A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 7 Finale: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”

Dear Lord, please don’t let us end with another cliffhanger.

The episode begins with Sasha listening to music in darkness.  We soon flash back to her having some make-out time with a happy Abraham.  He didn’t want to wake her up since she’s been pulling late shifts, but Maggie’s in trouble and Rick is taking her to a doctor at the Hilltop.  Abraham knows things between him and Sasha just started, but before he can say more, Sasha interrupts and says that she doesn’t want him to leave.

In the present, Negan welcomes Sasha to episode title- I mean, the first day of the rest of her life.  He presents a tray of food and tells her that she’s going to help him make sure things get back on track since she’s smart and doesn’t suffer.  Negan doesn’t want to watch her die, so she doesn’t have to, but someone, or even a few people, must die.

The two of them are going to help solve some shit, so Sasha should eat up for the big day: and it’s pancakes and fruit.  How sweet.  Sasha asks what Negan needs.  We then get a brief flash between Sasha and Maggie sitting.

Over in Alexandria, Rick demands that Dwight explain why he wants to help, and Dwight’s answer is that he wants Negan dead.  He can’t do it himself because the Saviors are all Negan.  Tara brings up Dwight killing Denise, but when Dwight mentions that he wasn’t aiming for her, Daryl rushes forward and holds him at knife point.  However, Dwight is ready to die.  He apologizes to Daryl for what he’s done.

He knows that what he did was wrong, but he did it for Sherry, and now she’s gone.  So here he is.  And so is Daryl, all because of what she did.  Even though he knows that the others won’t trust him, Dwight insists that he’s telling the truth right.  Despite Tara egging him on, Daryl doesn’t kill Dwight.  Jesus believes that Dwight may be the key to getting Sasha, and Dwight mentions that Negan is coming tomorrow with three trucks in tow.

He can slow the Saviors down by bringing down a few trees, thus allowing Alexandria to get ready.  If the Saviors are killed, Dwight can radio back to the Sanctuary and report that everything is fine.  From there, Rick and the others can drive the trucks, hopefully save Sasha, build numbers with the workers, and hopefully end this by taking out the Saviors at each outpost.

As Dwight leaves, Daryl tells Rick that if Dwight is lying, he’ll die a slow death.  Hell, even once this is all over, Daryl still wants to kill Dwight.  But Rick counters that if Dwight is lying, this is already over.

We return to Sasha listening to her music as we flash back to her talking with Abraham, who reminds Sasha that she had a dream about him dying.

And then Negan finishes telling Sasha about his plan.  The people will stand down upon seeing her, and then Lucille gets her three and everyone moves forward with a new understanding.  Sasha doesn’t want anyone to die, but Negan needs to see someone punished.  Punishment is how they build everything they have.  And he warns Sasha not to get too uppity, as she’s not letting him do anything.

Still, she doesn’t want anyone to die.  Okay, Negan proposes that just one person has to die.  Sasha is fine with those terms.  They’ll be leaving in 45 minutes.

After another flashback of Sasha and Maggie sitting, we return to the Hilltop, where Jesus informs Maggie of Rick’s plan.  She wants to leave the Hilltop and will have to decide right now.  Gregory is gone, but Jesus is glad that Maggie is calling the shots.  She doesn’t how to do so right now, but Jesus is sure that she can.  Enid gives Maggie back the pocket watch before heading off with Judith.

Ezekiel and some Kingdom warriors find a row of shopping carts blocking the road.  Morgan, now armed with a spear, tells Carol that he plans to ambush the Saviors on his own.  Although if Morgan does this and the Saviors find out, they’ll think it was the Kingdom and, as a result, the Kingdom could lose its advantage.  Ezekiel asks Morgan if he wants to extinguish all of who he is.  He doesn’t seek it, but he’s stuck.

Ezekiel realizes that Morgan wants the Saviors dead and tells him to accompany them because the Saviors are a dragon with many heads.  He then if Morgan is wearing Benjamin’s armor for his own purposes or to honor his dead friend.

More than that, he knows that Morgan isn’t stuck.  He should join the rest of the Kingdom to make an alliance, defeat the Saviors, and see that no one suffers under the them ever again.  Morgan agrees.  So much for being stuck.

So Rick and the others lead the Junkyard Gang, who come on bikes and actual dump trucks, to the Alexandria Safe Zone.  The Junkyard folks arrive in dump trucks.  The joke writes itself, people.

Anyway, Rick tells Jadis that they fight for the people and each other.  She’s fine with there being another way than just taking instead of borrowing.  Oh, and she tells Michonne that she wants to lay with Rick.  Okay, everyone needs to get back to work.

