Warning: This recap for the Season 7 final episode, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” of The Walking Dead contains story line and character spoilers.
Sasha couldn’t get her hands on a weapon that would kill Negan, or at least slow his roll towards Alexandria, so she did the next best thing: she made herself the weapon. Her sad but heroic death was tempered a touch by a happy flashback to her relationship with Abraham (and a guest appearance by Michael Cudlitz), and the fact that Season 7 ends on a hopeful note largely because of the women of The Walking Dead: Sasha, Maggie, Carol, Michonne, Rosita, Tara, and even lady tiger Shiva, who helped the Alexandria community not only survive, but continue to move ahead with the plan to stop Negan’s rule of barbed wire bat-tinged tyranny.
Sasha was certain Negan was going to try to use her to hurt her friends in Alexandria, and that’s exactly what he plans to do. After serving her up some flapjacks with a smiley face fashioned from blueberries, Negan tells her they will be off to Alexandria to dole out punishment to Rick for daring to plot a move against the Saviors. Negan says Lucille will require three victims, but Sasha bargains him down to one. She and Eugene will both make the trip, as Negan plans to have them address Rick and potentially halt any immediate action Rick might otherwise take against Negan. Sasha will make the two-hour-plus trip inside a coffin — making the revelation of her to her friends eerier and more threatening — and Eugene presents her with an iPod from the Sanctuary marketplace, loaded with tunes, to make the journey more bearable.
Unbeknownst to Eugene or Negan, Sasha has her own very specific travel amenities in mind: She takes that poison pill Eugene gave her. By the time the Saviors land in Alexandria and Negan pops the coffin lid to present Sasha, she’s turned. Walker Sasha jumps out of the casket, on top of Negan. She doesn’t get the chance to sink her teeth into him, but her reanimated state is shocking enough to send the showdown into chaos, and to give the Alexandrians the chance to fight back against someone who betrayed them.
Jadis … Judas
As so many TWD fans had predicted, Jadis and the Heapsters turn out to be “the little birdie” who dropped the dime on Rick’s anti-Saviors plan, which they reveal by aiming the guns Rick and company had procured for them on Rick and company. Negan made them a better deal, Jadis explains to Rick, after her people deactivated a bomb Daryl, Rosita, and Aaron had whipped up to use against the Saviors. Jadis shoots Rick in the side, while another Heapster beats Michonne into a bloody mess, and with the Heapsters holding the town hostage with guns, Negan plans to let Lucille do his handiwork. He tells Rick he’s going to kill Carl, then use Lucille to separate Rick from his own hands. The defiant Rick tells him it doesn’t matter what he does, because he’s reiterating his promise that he is going to kill Negan soon. But it seems like he might not get that chance, until some familiar faces make a perfectly timed appearance in Alexandria.
The heroines ride again
Negan is already in the batting stance behind Carl when Shiva jumps into the mix, landing on one of the Saviors and making a snack of his face. She’s accompanied by a gun-toting Carol, Morgan, Ezekiel, and the rest of the Kingdom army, while Maggie and the army she’s been training at the Hilltop make their arrival soon. Guns are being fired in every direction, and the Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom combo is enough to force the Heapsters and the Saviors to retreat.
Negan flips them off as he, Simon, Dwight, Eugene, and some surviving Saviors speed off back to the Sanctuary. The Heapsters have fled the scene of their betrayal, too, and with their enemies gone, for the moment, Rick and Maggie take the opportunity to reassure their friends and neighbors that they can take on Negan again, and win.
Back in the Sanctuary, Negan gathers his people and tells them they are going to war with #TeamAlexandria, meaning 1) the Season 8 premiere, which will be the series’ 100th episode, is going to be very exciting, and 2) Season 8’s October launch date seems really, really far away right now.
* Two things that are going to be tumbling around in Negan’s mind: 1) He saw Maggie, and now knows the tales of her death had been greatly exaggerated, which means Father Gabriel may be on his hit list. 2) He accepted, for now, Eugene’s theory about how Sasha died. But given that several of his wives know about the suicide pills Eugene made, and that one of those pills is still, presumably, in Eugene’s possession, how long do we really think Eugene’s talent for DIY pharmaceuticals will remain a secret?
* That powerful and incredibly appropriate song Sasha listens to on the iPod Eugene gifts to her for her coffin ride to Alexandria: Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free.”
* A moving truck outside Alexandria, the one Daryl helped rig with explosives to use against the Saviors, is labelled with the company’s name and logo: Trust a Move. You just know that company made a commercial involving a jingle that was set to the music of Young MC’s “Bust a Move.”
* Eugene had requested permission from Negan to try to talk to Rick and head off an escalation of trouble between Alexandria and the Sanctuary, and Negan signed off on it. Despite those good intentions on Eugene’s part, Rick’s and Rosita’s looks of hurt and disgust when they listened to Eugene refer to himself as Negan suggest they believe Eugene is now sincerely pledging his allegiance to #TeamNegan. Even if he’s playing an angle, will his friends ever be able to forgive him?
* No loose ends with walker Sasha: Jesus and Maggie find her after the baddies clear out of town, and Jesus kills her while a crying Maggie watches.
* Was Dwight being genuine with Rick’s people about his desire to see Negan dead? Appears that he is, as he helped create a barricade that slowed down the Saviors’ journey to Alexandria and gave Rick and the others a little more time to prepare to fight back. But though Daryl gave Dwight a temporary pass from dying at Daryl’s hand, Daryl vows to kill Dwight eventually.
* A nice wrap-up on the first 99 episodes: Abraham’s appearance that tied together his and Sasha’s commitment to always doing their part to keeping their loved ones safe (even when it ended up meaning each of them made the ultimate sacrifice), and Maggie’s shout-out to Glenn. It was his decision to help Rick — all the way back in the series premiere — that eventually brought the whole group together, Maggie points out.
The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres in October on AMC.
Read more from Yahoo TV: