In the past 18 months The Walking Dead’s ratings have plummeted, but with its season finale last night, the show had the chance to ditch its sluggish storyline, rediscover the things that made it great, and get things back on track for season 9. In many ways the finale was on the way to doing that – all our favourite main players are still around, and Negan has been defeated – but the season’s final moments have got fans whipped up into a frenzy.
Unlike the divisive finale of season 6, which ended just as Negan offed an unidentified member one of Rick’s gang, season 8 mainly ended happily. Eugene double-crossed Negan, using faulty bullets to take down his army of Saviours. At the end, Rick slashed Negan’s throat before getting him fixed up and putting him in a cell, living on as an example to anyone who goes against the law. As Rick let Negan be healed, Maggie had to be restrained by Michonne: “It’s not over till he’s dead!” she cried. Later in the episode, Maggie, Daryl and Jesus began to plot against Rick & Michonne, possibly with the intent to kill them. But why?
“We need our strength,” Maggie told Jesus as in the below clip. “The ability to defend ourselves better. We have to have that. But Rick & Michonne – Rick was wrong to do what he did. Michonne too. So we’re going to bide our time, wait for our moment, and then we’re going to show him.” Here Daryl stepped out of the shadows to say: “Yeah we will.”
Many fans expressed confusion at the shift in loyalties of the three characters. “That scene felt so out of character for all of them,” wrote one Twitter user.
More than one viewer highlighted Jesus’ pacifist role in recent episodes and highlighted his seeming hypocrisy in the scene. “I could understand Maggie and Daryl, but Jesus? The man who told Morgan not to kill?”