biological stuff happens so that, nine months later, a human emerges from a birth canal. It's really, really more common than you'd think. Some people even like it! Rick stands by the door waiting for something other than a sex-ed video to start. Siddiq stares at him for a while. "Please tell me," Rick says.

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We cut to Alden and his group leading the walkers. They never turn around to see how close the walkers might be, which seems like a very dangerous way to be. It's gauzy and in slow motion because beauty in death or something?

We hear Siddiq start talking before we come back to him. He says his mother is dead; she was bitten like Carl. He had to watch her die. She believed that the souls of the people who died were trapped in the bodies of the monsters, and thought killing the dead allowed the souls to move on into the afterlife. Siddiq says he told Carl this, and that on their way back to the community, they saw some walkers. "He wanted to honor her," Siddiq says, as if he's still surprised. He says that Carl was trying to show Siddiq that he could be trusted. Rick nods, but doesn't say that sounds like a total Carl thing to do. Siddiq says that's how it happened: Carl died paying respects to a woman he never knew. Tearful, Siddiq says it was still dangerous, and he should have thought of that. This dude knows his way around a mournful monologue, I tell you what. He says all that's left of the people we've loved who are gone is their ideas. Rick touches his chest and bites his lip and very quietly says, "Thank you," before leaving the room. Wait, you're just gonna leave the baby? Come back here, you shitty father!

Carol is exiting the Hilltop mansion looking like she's ready for action. Young Henry, the boy murderer, greets her, saying they're gonna beat 'em today. Beat...the murder charges? He's wearing a white shirt instead of battle gear, but still holding his killing stick. He asks if Carol might return to The Kingdom once they win. Is there even a Kingdom left? I thought everybody over there got killed except for Ezekiel and Jerry. (Oh, sweet Jerry. If anything ever happens to him, this show better be canceled immediately.) "I won't run away again," the kid says. "Maybe," Carol tells him. We needed this little scene why?

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In the same continuous shot, with hopeful music playing, Jerry approaches Ezekiel, who is sitting on a bench. He asks his boss how he's doing as he sits down with a gigantic axe in front of him. Ezekiel says that if this is their last morning, it's a fine one indeed. Jerry says this isn't the last of shit. Ezekiel says he accepts that this could be the end. "I'm not accepting shit," Jerry replies. Ezekiel patiently explains that, to justify everything they've lost, they must risk losing everything. (Say what?) "We're not losing shit," Jerry says, smiling. This is why I love Jerry, you guys! This right here! Marry me, Jerry! Ezekiel goes, "Jerry!" but softens quickly as Ezekiel smiles and they share a bro-tastic, lengthy fist bump. It's sweet and I can't even mock it.

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Leadership council! Rick, Maggie, Michonne, Daryl, and Rosita are standing outside in plain sight, discussing their plan. They have the map, and Maggie says that Gregory is locked inside the house. She explains that Gregory came back knowing Maggie would never let him walk around free, so it would be dumb for him knowingly to push them into a Savior trap. Daryl wonders if it might still be a setup, because of course he still doesn't trust Dwight.

Just then, Carol notices Morgan walking by toward the gates, looking weirded out. The camera swirls around Morgan, and the soundtrack is full of whooshing sounds. Morgan is looking around like he's trying to find something as Carol comes over, calling his name. "They're doing something!" Morgan says. At that moment, the gates open, and the group of former Saviors, led by Alden, is walking through. Morgan rushes right at them as the music gets intense, pointing his stick right at Alden as the others start to scatter. Someone comes at Morgan from the side, and he strikes with the bo and faces them. Oh, shit! It's little Henry, lying on the ground, looking terrified. At least Morgan didn't stab him in the throat. Carol takes Morgan's stick as a crowd gathers. He tries to explain that they were gone, and invaders were coming in. Alden says that they were drawing the walkers away from the wall to make it easier when they cleared out, and that they had Maggie's permission. "He did," she confirms. Morgan stares at Henry, who just looks dazed. Rick takes charge by telling everyone to get ready, because the first team is leaving in 20. Is that real-time minutes? Should I be logging that? Maggie turns to Alden and emphasizes, "we," letting him know that his group isn't going and that they're not part of the community, really: "You're not us." He takes it in stride, saying, "As long as we got that straight," but she's already walked off.

