‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7 Finale Recap: Go Get ‘Em, Tiger

Walking Dead Season 7 finale Rick Negan
Spoiler Alert
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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead

Spoiler Alert: Read no further if you haven’t watched The Walking Dead Season 7 finale “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.” Major plot points and twists are revealed.

So the war came — or at least an epic battle. And it came right to the gates of Alexandria.

Not much of a shock that the Garbagers knew a losing effort when they saw one — and even got Rick and company to bring them guns to fight for the other side. (Bonus points to Jadis for meaning more than the literal when she informed Michonne that she’d *bleep* her man when it was all over). They didn’t really seem like the kind of folks who needed help from a group of blustering former suburbanites. And despite ol’ Jadis’ catchphrase, that certainly did seem to bother Rick.

To announce the Saviors’ arrival, Negan loosed Other Negan — Eugene —on the bed of a flatbed truck to deliver a speech about loving and submitting (“I come to you loaded with two barrels of the truth — the test is upon you and I have the cheat sheet”). Rosita looked at him sadly, pressed the detonator in her hand — and that’s when we figured out everything was about to go to hell. Negan lists all the things he plans to take with him — “my Daryl,” the lemonade, the guns, the pool table. Oh and he also had one more surprise for the Alexandrians. It’s their chick in a box! He unveils a shiny coffin with Sasha inside. Not dead yet, he tells them. But she could be. And/or someone else if they don’t play their cards right.

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Here’s where we find out how Sasha decided to use the poison Eugene gave her. It’s couched in some really lovely and satisfying scenes of her getting a bit more time and some closure with the murdered Abraham (and the welcome return of Michael Cudlitz!) that we eventually learn are the workings of her dying mind. Abraham reminds her that “laying our big meaties on the chopping block for someone else” isn’t just dying, it’s living — she said so herself. Maggie is carrying the future. Sash knows what she has to do.

Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford, Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams

And she does. Assessing how long she will be traveling in the casket, Sasha asks for a bottle of water for the journey, uses it to wash down the pill and is walker-iffic when Negan opens up. She knocks him down, but doesn’t get him and chaos ensues, which lands Michonne in a battle for her life with the traitorous Tamiel, Carl and Rick (sporting a new but seemingly temporary gunshot wound) on their knees before Negan, and everyone else pretty mystified on how this can possibly end well.

But just before Negan can turn Carl’s head and Rick’s mitts into meatloaf, and after a bit of negotiating with Jadis, the bat-swinger gets a surprise of his own. The Carol-led, tiger-fortified Kingdom contingent we saw marching toward Alexandria arrives just in time to break up the proceedings.

Two things here. One, you were a little bummed to see Carl spared Lucille, weren’t you? We were promised bloodshed, the little bugger’s time was up seasons ago and all the nameless background carnage isn’t exactly breaking our hearts. And when Captain Can’t-Admit-A-Boo-Boo snarls, “I told you already. I’m going to kill you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But nothing is going to change that. Nothing. You’re all already dead.” even though his kid’s head was good as gone, it seemed a done deal. Also, since Sasha’s other fever dreams entailed her sitting serenely beside Maggie on a log and staring at … something … you thought TWD was about to off another pregnant lady, didn’t you? Didn’t you?

Anyway, Big E calls it — “Alexandria will not fall! Not on this day!” — and, thus, it is so. Though plenty of folks do fall in the shootout, it’s no one of import, and Team Rick rises up enough to send the Garbagers fleeing in a smoke-bombed haze and the Saviors hightailing it, too, Negan waving goodbye with his middle finger.

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And when it’s all over, we see what supposedly sets these two communities apart. Negan preps his full rank and file for war — to punish — and Eugene for the likely reality of being 99.9 percent Negan. And the blended Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom family gathers to remember their dead, recent and otherwise, Maggie giving a genuinely moving speech that takes us back to the earliest days of Dead and reminds them how all the sacrifices and heartbreak and trying to do what is right anyway have given them a future. A future and a family worth putting their big meaties on the block for. And a future and a family that may still include Dwight. Daryl finds a toy soldier with two words inscribed on its back: “Didn’t Know.”

And as we finally see that what Sasha and Maggie were gazing at — the sunrise — she and Jesus put down Sasha for a final time. Hopefully to go find her Abe-y in that big battlefield in the sky.

So what did you think, Walking Dead fans? Despite all the gunfire, did you find the finale more whimper than bang — or are you happy the season literally rode off into the sunset, er, rise? Were you surprised that Jadis and company were Team Negan after all? Have we seen the last of them and their garbage trucks and hipster bikes or will they join Negan’s promised war? Did you see Sasha’s plan coming? Was her time with Abe hokey or heavenly? Share your take in the comments.