SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” tonight’s episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which as of publication hasn’t yet aired on the West Coast; as well as the Image Comics series of the same name.
Tonight’s season finale of “The Walking Dead” was much more action-packed than last season’s, filled with a major character death, a gunfight involving every community on the show, and a natural conclusion to the season. Although “All Out War” — a major arc from the comic book series — hasn’t broken out quite yet, there aren’t any significant cliffhangers for the audience to stew over until the AMC series returns this fall. After the mystery surrounding the identity of Negan’s first victim last time around, that’s a good thing. Here are five of the biggest things to happen in the episode:
The junkyard gang (or The Scavengers, as they’re being referred to on many websites) are traitors: Initially, they’re supposed to help the Alexandrians take on The Saviors in exchange for weapons. But right as Rick gives Rosita the go-ahead to blow up their enemies at the community’s gates, The Scavengers turn their weapons on Rick and co. Needless to say, they’ve also kept the bomb from going off. As Jadis explains, The Saviors offered them a better deal. Looks like Negan’s army may have just gotten a lot bigger.
The Kingdom finally comes around: He may be dead, but Richard finally got his wish. Early on in the episode, King Ezekiel, Morgan, Carol, and the rest of The Kingdom are heading to Alexandria to aid in the fight against Negan. They get there in the nick of time, preventing Negan from bringing Lucille down onto Carl’s skull. In that moment, we finally get to see some badass tiger action as Shiva leaps into frame and mauls a Savior. Led by Maggie, Hilltop Colony also joins the fight.
R.I.P. Sasha: Like many episodes before it, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” uses the framing device of a mysterious flash-forward — its circumstances only revealed at the end. In this case, it’s Sasha in a dark, confined space, listening to soul music as she remembers conversations with Abraham and Maggie. All the while, she’s slowly losing energy. By the end of the episode, it’s revealed that the space is actually a coffin. Negan had asked her to go in there to be presented to Alexandria, under the condition that Rick offer up Daryl and one victim for Lucille.
When the coffin opens, though, a zombified Sasha springs forth, creating a diversion and helping the Alexandrians — who are being held at gunpoint by both The Saviors and The Scavengers — gain the upper hand. It turns out that Sasha used the poison Eugene gave her last week to kill herself in the coffin and help out her friends. The iPod also came courtesy of Eugene, who wanted to help her be comfortable in the cooped-up environment.
Two iconic moments from the comic get repurposed for the show: Sasha’s above fate is similar to Holly’s, who, in Robert Kirkman’s pages, gets pushed forth with a bag over her head, concealing the fact that she’s reanimated. According to a recent article on Entertainment Weekly, the sequence got altered because a similar moment had already occurred on “Fear the Walking Dead.” It was somewhat of an accident there, as “Fear” showrunner Dave Erickson said he and his writers had missed that particular issue and unknowingly echoed it on their own show.
The second reimagined moment comes with Michonne in the bell tower. At her sniper post, she gets attacked by one of The Scavengers to the point where her face is beaten to a pulp and she’s hanging over the edge of the tower. Far away, Rick hears a scream and assumes it’s Michonne. He discovers later that it was The Scavenger — not her — that fell. In the comic, this happens to Andrea (her attacker is a Savior). Since the show’s version of Andrea got killed long ago, it seems that many of her story beats (including her romance with Rick) are being folded into Michonne.
Dwight’s conversion is sincere: Early on, The Alexandrians aren’t sure whether or not they can trust Dwight and his claim to want to see Negan fall. That’s especially true after the surprise attack from The Scavengers. But in the episode’s final moments, Daryl finds a wooden figurine scrawled with the words “Didn’t know”, thus confirming that Dwight is indeed now on their side.
Stay tuned for further thoughts on all this and more in tonight’s full recap and review.