Sure, there have been lots of attacks on both groups' communities.
For Maggie, Daryl, and Jesus, who have formed a shadowy cabal back at the Hilltop, that something after means building up their world - one without Rick and Michonne in charge.
Before Rick heads out to go over the battle plans, he asks Siddiq how Carl died. He had told this to Carl.
Wanting to honor that belief, Carl tried to help Siddiq kill the dead and that's when it happened. Negan commands the Saviors to show themselves on the horizon. Though they question it, they create their strategy accordingly. And yet, Rick agreed - reluctantly - to take Morgan into battle, where he continued to kill indiscriminately. Besides that, the character of Madison bears no resemblance to Alpha in the comics and it's unlikely that things have changed that much in the time jump. He believes that everyone must die and must pay for taking everything from them. I guess this was supposed to convince us what a badass Savior Eugene now was since he pointed a gun in Gabriel's face and threatened to "crack your cranium". But their weapons backfired thanks to Eugene having tampered with the bullets.
As the group walks, Jesus talks to Morgan about killing, and how things will get better. He pulls Morgan aside and tells him he should stay behind. Jesus then offers Morgan a suggestion of using the tiresome end of his staff on the living so as not to kill them. They come out of the field and hear whistling. Negan's voice echoes as he taunts them. He also has Gabriel and Dwight at gunpoint.
As expected, Rick and Negan had a one-on-one showdown, with Negan holding the advantage - his barbed-wire bat, Lucille - after Rick ran out of bullets. But Rick realized it was a trap, and sent them elsewhere, while Gabriel complicated things for Negan by jumping out of the auto. Rick looked teary. Even Negan seemed to get misty. Negan runs as Rick's group advances and attacks. Negan tells the other Saviors to load him up. Eventually, Laura, of the Saviors, surrenders and the Saviors all kneel down. He tells them he is going to ambush their ambush.
"Carl said it doesn't have to be a fight anymore", said Rick. Negan counts down and, for a brief second, thinks that maybe Rick is right. We were treated to not one but three montages of Rick and a young Carl walking hand in hand, hearkening back to Carl's farewell letter to his dad. "Make it thrive for the people who who live here".
There wasn't any fighting to speak of at Hilltop either, where another group of Saviors had been dispatched. The prisoner Saviors come to the gate. That's right, on The Walking Dead a man can have his throat slit open and survive. Eugene comes running at him with a gun.
Morgan's still not right: Somehow the sight of former Savior prisoners coming back to the Hilltop from a zombie-killing run got Morgan so worked up that he almost put his bo staff through young Henry's neck. He tells her to tell Henry that he's going to be okay. He tells her that Rick is trying to build something, and he needs all the hands he can get.
Except when it's not, since Morgan himself doesn't want to be around people anymore. "I'm tempted to say things but I can't yet". He adds that that's what he wants to do with his life, and he owes that life to Maggie.
So long Dwight: While the Hilltoppers were practically singing "Kumbaya" with their former enemies the Saviors, Daryl couldn't let his beef with Dwight go. They load him into the vehicle. He tells him to go and keep going. Dwight pulls up to his old house and finds a note with the word "Honeymoon" and an infinity symbol on it from his wife.
A serene Carol (Melissa McBride), realizing the value of community, returned to the Kingdom. And Gabriel prays in his burned-down church. And they should - he rigged The Saviors' bullets and saved Hilltop from destruction. However, Rick was wrong in his decision not to kill Negan. "No, no, he killed Glenn!" she screamed, as Michonne held her back. Daryl backs her up.
"But Rick and Michonne?"
In a makeshift hospital room, Rick told a recovering Negan he would "rot in a cell", echoing the comic books. He says that by keeping him as a prisoner, he will be evidence that they are making a civilization.
Rick sat at the tree, said "my mercy prevails over my wrath", and broke down in tears, finally mourning his boy. I still don't see any real reason why Carl had to die to justify the ending of the season.
Viewers now know that scenario is a possibility, although the finale shrewdly planted the seeds for future discord (this is a drama, after all), emanating from those who had been Rick's closing allies.
I was surprised that Eugene did what he did. A few people rushed forward to help Negan and Maggie [Lauren Cohan] completely lost it. Viewing of "The Walking Dead" has already fallen off pretty dramatically, a byproduct of age, the overall gravity of a saturated TV marketplace and yes, missteps that the program has made along the way. But only time will tell if Maggie will feel the same in the future. Is Maggie right to bide her time and then show Rick why she thinks he is wrong? He managed to turn Denise's murderer into a conflicted human who represented a crucial plight in the new world: how do you maintain your humanity when your survival requires you to abandon it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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