I give this episode a 55 on Robin's Scale.
Overall, weak sauce for me; very anticlimatic.
From a Comic Book and TV Show perspective, they did manage to tie some story elements together in this episode that are in both mediums. Hey, that kind of attention to the audience was kind of nifty (for us folks that follow both), but what about the price of doing that? I was surprised by the outcome of the war. Inspite of Eugene's clever work with the bullets, I felt it kind of ended with a wimper after two seasons of building it out and up.
I feel like I am not exactly sure what this season built up to or into. The goals and objects of the war seems different for different characters. I never felt a victory or an impact when someone was eliminated on either side. It always felt like the focus wasn't about how people affected the plot but rather how certain individual members of the groups vacillated between wanting to capture or kill the enemy. All season long they did play with who's ideology of civilization was better here and there (Negan's or Rick's), however I felt that got buried a lot of the time; perhaps this was due to a lack of coherent story-line.
*Eugene* gets wedged back into the Alexandria fold by surprising everyone with bad ammunition to bring the war to a quick anticlimatic halt. It was never fully clear who's side he is on since Negan led him away a few seasons ago. Then again, we can explain away that by simply saying he's a coward doing what he needs to do at the time for whomever he's a captive of. That bent of thought preserves him as the shows best wild card (besides Negan).
*Dwight* gets to see if Sherry got his note and she does and it's clear she still loves him. As a couple they have had to keep their relationship on the down low because of Negan, however their relationship has been off and on.
*Daryl* lets Dwight go and has it in for Rick because he kept Negan alive. Why did he let Dwight go if he believes in an eye for an eye? (See: the Bad). Wouldn't going after Rick make sense if he killed Dwight?
*Morgan* seems to go between being normal and believing that everyone ends up being a zombie so you might as well kill everyone before that happens.
*Rick* seems to go between believing everyone deserves a second chance and showing no mercy.
*Negan* seemed to be fairly consistent as a character (no vacillation) and one can even argue that due to his interactions with Carl, Simon, Dwight and Rick that he is more complex than expected.
*Simon* evolved from doing Negan's bidding to doing what he wanted to. One can argue, he didn't flip back and forth. He evolved into doing his own thing which eventually cost him his life.
Does Negan being put in jail technically make him a potential wildcard in the future?
* Who would have thought stain glass windows hanging from a tree (in the middle of nowhere) would have provided the glass shard used to end the war by opening up Negan's throat? Aren't they clever for putting the stain glass puffy red eyed Rick scenes all the way at the beginning of the season as a foreshadow. (Why is Rick puffy eyed BTW after defeating Negan? Shouldn't that be a cause for celebration? No doubt it must be because Carl isn't there to celebrate that with him. Is it a victory though?)
* How convenient was that slash Rick did that allowed Negan to live if he held pressure on the wound? How confusing was that?
Certain things that happened hint of bigger settlements that are out there:
* Heath's glasses being found next to a key card.
* The door to door trio riding around the countryside in a van looking for vinyl in exchange for their freaky 'do it yourself' guide to survival in the apocalypse.
* The junkyard having a helipad and both Rick and Negan seeing a helicopter and Jaddis waiting for one.
Other things were left with no resolution, however for how long?
* Negan not paying for Abraham or Glen's deaths.
* Dwight not paying for Denise's death.
Summary with comments:
* Rick responds to Carl with a letter of his own. He talks about a memory with Carl where he was leading him down a road and then realized that all that time Carl was leading him down a path instead. For me, this taps into the notion that teaching children leads to them teaching the parents important life lessons. I think Carl is trying to impart a life lesson of humanity over ego. This has been said by Rick, Carl, Jesus and a few other characters this season and last season.
* Negan sets up his own men by having them be at the points he marked on the map that Dwight gave to Gregory. He did this so Rick would put his crew into a hilltop position (overlooking a massive swarm of walkers) that is surrounded by Saviors.
* Saviors attack the Hilltop. Tara has them escape through a tunnel. The Saviors are firebombed by the Oceansiders.
* Eugene has his crew make bullets improperly which causes all the Savior's weapons to explode in their hands; ending the war against the Saviors.
* Rick slashes Negan's throat from a piece of glass that came from a hanging pane of painted glass on a tree in the middle of nowhere. Apparently there's a species of tree which bears fruit that looks like painted glass that can be made into shards that can be used for killing. How convenient! He orders Siddiq to save him which causes Maggie and several others to start screaming in an uproar because they want him dead.
* The Saviors that were surrounding them all surrender and the war is over.
* Rick and Michonne want to keep Negan alive to rot in prison and show everyone how there are other ways for humans to coexist other than this old way.
* Maggie, Daryl and Jesus think keeping Negan alive was wrong (although Rick was right about the Saviors) and they will make their move against Rick and Michonne when they have enough forces. (Not sure what that means exactly.) Will they kill just Negan or also Rick and Michonne? It's hard to tell how severe the impact of their words are.
* Father Gabriel visits the burned out church in Alexandria and thanks God for helping him see.
* Morgan decides to go. He visits Jaddis who he persuades to go be with Rick while he takes up temporary residency there.
* Jesus, Carol and Rick stop by the junkyard and try and persuade Morgan to come back, however he doesn't want to.
* Morgan runs, walks and takes cars all the way to Texas.
* Morgan runs into a gun slinger, a videographer and is ambushed by other members of the cast of the Fear of the Walking Dead.
* Jaddis' real name is Anne.
* I actually like that they captured Negan. He's too complex to get off that easy. His death has to be a grand spectacle (hopefully an ironic one where he saves someone by giving up his own life). How good would that be?
* Inconsistent Daryl behavior. Daryl lets' Dwight go after killing Denise, yet he wants Negan dead?
Not sure what the thought process is there. Perhaps he couldn't stop Denise from getting killed, however he didn't have to hit one of the Saviors that ended up with Glen Rhee being executed?
* The war ends with a wimper. No major characters die any sort of dramatic spectacular deaths. All extras paying the price. Basically the Alexandrians are surrounded; some taunting by the Saviors; firearms backfiring; surrenders; Rick and Negan fight and it quickly.
* What happened to Heath?
* Who owns the helicopter?
* Can Father Gabriel see now?
* Where is Sherry?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?
* What exactly is Maggie waiting for with Rick? Is she waiting for a weakness in his defenses? A clear margin of force of Alexandria? Unclear.