While Aaron, Rosita, and Daryl set explosives, the Saviors cut down trees blocking their paths.

All the while, the Alexandria team continues to set up roadblocks.  Michonne gives one of the Junkyard Gang members a rifle before splitting to cover another spot, but the member insists that she’ll take care of it.  She’s confident that they will win.

Sasha is still listening to music, saying that she knows how this will all end.  Abraham tells her the same, saying that they’re going to walk out of the door together, kick shit, and eat snakes.  He then asks Sasha to say how he died, and it was at the beach before the outbreak.  He got pulled under and didn’t come back to the surface.  She tried to find him, but he was gone, and then she started to drown.

But Abraham hates the beach.  Sasha still wants the two of them to stay at Alexandria, saying that Maggie can handle herself.

Still in the past, Sasha tells Eugene that she decided against taking that ‘allergy medication.’  He says that if people die today, it’s because of the choices they make.  Back at the Hilltop, Sasha asks Maggie why they’re here for this.

As everyone gets ready, Rosita tells Rick that the walls will hold.  Soon enough, the Saviors arrive, but everyone is surprised to see Eugene  leading the call.  He orders Rick to heed and comply, saying that they’ll thrive or die.  Rick, though, wants to see Negan, and Eugene states that he is Negan.

So Rositai flicks the switch to activate the explosives and…nothing happens.  Then the Junkyard Gang jumps into action and holds the Alexandria residents at gunpoint.  They open the gates as Negan, Dwight, and the rest of the Saviors unload.  There are easier ways for Jadis to force Rick to sleep with her.  Anyway, Negan tells a joke about the stupid prick named Rick who got everyone killed.

Turns out that the Saviors made a better deal with the Junkyard Gang.  Rick doesn’t have anyone lower their guns, and Negan isn’t happy about Rick trying to blow up everyone, including Eugene.  After what he did, he stepped up, and Negan calls Rick and the others animals.  Dwight and Simon bring out a casket.

Negan is fine with the survivors not liking Eugene now, but they should at least like Sasha.  He’s got her in the casket, alive and well.  He brought her so he wouldn’t have to kill the others, but not doing that could get complicated.  Plus, Negan knows that Rick has guns, so he wants them and tells Rick to pick a person to meet Lucille.  He eyes Daryl…and wants the pool table as well, or Sasha and everyone else dies.  Maybe.

Negan insists that just because Sasha is in a casket doesn’t mean she has to leave in it. Rick eventually says that he wants to see Sasha, so Negan taps on the casket.

We return to Sasha listening to the longest song ever as she tells Abraham that it felt real, like they lost this, even though it just started.  Abraham admits that he likes how she calls bullshit, so he’ll return the favor.  He knows that Sasha didn’t like saying that Maggie has to take care of herself.  That much is true.  What they do is always for someone else, so maybe there was a point to all of this.  Maggie is carrying the future.

With that, Sasha and Abraham get ready, with Abraham acknowledging that putting your life on the line for someone else, as Sasha said, is living.  She calls him an idiot, but hey, he never said otherwise.  The two depart.

At the Sanctuary, Eugene confirms to Sasha that it will take awhile to get to Alexandria.  He gives her an iPod.  Selfish as he is, he does think of other people at times.  Sasha still refuses to give up on him.

Sasha is fine with this method of getting to Alexandria as long as she has a bottle of water.  Negan knows how tough this will be for her, but he appreciates it.  As Sasha sits in the coffin, she picks a song and eyes the pill that Eugene gave her.  Soon, she swallows it and takes a swig of water.

So when Negan opens the coffin, he’s surprised to find a walker Sasha that tackles him to the ground.  This distraction kicks off a firefight between Alexandria, the Saviors, and the Junkyard Gang.  A Savior manages to rescue Negan and gets bitten by Sasha in the process. a walker.  A firefight breaks out between Alexandria and the Scavengers.  A Savior manages to rescue Negan and gets by Sasha bitten in the process.

Rick tells Jadis that they can make another deal, but she just shoots him in the side and kicks him off of the post.  Michonne, meanwhile, finally gets the jump on her attacker with a piece of clay.

The shootout continues with Jadis leading Rick to the Saviors, who somehow managed to get their hands on Carl.  Rick is forced on his knees next to his son and Negan arranges for Jadis to receive 10 instead of 12 guns.

Negan admits that he likes having fun.  This will make what he did in the woods seem like a put-on.  He admits that maybe this is all on him, so he has to make this right by starting all over again.  At the very least, he admits that he has a soft spot for Carl, who speaks up and says that Negan won’t win.  But Carl needs to look around him.  After hearing a scream, Negan tells Rick that he chose this route.

