“Those borders are hers, not ours.”
The Walking Dead ended its strongest season in ages with a heartfelt and understated finale. While not as big as most TWD finales (there was nothing on the level of season 2’s overrun farm or season 6’s Negan line up) it showed us a different side of this world and of the characters who inhabit it.
First of all, let’s talk about that setting. When winter comes in The Walking Dead, it’s usually skipped over in the break between seasons. We’ve seen slight cold before but never an out and out blizzard. It was a really cool backdrop and added to the cold, defeated attitude that the group have after last episode’s shocking reveal. It seems most of the filming for this episode was done in a studio, a first for the show. Despite this though, the results were pretty great. The snow effects were convincing and as always the actors gave it 110%. The standout moment was perhaps that between Carol and Lydia. After Henry was murdered at the hands of her mother last episode, Lydia is on a dark path and beginning to contemplate suicide. Carol interrupts her but Lydia begs Carol to kill her, goading her into it by reminding her that Henry, Carol’s ‘son’, was only dead because they took Lydia in. Carol’s been plenty coldblooded this season (remember when she burnt Jed and the saviors alive?) so it was good to see she still had that maternal instinct despite everything. The relationship between Carol and Lydia is sure to grow next season; Lydia lost her mother and Carol lost her child. Are we building to a Carol vs Alpha showdown perhaps?
The episode also saw Ezekiel lose the kingdom for good and then him and Carol breaking up. Which all makes sense, considering the events of the last episode, but it was still hard to see. There’s hope, however, as his comic book counterpart was dead by this point (his head was on a spike) so who knows where season 10 will see the King go? And it wasn’t all doom and gloom, we got a great Negan moment this episode. After Judith runs off into the blizzard after Dog, Negan bravely goes to find her. And when he does find her, on the brink of hypothermia, he gives her his jacket and carries her to safety. It’s a wonderful moment, one that will surely melt the hearts of even the most die hard Negan haters. He’s a way to go before he’s fully taken in by the Alexandrians but the warm conversation between him and Michonne at the end of the episode is a good indication of what season 10 has in store.
All in all, an enjoyable and optimistic final episode to one of the all-time greatest Walking Dead seasons. New show runner Angela Kang has restored the show back to greatness and kept me excited for it, week in week out. Hopefully season 10 will follow a similar pattern because there’s a lot of great stuff in the Whisperer War story line. See you back here in 6 months!