The end of Season 8 is boring, but Season 9 has possibilities.
Whose episode is it?
Everything is in the hands of the deck for the great final battle, and if you thought that you would actually get a great final battle, well, joke on you. Honestly, it's amazing what turns out to be an anti-climax "Wrath", considering it's the culmination of a conflict that unfolds in two full seasons of television (add another half season if you count when the Saviors first appeared). Now, obviously, that was too much time to give to the war between Rick and Negan, and if "Ira" is an indication, the creators agree. The episode feels totally superficial, verifying all the necessary boxes so that everyone involved can finally move on to something new. Nothing is particularly bad here. It simply lacks any drama or urgency.
The War Effort
So yes, the Saviors lose the war instantly when it turns out that Eugene personally sabotaged each of his bullets, causing them to explode all their weapons. There's a bit of a convoluted business with Negan setting up a second trap for Rick because he thinks Rick will think the first trap is a trap (look, do not ask me), but Rick finally falls in love with the scheme, and would have totally lost if Gabriel had not given Eugene a last-second brainwave. Rosita likes Eugene one after the battle, but says it was "for the vomit," so I guess she turned on Eugene, even though in the best case she deserves to be locked up with Gregory.
Negan also sends what appears to be around 15 types to attack Hilltop, but they must be really intimidating because Tara and the others who stayed behind fled immediately. Tara volunteers to stop them, and she joins Alden (the sensitive Savior) and the other deserters of the Savior, because they want to prove their worth. But before they have a chance, the saviors are annihilated by the Molotov cocktails thrown by the oceans. It is good that no one from Hilltop suffered any casualties, but it is still difficult to say that the Oceansiders were necessary for the war effort. Still, at least the plot was constantly a last-minute idea from start to finish. Let's hope Aaron has something to do next season.
A fragment of humanity
Negan skedaddles as soon as the saviors lose , and Rick chases him under a tree with stained glass hanging from him so he can do that from the premiere. Negan beats Rick, Rick asks 10 seconds to explain to Negan how they can move forward. Rick repeats several of Carl's talking points, and the second Negan lowers his guard, Rick cuts his throat. Do not worry, though! It was one of those minor and super precise throat cuts that a medical student can sew in the middle of a field. So yes, Rick's mercy prevails over his anger, because otherwise, what the hell were we doing all season. Maggie loses her shit when it's clear that Rick is not killing Negan, and Lauren Cohan's nude anguish is one of the few beats of real emotion found in the episode.
Rick then gives a big and passionate speech to his army and the remaining saviors, again reiterating all that Carl has been saying in the voiceover since he died eight episodes ago. And to be fair, I agree. "The Walking Dead" has to get out of its routine if it has any chance of being interesting again, and the rebuilding of society with the saviors is something new with a lot of dramatic potential. But we still hear this story a lot this season, especially Rick's request that "there must be something after." And part of that "after" is locking up Negan for the rest of his life, so show everyone that yes. I am moving towards building a new civilization, and Negan comes to see how wrong his philosophy was. In the end, some real justice in "The Walking Dead".
In other news, Morgan's murder change is returned to "No" after Jesus gently suggests that killing everyone he sees is probably not great in the long run. Morgan finally realizes that he is a danger to himself and others and goes to the guest star in "Fear the Walking Dead," another one-season story with an extremely weak reward.
Man is the real monster
In the most promising provocation for next season, Maggie has a council in Hilltop where she and Daryl tell Jesus that he was right to keep the Savior's prisoners alive, but Rick and Michonne made the wrong call by letting Negan live. So they will wait for their moment and wait for the perfect moment to attack. The fingers crossed that the show played down all the possible interesting conflict between the candidates this season so they can really explore them next season. Of course, why would you recruit Jesus in your plan "We're going to kill Negan," when he was the one who held that the murder was wrong, it's a mystery, but I'll take all the intrigue I can get. (If Jesus expressed any desire to kill Negan a year and a half ago and I just forgot, I apologize)
The last series of scenes seems to indicate that the Saviors are completely fine with the integration in the community in general, but obviously that can not last. For now, it is an extremely sunny end to a very thorny conflict. For the first time in a long time, the possibilities of the story in "The Walking Dead" seem open. It is a pity that he has taken such a long and sad path to get there.
- Oh, Daryl lets Dwight go, but probably only because Negan monologues about how Dwight was totally on Rick's side. Daryl says he will kill Dwight if he sees him again, and Dwight finds a solid clue about his wife's whereabouts, so it might be the last we see of him.
- Morgan goes to the dumpster to inform Jadis that he is welcome. Join the new world. Jadis admits that her real name is Anne. Aww!
- Wait, what happened to that helicopter?
- Gabriel closes the season sitting on the burnt remains of the church of Alexandria and saying: "I can see". I have no idea what it is.
- No Gregory this episode? Booooo!
- Rick closes the season writing his own letter to Carl. "You showed me the new world, you made it real, I see it, I remember it."