Negan gave Rick ample warning, but this is a punishment, not a warning.  He’s going to kill Carl with one hard swing, but he’ll try to do it fast because he likes him.  And then Lucille is going to take Rick’s hands.  Rick reminds Negan that he said he would kill him and he still plans to do that, even if it means losing his hands.  No matter how bleak things are, nothing will change that Rick plans to kill Negan.

Besides, Negan and the others are already dead.  Negan, though, just smiles and laughs.  Before Negan can kill Carl, Shiva rushes in and devours a Savior as the Kingdom enter the battle.  They open fire on the Saviors and are soon joined by Maggie and Enid.  Naturally, Negan is surprised to see Maggie alive.  The firefight escalates with the Junkyard Gang creating a smokescreen as they and the Saviors are forced to retreat.

Rick later finds a bloody and beaten, but still-alive Michonne.

Over at the Sanctuary, Simon and Dwight tell Negan that preparations are in place.  Negan asks Eugene how Sasha ended up dead in the box, and Eugene figures that she might have run out of air.  Negan approaches Eugene with a questioning glance and finally accepts that maybe that’s how Sasha died.

He then tells his army of Saviors that they’re going to war.

Rick and Maggie wonder if Sasha did that herself.  He’s glad that Maggie decided to join them, but the decision was made a long time ago before they knew each other.  And now they mean everything to each other.  In the woods, Maggie and Jesus find walker Sasha and put her down for good.

She’s then given a proper burial in the Alexandria Safe Zone.  As the communities work together in the Safe Zone, Maggie tells Rick how this journey began in Atlanta all the way until here.  Not as strangers, but family.  As Daryl closes the gates, he finds one of Dwight’s figurines that reads ‘Didn’t know’ on it.

Maggie continues that this happened because Glenn chose to be there for Rick.  This was the decision that changed everything.  It was a sacrifice they made for each other, suffer, grieve, give, and love each other.  To Maggie, Glenn made the call.  She was just following his lead.  And with that, the seventh season of The Walking Dead comes to a close.

Well, here we are.  “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” has sent us towards war with the Saviors as Rick and company decide they’ve had enough of living under Negan’s thumb.  Much like previous seasons, it had to build up a good amount of tension around the current situation and provide a satisfying payoff that will also keep viewers sticking around for the next season.

For the most part, this episode does that in some rather good ways, including some send-offs to Glenn and Abraham.

Well, I’m mixed on that, so let’s just get to Sasha and we’ll get to that as we go.  First off, even without Eugene’s pill, Sasha’s demise was all but spelled out the moment that Sonequa Martin-Green was cast in the lead role for Star Trek: Discovery.  Similar to Heath being out of the picture for now while Corey Hawkins stars on 24: Legacy, if an actor has a serious commitment to one show, their character’s fate may be up in the air.

Now there are exceptions to this.  For example, Simon Ogg appeared on both The Walking Dead and Westworld last year, so it’s not impossible for these actors to juggle multiple shows, but we’re talking about the lead role for Martin-Green, while Ogg’s character on Westworld was more of a side character.  Either way you slice it, Sasha wasn’t making it out of this finale alive.

So this episode gave us her final moments and while she didn’t get a weapon to use for trying to kill Negan, her death at least provided a surprise for Negan and gave Alexandria just the distraction necessary to kickstart the firefight that, with help from the Kingdom and Hilltop, forced the Saviors into retreat.

It was nice to see Michael Cudlitz again and I’m always game for hearing Abraham’s way with words, but I have two minor issues with these flashbacks: one, they were a bit too on the nose with what the point this episode wanted to make.  Never mind that Sasha kept repeating things said in flashbacks we saw just after she said it.

And my other issue is that the flashbacks were broken up when they easily could’ve played out as one long sequence.  That said, it did feel like a callback to the Season Six finale where we kept seeing the point of view from inside the Saviors’ van holding the rest of the survivors.

So in that regard, going from Sasha in the casket to the past and present was fine. I just wish the flashback with her and Abraham had just been one scene.  You can intersperse from Sasha talking to herself in the casket, but let her last scene with Abraham play all at once.  That could’ve shaved off some time as, just like “Last Day on Earth,” this did not need to be an extended episode.

By the way, I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I would’ve loved it if the bits with Sasha and Maggie sitting together ended up being the same scene from the ending of “Them” when Aaron introduced himself to them.  Hell, it looked like they were even watching the same or a similar sunrise, but no, that wasn’t the case.

Regardless of my minor qualms, this was a decent sendoff for Sasha.  She went out on her terms instead of letting Negan use her as a bargaining chip.  And much like Glenn and Abraham, she received a proper burial and we saw how the death impacted the community.  I imagine her death will be just as much a motivator as was the case for Glenn and Abraham.

