Spoilers follow for The Walking Dead season 8.
In the past 18 months The Walking Dead’s ratings have plummeted, but with its season finale last night, the show had the chance to ditch its sluggish storyline, rediscover the things that made it great, and get things back on track for season 9. In many ways the finale was on the way to doing that – all our favourite main players are still around, and Negan has been defeated – but the season’s final moments have got fans whipped up into a frenzy.
Unlike the divisive finale of season 6, which ended just as Negan offed an unidentified member one of Rick’s gang, season 8 mainly ended happily. Eugene double-crossed Negan, using faulty bullets to take down his army of Saviours. At the end, Rick slashed Negan’s throat before getting him fixed up and putting him in a cell, living on as an example to anyone who goes against the law. As Rick let Negan be healed, Maggie had to be restrained by Michonne: “It’s not over till he’s dead!” she cried. Later in the episode, Maggie, Daryl and Jesus began to plot against Rick & Michonne, possibly with the intent to kill them. But why?
“We need our strength,” Maggie told Jesus as in the below clip. “The ability to defend ourselves better. We have to have that. But Rick & Michonne – Rick was wrong to do what he did. Michonne too. So we’re going to bide our time, wait for our moment, and then we’re going to show him.” Here Daryl stepped out of the shadows to say: “Yeah we will.”
— Rick Grimes (@RickAndThangs) April 16, 2018
Many fans expressed confusion at the shift in loyalties of the three characters. “That scene felt so out of character for all of them,” wrote one Twitter user.
That scene with Maggie, Jesus, and Daryl felt so out of character for all of them. I get the story ramifications, and I understand how the issue could be a serious rift, but it seems like a such a crazy jump for the tone to get that negative that fast #TheWalkingDead
— Andrew LaMastra (@AndrewLa91) April 16, 2018
More than one viewer highlighted Jesus’ pacifist role in recent episodes and highlighted his seeming hypocrisy in the scene. “I could understand Maggie and Daryl, but Jesus? The man who told Morgan not to kill?”
— Mexi Libertarian (@mexlibertarian) April 16, 2018
How in the hell is Jesus going to take Maggie's side about killing Negan, whn he has been the main one talking about letting people live? Also Darryl just apologized to Rick a couple episodes for his stupid actions, but lo and behold here he is being a dirty snake #TheWalkingDead
— Raheem (@_ARCore) April 16, 2018
Rick & Daryl’s close relationship was also highlighted by critics:
— FaCtSs (@ISpeakFaCtssss) April 16, 2018
As was the moment Rick carried Maggie through the forest seeking help:
AND HOW Y’ALL GONNA TURN MAGGIE INTO A VILLAIN NOW?! RICK CARRIED HER LIFELESS BODY THROUGH THE WOODS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO GET HER TO A DOCTOR. I AM LIVID RN. #TheWalkingDead pic.twitter.com/gUgfU5TQZG
— Kayla Vezina (@kaylamarieeeexo) April 16, 2018
Several fans said they’d stop watching the show because of the scene
#WalkingDead just lost another fan with that bullshit ending. Fire your new writer! Maggie, Jesus, and Daryl would never turn against Rick.
— ✩The Star✩ (@TheStarDamien) April 16, 2018
If they make Maggie, Jesus, and Daryl the new antagonist I’m done with this show #TheWalkingDead
— Daryl Dixon (@BAMFDarylDixon_) April 16, 2018
feels like a big waste to stop watching #TheWalkingDead now but honestly it’s just so bad. maggie, jesus, and daryl wanting to kill michonne and rick is literally the most unrealistic thing to happen yet- which means a lot considering literally everything has been unrealistic
— maddie (@maddieloiaconi) April 16, 2018
More than one fan said the show had “jumped the shark”.
I have been loyal to #TheWalkingDead from the beginning, defending storytelling decisions others didn't like, but I'm sorry, I'm not on board for Maggie, Daryl & Jesus against Rick & Michonne. Esp Jesus makes zero storytelling sense. ZERO. They just jumped the shark.
— TrishMilburn (@TrishMilburn) April 16, 2018
Stupid, stupid STUPID ending. Awesome episode and then you have Maggie, Darryl, and Jesus turn on Rick after all this time??? Jump the shark much? Absurd, implausible ending. #TheWalkingDead
— Tom #LGM #FinsUp (@Hotstover) April 16, 2018
Still, some seem excited for season 9. “This is gonna get interesting,” said one.
This is gonna get… interesting.
Maggie, Jesus and Daryl plotting AGAINST Rick and Michonne. #TheWalkingDead
— The Walking Dead (@TWDFamilyy) April 16, 2018
Some praised the show and said they could understand the perspectives of all the characters.
possibly controversial but i can see things from both maggie and rick’s perspectives and i don’t think either of them are completely right and i actually want to see it played out on screen pic.twitter.com/Ucn0uBb85E
— anna (@rrositaespinosa) April 16, 2018
maggie wants to kill negan bc he killed her husband rick and michonne saved him to honor their dead son, I UNDERSTAND ALL OF THEM!
— andy!! (@richwonne) April 16, 2018
Meanwhile, referring to rumours about Lauren Cohan’s future on The Walking Dead, one fan thinks this will be the actor’s “way out” in the early stages of season 9.
The Walking Dead season 9 is in production now and will air in late 2018.