We open the season six finale of The Walking Dead with a look at Morgan, who finds that horse that the mysterious stranger in episode 15 was looking for. We also catch up to the lone survivor of the confrontation with Carol – he’s not looking so hot. A quick cutaway offers us a glimpse of Alexandria, specifically Carl, who plans on heading for the hilltop in search of his father and the others, though he’s also hoping to get in contact with a doctor because Maggie’s having some issues with her pregnancy. The remainder of the group – Rick and company – are preparing to make a move. It’s time for war.
Out in the brush we see a group of Saviors surrounding a man we don’t know. These guys have some bad intentions and that is obvious. A beating ensues. We also see that Morgan, now riding the horse, has found Carol. It looks like she’s been shot. Back to the stranger and the manner in which he’s being handled. The name of the game is rough and the Saviors know it well. They drag the man into the middle of the street.
The Saviors, still circling the man in the street, come face to face with Rick, who meet the group while in transit. The group doesn’t plan on clearing the road, and Rick’s a little aggressive. However, with Abraham behind the wheel, Rick’s group hits reverse and opts for another route.
After a brief commercial break we return to see the group pulled over to the side of the road in their RV. They’re planning another means of entrance to the hilltop. They establish an alternative route and get to gettin’.
We return our focus to Morgan and Carol. From the looks of it Morgan has been busy patching the wounded Carol up. Morgan’s giving a strong but condensed speech, ensuring her that her people need her. She’s tired of killing and uncertain she can continue to end lives. Morgan’s very insistent and Carol is doing everything she can to refuse a return to Alexandria. Morgan’s having trouble getting the woman to return to the few individuals she still cares about.
After pursuing another route of travel Rick and the gang again run into a roadblock. More of the Saviors are standing and waiting. The group is being boxed in and we know early that the reason for that is a forced encounter with Negan. Will he be among this group? No. The gang turns around and moves on, presumably to attempt yet another route, if possible.
Another move and we’re back to following Morgan, who’s now on foot, walking slowly through a community of sorts. We get one of the coolest moments of the season when we see a walker hanging. Sure, that hanging took him out of the human race, but he’s still here, all zombified and ready to feast on brains. Morgan climbs the small tower from which he hangs and buries a blade in his eye socket, cutting the body down seconds later. Morgan returns to the deserted home that he and Carol have taken temporary residence in. Carol is gone and Morgan is once more on the move, trailing the woman.
Now hitting their third option, the group runs into yet another roadblock. This time there are not a bunch of Saviors standing their ground, but a string of chained up walkers. When they decide to chop the walkers down, gunshots ring out and we see that the Saviors have been waiting in the tree line to ambush the group. Somehow no one is hit during the shootout, and Rick gets his people out of there.
Mid-way through the episode and the tension is building. Negan will make his first screen appearance in a matter of minutes. Rick’s looking stressed at the situation, and he realizes the Saviors must have been shooting at their feet as it seems a near impossibility that they could miss every shot.
More road, more roadblocks.
Carol’s still on the move. She runs into someone else, and it’s not someone she’s eager to see. Carol comes face to face with the survivor of the road incident featured in last week’s episode. He winds up on top in the situation and soon has a firearm trained at Carol’s head. The man shoots her after informing her of his plans, to sit and watch her die.
We return from another break to see Rick comforting Maggie. They’re still trying to get to the hilltop, to no success. Carol is also in a pretty miserable position. The man she met on the street shoots her again after she expresses happiness at the thought of no longer having to struggle in life. The man decides he’s heard enough of her and he raises the gun for the final shot. But Morgan halts it, drawing down on the man. He’s forced to shoot, and shoot he does. He kills the man where he stands. And moments later the man who ran off in search of his horse appears. And he seems peaceful, offering help. Is this the beginning of a new relationship?
Rick encounters another roadblock in their fourth stop. They also encounter the stranger we saw having his ass handed to him in the episode’s earliest moments. This time he’s not being beaten, he’s pushed off the side of an overpass to hang in front of the group. The message is clear and we understand that their headed somewhere, whether they initially realized it or not.
Eugene and Rick get together and develop something of a plan. They’re splitting up, with Rick and __ head one way while Eugene heads in the opposite direction. In this moment we get a really cool, emotional moment between the two. It ends with a hug and a mutual respect that Eugene no doubt never expected. Excellent moment that somehow does a reasonable job of steering clear of the cheese. And like that, Eugene is off and now very unlikely to survive long. But, he’s going to be the distraction that Rick needs to get through the barricades.
20 minutes remain in the episode, which has thus far been an enjoyable affair. We’ve seen a few huge season finales over the last half-decade, so this likely pales when compared to a few past episodes. But it’s a good one all the same. There’s nothing more uplifting than watching the bad guys get handled like fresh inmates. Right?
Anyhoo, back to business with a look at Rick and the gang cutting through the woods. It’s definitely their best bet, but what does that mean? Just to make it very clear, we hear whistling within a matter of seconds. They’re not alone in the woods. A car’s lights illuminate the darkened sky. Their completely surrounded by Saviors. Too many to count, and now, no way out for Rick or any of his people.
A representative for the Saviors speaks, doing a little taunting and ordering them all to their knees. They oblige and we await the introduction of Negan with a commercial break.
It turns out Rick and his group have some company. Negan’s got everyone, and the Saviors soon haul out all others. Daryl’s present, Glenn – every major player is here, and so is Negan.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan in full Negan getup is pretty menacing. He’s edgy and a little sarcastic, which is quite true to the source material – this is Negan on page, come to life. Kudos to AMC.
Negan’s opening speech is very easy to understand. The man is clear. He’s taking 50-percent of everything they have, no negotiations. Negan lays out his full demands. He lets them know they’re going to pay. He’s going to “beat the holy hell” out of one of them.
Who does he choose? We don’t know for certain, and all the rumors and leaked footage have proven accurate and clearly depict the very moment we see on screen. It seems likely that Negan picks Glenn, but we really can’t be too sure. It’s a frustrating moment for fans. On one hand it was great seeing Negan make his way into the mix. He’s great, and Morgan looks to be a quality casting choice. On the other, we’re left on a complete cliffhanger and now we’ve got to wait months until the story resumes.
I’m not dissatisfied with the episode, and I think Morgan’s going to be great. This 90 minute episode moved at a rapid rate and as a fan who’s been attached through every episode and every issue of the comic run, I appreciate that. It’s also easy to get behind the Negan character, who’s equal parts menace and comedic buddy, and the casting selection. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a standout performer, but you know this isn’t the easiest personality to wrangle. All in all, this is an impressive episode and it’s got me already itching for the seventh season.