The Walking Dead‘ this season has been criticized for being slow, meandering, and really down. Not the usual story of survival, community, and family that we’ve seen for the last six seasons.
This mid-season finale, while not the best we’ve seen, is the best of the season and is as much of a message to the viewers as it is to the people of this universe.
It picks up from the previous episode where Negan has been hanging out in Alexandria waiting for Rick’s return and being rather domestic by cooking and having dinner. It’s interesting in we see a relaxed, almost charming Negan. This is one that would almost be a productive member of society. But, we know that’s not the case.
It’s hard to describe most of what happens for the Alexandria setting of the episode. Two individuals die and it’s not too shocking as to who it is. That takes away some of the emotional aspect of it, but how and why is interesting. It ramps up the tension of the series and really sets into motion what those who have read the comics know is coming…. “All Out War.”
But the episode really is about that catharsis. Rick, when we get to those final moments, is back in his “don’t fuck with him” mode and ready to take on Negan for the greater good. Up to this point he’s been broken by Negan, but there’s a change here and we almost see the switch in Rick as he goes through some motions.
And there’s a hell of a lot of emotion as well. Daryl makes it out of Sanctuary and back to the group which results in a reunion where I teared up a little. But the group as a whole comes together and in those final moments march on to what happens next. It’s a reunion that screams the band is back together and game on. It’s the emotional moment which has been lacking for much of this year.
The end of it all feels like a message to the viewers as much as everyone on the show. Rick is back. Rick is ready to kick ass. Negan’s reign is coming to an end as Rick’s “ricktatorship” is back. Rick has a message for fans, buckle up because all hell is about to break loose.
Overall rating: 8.85