Rick walks over to Morgan, the map in one hand and a huge gun in the other. It's time to have the "What the fuck is wrong with you?" talk. Rick says that maybe Morgan shouldn't come with them. "I have to," he says. Then repeats it. Rick says he's done plenty. Plenty of killing! The gates close as Morgan says it's not him, it's everybody else; he has to help keep them alive. He has to make sure...something about Henry, but he stops in mid-thought. Oh, Henry, the kid you just attacked? "We...we are worse than we were," Morgan says. Yeah, the ratings have shown that. Morgan, bloodthirsty dude, suddenly has a problem with Rick giving those men his word at the dive bar, and then killing them. Rick looks away, like, "Oh yeah, that." Morgan knows it was necessary but he also knows it was something else. Something pretty fucked up! Morgan says it was something wrong for Rick. But he knows it was because he and Rick have lost everything -- everything good. He wonders why keeping others alive matters. Rick tells him they haven't lost everything. Not yet. "We have, and we can't go back!" Morgan says. "So let's just finish this." Sure, whatever, just stop hitting kids and acting like you're about to lose your shit, Morgan.

The first wave emerges from the gates. It's Daryl, Maggie, Rosita, and Carol up front. Morgan, Ezekiel, Jerry, and Jesus follow. And bringing up the rear are Rick and Michonne. They're armed and holding hands. The camera swivels around and follows them at butt level, and you will not hear me complaining about it.

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That leads us into the opening credits. Then: Sanctuary. Eugene and Gabriel are walking together through a much-busier-than-usual warehouse building area. They spot Dwight, who is standing in the middle of everything with his hands bound and his face all beaten up. He also has an "A" spray painted on his sack-like clothing, which might stand for "Asshole," but also the actor playing Dwight is named "Austin Amelio," so it also could be one of those A-names! Negan and Laura show up just then to gloat. Negan says that Dwight used to have the respect of these people walking around, but now he doesn't have a damn thing. Well, we do live in an attention economy, and he has the attention of the most powerful man here, so really Dwight is quite rich when you think of it that way. Dwight just stares back at Negan. "Load him up," he tells Laura, and she takes Dwight away somewhere. Negan, still carrying the bat he never uses, notices Eugene and comes over to chat. "There's my bullet maker!" he says. He has a name, you know! It's Count Dorkus. Eugene babbles about completing the bullet order to his specifications. "The deed is done," he concludes, and hands over a revolver with freshly made bullets in it. Eugene points to a nearby target he's set up specifically for Negan to test the gun. Negan hands over his bat and points at a white t-shirt set up on a pile of hay with the word "rick" on it. There are no mannequins in the apocalypse? Man, Andrew McCarthy is gonna be really disappointed. Negan fires several shots into it as Gabriel winces. Negan asks if Eugene discussed the plan with Regina. Eugene requested a ride-along, and says he advises a simple firing line to minimize chaos. Negan asks if Eugene is sure he wants to see that. "More of a need to see," Eugene tells him, which impresses the big man. A group of millennial-looking Saviors passes, and Negan hands them a copy of his map plan. One of them calls him "Jefe," which clearly annoys him because he mutters "Idiots" as they roll out. Negan tells Gabriel to tag along, since it's gonna be a nice drive and he's got some shit he's gotta confess. Why was Gabriel even here in the first place?

We hear Negan give his contrived-as-hell confession in voiceover as we watch Rick and his crew take their place and try to sneak up to the spot where they think Negan will be. Negan confesses that the group he just sent out to set up a walker trap is actually going to be joining the dead soon. Negan, now riding with Laura, Gabriel, and Eugene, says he doesn't like sacrificing his own people, but that someone had to take the hit for the team, and it may as well be them.

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We see those poor, unfortunate souls taking canisters off the heads of walkers, but then getting shot immediately by Rick and his troops.

