The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale Preview – With “Wrath” Comes Closure

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It’s Saturday morning and I’m counting the hours until The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale “Wrath” airs tomorrow night, April 15, on AMC (and at participating theaters). According to trustworthy sources, AMC’s Survival Sunday will bring with it both closure and transitions.

In the Words of Bowie, Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

If you hadn’t heard, “Wrath” was Showrunner’s Scott M. Gimple’s last episode before taking on a different role. Entertainment Weekly’s (EW) @DaltonRoss interviewed Gimple for his perspective on the coming changes, in his own life and for The Walking Dead characters. (Find links to this full interview and others at the end.)

Gimple’s description of the Finale as a “weird graduation” was a good analogy for his own personal transition and that of Angela Kang who assumes the Showrunner mantle for Season 9. With Kang’s seven-season on-the-job training stint, Gimple knows the show is in good hands, so it was no surprise when he described his shift up to new responsibilities and challenges as “bittersweet.” That’s a feeling many of us have experienced as we’ve moved on from something we’ve put our heart and soul into, especially when we knew we were leaving it in good hands.

Turning to the Finale, Gimple referred to “Wrath” as “sort of the conclusion of the first eight seasons” with “so many characters reaching the conclusion of the story that we’ve been laying out for them over the past few years.” Hmm, that sounded ominous, like we could be losing numerous characters on Sunday, our favorites and those we love to hate. “Turn and face the Strange,” no joke.

That feeling got even stronger when I read that Gimple, Kang and the writers have been planning for the Finale to serve as evolution from the show we’ve known to, in Gimple’s words, “a new show next year … with a bigger, new narrative.” That aligns with statements from the cast in other EW interviews. Andrew Lincoln (Rick) said that while the Finale felt like the completion of something it also provided “story arcs for the future.” Norman Reedus (Daryl) told EW that “I like that it’s not just about one person’s story. … It’s very satisfying.”

THE SMOKE and Who WILL BE left Standing When IT Clears

All of a sudden, like The Fray song, I felt “Over my Head” cogitating all this troubling information. I needed worry’s worst enemy – action.

First, I re-watched The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1 to confirm who from the beginning is left standing at the conclusion of Episode 815. It’s Rick and Morgan, that’s it. (FTR, survivors Carol and Daryl were next to appear, in Episode 3.)

Morgan’s shift to Fear the Walking Dead has already been announced. Could Gimple’s words foreshadow a Season 9 without Rick, too?

I went to the Talking Dead Season 8 “Finale” guest list next for clues. It includes Gimple, Executive Producer Robert Kirkman and actor Lennie James (Morgan), natch, and Fear the Walking Dead actors Danay Garcia (Lucia) and Garret Dillahunt who will play new Fear character John Dorie. Made sense so far but, wait, OMG. Our beloved actor Andrew Lincoln (Rick) is also scheduled to be on the show!

Fan Me: Holy effin moly, Rick’s gonna die, Rick’s gonna die! My heart is gonna burst (that’s for you Outlander fans out there.)
Logical Me: Deep breaths, stay calm, it’s just a story. Find another diversion – some levity.

I went straight to Twitter which is always good for a laugh, right? Not as hilarious as Tumblr, but still a solid go-to, and what I found was just the ticket. Jeffry Dean Morgan (Negan), bless you for being there with a cure-all. When asked in an interview if he had anything to say to The Walking Dead fans who want his character to die in the Finale, he had this quintessential Negan-esque response.

Other Burning Questions

So, let’s recap. Discounting Morgan, technically Negan, Rick and every last character is in play, meaning we could have an almost entirely new cast in Season 9. Wow, just wow.

With all the uncertainty swirling around in my brain, I decided to put aside the idea that none of my favorites will be left standing when the smoke clears and focus on the storylines that have captivated me this season. Here are my questions.

  • Will Walker Simon have a role in the Finale other than hanging out at the fence?
  • Have we seen the last of the Negan dumpster?
  • Will Tara at least try to save Dwight?
  • Who the heck is Georgie and what does she really want?
  • What’s up with Jadis and the helicopter people?
  • Will Negan get his full attrition? In other words, who will out-fake whom?
  • Whose names are on those other letters from Carl? Judith for sure, right? Carol and Morgan, maybe?
  • Will not-right-Morgan die, meaning that his Fear the Walking Dead role will be of a prequel nature, or will he walk off (or maybe even fly off) into the sunset towards that encounter with Nick seen in the Fear preview? Remember his new mantra – everybody turns.
Watch Plans

Finally, on to another important topic. What’s your plan for Sunday night?

  • Will you watch the doubleheader – both The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale and Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 4 Premiere which airs immediately after?
  • If you’re going for the doubleheader, where will you watch, at home or at your participating local AMC theater?

I considered the commerical-free big screen experience but decided to watch from the comfort of home. No matter where or how you watch, I know you’re glad that Survivor Sunday is almost here.

One last question. Who do you think will be left standing?

Interview Links

Scott M. Gimple
Andrew Lincoln
Norman Reedus
Jeffrey Dean Morgan

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Karen Kennedy Rutledge