1. “Things have happened but it’s always worked out for us, ‘cause it’s always been all of us, that’s how I know. ‘Cause as long as it’s all of us, we can do anything” – Rick
The finale was all about the fall of the house of Rick. So confident was he that he had put a serious dent in Negan’s operation with the slaughter of his sleeping soldiers, that he felt confident of moving poor Maggie to the Hilltop with the Saviours baying for blood. At the beginning of the episode he’s in control and his words to Maggie in the RV, when he tells her she’ll be okay, are full of confidence in their abilities as a group, an unstoppable force. The fact that they end the series finale kneeling before Negan is a huge blow as we see Rick’s confidence shattered and the truth sinks in that Negan will indeed break them.
2. “If you care about anyone, there is a price Morgan and you’re gonna pay it. I have and I can’t anymore” – Carol
Who better to track Carol down than the one person she clashed with in Alexandria. Fighting with Morgan over his capture of one of the Wolves earlier this season forced Carol to hold a mirror up to herself and with the time to finally breathe within its high fences, she realised what she had become and it began to tear her apart. Morgan is a huge factor in her deterioration and she was loathed to explain to him of all people that she just can’t live like that anymore.
It’s also worth noting that in that scene as Morgan packs away the first aid kit, there’s a bookshelf beside him with the words ‘Payback’ written in large print on the jacket. Payback is indeed what’s coming for them all.
3. “I owe them” – Carl
Looking completely badass now with one bandaged eye and the other overhanging with his long locks and sheriff’s hat, Carl is out for one thing – retribution for the death of Denise by the Saviours. While Ingrid argues before they set out that she owes it to Maggie to journey with her to Hilltop, Carl replies with the above. As he watches from the RV window as a walker stumbles through the field outside, he overlooks it like it is nothing. He doesn’t want to kill walkers, he wants to kill Saviours by his father’s side. A coming-of-age hunting trip if ever there was one.
4. “You’re a survivor. You always were. We just didn’t know it” – Abraham
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the whole episode, beautifully set to the tender score by Bear McCreary, Eugene finally gets his chance to have his moment in the sun. His selfless act of sacrifice in an attempt to save the people he loves, is a lump in the throat moment, especially when Abraham, his one-time protector realises that Eugene was a survivor all along.
5. “Do not make me kill the little future serial killer. Don’t make it easy on me” – Negan
We waited the whole season for Negan to arrive and what an entrance it was. Though he was only in the final fifteen minutes or so, he stole the episode, emerging from the RV like a movie star from his trailer. A charismatic, smiling killer swinging the “awesome” Lucille, his signature weapon where baseball bat meets barbed wire for maximum carnage. He quickly zoned in on Carl asking him to “lighten up” and “at least cry a little” as the teenager was one of the coldest and dead eyed of his captives. Seeing something in the him, he quips the above line to Rick. Truth is they are all now serial killers.
6. “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe..” – Negan
And so it began as Negan, unable to choose one of them to “beat the holy hell outa”, decides to go the childhood route to fair play with a little game of Eeeny, Meeny. Never have such words brought such fear or shredding of nerves. The camera cuts to close ups of Rick, Sasha, Abraham, Darryl, Michonne, Rosita, Aaron, Carl, Maggie, Glenn and Eugene as Lucille’s barbs are thrust before them. Who will it be? Sadly (at first) and then thankfully (I think) we didn’t find out as the camera switched to the point of view of his chosen victim and Negan’s wrath with Lucille. As he uttered these words, I found myself considering which one I, as a viewer, could afford to let go. Whose death could I cope with? Aaron, the Alexandrian? Perhaps. That would hurt but not too much, until I realised I didn’t want any of them to die. As Negan says in the end “You can breathe. You can blink. You can cry. Hell you’re all gonna be doin’ that”.
The Walking Dead returns with Season 7 in October.
Til then, just survive somehow…