‘The Walking Dead’ Season Finale Recap: ‘The First Day of the Rest of Your Life’

In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap for the season finale, Rick and the survivors at Alexandria finally make a stand against Negan and the Saviors…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It’s been a tough run for the survivors at Alexandria during ‘The Walking Dead’ season 7.

As much as heroes need villains to make a compelling story, viewers have been growing increasingly agitated while watching Rick Grimes and all the other communities being stamped down by Negan and the Saviors all season long.

Still this was ultimately necessary because of two main reasons.

First, Negan had to be developed as the biggest bad guy who’s ever appeared on ‘The Walking Dead’. For all the ways the Governor was scary, Negan had to be absolutely terrifying and in a much different way than all his predecessors. See, Negan wasn’t just some megalomaniacal sociopath hell bent on destruction. Instead, Negan was a cerebral enemy, who out thought his opponents and then defeated them with absolutely brutal force.

The second reason was watching Rick and his people being beaten into submission and then witnessing what it took to come back from that. It’s not an easy road to walk and there were certainly stutter steps along the way this season — a few episodes that almost felt unnecessary when it was all over — but still that evolution couldn’t happen over two weeks or even two months.

But it’s finally happening and now the survivors at Alexandria along with those at the Hilltop and the Kingdom are prepared to fight back against their oppressors and for the first time since he took the throne in the apocalypse, Negan finally has something to worry about.

All Out War has arrived but how did we get there?

Let’s recap the season finale of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘The First Day of the Rest of Your Life’ to find out…

Someday We’ll All Be Free

The season finale picks up with Sasha somewhere dark and her face is lit up only by the glow of a first generation iPod as she listens to the Donny Hathaway track “Someday We’ll All Be Free” while flashing back to fond memories of her brief time with Abraham.

It seems on the day that Rick tried to take Maggie to the Hilltop for medical treatment, Sasha had a nightmare that Abraham had died and she woke up from her slumber with a feeling that something awful was about to happen. When Abraham greeted her fresh out of her sleep, Sasha embraced him, kissed him and held him tightly until she realized it was only a dream.

That’s when Abraham told her that he was going as part of the convoy to get Maggie to the Hilltop and Sasha responded by trying to talk him out of it. It’s clearly a painful memory for Sasha because that mission resulted in Abraham having his brains bashed in by Negan and she did her best to talk him out of going. Instead, Abraham told her that sitting back and not taking care of others wasn’t the right thing to do and deep down she understood that just as much.

So Sasha and Abraham both packed up their gear and headed out to face that fateful day.

Another trip in time takes us back to the cell where Sasha has been sleeping since she was captured at the Sanctuary and she receives another visit from Negan. He’s got pancakes and fruit for her breakfast because she’s going to need her strength for what’s about to unfold.

Negan explains that the Saviors are headed to Alexandria to stamp down Rick’s rebellion and he needs her to take part. At the start, Negan explains that he’s going to kill three people this time as retribution for Rick going against him, but Sasha somehow talks him down to just one death along with using her as a bargaining chip. Negan appreciates her gutsy, no fear approach to dealing with him so he agrees.

On the way out of the cell, Sasha tells Eugene that she decided not to take the suicide pill he gave her after all but instead has other plans. She also tells Eugene that despite his current situation where he’s seemingly put all his trust in Negan that there’s still time for him to come back from this and fight for what he knows is right.

Outside, Sasha offers to ride in a coffin all the way from the Sanctuary to Alexandria, which is a two hour drive, as a surprise element for Negan’s arrival in Alexandria. Eugene gives her the iPod for entertainment and she asks for a bottle of water for the ride. Sasha climbs into the casket but this won’t just be any drive to Alexandria.

It’s going to be her last.

The March to War

Back in Alexandria, Daryl is ready to gut Dwight despite his offer to help them take down Negan. Dwight explains that the only reason he was fighting for Negan in the first place was to protect his wife Sherry after she was taken as one of his captor’s wives. Now that she’s gone, Dwight has no reason to be loyal to Negan any longer and wants nothing more than for him to die.

Of course trusting Dwight won’t be easy after everything he’s done. Tara, in particular, wants Daryl to jam his knife through Dwight’s eye after he killed Denise with an arrow last season. Still, Rick and Daryl see something in Dwight that makes him believe that this could be a turning point in his war to take down Negan.

Dwight tells them that Negan is planning a trip to Alexandria the next day and he’ll put up some obstacles in the road on the way back to the Sanctuary to give them some time to prepare for his arrival. Rick issues a warning, however, that if Dwight crosses them even once he’s going to let Daryl off his chain and that will be the end of him.

At the Hilltop, Maggie remarks how Gregory has left — presumably to go to the Sanctuary although we never see it happen — and now she’s the one in charge. The conversation pertains to Maggie pitching the Hilltop into the war against the Saviors now or waiting until later. She also has to decide whether or not to make her presence felt during the initial stand off when Rick finally goes toe-to-toe with Negan.

Finally, King Ezekiel is leading his forces from the Kingdom to Alexandria to lend a hand to Rick and the other survivors as they go up against the Saviors. On the way to Alexandria, the group runs into the same shopping cart obstacle that Richard used several weeks back to slow them down so he could steal some fruit and piss off the Saviors to hopefully engage them in a fight.

This time around it’s Morgan who put up the obstacle because he has plans to attack the Saviors when they tried to drive back through this same exact road. King Ezekiel’s arrival — with a machine gun toting Carol by his side — gives Morgan pause because now it’s clear that everybody is ready to fight for the greater good. Ezekiel convinces Morgan to stop going at it alone and instead join them on the journey to Alexandria to go up against Negan and the Saviors.

