May 3, 2018 The Walking Dead – Wrath (Season 8/ Episode 16 Review)
Ever since his first appearance in AMC The Walking Dead’s Season 6 finale back on April 3, 2016, Last Day on Earth, the battle against Negan has been highly anticipated. A downward spiral beginning with Glenn and Abraham, The Saviors have been a serious thorn in everyone’s side, and the moment finally arrived during Season 8’s finale when Rick puts an end to it all. Wrath, first airing on Sunday, April 15, 2018, over 2 years since the whole Negan ordeal began, the outcome may have been a shock to those unfamiliar with the comic, but the story carries on in an unknown direction as viewers look toward Season 9.
Approaching the ‘final battle,’ with both strategies finally in play, ironically, it is Eugene who makes the win for Rick possible. Catching everyone off guard, altering the bullets was inspired by Gabriel, leaving Eugene right where he was supposed to be after all. Additionally, when face to face with Negan, Rick choose mercy over wrath, defeating him, but allowing him to live. His plan to cage Negan and make an example of him is disapproved by Maggie, who seems to be starting a plan of her own to rid the world of Negan, sparking a possible civil war. In the meantime, everyone involved turns to rebuild, and begin new lives to live peacefully amongst each other. Fine and dandy for a brief moment, how will it all turn out next season?
Taking two full seasons to complete, the moment fans had been waiting for finally arrived with quite a few scenes that brought on cheers – Oceanside fighting alongside the Hilltop, Eugene altering The Saviors’ bullets, and Rick distracting Negan long enough to finally take him down. Love him or hate him, Negan will still be around for a while, honoring the original story from the comic. Although pre-written, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has truly made this character his own, displaying moments of humanity despite being the villain. Even the mention of Carl’s name was enough to bring tears to his eyes, and it should be interesting to see this character evolve now that the roles have switched back to Rick calling the shots.
Now over this threshold, it will be exciting to see where the story of The Walking Dead goes next, but hopefully it will be in a more timely fashion than Seasons 7 and 8. There is still a lot to look forward to such as the political figure that came and saw Maggie, the mysterious helicopter that appeared over the dump, and the whereabouts of Heath (last appearing in the episode Swear in November of 2016), just to name a few. Additionally, it was intriguing to connect the timeline of Fear the Walking Dead with Morgan, directly continuing the Season 4 premiere from the Season 8 finale. It raises the question if these shows plan to merge eventually, but that is anyone’s guess right now.
A finale full of memorable moments, Siddiq’s’ brief moment with Rick talking about Carl’s death was truly heartfelt. While it is hard to say if he and Rick will ever be friends, his words will surely stick with the grieving father. More importantly, it will be interesting to see the evolvement of Rick going into Season 9 and how he plans to handle things, especially if Maggie goes against him. The loss of Carl is surely devastating, but Rick oddly seems at peace, carrying on his son’s final wishes and beginning a new world. Not to be overlooked, the mega herd seen from the battlefield should stand out to the comic readers, and they could be the newest threat to follow Negan, throwing in a twist to the usual walkers.
A long haul, after so much loss, the threat of Negan finally appears to be over and it feels like a breath of fresh air. Many would argue this moment took way too long to get to, but the story now has the potential to move in a new direction. Teasing the connection with Fear the Walking Dead, there could be more surprises to come, bigger and better than ever. One thing is for sure, the new world is growing as well as evolving, and fans can choose to either embrace it or not as everyone patiently awaits the next chapter come October. Until then, CrypticRock gives Wrath 3 out of 5 stars.
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