(Spoiler alert: Do not keep reading if you have not seen the season finale of “The Walking Dead”)
“The Walking Dead” Season 6 finale promised to be a powerful one and on Sunday night it delivered.
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) made his long-awaited debut as the new villain on AMC’s zombie apocalypse series and brought a devilish charm to the most sadistic character the show has ever seen.
As the episode began, Morgan (Lennie James) is still on the search for Carol (Melissa McBride). He manages to find a horse, riding it into a nearby town where he finds Carol curled up on the steps of a library.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) loads up a small team in the RV to take Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to Hilltop in order to save her baby, which appeared to be in jeopardy at the end of last week’s episode. On the road, however, a group of Saviors blocks their path.
The Saviors tell Rick that they intend to take everything the group has and kill one of them as payback for the Saviors that Rick and the others have killed. Rick attempts to negotiate but the Saviors aren’t hearing it. Rick is able to leave in peace but the Saviors ominously threaten Rick before he leaves.
Carol, wounded from her own Saviors encounter, resists Morgan’s efforts to coax her back to Alexandria. Carol insists she can’t return, as she is unable to kill anymore, even in the name of people she loves. When Morgan goes outside to kill some walkers, Carol slips away.
Rick and the others regroup and plan a new route to Hilltop. But the Saviors have blocked off that route as well. Outgunned and outnumbered, Rick is once again forced to retreat.
Rick tries yet another road, but the Saviors have chained some walkers together across it as a roadblock. When Rick and the others go out to clear them, they realize some of the walkers are wearing clothes belonging to Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Rostita (Christian Serratos), and Glenn (Steven Yeun), who were all captured in last week’s episode.
Suddenly, gunfire erupts from the trees as the Saviors attack. But instead of killing Rick and the others, they appear to miss on purpose, shooting at their feet and driving them back to the RV.
Back on the road, they encounter an even bigger group of Saviors, all armed to the teeth. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) points out that they have virtually no more options to get to Hilltop before Maggie dies.
Carol tries to continue on alone, but in her injured state she is almost overwhelmed by two walkers. Then, a Savior she thought she had killed on the road appears. He too is wounded, but wrestles Carol’s gun away and tells her he plans to watch her die slowly.
Morgan arrives to stop the man. He offers him a chance to walk away, but when he won’t, Morgan kills him. The owner of the horse and another man appear. Morgan asks them for help to save Carol and they agree.
With their routes cut off, Rick and the group are trapped. Eugene points out that the Saviors don’t know how many people are in the RV. He takes the RV ahead by himself and allows the others to sneak through the woods.
But before long, the Saviors capture Eugene and drive Rick and the group into a trap. They are stripped of all their weapons and forced to their knees. The Saviors then bring out Daryl, Michonne, Rosita and Glenn.
Negan emerges and proceeds to tell Rick that Rick will turn over half of Alexandria’s goods or he will wipe them out. But Negan plans to punish Rick for killing his men.
In one of the most tense scenes in “The Walking Dead” history, Negan methodically chooses who he is going to kill. Only one problem…we don’t get to see who he picks. We see from the victim’s perspective as Negan beats the unknown person to death but who it is is never revealed.
“The Walking Dead” Season 7 is currently scheduled to kick off later this year, though no official premiere date has been set.