"I remember," Rick says.
Better days. Rick and Carl. Carl is just a boy. They're strolling around Ross' farm, hand in hand.
In the present, Rick tends to baby Gracie. Catches himself in the mirror. Siddiq enters.
"How did it happen?" Rick asks. "Please tell me."
Siddiq tells Rick a story: he watched his mother die from a walker bite. It wasn't too long ago.
"She believed people, their souls... trapped in the bodies of the monsters. That killing the dead let's the living move on in an afterlife," Siddiq says.
"Carl was taking me back to your community, and I told him what my mother believed... then we saw a few of the dead. He wanted to honor her. He was trying to show me that I could trust him... that's how it happened. He died paying respects to a woman he never knew. But it was dangerous. It was dangerous and I didn't think about that. I should have. But all that's left of the people we lose, what was theirs, are their ideas."
"Thank you," Rick says. Leaves.
The Hilltop prepares for what's next. Henry and Carol. Ezekiel and Jerry. Calm before the storm.
"To justify everything we've lost, we must risk losing everything," Ezekiel says.
"We're not losing sh-t," Jerry tells him. Hell yeah.
Daryl, Michonne, Carol, Maggie and Rick make a plan around Dwight's "fake ass" map.
Morgan is confused. "They're doing something," he says. Savior prisoners enter. Morgan, losing control, wields his stick, nearly striking Henry.
Carol relieves Morgan of his weapon.
Alden and the prisoners were out clearing walkers.
"You and your people are coming. You're gonna be here," Maggie tells the reformed Savior, "but you're not us."
Rick wants Morgan to stay behind, but he has to go. He has to.
"We are worse than we were, me and you," Morgan tells him. "We are. Giving your word to those men, back at the bar. It's what it took, yeah, but... it was something else. There was something wrong for you. And we crossed into it because, because we both lost everything. Everything good. What does it matter if we spend whatever's left on keeping people alive?"
"Because we haven't lost everything," Rick answers. "Not yet."
"We have. And we can't go back," Morgan tells him. "So let's just finish this."
At the Sanctuary, Saviors prepare for battle.
Dwight, face beaten to hell, is suited up in a prisoner's jumpsuit. Negan trash talks him. "You used to have these people's respect. Now? Now you don't have a damn thing."
"There's my bullet maker," Negan says, addressing lapdog Eugene.
After tripled efforts, the deed is done. Negan has all the ammo he'll need to wipe out Rick the Prick.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Fires test shots. Gabriel winces.
Satisfied, Negan asks Eugene if he knows what's going down. Affirmative.
"Are you sure that's something you wanna see?" Negan asks.
"More of a 'need to' thing," Eugene answers.
Negan brings Gabriel along. "I got some sh—t I want to confess."
The Savior leader sent some of his men out as soon-to-die bait.
"You know, I don't enjoy sacrificing my own people. You know that, right?" Negan says. They just have to "take one for the team."
The unassuming Saviors are easily wiped out by Rick, Carol, Rosita and crew. They're in Negan's trap.
Morgan sees a ghost: a bloody and shredded Jared, the rat-faced Savior Morgan held in place as he was torn to shreds.
"You don't die, right?" Ghost Jared asks. "You oughta try it sometime."
Jesus breaks him out of his daze. "You with us?" Morgan walks off.
"They're lining up Saviors on the Old Mill Road. That's where they'll be," Rick says.
"Maggie, it's time," Rick says into walkie talkie. "It was a trap. So we're changing the plan."
In Negan's car, Laura swerves to avoid a walker in the road. Seeing an opportunity, Gabriel opens the car door and leaps free.prevnext
Gabriel flees into the woods. Eugene, gun in hand and walking like Michael Myers, goes after him.
Gabriel fends off a walker and is caught by Eugene and Laura. Eugene sticks his gun in the priest's face.
"Look at you. Where does your faith go when you truly need it?" Eugene asks. Negan whacks Gabriel in the stomach with Lucille, bringing him to his knees.
"You said you didn't want to die a fruitless death... you can't always get what you want," Negan says, gripping Lucille. "Load him in the car."
Jesus speaks with Morgan like talking a man down from the ledge.
"You can stop people without killing them," Jesus says. He proposes one end of the stick for the dead, the other end for the living. "And things will get better."
"Jesus," Carol says. "I'm starting to like that guy."
The pack of good guys head further into a wide open field over the ridge.
Back at the Hilltop, "Saviors!" Kal cries.
In the field, those familiar Savior whistles.
Rick and company get their guns at the ready.
Negan's voice booms out.prevnext
"How 'bout you step out and face us?" Rick growls.
"I am everywhere, Rick," Negan says into his walkie.
"You remember your buddy Eugene? He is the person who made today possible," Negan says.
"We are cleaning house today, Rick," Negan says. "It never had to be a fight... you just had to accept how things are."
Tension. Everyone is at the ready for whatever comes next...
A sprawling Savior army. They open fire. Their guns explode, downing them all.
Saviors die, cry out in pain, go down all the same.
"Eugene!" Negan yells. Gabriel socks him.
Dwight attacks, but he's thrown off. Negan flees.
Rick and company open fire.
Eugene just became Target Number One.
Regina goes to take him out — Rosita saves him.
Morgan takes out a Savior, stops himself from the death blow.
Back at Hilltop, Tara takes charge to keep the invaders from the crying kids.
