Rick and Negan's War Finally Reaches Its Climax in The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale

Morgan makes his exit in "Wrath" to cross over into the world of Fear the Walking Dead.

by | April 15, 2018 | Comments

Cooper Andrews as Jerry, Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The season 8 finale of The Walking Dead put Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) on a collision course as The Hilltop and Saviors finally went to war. Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) death may have paved the way for some epic action-packed episodes this season, but his wish for peace and prosperity fueled both men as they went to battle. When the dust settled, Morgan’s (Lennie James) time with Rick, Carol (Melissa McBride), and the rest of The Hilltop had ended, leading him on a new path: a trip to the equally dismal world of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead. While it seems a new world is on the horizon for The Walking Dead crew, the battle between mercy and wrath is only just beginning for the stick-wielding hero.


Lennie James as Morgan Jones - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

As with any war, the one on display in “Wrath” featured a lot of moving parts. In the end, though, most lingering loose ends were tied up rather nicely: Daryl (Norman Reedus) gave Dwight (Austin Amelio) closure and freedom, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) tapped into a surprising semblance of bravery and attempted a futile escape from Negan and Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Aaron (Ross Marquand) finally came through with the fiery assistance of The Oceanside crew. And since it’s The Walking Dead, Sunday’s episode once again showed just how quickly an audience’s perspective of a character can shift. Seriously, Eugene, you had us all fooled!

Fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the biggest moments from Sunday’s big finale episode.


Eugene proved himself to be quite the loathsome traitor. And yet, Sunday’s episode revealed he had a plan of his own. Either he was working long con at The Sanctuary this entire time, or his run-in with Rosita (Christian Serratos) sparked a change of heart in the man. Whatever the case, Negan’s bullet-maker did the unexpected by making each and every bullet in the Saviors’ artillery backfire. It was a glorious move straight out of the Wile E. Coyote playbook. As the man explained to Rosita after it all went down, “I created a modicum of phooey for a full kablooey.” It’s good to have you back, ya weirdo.


Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee, Tom Payne as Paul 'Jesus' Rovia, Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Since season 6, The Walking Dead has been steadily building to this moment. Rick and Negan, both wounded and battle worn, were finally fighting it out. If Negan’s death match with Simon (Steven Ogg) was any hint, this scene was sure to be as visceral as it was cathartic — for Rick, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), The Hilltop, and fans everywhere. Using Carl’s memory as a tool to take Negan off-guard, Rick swooped in for the kill and slashed the man’s throat. As harsh as it was, it was a move pulled straight out of Robert Kirkman’s comics.


Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Negan has been the best and worst thing to happen to The Walking Dead. The hype behind the big bad not only drowned the series in expectations, but the scenery-chewing villain overshadowed every character. That said, it looks like the leather-clad baddie will be hanging around a while. Viewers may not have been pleased with this choice, but Rick’s move to pick mercy over wrath was something straight out of the comics, as well. And while it’s hard not to wonder just how he knew such a throat injury wouldn’t be life threatening, keeping Negan alive will surely inspire the conflict the gang will face when The Walking Dead returns next season.


Fans everywhere cringed and screamed at Rick’s decision to spare Negan’s life. But no one was as furious about the whole fiasco than Maggie. This whole time, it looked like she and Rick were on the same path: to kill Negan at any cost. But as Rick found redemption, with Carl’s letter bringing back a welcome sense of clarity, Maggie’s vision had only been further clouded with rage. The memory of Glenn (Steve Yeun) may live on with her unborn baby, but that’s not enough. With Daryl and Jesus (Tom Payne) on her side, it looks like a civil war is brewing. Are Rick and Michonne about to meet their match?


Morgan is the spirit animal The Walking Dead deserves. His PTSD ultimately informs who he is: a man who loses himself when he loses those he loves. The Walking Dead — and Fear the Walking Dead for that matter — exist in a world steeped in loss and grief, with reminders of everyone’s mortality around every corner. As much as Rick touted a “New World” to the united community at the end of the episode, it seems that a fix isn’t within reach for Morgan. At least, not yet. He has demons he needs to deal with — and he’ll deal with them on Fear the Walking Dead.

Did you watch the crossover? What did you think? Will you watch Fear the Walking Dead to find out how Morgan’s story unfolds from here? Tell us in the comments.

The Walking Dead returns for season 9 later this year; Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 10/9C on AMC.

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