REVIEW: The Walking Dead, S8 Ep 16 – Wrath

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep 16 – Wrath

The Walking Dead concluded its eighth season with a finale that brought Rick and Negan face-to-face, along with the combined forces of the Rick’s allies against the army of Saviors.

And, I have to say, as far as season finales go, that was pretty tame.

For one thing, even if we’ve been conditioned to expect at least one character to die at the end of a season of The Walking Dead, we didn’t even get that. If the fact that everyone survived, even Negan, even after Rick slashed him in the throat, was supposed to be the twist here, it was pretty unsatisfying.

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep 16 – WrathNot a single named character died, even if we were made to believe earlier on that characters like Eugene, Gabriel, and Dwight were probably goners. But nope. They all made it out of there in one piece. And more than that, they even got a chance at their own happy endings with Dwight being dropped off by Daryl and finding Sherry’s letter and Father Gabriel literally seeing the light.

And what do you know, Eugene came through, and he effectively sabotaged the bullets he produced for the Saviors causing their guns to backfire on them (though his whole plan really hinged on believing that only Negan would try to fire some test shots, but whatever, it worked). I’m glad Rosita punched him in the face though, for that disgusting stunt he pulled last week.

The lead up to the big fight scene was thrilling enough, nothing unfamiliar, but still enough to hype up the scene a bit. There was a fair amount of action before the climactic duel with Rick and Negan, also showing us that all those earlier scenes of a teary-eyed Rick sitting under a stained-glass window and a tree were just misdirection. He was fine, just a bit emotional, but alive and well.

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep 16 – WrathI get that Rick sparing Negan was pretty predictable given the effect Carl’s letter had on him in previous episodes. There was even a moving scene of Rick and baby Carl before the events of The Walking Dead, before everything went to hell. But though I kind of get why he did it, it still felt very unsatisfying, after we’ve been made to despise Negan and be disgusted with all he has done. I don’t really want to see him stick around to make snide comments from a jail cell.

Despite all the setting up of the “new world” of peace and harmony and everyone working together, there were still some elements of discontent. But as much as we needed some source of potential conflict for the upcoming season, what played out was simply baffling. It looks like we’re being set up for The Walking Dead: Civil War, with Rick and Michonne on one side while a strange alliance of Maggie, Daryl, and Jesus “bide their time” and work against them. This is completely out of character for them, considering their long history together. Would Maggie and Daryl really conspire against Rick and Michonne after all they had been through? It was fine for Maggie to express her rage at Rick sparing Negan. That was even a powerful moment. But to have her betray her old friends just like that?

And what about Jesus wanting to spare people’s lives? Suddenly, he’s fine with getting behind a conspiracy to possibly harm Rick and Michonne. I don’t buy it.

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep 16 – WrathThough that part served to cast a shadow over all the happy endings, it was ridiculous and one can’t help feeling that this is just drama for drama’ sake.

At any rate, life is looking good for the time being. Morgan and Jadis switched places, as the former sought to exile himself from the group (and then move to Fear the Walking Dead). Everything was being rebuilt by the joint communities and Negan’s alive but probably won’t be making too many speeches for a while.

After all that build up and the theme of “all out war,” The Walking Dead went out with a sputter, not a bang. Till next season, I guess.