REVIEW: The Walking Dead, S7 Ep16 – The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

The Walking Dead, S7 Ep16– The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

After ages of build-up the seventh season of The Walking Dead ended with a bang, with an eventful finale that brought together the different communities rising up against the Saviors.

Negan confronted Rick in Alexandria and it was as bloody a conflict as expected, with a big character death and a not-so-surprising betrayal.

The Walking Dead, S7 Ep16– The First Day of the Rest of Your LifeAfter weeks of preparation, Rick’s group finally made their move, having gathered enough guns and people to properly face the forces of the Saviors. But then, the Garbage People prove how truly trash they are by turning on the Alexandrians because they made a better deal with the Saviors. This really should not have come as a surprise to anyone at this point in the game.

There was always something suspicious and unreliable about these people and their strange, annoying way of talking and demanding things without really showing support. Their throwing a wrench in all Rick’s plans was frustrating, but luckily they chose the wrong people to betray. They ended up running away as soon as it was convenient, but they’ve effectively made themselves Rick’s enemies and I hope that next season, they will get their comeuppance. Or somehow they can get devoured by walkers. They’re the worst.

The Walking Dead, S7 Ep16– The First Day of the Rest of Your LifeAs exciting as the last ten minutes of the finale were, the bulk of the episode was still spent on a slow and sometimes slightly confusing (and maybe unnecessary) series of flashbacks and scenes of Sasha in a dark room. Although I understand that these scenes with Abraham and Maggie were meant to give Sasha a nice send-off (considering Sonequa Martin-Green is off to star in Star Trek: Discovery anyway), too much time was spent on all this so the action felt a bit rushed and abrupt in the end.

As shown by the sneak peek released earlier, Sasha would play a big role in this last episode, having been visited by Negan on the day of the attack. She was placed in a coffin and was used for Negan to threaten Rick (strange since everyone in Alexandria was a hostage anyway). But in a neat twist that apparently harkens back to The Walking Dead comics, Sasha takes things into her own hands and makes a big sacrifice that helps turn the tide in her friends’ favor.

The Walking Dead, S7 Ep16– The First Day of the Rest of Your LifeShe takes the poison pill that Eugene gave her and kills herself so that the moment Negan opens the coffin, she is a fully-transformed walker and she takes him by surprise. For a moment I really hoped she would kill Negan, but this was not to be. That didn’t mean she didn’t take down several Saviors in her wake. And she distracted Negan long enough for Carl and the others to make a move against their enemies.

Then it seemed that all hope was lost and Negan was about to execute Carl, but in the nick of time reinforcements arrived. There was that awesome moment when Shiva started mauling Saviors left and right. King Ezekiel, Carol, Morgan, and the people from the Kingdom arrived along with Maggie and her forces from the Hilltop, effectively pushing the Saviors back and making them suffer a major defeat.

The main problem of The Walking Dead this season has been its pacing, spending too much time setting things up that could have been done faster. When it came to the major fight, it rushed through it needlessly. There are sixteen episodes in a season so that is more than enough time to focus on the essentials, but instead the show tends to linger for the sake of lingering.

The Walking Dead, S7 Ep16– The First Day of the Rest of Your LifeThe payoff was not as big as anticipated but at least we know that when season 8 rolls along later this year, there will be more blood as Negan has officially declared war on the different communities.

The episode ends with a fairly cheesy, emotional scene of the others recovering from their injuries and Maggie giving an inspirational speech about fighting for the people she loves. It’s a rare moment of hope on a show as bleak as The Walking Dead and even though more fighting and bloodshed is sure to come, at least the main characters have one victory they can savor and draw strength from in the days to come.