Gabriel says he still doesn't understand what's happening. Negan explains that Rick was given some intentionally bad intel, but that this little road crew will convince him that he's on the right path toward Negan; that's where the real trap will be sprung. He says that Rick will find a map with a time and location where Negan is supposed to be and, given the dead Saviors, they'll believe it. We see one surviving Savior begging for his life, but Morgan stabs him in the gut with his big stick and then slashes his throat with a knife. Neither of those methods will keep a zombie from arising, though. Morgan looks over, and we hear a familiar voice. It's Phantom Jared, telling him, "That was messed up!" He's got wounds all over his back and blood coming out of his mouth.

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"I mean, Jesus!" he says. He mimes the stabbing and the cutting of the throat, taunting Morgan. "You don't die, right? Man, you really ought to try it some time." Jared suddenly fixes on Morgan's greatest fear and asks if Morgan really thinks he can kill his way out of seeing everybody else die. Morgan looks scared. Jared jokes, "Not gonna happen!," and gives Morgan a big, bloody grin. Morgan is still staring at the ghost when Jesus (the character, not the Bread of Life) puts a hand on his shoulder and asks if Morgan is still with them. Morgan snaps out of it.

Ezekiel finds the map Negan said he left behind. He hands it to Rick, who is convinced that he knows where their enemy will soon be. Carol says they have to hurry, before Negan realizes that this crew was taken out. Rick radios Maggie, telling her it was a trap and that they're going to change the plan. But it feels like Rick thinks this was the trap, not the real trap that's still waiting for him. So Negan is still a step ahead.

In the car, Gabriel asks if Negan's confession is really that he's about to kill every last one of them. He says that, when they talked last, it seemed like Negan didn't want this to happen. "It ain't about want, Gabey, it never was," Negan tells him. Laura has to swerve around a zombie in the road and, right then, Gabriel opens his car door and jumps out. Oh, Negan, you really should have gotten a car with child-proof locks. Eugene goes, "NO!" and we go to commercials...

...but come right back to Gabriel rolling down a hill. He gets up, and we have to remember that he's lost a lot of his vision, so he's seeing everything like a tunnel. "Hang back, he can't see crap!" Negan reminds us, and he and Eugene and the rest get out of their vehicles to go hunt for the priest. Gabriel is stumbling into trees and moving very slowly through the woods. He runs right into a walker that tries to bite him. Laura is right there to take it out with a stab to the head, and Eugene is not far behind to stick a gun in Gabriel's face. Shaking, Eugene says he won't hesitate to crack Gabriel's skull with his own munitions. Gabriel, defeated, says he understands. Eugene, still mad, asks where Gabriel's faith goes when he really needs it. Negan comes up from behind, saying he has to call dibs on "Gabey-boy," and hits Gabriel in the stomach with the end of Lucille. Gabriel doubles over and falls. Negan says he knows Gabriel doesn't want to die a fruitless death, but that sometimes you can't get what you want. He pulls up the bat and looks around like he's about to swing it. Then he says, "Load him in the car" and walks away. Dammit! Look, I'm not like a bloodthirsty asshole, but this bat shit is driving me...batshit! Either use the bat or stop carrying it around like Chekhov's Barbed-Wire Bat!

As they're walking in a group up a pretty hill, Jesus takes some time to try to talk sense into Morgan. Jesus knows Morgan thinks he has to kill people to protect his own people, and says that's not really safe for Morgan, which ultimately is less safe for the people Morgan is trying to protect. Logical!

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And a conundrum, Jesus points out. He says that Morgan can stop people without killing them, like he almost stopped Jesus when they fought. He has a proposal. He grabs Morgan's stick and says that the bloody, pointy side can be for the dead. The blunt side can be for the living. Jesus is about the get the blunt end upside the head for grabbing a man's bo without permission. Jesus promises that things will get better. Carol, doing some walk-by dialogue, says, "Jesus! I'm starting to like that guy!"

The entire group stops. Very fuzzily in the distance, there's a very, very big herd of the undead walking.

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Someone asks if Rick has ever seen a group that big. "No," he admits. "Things are changing." They keep walking.

