All Over Alexandria
Two warnings right off the (barbed-wire wrapped) bat:
1. This post is loaded with spoilers from all over the seventh season, including Sunday’s epic finale. Avoid at all costs if you’ve missed any of this season.
2. I’ll probably go into Shiva overload before this post is over. You’ve been warned!
With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Sunday’s season finale of The Walking Dead was one of the best ones yet. It ended on a note of unity and confidence, two things that were gravely absent most of this season. We witnessed the Scavengers turn on Rick and company at the worst possible moment. I have to admit that while things were falling into place for the beginning of the war, I had my suspicions about Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her crew. What really tipped me off was the way that the Scavenger sniper leered at Michonne (Danai Gurira) while they were setting up and her, “We win!” remark while swapping places with Michonne.
The episode unfolded while we were given snippets of a vision Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) was having while riding in a coffin to Alexandria. The vision came in the form of Sasha talking to her deceased (by way of Negan) lover, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). She was also listening to some sweet tunes provided by Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Eugene also provided her with a pill he created earlier in the season for some of Negan’s wives. It was meant to kill Negan, but Eugene refused to take the risk and didn’t give it to the wives. Sasha made the decision to sacrifice herself in order to get one last shot at Negan and possibly save her friends in Alexandria and The Hilltop.
Meanwhile, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), the Alexandrians, and the Scavengers were preparing for war against the Saviors. Little did they know that the Kingdom and the Hilltop were also planning to attend the festivities, and their presence would pay off in spades later in the episode.
Dwight (Austin Amelio), fresh from giving himself up to Rosita, offers to help Rick bring down Negan from the inside. Nobody trusts him except for Daryl (Norman Reedus), and even Daryl’s trust in him is weak, but the group decides to let Dwight return to the Sanctuary so that plans can be put into motion.
Cut back to the moment where the Scavengers have betrayed the Alexandrians. The Scavengers have confiscated the guns from Rick’s group and have them pretty much surrounded. Michonne realizes what’s going on but is immediately jumped by the Scavenger sniper.
Negan says that Sasha (safely tucked away in a coffin on a flatbed truck) can help make things right with the group. When Negan opens the coffin, though, a zombiefied Sasha leaps out at him in one last heroic attempt to take him down.
Not even flinching, Carl (Chandler Riggs) sees the surprise as an opportunity, grabs his gun, and starts shooting. Other members of Rick’s group do the same. Chaos ensues. Soon enough, though, Negan and Jadis’ groups regain control and Rick and Carl find themselves in a very familiar and very uncomfortable spot.
With that being said, Rick still mouths off to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and reminds him that he will, no matter what, kill him. Negan decides to take his own confusion and fury out on Carl, but midway through the first swing of Lucille, a surprise attack comes out of nowhere. That surprise? None other than Shiva, King Ezekiel’s pet tiger!
The big cat’s attack heralds the arrival of the Kingdom and the Hilltop communities. Scavengers and Saviors run for safety, and Negan, completely shocked and, for the first time, a little bit scared of what’s going down, makes a mad dash for his truck. Ezekiel screams that Alexandria will not fall that day and Maggie leads the Hilltop’s charge, barking sure orders to the left and right.
A side by side look at the CGI Shiva attack and the “real” Shiva, a stuntman, in action.
I let out a yell of “Shiva!” when she appeared on the screen. I then screamed out Ezekiel’s name, Carol’s name, Morgan’s name, Maggie’s name, and pretty much anybody else from either community that I recognized. It was a glorious moment and the biggest highlight of the season. All of the poor CGI from earlier in the season was forgotten. All of the somewhat drawn out episodes were forgiven. It all led up to this beautiful, wonderful, tiger-fueled moment and it…..was……GLORIOUS!
Negan and his crew bolted, middle finger held high, but they knew that for the first time in their existence that a potential threat to their safety had arrived. The combined forces of the Alexandria Safe Zone, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom will definitely be a formidable opponent, and I can’t wait to see what season eight has in store for us.
As I warned y’all earlier, I’m going to have a Shiva love fest for a bit. That big cat scared the crap out of Negan and all of his crew. Negan was caught with his pants down and was made to look like a fool. How in the world are they going to fight a tiger? Shiva is fast, silent, and strong. She adds an entirely new weapon to the mix. I just hope that the production crew holds off on any other lackluster CGI in the show and focuses strictly on Shiva.
I’d also like to point out how quick Carl was to react whenever Walker Sasha tried to eat Negan’s face. The kid is tougher and smarter than his father most of the time, and that’s saying something. He accepted his fate at the hands of Negan THREE TIMES this season. He’s definitely got some brass in the ol’ Fruit of the Looms!
Ezekiel (Khary Payton) has definitely injected some life into the series. As I’ve stated before, Negan doesn’t impress me that much. He’s too slight to be physically imposing and I find it hard to buy him as a feared leader. King Ezekiel, on the other hand, has charisma, a booming voice, and can look very imposing with that hair and….that….TIGER! Payton does a brilliant job in the role, and I hope that Ezekiel stays around for a long time.
That’s all I have for this week. I hope to see some of you this weekend at CyPhaCon in Lake Charles, LA. Online registration is closed, but you can purchase tickets at the door. Folks in the Lake Area will get to see a couple of familiar faces in Chuck Huber and Luciana Carro, both of whom have attended other conventions in the area. If I remember correctly, this will be Huber’s third visit to the area and Carro’s second. Her first visit was for ConDuLac, the defunct convention that bore CyPhaCon and a second convention which has also shuttered its doors, BayouCon.
Julian Glover (Star Wars, Game of Thrones, James Bond) will also be in attendance. I hope to meet him this weekend.
I plan on attending late Friday night, Saturday afternoon or evening and possibly on Sunday. If you’re in attendance, come say hello!
As always, thanks for reading. I’ll post a follow-up on CyPhaCon next week and then I’ll start prepping for Southern Geek Fest at the end of May!