'The Walking Dead' finale mercifully brings Negan war to an end

Jamie McCarthy  Getty Images

Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Following The Walking Dead Season 8 finale, fans must prepare themselves to see their favorite characters return to Fear the Walking Dead for an epic crossover.

As Negan had planned, Rick's group massacred the decoy Saviors at a road block that had been on Dwight's fake map, but Negan had planted another map on one of the doomed Saviors.

And after a climactic battle in which many of Negan's followers, the Saviours, were wiped out by their own defective bullets, Rick seemed willing to do just that. Rick letting Negan live is done in his memory, but the weight of that decision is somewhat removed when Carl himself is no longer around to see it. Through his escape, it appeared as if Eugene had thrown in with Negan once and for all, but what seemed to be confirmation of Eugene's turn to the dark side was, in fact, just a ruse. As Negan was starting to listen, Rick reached out and slashed his throat with a piece of broken glass, wounding, but not killing him. Finally, Negan asks that Gabriel ride along so he can confess his sins. But that change of heart might have had as much to do with Morgan's vision of dead Savior Jared, who told Morgan he couldn't kill his way out of things, as anything Jesus said. I really think that Rick has the right idea on building the future. After the mishap with the guns, The Saviors no longer hold an advantage over Rick's group; some try to keep fighting, but most throw up their hands in surrender.

Instead, the show plays out in similar fashion to the comics, with Rick instructing Siddiq to save Negan's life, which he does despite the improbability of survival after losing so much blood.

But that's not all that was going on in her head, as revealed in those all-too-interesting final moments. This is the kind of emotional intra-community conflict that we haven't really seen since Shane, and which the show has been sorely lacking. Viewing of "The Walking Dead" has already fallen off pretty dramatically, a byproduct of age, the overall gravity of a saturated TV marketplace and yes, missteps that the program has made along the way. Also, we learned that Jadis' real name is Ann ... so there is that.

"Rick was wrong to do what he did". Considering the death count this season (we're looking at you Carl), fans were really anxious about whether any of their favorites would die. This leaner approach allows the series to feel nimble and unpredictable where The Walking Dead can be bloated and lumbering-especially in recent seasons. Not right away, of course, but in the near future things are going to get awkward between Rick and Maggie. Michonne too. So we're gonna bide our time, wait for our moment. However it goes, we're hoping for Maggie's story to get bigger and better as it goes on, even if it means Rick's downfall. Comics Negan does indeed rot in jail for about two years, but when the new villains are introduced-the Whisperers, a ruthless gang who wear zombie skin and wander among the walkers-Negan ends up actually working alongside Rick to defeat them.

The actor admitted that the historic crossover can be traced back to a conversation he had with Scott Gimple, executive producer and former showrunner of The Walking Dead who has since been tasked with overseeing the entire AMC franchise.

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