The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale Ending Explained: Rick vs. Negan

Emmett Rice
April 17, 2018

Here are the nine most popular shows The Walking Dead fans are watching while waiting for Season 9. Last night, after upwards of 40 episodes of teasing a final showdown between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), that showdown finally happened.

Unlike the divisive finale of season 6, which ended just as Negan offed an unidentified member one of Rick's gang, season 8 mainly ended happily.

Though Rick won't like this, fans of the show can at least rest happy knowing this new development likely means Lauren Cohan will be back for Season 9, with a pretty meaty storyline to boot.

The Walking Dead's eighth season finale brought the all out war between Rick and Negan to a bloody climax, but one that - surprisingly for this show - didn't end with a major death.

Rick then continues his faded xeroxed copy of his "Too Far Gone" plea, and told the surviving Saviors that they'd be moving forward to once more rebuild a society like the one they once knew.

Or, we could be looking at a soft reboot where Rick - and Negan - take Carl's goodbye letters to heart and attempt to form a new community together; as impossible as that may seem.

It's doubtful, as he told Michonne: "Winning isn't about beating you".

Rick holds a young Carl's hand as they walk down a sunny road. It also would show that the group valued mercy over wrath.

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The battle turned immediately, but the disarmed enemies quickly surrendered and slaughter was avoided.

Later, as she sits in her office at The Hilltop, she sows her discord with Daryl (Norman Reedus), an intriguing development, and Jesus (Tom Payne) which... why?

Back at the Hilltop Colony, Tara fended off a second group of Saviors with the better-late-than-never help of the women from Oceanside. Taking and adapting the source material can work (see Game of Thrones), but mixing it up a little can work even better (see, uhh, Game of Thrones again).

Instead, the show plays out in similar fashion to the comics, with Rick instructing Siddiq to save Negan's life, which he does despite the improbability of survival after losing so much blood.

We all knew this one was coming, as Lennie James has jumped over to "Fear the Walking Dead", but now we know why he left.

Rick, who had a sweet vision of walking with a young Carl during more innocent times, told the Savior prisoners to go home and offered terms of survival: "Any person here who would live in peace and fairness, who would find the common ground, this world is yours by right". Maggie wasn't too pleased and ICYMI, neither was Daryl.

A serene Carol (Melissa McBride), realizing the value of community, returned to the Kingdom. "To follow what's going on in Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, you do not have to have watched the first three seasons". Part of that involved keeping Negan alive as a reminder of all this.

Dwight isn't the first character to leave on a quest and return, and this is The Walking Dead. "Rick was wrong to do what he did". This seems highly out of character for Jesus. Another huge change is that the series now takes place in Texas, a similar yet stark contrast to the recent season set in Baja California. "To have that moment where he's slashing a throat and saving a guy's life, to have it so heightened, it marks time in a very important way and shows that from this point on, the stories are going to be very different". Daryl steps out of the shadows of the room only to agree, leaving fans unsettled at the possibility of Maggie becoming a villain next season. Who will in this all-out war?

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