The Walking Dead's season 8 finale set the stage for civil war come season 9.
With the war against Negan and the Saviors ended, Alexandrian leader Rick Grimes chose to allow the villain to live — albeit in a cell — his decision leading to a distraught Maggie calling for Negan's death.
Rick's decision was ultimately fueled by the last wishes of his dead son, who instilled within him the belief "there's gotta be something after."
For Maggie, Daryl, and Jesus, who have formed a shadowy cabal back at the Hilltop, that something after means building up their world — one without Rick and Michonne in charge.
"I just wanted to say you were right about saving the Saviors from the satellite outpost, having them here. I don't regret what I did, but you were right," Maggie tells Jesus. "And Rick was right about not killing all the Saviors."
"He was right," Jesus says.
"He was. Not about Negan."
"So what does that mean, Maggie?" he asks.
"We have a lot to do. We have to build this place up. Make it work better than before," she tells him. "Make it thrive for the people who who live here. We need our strength. The ability to defend ourselves better. We have to have that."
"We will," Jesus says.
The widow stares him down.
"But Rick and Michonne? Rick was wrong to do what he did. Michonne too," she tells him. "So we're gonna bide our time, wait for our moment, and then we're gonna show him."
Daryl steps out of the shadows.
"Yeah," he says. "We will."
Why is the holier-than-thou Jesus, whose season 8 mantra has been "all life is precious," siding against Rick for adopting that exact philosophy — the very same philosophy Jesus imparted on Morgan once again in this very same episode? ("You can stop people without killing them," Jesus said.)
That's a question for season 9.
The Walking Dead's season finale set up a major inner conflict for its next season, one that may be forced to move forward without Maggie actress Lauren Cohan, who has fulfilled her Walking Dead contractual duties and has yet to ink a new deal.
Cohan is the only major Walking Dead cast member yet to re-sign for season 9, according to a March report from THR, which could leave the show in the lurch if it fails to strike a deal with Cohan's camp.
What that means for next season, The Walking Dead executive producer (and now former showrunner) Scott Gimple "cannot say," he told Deadline.2comments
"I mean we will have stuff to say about that soon, very soon," Gimple said. "I’m tempted to say things but I can’t yet."
The Walking Dead is expected to return to AMC with its season 9 premiere in October.