Hilltop. The lookouts spot a set of trucks approaching. "SAVIORS!" the call goes. Tara leads a group into a basement.

We come right back to Rick's group. They enter a clearing and are immediately immersed in Negan whistling in surround sound. They all draw their guns. Negan's voice is coming out of a loudspeaker. Yup, it's a trap, all right! There's a commercial break right at the moment Rick's group realizes this is not going to go their way.

When we return, Negan is telling Rick that he ambushed their ambush with an even bigger ambush. Clearly! Rick asks Negan to come out and face them. Negan says he's got bullhorns and walkies; he challenges Rick to go in any direction and see how his group does. Negan starts to give a little speech about having gathered some people Rick knows, including Eugene, who made today possible; Dwight ("a gutless nothing who sucks at life"); and Gabriel. Negan says that Dwight will stay alive to watch them die, but that he's gonna take out Gabriel. Negan says it never had to be a fight; Rick could have just accepted how things are. Negan congratulates Rick, ends his speech, and exchanges a nod with Eugene. Then he counts down from three. The strings of doom play. Rick's group is surrounded by lots and lots of Saviors with guns. They all start to fire their weapons. And in a neat line, all the weapons backfire in their faces. Even Negan's pistol blows up in his hand. Guns and clips fly everywhere.

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The only people who aren't wounded are the ones without guns, including Eugene, Gabriel, and Dwight. Morgan, Maggie, and the rest on the other side are trying to figure out what the fuck just happened. Rick doesn't need to think about it -- he just yells, "NOW!," and everyone starts running. We see that Negan's gloved right hand is all fucked up and bloody. "Eugene!" he yells. He looks at Eugene, who's just standing there defenseless, but Gabriel is right there to punch Negan in the face and knock him down. Negan manages to get up and grab Lucille, but now Dwight is on him, taking swings at him even with his bound-together hands. Negan is able to push Dwight off and run away, scrambling between parked vehicles. Maggie, Rick, and the rest are coming up the hill firing their guns. "He's running!" Maggie screams.

We cut back to Hilltop, where residents are sneaking out and running into the woods. There's a crying baby in the group. We hear that Gregory was left back in the mansion. Tara stops and decides to go back to try to slow down the Saviors (the ones attacking Hilltop, not the ones with Negan). "Just you?" Alden asks. Tara says that they can hear the baby in New Jersey, so she has to go back. Alden says he'll go with her even without a gun. As he puts it, his "gents" go with her even though she's not with them.

Back at the battle, Eugene is about to get taken down by some Saviors, but Rosita shoots them before they get to him. He and Rosita exchange a long look.

Morgan sees Dwight on the ground, leaning against a car. Jesus notices that Morgan is standing there staring. Morgan springs into action, swinging his bo at a guy who was about to get to him. Morgan is about to stab the guy on the ground, but Jesus tells him, "You don't have to!" Morgan hits the guy with the other end because lesson learned. Morgan and Jesus run together to clean up the rest of the battlefield.

Outside Hilltop, Tara, Alden, and the rest are waiting for Saviors to come through. Alden and the others have guns, so Tara must be sharing with them. As Saviors are coming toward them, a giant fireball engulfs them in flames.

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Tara goes over to see what happened: it turns out the Oceansiders showed up and are lobbing bombs. Yay, Oceansiders, for the twenty seconds they're in this episode! Aaron is there, too, to take credit.

Rick's bunch encounters all the Saviors who are left. They're on their knees in surrender, asking Maggie not to shoot. Among them, Laura gets on her knees, too. "We're done. It's over," she says. Maggie doesn't seem sure what to do.

That's no problem for Rick, who is still bloodthirsty as ever and chasing Negan all by himself. Rick sees Negan running down a hill toward a large tree, recognizable as the one we saw in the first episode of the season, with the strange stained glass hanging from it. Oh no, we've gone back to the future's past! Rick fires his gun and hits the glass. Negan hides behind the tree. Rick runs out of bullets, because he's an idiot. Rick just runs for it and dives right for Negan at the tree and into a commercial.

