The season 7 finale of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead on AMC was finally a season ending last episode that did not end in a gut wrenching cliffhanger. Still however, this last episode entitled, ‘The First Day of the rest of your Life’, gave us a twist that was a unique surprise with respect to how one of the show’s beloved characters died and sacrificed herself, even if many fans had a feeling that the troubled Sasha (Sonequa Martin), would meet a noble end. Speculation ran high in this regard specifically because Sonequa Martin, who has played Sasha since season three, has now been cast as the main character in the new and upcoming Star Trek: Discovery.
The Walking Dead’s last episode of what has been for many fans a slower season 7 was indeed action packed, with many surprise twists and turns, which made the episode quite fun. Although the fact that betrayal has become quite widespread a theme this season, as both Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and the Trash people seem to have opted to hedge their bets with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors rather than Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Alexandria and the Hilltop, was disconcerting but an effective turn in last night’s episode.
But by the same token however, we also saw Dwight as played by (Austin Amelio), choose to betray Negan and aid in the fight against the Saviors, which is a move that most fans would be able to understand given the fact that Negan took Dwight’s Wife as a part of his apocalyptic herem. And in truth, even though we all know Eugene to be somewhat of a coward, he did provide Sasha with the means to take her life, so whether or not Eugene totally betrays Alexandria and his first zombie is still up for debate. Fans will also have been heartened to not only have gotten a cameo by everyone’s favorite red haired army sergeant Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), but it was also a chance for Sasha’s character to get a few tender moments with her love interest who was brutally murdered by Negan, before she tried to repay his brutal act in kind and bite off Negan’s face.
While seeing the Trash people turn out not to be the ally Rick had hoped they would be was disheartening, it was exciting to see Ezekial (Khary Paton), Carol (Melissa McBride) and Morgan (Lennie James) arrive at Alexandria along with the Kingdom’s battalion and the King’s pet tiger Shiva, just in the nick of time to save Negan from killing Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Rick. By the same token we also Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Jesus (Tom Payne) lead a group from the Hilltop, also arriving just in time to also help save the day and thus draw the battle lines in order for the war against the saviors to truly begin in the upcoming eighth season. The war with the saviors for humanity’s post apocalyptic soul will indeed be the main focus of next season as this story arc lasted a full twelve episodes in the Walking Dead comic from its print publisher Image comics.
But as was the main focus of Chris Hardwick’s Talking Dead show from AMC, last night’s Walking Dead episode truly belonged to Sonequa Martin and her fictional counterpart Sasha as the character lived as she died; in the service of her friends and remaining as true as one can in the zombie apocalypse to her ideals and what was noble and good in the face of oppression, death and the end of the world. Seeing Maggie and Jesus, two of her dearest remaining friends coming across her as a walker at the end of the episode and emotionally putting her down was also just a tad gut wrenching, but effective and true to life in the zombie apocalypse none the less.