The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 16 review – The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
The season 7 finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead didn’t manage to do any favors to an already muddled season, reusing themes that have become unbearably redundant within the series. Offering more or less a rehashing of the season 3 finale, Rick’s’ group faced off against an opposing community that ultimately tucked tail and ran, they killed off a leading lady, and the season ended on a positive note that felt really out of place. Not even remotely unlike when they faced off against The Governor’s group who were driven back, Andrea was killed off (far too early I might add), and the season ended on a hopeful note that also felt….horribly out of place. Both season finales even closed with genuinely cory speeches.
The difference here was that more groups were involved, as well as an abundance of odd and unnecessary flashbacks, and they also tossed in a couple of highly predictable attempts at plot twists. Oh, and a tiger, which was the finales only truly redeeming aspect whatsoever. Shiva is the best battle cat since, er…Battle Cat (someone out there has to be old enough to remember the original He-Man cartoon). Unlike my previous reviews, I’ll take a different approach for the finale and will avoid recapping the details. Instead I’ll delve straight into discussing what I liked and didn’t. Below is our spoiler-heavy review:
As I mentioned in my review last week, Sasha was given an adaptation of Holly’s comic death. Although some of the details were altered, it was intended to have the same effect. Even expecting things would happen the way they did, it could have been a worthwhile send off for a long running character, but unfortunately that’s not how it played out. What went horribly wrong was that viewers knew ahead of time that she had no intention of staying alive long enough to be used against her people. Add in several excruciating flashback sequences of her and Abraham, who she dated for all of about 5 seconds (honestly who was even remotely invested in this supposed romance?), and the show gave away what should have been one of the finale’s biggest moments well before it even happened.
It was glaringly obvious that she wasn’t going to survive the episode, and they didn’t even pretend otherwise. Had they been less obvious, it would have been a truly great moment when she stepped out of that coffin zombified and lunged at Negan. Instead we were granted a really odd attempt at closure for her death before it even happened. I suppose some closure was given for Abraham, but we’ve since moved on since it happened in the premiere. Therefore all of these flashbacks really managed to do was take up screen time that could have been better utilized in more interesting ways.
Last week I also mentioned that the individuals feeding Negan information about Rick’s group was likely to be the junkyard group, and that they might be traitorous. Lo and behold, they turned on Rick’s group and we learned that they in fact made a better deal with the Saviors. Either Rick used to be one lousy cop, or this is simply terrible writing. In what world would Rick entrust a brand new group of people they know nothing about, let alone hunt down and turn over a bunch of much needed weapons to them? Has he not been repeatedly screwed over royally by strangers?
I have to assume that some viewers didn’t see this coming, and for them it may have been an exciting turn of events. But Negan mentioned that someone told him about Rick’s plans, and it really couldn’t have been anyone else. Before you think Dwight, it wasn’t him. That carved figure he left behind on which he wrote “didn’t know”…this is what he was referring to. He was unaware of the deal with the Scavengers (but hey, they’ve been given an official name, that’s almost exciting), otherwise he would have mentioned it. Admittedly, I absolutely loved that the garbage people showed up in actual garbage trucks, To be fair, that was pretty damn epic.
As seems to be a common theme lately, Rick, Michonne, and Carl were in the most danger. Or so we’re supposed to think? I wasn’t buying it and never have. The producers can say “no one is safe” on this show until they’re blue in the face, and I will absolutely not believe it for even a fraction of a second. Until they randomly kill off Daryl or something totally off the cuff, there are plenty of characters on this series who are quite safe.
At this point it’s more a matter of how they’ll manage to get out of said danger, which in this case turned out to be none other than Ezekie’s tiger Shiva in some really epic moments where she raged against the Saviors. I would sincerely like to know how a tiger knows which people are the bad guys when everyone is holding weapons, but let’s not ruin the one truly good thing that happened in the finale.
The fact that the Kingdom and the Hilltop showed up in the nick of time to save the day, at the same exact time nonetheless (I mean realistically, what are the chances?), was admittedly a hell of a lot of fun to watch. And Negan flipping them off as his group scampered away was pretty damn amusing. I even got a little bit giddy when Ezekiel declared “Alexandria will not fall today!”. Unfortunately my joy was ruined by unbearably long hopeful speeches from Maggie and Rick, done as a voiceover while the characters searched for Sasha’s animated corpse. It was probably intended to be emotional, but the only thing I felt was boredom. Maybe I’m a masochist, but I’ll take the emotionally brutal cliffhanger of last seasons finale over this sappy garbage any day.
I’m so disheartened with what this series has become that I genuinely wish I could quit. I don’t know if I keep coming back out of habit, or what my problem is (and I’m painfully aware that it is my problem), but I find myself tuning in every October. I’m in no way looking forward to another half a season or more of the situation with the Saviors finally getting resolved. And by resolved I mean not really, because Negan will not be killed off like people expect him to. Remember that jail cell that Morgan built in Alexandria how many seasons ago? That’s where Negan is ultimately going.
But hey, Dwight is working against Negan from right under his nose, Eugene is still drinking the Saviors kool-aid, Simon (a.k.a. my favorite loyal Savior) is still alive, the Kingdom is a heck of a lot of fun, and there are some really rad things from the comics that could be amazing if they don’t manage to screw them up. So here’s hoping next season sucks less.
Image credits: AMC, FOX