Coming out of the act break, it feels like we missed a beat or two, because Negan is already swinging his bat and they're exchanging blows. It's more clumsy fighting and punching and rolling on the ground as if we didn't see enough of this in Negan's fight with Simon. There's absolutely no reason for Rick to be unarmed here; it just seems dumb. Negan kicks at Rick as Rick rolls on the ground.

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Negan picks up the bat and hovers over Rick. He says the "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo" stuff was bullshit when he first encountered Rick's group: he made a choice because he didn't want to kill a father in front of his kid. But, he says, that would have been the best thing to do, and if he had, that kid might still be alive. That makes Rick mad, and he kicks at Negan, knocking him down. They both grunt on the ground. "You're beat, your people are down," Rick insists. Negan says he'll get out of it; he always does. Negan says it's just him and Rick. Negan says he's bigger and badder and he's got a bat. Rick, suddenly sounding desperate, says they can have a future. Together? Rick, this is not the time to be romantic. Pick your moment! Rick asks for ten seconds to explain. For Carl. Rick gets up. Negan, bemused, starts counting down from 10. Rick tells him that Carl said it doesn't have to be a fight anymore. At 8, Negan says Carl was wrong. Rick says no, Carl was right. Negan stops counting. His eyes water as if he really, really wants to believe what Rick is saying. Rick's eyes blink strangely, and Negan leans in a little. But Rick rears back and somehow cuts Negan's neck with a tiny slit. But that slit brings Negan to his knees and blood pours down his chest.

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"Look what you did," he is able to say, quietly. He falls over and it sure seems for a minute like Negan is done for. Rick hovers over him. He's holding in his hand a bloody shard of stained glass. We cut to the shot of Rick walking down a country road with Carl. It's spooky this time. Then back to Rick. He's standing there over Negan. He drops the piece of glass and holds up his bloody hand. Behind Rick are all of his survivor friends.

Rick wearily walks back toward them. "Save him!" Rick says. Siddiq rushes forward to get to Negan. Maggie yells, "NO!" and Michonne has to hold her back. "No he can't! No! He killed Glenn!" Maggie screams. "We have to," Rick mutters, not facing her. "We have to end it!" Maggie yells back. "Rick! We have to make it right!" Maggie scream-cries. Michonne is still grabbing her. Maggie insists it's not over till he's dead. She cries and cries. Rick shakes his head, trying to ignore her.

Here's what's fucked about all this and why it doesn't work: if Rick had been righteous, or had at least tried to be righteous in recent history, he'd at least have a moral leg to stand on. But the fact is, he just killed a group of Saviors in cold blood, not even knowing if any of them did any killing of their own. He took their lives because he could, and now he's not willing to kill the one guy who has killed some of his best friends, and whose death might genuinely change things for everyone -- Maggie most of all. Rick suddenly is not willing to do in front of the whole group what he was more than willing to do when it was just him and Morgan and his blood boiling. And sure, it may pay off later as an act that ends up unifying the factions, but it plays as if we're supposed to believe that Rick, inspired by Carl, has made this incredible moral choice. But really, the time for that was before he went back on his word and slaughtered some Saviors in a dive bar. After that act, any moral posturing feels like bullshit.

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Maggie is still screaming her head off as the Saviors keep their hands up, and everyone from Morgan to Daryl to Rosita is just like "Damn" and trying not to react. Rick shakes his head and mutters, "What happened, what we did, what we lost...there's gotta be something after." Maggie collapses to the ground, Michonne still holding her. Rick tells the remaining Saviors to put their hands down. Now put them back up! Now wave them side to side! Now say "Heeeeyyyy" and wave them like you just don't cay-urrrrrr! Like you just don't Car-ulllll! Why hasn't this dance craze swept the nation yet? Rick says they're all going to go home now, to groups of people who probably don't even know where home is anymore. "Negan's alive," says Rick, barely glancing back to see if that's even true. "But his way of doing things is over!" So no more carrying around a bat you only used to bash anyone's head in that one time, I guess. Rick goes from benevolent to threatening very quickly, saying that anyone who can't live with that will pay the price. He says that people who want fairness and common ground can stay. "This world is yours, by right," he tells them all. Is somebody gonna tell the giant zombie herd that? Rick says that they're all alive, and that the dead are coming for them. He points to the herd, which looks like a gigantic set of gray dots. They'll go home, he says, and the work will begin: "The new world begins. All this, all this was just what was." He ends that sentence like a magician who's about to pull a silk hankie out of your mouth.