Then: Oceanside joins the fight, lobbing makeshift molotov cocktails. Boom.
Laura surrenders. "Don't shoot. We're done. It's over."
Rick, closing in on Negan, opens fire. Negan's hand is f—ked. Rick charges. They fight.
Hand to hand. Punches, kicks. Brutal.
Negan lifts Lucille out of the grass.
He tells him "eenie, meenie, minie, moe" was bullsh—t. He made a choice. He didn't want to beat the kid's head in in front of his dad.
Rick is bloodied.
"I am bigger. I am badder. And I got a bat," Negan says.
"We can have a future," Rick says.
"I know I will."
Rick wants ten seconds to tell him how. Ten seconds for Carl.
Fine. Ten. Nine. Eight...
Rick puts Carl's words in his face.
Lucille is at the ready.
"He was right," Rick says.
SLASHES Negan's throat. The blood pours.
This isn't what Carl wanted, and he knows it. Flashes of Rick and Carl at the farm.
Negan, gripping his throat, bleeds into the grass. Rick looks behind at the captured Saviors.
"Save him," Rick says.
"No!" Maggie roars. "No, he can't! No, he can't live!"
"We have to," Rick says.
"We have to end it! Rick! We have to make it right!" Maggie cries. Michonne holds her back. "It's not over 'til he's dead!!"
Rick hates it.
"What happened, what we did, what we lost... there's gotta be something after." Rick accepts the Saviors' surrender.
"We're all gonna go home now. Negan's alive. But his way of doing things is over. Anyone who can't live with that will pay the price. I promise you that. Any person here who would live in peace and fairness, who would find common ground, this world is yours by right."
Rick tells them to stand together against the dead. "Go home. Then the work begins. The new world begins. All this... all this is just what was. There's gotta be something after."
Rosita and Eugene make good. She socks him in the face. "That's for the puke."
"Fair play," Eugene says.
Morgan seems alright. Says he's "gonna try" to be. Takes off his armor, walks off.
"My mercy prevails over my wrath," Rick says, bloodied and red-eyed underneath the tree. Cries.
Back at the Hilltop, Maggie is stopped by Alden. The other guys are headed back to the Sanctuary. "I was never meant to be there," he says, offering to implement the plans given to the Hilltop by Georgie. "It's what I want to do with my life. You gave me that life."
At the Sanctuary, Tara and Rosita are making nice with Negan's wives. Rosita spots Laura. Trade nods.
Daryl and Dwight in the woods.
"I know why I'm here," he says. "I know what I did to Denise. To you. To other people... it doesn't matter why. I knew I'd have to face it, to pay, and I should. I'm ready." Dwight's tearful remorse is obvious. "I got to see Negan taken down, that's enough. Me... I'm a piece of sh—t. There's no going back to how things were."
Crumples to the ground.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Dwight says. Daryl just listens.
"Shut up." Daryl tosses him keys.
"You go. And you keep going." Tells him if he ever sees his face around here again, he'll kill him. "You go out there and you make it right," Daryl says. "Find her."prevnext
The junk yard. Knock knock.
"I'm a friend of Rick's. From Alexandria."
Morgan invites Jadis to the community.
"Why?" she asks. Morgan says Rick is trying to build something and he needs all the help he can get.
"You don't want to be alone. People," Morgan says. "Everything is about people. Everything in this life that's worth a damn."
"You can call me Ann," Jadis says.
He tells her he needs to be alone. He's going to stay. He needs to be alone.
Dwight pulls up on a little house. The one where he found the note from his wife, Sherry, what seemed like forever ago. A note to "D" reads: "Honeymoon." Dwight smiles.
Maggie tells Jesus he was right about saving the Saviors. "I don't regret what I did," she says, "but you were right."
Rick wasn't right about Negan, she says. "We have a lot to do. We have to build this place up. Make it better than before. Make it thrive for the people who live here."
"But Rick and Michonne... Rick was wrong to do what he did," she says. "Michonne, too. So we're gonna bide our time, wait for our moment, and then we're gonna show him."
"Yeah. We will," Daryl says, stepping out of the shadows.
Negan is laid up, throat bandaged.
"We're gonna make you watch what happens," Michonne tells him.
Rick tells him this isn't about who he killed, but about what he did. How he put people under his boot.
"Carl pictured something better. All of us, working together, for something bigger than all of us," Rick says.
Negan will have a job, too. He gets to be a part of it. He'll be an example of what this will be.
"You're gonna rot in a cell," Rick says.
"For the rest of your life. Day after day," Michonne tells him.
"You're gonna be evidence we're making a civilization. Something we had, something we're gonna get back," Rick says.
Negan being alive will help show people things have changed.
"That's the part you'll play," Rick tells him.
"So after all this," Michonne says, "maybe you're good for something."prevnext
In Alexandria's burned out church, Gabriel takes to his knees. Cries. "Thank you. Thank you. I understand. I know now. After you've given me so much... I can see."
"Dear Carl," Rick says. "I remember."
Happier times. Rick and Carl as a boy, hand in hand, on the farm.
"I forgot who I was. You made me remember. I remember that feeling, walking with you that day. Like I finally knew who I was for the first time in my life," Rick says.5comments
"Thing is, we were walking side by side but you were bringing me somewhere. Bringing me here. Bringing all of us to the new world, Carl. You showed me the new world. You made it real. I see it. I remember. Dad."
End of season 8.prev