Traitors

As Rick and the survivors at Alexandria prepare for the stand off with Negan and the Saviors, back up arrives with Jadis and the Scavengers showing up in full force. The group is armed to the teeth and they are positioned throughout the community in key spots to help back up the Alexandrians for the oncoming battle.

There’s only one problem — Negan and the Saviors are there early so this fight is going to start ahead of schedule.

Before Negan arrives, he sends out a “representative” to tell Rick and the others to stand down or risk everybody inside dying. His emissary is none other than Eugene, who is perched on a truck with a megaphone before telling his former friends that resistance is futile and it’s better to submit now or risk a bloody outcome later.

It’s breaking Rick’s heart to see someone he cared about turn on him like this, but Eugene has chosen sides and that means he’s the enemy. Rick signals for Rosita to trigger a bomb that they had set in a truck just outside the walls that was meant to blow up the Saviors, but if Eugene is willing to fight for the other side then he can die for them as well.

The only problem is there’s no explosion and the look of shock on Rick’s face is soon replaced by one of betrayal when Jadis puts a gun on him. It turns out the Scavengers made a deal with Rick but then Negan’s people came along with an even better one so that’s who they sided with.

Jadis keeps a gun on Rick while Michonne gets into full on brawl with the Scavenger who is sent to kill her in the perch where she was sitting as a sniper. Outside the walls, Negan reveals that he’s got Sasha captive and they will turn her over in exchange for all the new guns they’ve gathered, the pool table, Daryl returned to him and one person of Rick’s choosing who will have to kiss Lucille as penance for this half-assed rebellion against him.

Rick asks to see Sasha to make sure she’s still alive so Negan has his men pull down the coffin from the truck where she’s been riding for this entire trip. We then get a flashback that shows Sasha inside that coffin with the suicide pill that Eugene gave to her. Sasha had always planned on killing herself because she didn’t want to be used as a weapon or bargaining chip against her friends and the two hour drive gave the pill time to work and then for her to reanimate as one of the walking dead.

When Negan opens the coffin, a very dead Sasha goes for his flesh and he falls to the ground. At that moment of surprise, Carl and many of the other survivors turn on the Scavengers and a gun battle ensues.

With the fight breaking out, Jadis ends up shooting Rick in the side and kicking him off the elevated platform where they stood while the Scavenger with Michonne seems to get the better of her while beating her eye into a bloody pulp. While Carl, Daryl and the other survivors seem to put up a good fight, they are eventually over powered and the Saviors finally make their way inside the walls of Alexandria where retribution will be doled out.

A Good Day to Die

The resistance has been tamped down and now Negan has to pay back Rick for trying to fight back against him. This time he’s not giving Rick a choice in who’s going to die — he’s going to bash Carl’s brains in directly in front of his father. As an added bonus, Negan then promises to take both of Rick’s hands as penance for trying to stand up to him. At the same time that Negan is torturing Rick, he hears a scream and a hard packing sound on the ground, which signifies that somebody just fell to their death.

Of course, Negan assumes that it’s someone Rick must love that died so it’s rather ironic timing.

Before the swing can take place, Rick promises once again that he’s going to find a way to kill Negan. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but someday even if he has to beat him to death with a pair of bloody stumps, Rick will snuff out Negan’s life. Once Rick is done with his soliloquy, Negan removes Carl’s hat and prepares to swing down on him with Lucille when one of the Saviors is tackled by Shiva the tiger and gunshots ring out from behind.

The army from the Kingdom along with those from the Hilltop have arrived as reinforcements.

Negan and his men make a mad dash to get out of town before anybody else gets killed as the gunfight ensues between the various communities against the Saviors and the Scavengers. As much as Rick and Daryl try to get a shot at Negan, he’s able to make it back inside a truck while giving them the middle finger on his way out of town. During the ruckus, Rosita catches a bullet but Tara is able to sneak her away during the fight before she can take further injury.

While several Scavengers are gunned down, Jadis is able to procure her escape with some smoke bombs used as a distraction while she runs away with a few of her key people who aren’t already dead. It’s not perfect that the Saviors and the Scavengers both escaped, but Rick and his people finally drew a line in the sand and now there’s no doubt that a war has begun.

Negan gets back to the Sanctuary where he questions Eugune about the suspicious circumstances surrounding Sasha’s death. He explains that the coffin must have run out of air during the drive to Alexandria and she suffocated inside. Negan still seems wary of Eugene’s excuse but he’s got bigger things to worry about right now.

Negan looks outside and addresses his troops that have assembled and it looks like hundreds of them when he proclaims “we are going to war!” and everybody responds with “yes sir” like a well-trained military force.

Back at Alexandria, Rick finds a bloodied up Michonne, who won the fight with the Scavenger before tossing her over the side of the building., before taking her in for medical treatment. She lays in the bed with Rosita beside her after both of them took some serious damage in this first of many upcoming battles.

Meanwhile, Maggie and Jesus track down a zombified Sasha and put her down before burying her in the graveyard at Alexandria.

And Daryl closes up the gate but not before finding an army figurine on the ground with the words “didn’t know” scribbled on the back. It’s a message from Dwight that he wasn’t aware of the attack coming from Negan a day earlier than expected. It’s unclear whether or not Daryl will choose to believe him.

Throughout these last scenes of the season we hear a voiceover from Maggie explaining how this fight was exactly what Glenn would have wanted the same way he knew saving Rick on that day back in Atlanta was the right thing to do. They’ve all been family ever since and this is what family will do to save each other.

Finally as the day turns to evening, we see Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel address their people from a stage where they rally the troops from the three communities who will now team up together to go up against the Saviors in an all out war that starts now.

‘The Walking Dead’ returns in October with brand new episodes on AMC.

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