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"There's gotta be something after!" he bellows. Syndication! Streaming rights! Webisodes! A goddamn spinoff that needs rejuvenation! Fan conventions! A version of Trivial Pursuit with nothing but questions about this show! Something, dammit! Rick walks off with his bloody hand as everyone is left to wonder if they heard everything Rick was saying out there without Negan's amplification system. "Did he say 'something after?'" "No, I think it was 'There's gotta be pumpkin lager.'" "Wow, do we even know how to make that?" "We need to get Eugene on that, pronto."

Rosita turns to Eugene and asks what happened to their guns: "Was that you?" He says he introduced an element of sabotage to the manufacturing process after Gabriel's purposeful ineptitude, and that he took what she said to him to heart before vomiting on her. Then he introduced some phooey into kablooey. Don't ever change, Eugene. Rosita looks like she might hug him.

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But instead she punches him hard in the mouth: "That's for the puke." Eugene, holding his jaw, tells her, "Fair play."

Morgan hands over his body armor to Carol, saying it's for Henry. Henry, the boy who shouldn't be in battle and is way too small for this gear? Gee, thanks, Morgan! He asks Carol to tell the boy he'll be all right. Carol asks if that's true. Morgan says he's gonna try, and that he knows he needs to be. He walks off on his own.

We come back to the moment when Rick was sitting at the tree, his eyes all red and wet, saying, "My mercy prevails over my wrath." Well, today it did. What about yesterday? And tomorrow. In a wide shot, he sits under the tree between the stained glass panels.

Maggie's at Hilltop. Alden, with his Edward Burns accent, tells her that most of the Savior folks are going back to try to make something out of the place. But he wants to stay. He's seen the "Key To A Future" book and wants to build the stuff from it; that's what he wants to do with his life. He credits Maggie for giving him that life. "Okay," she says simply.

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At The Sanctuary, Tara and Rosita are greeted by some of Negan's former wives. Even Laura, working on some plants, gives them a friendly nod. So everybody is friends now? A school bus is arriving with glass and people to help put Sanctuary back together, Tara tells them.

In the woods, a truck stops in a clearing. It's Daryl and Dwight. Daryl looks pissed. Dwight is, at least, in normal clothes, and his face is looking better. Dwight starts breaking down immediately, saying he knows why he's here. It's for what he did to Denise, to Daryl, and to other people. He knew he'd have to face it, and knows that he should. He says he's ready: "I got to see Negan taken down and that's enough. Me? I'm a piece of shit."

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Dwight gets on his knees. And he cries: "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Please." Daryl's lips shake. "Shut up," he tells crying Dwight, and throws him some keys, telling him to go and never come back. He says if he ever sees Dwight back around there, he'll kill him. He tells Dwight to go make it right. "Find her," he says as he walks off with his crossbow. Dwight's head taps the ground as he leans forward.

The junkyard. Jadis hears someone call from outside, saying he's a friend of Rick's from Alexandria. Gun drawn, she opens the door. It's Morgan, wearing a nice clean shirt and using his stick more like a walking companion than a weapon of mass destruction. Morgan says Rick sent word that Jadis can come back to the community if she wants to. Rick is trying to show that things can change, and needs all the hands he can get. "You don't want to be alone," Morgan lectures her. "People. Everything is about people." Uh yeah, she had that. And they killed all of them. He introduces himself as Morgan Jones. "You can call me Anne," Jadis tells him. She offers to get her things and go with him. Morgan says she can go. He needs to be alone, contradicting what he just said. "They are, but I can't," he explains. Soooo...we'll probably be seeing him soon, perhaps on another show.

