What a disappointment of an episode.
With The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 15 being the penultimate installment, I went in expecting it to generate some serious momentum heading into next Sunday's season finale. But what we ended up with was an incohesive mess, and it resulted in a massive letdown.
There were a few factors that contributed to this, such as lazy writing and dialogue. It wasn't a terrible episode, but it could have – and should have – been so much better than it was, and that's what was so frustrating.
It's almost as if the writers themselves are just as fed up with the Savior arc as most of its viewers, and seem to be trying to wrap everything up haphazardly as quickly as possible. I'm all for being done with the Saviors and moving on, but this was just a sloppy way of working toward that goal.
Even the anticipation of Negan confronting Simon left much to be desired.
[to Simon] You know I remember when I took this place. When you helped me take this place.Negan
We know the boss man likes to make an entrance, and considering how theatrical he is with everything that he does, I was very disappointed that we didn't even get to see Simon's reaction to seeing Negan's grand return.
Simon's days have been numbered for quite a while now, and if there was ever an appropriate episode for him to meet his demise it was this one. But instead of working the tension between the two and serving Simon up a well-deserved death, it all just ended up feeling unnecessarily drawn out and anticlimactic.
All of that culminating in a scene inspired by Fight Club was just silly. I actually had to make sure I was still watching the same show during Simon and Negan's brawl because it felt so out of place.
And in the end, Simon going out by way of being choked to death was disappointing, pure and simple. The Walking Dead really had a chance to do something exciting with these two, but in the end, it all just fell flat.
To be honest, I feel a bit cheated.
I also could have done without Aaron's ridiculous attempts at trying to sway Oceanside to fight, but at least it set up what will likely be a crucial turning point in the upcoming finale. Based on how things were left off, it's obvious that Oceanside will end up showing up at some point to fight the Saviors.
Ever since the all-female community was introduced on The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 6, they hadn't served any real significant purpose up until this point.
In all likelihood, the Saviors will seemingly get the upper hand against Hilltop, and Oceanside will swoop in and be the ones that end up turning the tide in Rick's favor.
I really hope it won't be as predictable as that, but it definitely seems that's where this is all headed.
Gabriel's attempt at sabotaging the ammunition was foiled by Eugene's keen quality control. I really feel awful for Gabriel, he's a completely broken man and it's just incredibly sad to watch. Hopefully, he can pull himself back out of the rough, as he's done once before.
Rosita and Daryl's plan on kidnapping Eugene to prevent him from making more ammunition for the Saviors seemed like a good idea at the time, but their poor execution and Eugene's quick thinking of induced vomiting led to him escaping.
The jury's still out on where his allegiance truly lies, but I'm still holding out hope for him. However, his constant alternating between arrogance and cowardice has been making it increasingly difficult to do so.
I got plans for you.Negan
My inkling of Laura being the person that Negan picked up on The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 14 was correct – and as expected – meant some really bad news for Dwight.
It had been evident that Negan was playing Dwight the entire time since his return. The little pep talks that Negan gave him throughout the episode were merely to lure him into a false sense of security, only to pull the rug out from underneath Dwight just when he thought he was still in good with Negan.
Once again, a prime example of Negan's penchant for theatrics.
I don't know what Negan's plan is for Dwight. Knowing he may have just led Rick and his people to their death may be punishment enough. Worst case scenario, Dwight ends up chained to the front gates of the Sanctuary like Simon.
Now that Gregory delivered Negan's "plan" back to Hilltop, what will Rick's move be? Dwight hasn't led them wrong in the past, so Rick would have every reason to use this supposed advantage to end things with Negan for good.
Will Rick be quick to jump at the opportunity as he has done in the past, or will he take a vastly different approach this time?
Now that Rick's read Carl's letter, I'm leaning more towards the latter.
Could Rick end up offering Negan peace? Would Negan even consider accepting it? As of right now, Negan doesn't seem to want anything other than having Hilltop fall back in line and get with the program.
You don't have to forget what happened, but you can't make it so it won't happen again, that nobody has to live this way. That every life is worth something.Carl
The only real saving grace was Rick finally reading Carl's letter. The voiceover from Chandler Riggs reading those inspiring words really added to a pivotal and emotional moment.
Although, Michonne reading Carl's letter to Negan over the radio didn't pack the same punch for obvious reasons, and came across as a bit hokey.
I get it, it's not like she can just slap a stamp on it and have it delivered to the Sanctuary's doorstep, but I do think it would have made for a more interesting moment had Negan read the note himself.
[reading Carl's letter to Negan] I hope my dad offers you peace ... I hope you take it. I hope everything can change, it did for me. Start over ... you still can.Michonne
With the opening featuring Rick reading Carl's letter, it would have made for a far more poignant moment to close out with Negan reading Carl's letter and leaving its impact on Negan ambiguous.
After a string of really solid installments, it was only a matter of time before the season hit a snag; it's just unfortunate it came on the heels of the finale and seemingly halting a lot of the momentum the season had built over the past few episodes.
If there is a silver lining, it's that The Walking Dead has a very good track record when it comes to knocking the ball out of the park with its season finales. So I'm certain that the one upcoming will more than make of for this lackluster effort.
The Walking Dead has always had the "go big or go home" mentality when it comes to their finales. And with everything Rick's group has endured over the past two seasons culminating in one final stand against the Saviors, the next finale is set to be the series' biggest yet.
Now it's your turn TV Fanatics.
What did you think of "Worth"? Where you satisfied with how Simon met his end? What could Negan have planned for Dwight now that he's been outed as the traitor? Will Rick lead Hilltop right into Negan's trap? What are your hopes for the finale?
Sound off below and let me know.
The Walking Dead Season Finale airs on Sunday, April 15th on AMC at 9/8c.
Be sure to stick around afterward for the Season Premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.
Want to see Negan and Simon throw down again? Be sure to watch The Walking Dead online right here at TV Fanatic.
Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.