Oh, the emotions!
On The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 16 the lengthy and drawn-out war between AHK and the Saviors finally came to a dramatic and definitive end. Rick's group -- along with the aid from some unlikely allies -- helped turn the tide in AHK's favor and finally put an end to Negan's regime.
Given how rushed The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 15 felt, I had some concerns going into the finale. Would the 70-minute runtime be enough to conclude this entire arc satisfyingly?
The answer is a resounding: Yes!
In the end, Rick's mercy prevailed over his wrath. Of course, Rick saving Negan is not the outcome most viewers want to see, but when it comes down to it, allowing Negan to live was the only way this conflict could have ended.
Casualties are inevitable in any war, and while the death toll increasingly rose for both sides over the past two seasons. Going into The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale and especially with the title of "Wrath," you would assume that we'd see bodies pile up during the hour.
But when all was said and done in the culmination of this war, there was very little bloodshed.
I have to admit, I was shocked that Rick walked right into Negan's trap. Granted, Rick and the group had every right to trust that Negan's "plan" was legit, considering that Dwight hadn't led them wrong in the past.
It's understandable that Rick wanted the war to be over, but he just seemed far too quick to jump at the chance.
And as expected, Rick led his group right Negan's hands. Epic facepalm!
That brings me to the biggest twist of the finale. My man Eugene came through and sabotaged the ammunition he made for the Saviors!
I never gave up on Eugene, and there was no better feeling than to see him come through in the end as the Saviors weapons backfired on them. And just like that, what was an incredibly dire situation quickly turned into a victory.
However, that twist does draw attention to the simple fact that had it not been for Eugene, Rick would have led his people to certain death.
Initially, I thought tampering with the ammo was Eugene's plan all along, but later on, he stated that it was only after Rosita's words to him and Gabriel's attempt to sabotage the ammo is what ended up turning Eugene around.
Eugene gave up a life of luxury and safety with the Saviors in exchange for helping his friends. It was the most selfless move Eugene could make. And for someone who has proven himself to be selfish time and time again, it was a huge game changer, and Eugene deserves to be commended.
When Tara went back to hold off the Saviors arriving at Hilltop, I thought that was the end for her. Luckily, things didn't do down that way.
As expected, Oceanside showed up to lend a hand. While their appearance didn't play as much of a significant role in turning the tide against the Saviors as I initially predicted, it was still incredibly exciting to see them finally come to the rescue.
We are cleaning house today, Rick!Negan
The moment we'd all been waiting for finally arrived when Rick and Negan had their final confrontation, although the ending wasn't what many expected.
Rick appeared to be getting through to Negan until the colossal shocker came which put a smile on millions of viewers faces when Rick sliced Negan's throat!
As unexpected and satisfying as that was to watch, allowing Negan to die would have ultimately meant that Carl's death was in vain. Rick finally embraced Carl's words and knew that there had to be something else after everything they'd all been through together.
We're not gonna kill you, we're not gonna hurt you. You're gonna rot in a cell.Rick
It was inspiring to hear Rick telling the Saviors that the world was all of theirs by right and that they can work together to find common ground. It was almost identical to the speech Rick gave AHK during the opening moments of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1.
Can these groups coexist now that Negan is out of the picture? Based on the fact that the Saviors were already growing crops for bartering, is a promising start
So what's next for Negan? Well, remember the cell that Morgan built in Alexandria on The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 14? That wasn't forgotten and will most likely end up being Negan's new home.
Death would be too good for him, and permitting Negan to live out the rest of his life behind bars while society flourishes without him is the best punishment he could get.
Have mercy prevail over my wrath.Rick
Hopefully, Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom can begin to rebuild and create a world that resembles the one that Carl envisioned.
At the very least, with the conflict with the Saviors having come to an end, Rick and his group can enjoy a period of peace.
Lord knows they've earned it.
However, now there's the new pressing matter of Jesus, Maggie, and Daryl conspiring against Rick. I understand Maggie's frustration with Rick letting Negan live, but starting a civil war is not the answer.
That's one interesting situation that will be present when The Walking Dead returns.
The final shot of Rick walking off with a young Carl and Rick writing a post-mortem letter to his son was incredibly emotional. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time, incredibly uplifting remembering the better days, and how things can be that way again.
With the Savior threat over, I'd like to think that this series now has a clean slate and a blank canvas to paint on to take this series in fascinating new directions. Similarly to Georgie's encouraging words to Maggie a few episodes back, I expect great things from this series when it returns.
I'm glad Morgan knocked Henry on his ass; that was long overdue.
Jadis' real name is Anne? I'm eager to learn more about her next season, and we'll get the chance to, now that Rick invited her to join Alexandria.
Will Dwight find his wife Sherry? Is she still alive?
Now that Gabriel has gained a "new sight," perhaps he can begin to find his faith again.
Where the heck was Aaron? He did his part in getting Oceanside to show up, but he was nowhere to be found.
Jerry has a new battle ax!
- It appears Alden will be sticking around at Hilltop, and Maggie seems to like that idea.
Now it's time to hear from you, TV Fanatics.
What did you think of The Walking Dead Season Finale? Are you happy that the All Out War arc has finally been brought to a close? Where you satisfied with Negan's final confrontation with Rick and his punishment? What are Maggie's intentions with Rick and Michonne? What are your hopes for Season 9?
Sound off below and let me know!
The war might be over, but be sure to catch the season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.
Want to relive the epic final confrontation between AHK and the Saviors? Be sure to watch The Walking Dead online right here at TV Fanatic.
Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.