The Walking Dead season 8 finale: is there a future for Negan?


The balance of power, in which Negan is on top and everyone else labours beneath, has been completely upended. Morgan did not have to watch the first three seasons to understand what is happening... Jesus (remember him?) has been preaching pacifism and second chances. Allegiances have shifted back and forth, characters have turned heel and then gone back to being faces, and so on and so forth. He adds that if he comes back, he's going to kill him. And compared to Carl's untimely death midway through what's been a problematic season, the idea that the show would kill off a character many viewers are growing exhausted of, Negan's death made some handsome sense - but not for long. And Jesus, you know, he would not have killed the surrendering Saviors, but he's not Morgan. Rick, at times, has been brutal.

Yep. In the end, Rick refused to kill Negan, fulfilling his son's dying wish.

Then Rick blinks, makes a big speech, and all the Saviors-who just literally tried to gun down everyone Rick's ever known only to be betrayed by Eugene's faulty ammunition-are suddenly free to go with the caveat that if they step out of line in the new world, they'll pay the price. Could there be a peaceful resolution when this "all-out war" finally ends? They had a little shuffle and Negan got the upper hand for a while, just long enough to blame Rick again for Carl's death.

"Look what you did". He adds that that's what he wants to do with his life, and he owes that life to Maggie. But then Rick had a change of heart and despite an impassioned plea from Maggie who finally reached the end of her emotional rope, Rick demanded Negan be saved and live as example of the new world Carl wanted. The performance is managed well by Greg Nicotero, with McDermitt and Seth Gilliam coming across strongly.

Nicotero also handles the show's big set piece admirably, as well. And for a moment, Negan hesitates, seeming to consider what Rick is saying. She's full Maggie Corleone. 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.

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Rick hasn't been the greatest leader, it's true, but if Gimple and company think the way to win back fans is a survivor mutiny I think there's trouble ahead for more people than Rick. For those few seconds, he described an optimistic future in which he and Negan could work side-by-side - and appeared to win over his enemy, as Negan's eyes began to well up with tears. Will the remaining Saviors make an attempt to free their boss?

Maggie and Alden are totally going to hook up, right? The question is, just how long had Eugene been planning this?

One of the problems season eight had was with its pacing. On one of those decoys, Rick will find a map showing where Negan will be; however, it will be a trap, as Rick and his group will be surrounded by Saviors and won't survive the attack.

Earlier in the season, the show included a gauzy flash-forward sequence that depicted a bearded Rick and pointed toward a more harmonious future - one in which Negan, jarringly, still had a place.

Negan will be back, there's no doubt about that. After all, as Negan reminds Rick, he always gets out of it, whatever it might be.