After 40 episodes, two and a half seasons, and Maggie’s first trimester of pregnancy, the All Out War is over on The Walking Dead. Finally.
Was it as anti-climactic as we had feared? Yes, and no.
Before we get to that, however, here’s a very brief recap of the episode: Negan lured Rick’s alliance into a trap within a trap (trapception), and Rick and co. fell right into it. Surrounded and completely outnumbered, the Saviors — in firing squad formation — had the Alexandrians dead to rights until they pulled their triggers and all the Eugene-manufactured bullets backfired, killing and maiming scores of Saviors. A scuffle ensued and the remaining Saviors quickly surrendered. Rick and Negan exchanged words and fists under a tree, and Rick slashed Negan’s throat but let him live, much to the consternation of Maggie. Meanwhile, back at The Hilltop, Tara and the Oceansiders lured the other half of Negan’s army into The Hilltop and firebombed it, forcing their surrender. In the aftermath of the war, Rick and Michonne told Negan they’d let him live but he’d rot in a prison for the rest of his life; Daryl let Dwight live but told him to leave and never come back; Rosita forgave Eugene; Morgan moved into the Junkyard; and Gabriel thanked God. Oh, and furious that they let Negan live, Maggie, Daryl, and Jesus began preparations for their own war against Rick and Michonne next season.
For those who have been paying attention all season, there are few surprises in the war itself. Carl’s death signaled to viewers that Negan would not die at the end of the season, and the show has not been at all subtle about telegraphing Rick’s change of heart through the letters of Carl. Maybe the biggest surprise here is that a man can survive having his throat slashed.