Dwight pulls up in the truck to the house where he and Sherry were to meet. He finds an empty bag of pretzels and beer bottles and a piece of paper with "D." on it. He opens the note and chuckles: it just says "Honeymoon" with an infinity sign underneath.

The Kingdom. Jerry, Ezekiel, Henry, and Carol all return on horseback together.

Maggie is having a meeting with Jesus in Gregory's former office. She doesn't regret what she did, but admits that Jesus and Rick were right about keeping the Saviors alive. "He was right," Jesus says. "Not about Negan," says Maggie, as dark music plays. "So what does that mean, Maggie?" he asks. Maggie says they have a lot to do to build things up and make them work better than before. She wants it to thrive and to build their strength. "But Rick and Michonne...Rick was wrong to do what he did," she says, "Michonne too." She says they'll bide their time, wait for their moment, "and then we're gonna show him," she says. Daryl emerges from the shadows. "We will," he agrees.

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The fuck is this? Jesus is just gonna go along with this happy horseshit? Daryl is gonna turn on his main bro? I know they're probably plotting to kill Negan -- not necessarily to hurt Rick and Michonne -- but it seems like quite the turn from Maggie crying in a field like two minutes ago. If she's doing this for Glenn, somebody needs to point out to her that Glenn would never want this. And isn't she supposed to be like six months pregnant by now? Where's that baby bump, Maggie?

Negan is in a hospital bed, his neck bandaged. The camera stays on him as Michonne says, "We know you're awake." Eyes closed, he says, "I never said I wasn't." Michonne says that he's going to have to open his eyes eventually, because they're going to make him watch what happens. With Andy Cohen? The camera finally cuts over to Rick, who's standing over Negan, lecturing that this isn't about who he killed; it's about what he did to everybody. (Nice letting yourself off the hook for the people you killed, Rick.) He says that Negan put people under his boot and made everything for himself. "I saved people," Negan says hoarsely as he starts to get up. Michonne puts a hand right on his neck to hold him down.

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Siddiq softly says, "Michonne," the way you would tell a child to turn the page of a bedtime story, not someone grabbing a neck that's just been slashed. Michonne says this isn't a discussion, and Rick says they can open his stitches to remind him. Siddiq has to be wondering what the fuck kind of sadistic assholes he's gotten himself mixed up with. Rick reminds Negan and the rest of us that Carl proposed they all work together for a better future -- something bigger. Michonne says that Negan gets to be a part of it, an example for everyone else. They explain that Negan won't be killed or hurt; he'll just rot in a cell for the rest of his life. Rick says that Negan will be evidence that civilization is coming back. Michonne says he'll be around to see all that. Rick thinks people will realize that things have changed: that's the part Negan will play. Michonne, as an exit line, says now Negan will be good for something. Negan just stares at the ceiling, not grinning at all.

Gabriel is in his old burned-out church; he kneels at the altar and starts to cry. "Thank you," he says. He repeats it. "I understand. I know now. You've given me so much," he tells God. Or maybe the cameraman; it's hard to say. He sees light coming through a window. "I can see," he says, tears streaming down his face.

We go back to the image of Rick and young Carl walking up that farm trail. Rick, we see, is much younger. He picks up the boy. In voiceover, Rick begins: "Dear Carl, I remember. I forgot who I was. You made me remember. I remember that feeling, walking with you that day, like I finally knew who I was for the first time in my life. Thing is, we were walking side by side, but you were bringing me somewhere. Bringing me here. Bringing all of us to the new world, Carl. You showed me the new world. You made it real. I see it. I remember. Dad."

Gene Page / AMC

Look, this is really dumb, but I am not made of stone. I had tears in my eyes -- for Carl, for the stupid hope of Rick's letter, for the mercy he showed Negan, who himself wanted to believe for a moment that there could be peace, and even for asshole Rick, who only cares about humanity when it's his idea to do so.

And that's largely how this show lumbers on for another season, missing a lot of steps in logic but somehow getting there anyway, having an affecting moment or two that makes up for a lot of missed opportunities, a too-large cast, and a weird tendency in recent seasons to not prune out the huge list of characters it's amassed. Thanks for letting me come along for the ride!

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