SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched the season 7 finale of The Walking Dead, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.”
We came into The Walking Dead’s season 7 finale on the brink of war. Rick was collecting both artillery and an army, while Negan was preparing counter-measures that appeared to include two former Alexandrians: Eugene and Sasha. Suffice it to say, we are no longer merely on the brink.
The TV adaptation moved firmly into the comic book’s “All Out War” arc as the battle was officially joined at Alexandria in the extended season-ender. And not everyone made it out alive. Following a storyline from The Walking Dead comics that involved a character named Holly, Sasha (who does not exist in the source material) was delivered by Negan back to Alexandria, but this time in a coffin. When the coffin was opened, she was revealed to be a zombie (thanks to that poison pill Eugene gave her) and attacked Negan, setting off a chaotic series of events that involved lots of gunfire, Rick being shot by Jadis, and Sasha ripping off the face of a Savior (but unfortunately not Negan).
While the Holly-turned-Sasha moment is a huge one from the comics, it was altered in several ways, perhaps because Fear the Walking Dead pulled almost the exact same stunt as the comic one in the season 2 episode “Captive,” apparently not even realizing it was something that came from the comic and might be used later on the original show.
“It’s just a similarity because I missed that issue,” Fear showrunner Dave Erickson told EW then about using the same bag-over-zombie prisoner delivery trick. “None of my EP partners mentioned that, so it is a coincidence. I guess it’s tricky when you’ve written as many issues as Robert [Kirkman] has, I guess it’s inevitable that there’s going to be moments when we echo something from the comic book, but it was not intentional, but if people want to take it as a homage, all the better.”
The episode began with a Sasha flashback to an intimate moment with the now-deceased Abraham that went back to the infamous decision to accompany Maggie to the Hilltop — a decision that ultimately cost Abraham his life. We got several more Sasha flashbacks along the way of both Abraham and Maggie, who also lost her love that same day in Glenn.
Meanwhile, Dwight convinced Rick and Daryl of his intent to help them take down Negan and the Saviors (as if it would ever be that easy), Morgan joined up with Ezekiel, Carol, and Shiva on their journey towards Alexandria, Jadis made plans to sleep with Rick, while Maggie weighed whether to put the Hilltop in the fight.
When Negan and the Saviors finally arrived at Alexandria, Rick and company were thrown by a devastating twist when Jadis and the junkyard gang turned the tables — and their guns — on the Alexandrians… which was almost as disturbing as once again hearing Eugene proclaim “I am Negan.”
Negan — the real Negan this time, not the Eugene Negan — then demanded all of Alexandria’s guns and lemonade, plus the pool table, plus Daryl, plus Rick had to pick someone to be on the receiving end of Lucille, or else Sasha would die. But after Negan opened up the coffin and zombie Sasha popped out, the Alexandrians had a bit of hope. Until they didn’t. And then with Negan approximately half a second away from introducing Carl’s brains to Lucille, the Kingdom and the Hilltop arrived to the rescue, pushing the intruders out.
The episode then ended with Negan telling the Saviors back at the Sanctuary, “We are going to war,” and Jesus and Maggie finding zombie Sasha in the woods, Daryl getting a “didn’t know” message from Dwight, the Alexandria, Kingdom, and Hilltop leaders together on a stage, with the final shot of Maggie holding Glenn’s watch.
We’ll have tons more finale coverage — including interviews with key cast and producers — coming up, so follow @DaltonRoss on Twitter for all the latest Walking Dead updates.