Another year, another season has passed with “The Walking Dead” delivering one of its most intense story arcs yet. The producers promised “All Out War” and that’s exactly what we got, with Rick Grimes and his army giving all or nothing to Negan and the Saviors. Though the season wasn’t without its faults (ahem—Morales) there were some great twists and turns and an epic finale. Here are ten moments that stunned and shocked us this season.
10. “You wanna be the man, you gotta beat the man.”
It’s a particularly depressing moment for Negan as a leader when his number one right hand man decides to usurp him and take control of the Saviors. After fighting his way back to his village, Negan catches Simon plotting a mutiny, and Simon challenges him to a fight for control. Of course, Negan wins, strangling him to death and tying him up as a walker making it clear that in the Saviors, he’s the man. No one else.
9. The Scavengers are Slaughtered
Episode: The Lost and the Plunderers
While Negan murders people, he does so for a reason or to make an example. He considers them “resources.” It comes back to bite him in the ass when his right hand mane Simon makes a point of not just defying most of his rules, but also completely slaughter the Scavengers before leader Jadis’ eyes. It’s a huge turning point in the Saviors.
P.S. How awesome is Jadis’ apartment? It’s no wonder she refuses to leave the landfill.
8. Rick takes a Polaroid of Negan post-battle
One of the quicker but funnier moments of the opening salvo of “All Out War” is when Rick and the army have Negan cornered in his shelter, and watch as he’s surrounded at all corners by walkers. As a last “fuck you,” Rick stops to take a picture of Negan in a rare vulnerable position.
7. Rick and Daryl fight post battle
Episode: The Big Scary U
Daryl and Rick are on uneasy terms despite focusing on bringing down the Saviors, and this all culminates in a confrontation that hearkens back to a classic moment from season one. As Daryl is anxious to end the war by blowing the Saviors up with a lot of explosives, Rick believes there are helpless people who can be saved. As they disagree, it boils down to a hand to hand fight with Daryl bringing Rick in to a choke hold. After the fight breaks, Rick mutters “Choke Hold’s illegal, asshole.” It’s a classic callback to one of my favorite moments of season one.
6. Jesus and Morgan Tussle
With Morgan once again growing increasingly violent, he eventually loses his bearings and insists on attacking some of the Saviors. With the interference of Jesus, who is more about sparing the lives of some of their prisoners, the two eventually go head to head in a very vicious one on one fight in the middle of the woods. It’s a shocking confrontation, but one involving two genuinely opposite ideals.
5. The Death of Shiva
Episode: Some Guy
Holding true to the comics, the death of Shiva is a heartbreaking moment in the middle of All Out War. With King Ezekiel at his lowest, he finds himself prey to a slew of walkers stuck in a pit, and as one bit of final sacrifice, Shiva comes to his rescue, allowing him to flee with Carol and Jerry. But the walker pack is too much and she’s torn to pieces as Ezekiel looks on in horror, bawling in grief and desperately trying to come to her aide. By then it’s too late, and Shiva displays one last act of love.
4. Eugene’s Ace in the Hole
By the episode before the finale I was certain that there was no room for Eugene to redeem himself. Such a complex character being reduced to a slimy heel for Negan was infuriating and I felt was a disservice to the actor playing him. Thankfully though Eugene doe manage when, after completing a whole slew of ammunition for Negan, manages to rig his fire arms and bullets which explode in the faces and hands of the Saviors. Instantly Negan goes from winning the war, to running for his life, and it’s all thanks to Eugene who is thankfully still fighting for Rick.
3 .Negan’s Chemical Warfare
Episode: Do Not Send Us Astray
Negan devises a scheme that no one has thought about since the beginning of the series. As a mans of bringing down Rick’s army, Negan and his group taint their weapons with walker blood. After an assault, those injured by the tainted weapons die in their sleep and begin rising from the dead attacking their allies, in easily the most horrific moment of the season. It’s a reminder that no matter what, the walkers are still the number one threat.
2. The Walking Dead: Civil War?
Much to the horror of Maggie, after Rick beats Negan, he slices his throat bringing him down for the count—and then lets him live. Before the eyes of everyone, he displays a shocking amount of mercy, allowing the Saviors to turn around and go back home, and decides to imprison Negan. As Maggie screeches, insisting Negan has to die, Rick argues that there has to be another way. Despite the major polarizing decision, Maggie returns to the Hilltop and has now declared war on Rick Grimes. With the stunning revelation, she announces she’s biding her time and waiting to prove to Rick and Michonne that they are no longer friends. And she does so with the assistance of Jesus. And Daryl.
1. The Death of Carl Grimes
Episode/s: How It’s Gotta Be, Honor
It’s too early to tell if the Death of Carl Grimes is a big move forward that the series might need, or if it’s a shot in the foot that will hobble the show. With a new showrunner, it remains to be seen what new developments the series has in store, but with Rick Grimes’ main motivation for surviving the apocalypse, we have to wonder what’s next and can’t help but be a bit worried. After chasing their new ally Siddiq in to the woods, Carl attempts to befriend him and integrate him in to the clan. Fighting off a couple of walkers in the woods and barely making it,
Carl and Siddiq make it back to Alexandria in time to help thwart an ambush by the Saviors. As he takes the survivors underground, Rick and Michonne arrive, horrified to see Carl lying on the ground and reveal a large bite wound on his stomach. Carl Grimes’ death is a process for the audience as much as it is for the characters, and seeing him on his last days is a look at him squeezing the pleasures out of life one last time before he says goodbye. It’s a heartbreaking ending to a unique, riveting and sometimes frustrating character.