The Walking Dead has been on for seven seasons, and when a show’s been around for that long, it’s hard for it to surprise people. For the most part, we know what to expect: Rick & Co. will square off against an eccentric Big Bad, while continuing to “take care” of any walkers along the way. It’s a formula that’s made The Walking Dead one of the biggest shows on TV, but Sunday night’s season seven finale, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” pulled off two major surprises. Our own Dustin Rowles will talk about one of them in his upcoming recap, but the other sent fans of the series into a frenzy, because, well, when was the last time you saw a CGI tiger eat a dude’s face off?
After Sasha sacrificed herself in an unsuccessful attempt to kill Negan, Lucille’s master captured the Grimes boys. “Well, Rick you chose this. I truly don’t know what more I could’ve done to warn you,” he told them. “I’m gonna kill Carl, and then Lucille here, she’s gonna take your hands.” The Rick from earlier that season would have cowered to Negan’s threats, but this Rick responded, “I told you already: I’m gonna kill you. All of you. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but nothing is gonna change that. Nothing. You’re all already dead.” Rick was half-right: he didn’t kill Negan, but many of the Saviors are dead, thanks to some heroic timing from Ezekiel’s tiger, Shiva.
To recap: a king’s tiger saved the day by eating a guy before a crazy man in a leather jacket bashed a one-eyed teenage boy’s brains in with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire. Andrew Lincoln was right — that was satisfying.