Coming into this week’s Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead, we knew a few things were likely: a major player would die, the battle with Negan would officially begin and at some point Carl would get himself into a bit of a pickle (it’s kind of his thing). And, well, the finale did not disappoint.
At first, it’s hard to make heads or tails of what’s happening. We see Sasha, seemingly struggling to breathe — or keep her composure — in the dark. She’s listening to an iPod and dreaming of the last moment she shared with Abraham.
Flashbacks to the present show us that Negan still expects her to help him get things “back on track” by using her against Rick and the rest of her crew. We’re not privy to exactly what his plans are, but suffice it to say they’re bad enough to bring Sasha to tears.
She insists no one has to die, but he insists people must die as part of his punishment — which in his own words is how the Saviors have built everything they have. In a telling moment, Sasha concedes, but only one person has to die.”
Meanwhile, back at Alexandria, Dwight tries to win over Rick and the gang by explaining he’d do the things he’d done for himself. He’d done them for someone else, and she was the same person responsible for Daryl being free of Negan’s clutches.
Although that’s enough to get Rick to ease up, Daryl seems intent on taking Dwight out before all is said and done.
Speaking of shady characters, Jadis and the rest of the junkyard community show up at Alexandria. She’s even less likable than before, and it’s easy to hope she becomes a casualty in the impending war or that Michonne will just chop her ass down for suggesting she is going to “lay with” Rick after the fight.
Soon after, the three trucks from Sanctuary foretold by Dwight show up at Alexandria. Bearing the message to his former friends is none other than the world’s biggest traitor, Eugene. “Where is Negan?” Rick asks. “I’m Negan,” the mullet-headed ninny muggins replies.
And then things go from bad to worse.
Rick gives the signal to Rosita to set of the explosive they’d wired… but nothing happens. Frick! It soon becomes evident that they’ve been betrayed by the stupid garbage pail people. Double frick!
By this point, we’ve been privy to a critical moment inside the coffin Negan has been transporting Sasha in — she has taken the “suicide pill” given to her by Eugene. She will be the one person who has to die. When Negan opens the coffin to exact his plan, Sasha, the newly minted walker, lunges at him, taking him off the edge of the truck bed.
Of course, that’s not how Negan’s story ends. He manages to escape walkerized Sasha, and after a scuffle, he regains control. Just as he is about to whack young Carl in the head with Lucille, Shiva the gosh damn tiger comes barreling in to save the day.
As Negan runs off screaming, members of the Kingdom — led by Ezekiel and Carol, no less — pour into camp and begin taking out and chasing off the Saviors. Also in attendance? Maggie leading the Hilltop clan.
Rick and Carl find a badly beaten Michonne and share a sweet family moment. As the community comes together in the aftermath of the ambush to prepare for war, a voice-over by Maggie explains why she decided to lead Hilltop into battle given Gregory’s mysterious departure.
This moving montage begins with Jesus and Maggie tracking down walker Sasha in the woods to put her to rest once and for all. It’s one of the most heartbreaking moments of the entire series, and coupled with the words Maggie speaks, it’s an emotional one-two punch.
In a truly heartbreaking speech (I’m not crying, you are), Maggie explains of her decision to act:
“We were in trouble. We were trapped. Glenn didn’t know you, but he helped you. He put himself in danger for you. And that started it all. From Atlanta to my daddy’s farm to the prison to here. To this moment now. Not as strangers, as family. Because Glenn chose to be there for you that day a long time ago, that was the decision that changed everything. It started with both of you, and it just grew. All of this. To sacrifice for each other. To suffer, to stand, to grieve, to give, to love, to live. To fight for each other. Glenn made the decision, Rick. I was just following his lead.”
Then the camera pans out to reveal the pocket watch Hershel gave Glenn clutched in Maggie’s hand. BRB, I just need a minute to pick up the tiny shards of my now-obliterated heart scattered on the floor like wilted confetti.
In truth, this tribute to Glenn was precisely the ending a sometimes-rocky Season 7 needed. The Walking Dead is finally back on track, and true to form, Glenn emerged the unlikely hero.