Oh, by the way, Arat shows up and doesn’t get any dialogue.  What the hell?  Just wanted to mention that.

Anyway, while everyone in Alexandria has a strong case for wanting Dwight dead, he at least admits what he did was wrong.  With Daryl holding him at knife point, he might’ve been ready to die.  With Sherry gone, there was little left to live for in Dwight’s life, but Sherry is responsible for where Daryl and Dwight are right now.  The least he can do now is help bring down Negan.

Even though Dwight could be an ally, I did like how Daryl just didn’t give a damn about this period and still promised to kill Dwight after this war has ended.  Doesn’t matter what Dwight could do, he still screwed with the survivors more than once and acknowledged once again that Denise wasn’t his target.  In fact, I’m surprised Tara was the only one pushing for Dwight to die, but hey, maybe she’s on a high after getting Oceanside’s guns.

Plus, given the writing he left on the figurine, he didn’t seem to know anything about the Junkyard Gang’s betrayal.  What the hell prompted Dwight to put it there of all places and how Daryl happened to notice it is anyone’s guess.  What if Daryl wasn’t the one to close the gate?  Alright, moving on.

The Junkyard Gang’s betrayal seemed obvious going into this.  Eugene didn’t know much, if anything, about it, and Gregory didn’t want to know about any plans, so that just leaves Jadis and her group of scavengers as Negan’s little birdie.  These folks are still an interesting bunch. I know there are some who don’t like the way they speak, but I find it humorous.  That and, hey, they travel in actual dump trucks.

And Jadis coming right out and saying that she wants to lay with Rick provided some levity before the Saviors arrived.  The scavengers never seemed like they were 100 percent on Rick’s side and while part of me still questions why he was so trusting of them, but Negan made a better deal, so why wouldn’t Jadis just abandon Negan in favor of better terms?  Rick didn’t have much of a bargaining chip from the start, anyway.

It is a disappointment that we didn’t get to see more of Michonne’s fight with that one female scavenger, more so because once Michonne stabbed her, it seemed like she managed to get the upper hand.  But some of the beatdown occurred off-screen, which is disappointing, given how much fighting we did see.  Then again, the last few minutes had to focus on the conflict as a whole, not just Michonne.

And focus it did.  While the tension with Negan showing up here doesn’t match the last few minutes of “Last Day on Earth” minus the cliffhanger, it was a good firefight that forced the Saviors to retreat, brought the Kingdom and Hilltop in for a surprise attack, and proved to Negan that Rick wasn’t kidding around with his threat.

Whether it was Carl gunning down a few Junkyard members in mere seconds, Negan’s surprise at seeing Maggie alive- though I wish that had played up a bit more- or the Kingdom chasing after the Saviors, it was a hectic battle.  Sure, we knew that the Kingdom and Hilltop were on the way, and no way in hell was Negan going to kill either Rick or Carl, so it was just a matter of waiting.

Some don’t like Negan’s posturing or speeches, but I enjoy them, mostly because of the energy that Jeffrey Dean Morgan brings to the role.  He’s menacing, but fun to watch, even as he’s about to kill you.  But unlike the premiere, Rick was even more aggressive in his threat to kill him, even with random Alexandria residents dying around him while he was helpless in front of Negan.

But then the cavalry arrived as the Kingdom swooped in like Gandalf charging into Helm’s Deep.  It was the opposite of last year where there was no chance of hope, but here, we just had to wait for reinforcements to join the battle.  How the Kingdom got into Alexandria without anyone noticing or Shiva remained quiet until she sprung into battle is up in the air, but it’s a minor qualm.

And Maggie telling Rick how this all started with Glenn rescuing him in Atlanta was a nice way to connect this solidarity to the pilot, but also a good way to honor Glenn and Abraham in addition to what we’ve gotten throughout the season.  And through it all, despite the losses, the factions are now united and headed for a long battle with the Saviors.

“The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” was a good finish for the season.  While it lacked the heightened tension provided with the last few minutes of “Last Day on Earth,” it was an enjoyable watch.  There were minor quibbles here and there, whether this episode or the season as a whole, but it provided the triumphant comeback that the survivors needed in order to send the Saviors scurrying.  And at least there was no cliffhanger this time.

As we look ahead, there are sure to be many losses on both sides, but Rick and company have thick plot armor, so they’ll be fine.  Good thing there’s tons of cannon fodder.  But with all sides now ready for a bloody conflict and Negan realizing that everyone under his rule is ready to fight back, the time of serving the Saviors is at an end.  And we’ll all be ready to watch this battle play out in an All Out War in Season Eight.  See you then.

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