This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7
Season 7 was a rough one for Rick and the Alexandrians. But it still ended with the combined might of Alexandria, the Kingdom and Hilltop standing up to Negan and the Saviors. And with season 8 of The Walking Dead starting this Sunday, October 22, fans are looking forward to the war to come. But before we get to the new season, let’s look at 8 key moments from last season that brought the show to this point. The moments are presented chronologically.
1) Who Did Negan kill?
Fans anticipated the season 7 premiere by wondering who it was Negan brutally beat to death with his barbed-wire bat, Lucille, at the end of season 6. It turned out to be fan favorite, and comically profane, Abraham. But that wasn’t the only key moment in the brutal season 7 opener. After Daryl unsuccessfully tried to jump Negan, Negan punished Daryl and the group by killing Glenn, who had been with the group since the very first episode of the show. By the end of episode 1, it was clear that Negan was in charge and Rick, to protect the group, had acquiesced to becoming Negan’s slave.
2) King Ezekiel and His Tiger
Who can forget the moment Morgan introduced Carole to King Ezekiel, the leader of the Kingdom? Decked out in his kingly robes, and with the impressive tiger he’d rescued and made his companion, by his side, he was quite a sight. He convinced Carole to stay close by, living, if not in, at least near the Kingdom. But despite their rocky beginnings, and Carole’s reluctance to fight, we just knew that when needed she would be ready to do battle by his side.
3) Judith’s Real Father
Season 7, Episode 4 also brought us the moment when Rick told Micchone about Shane and the relationship his friend had had with his wife before she realized her husband was still alive. Turns out he has always known that Shane was Judith’s real father. But he had accepted it to protect her, just like he was willing to accept the situation with Negan in order to protect his people.
4) Rosita and the Bullet
The eventful episode 4 ended with one more key moment. Rosita had managed to hold back a gun she’d found, and she was determined to use it to kill Negan. So, she ordered Eugene to make a bullet. The consequences of their actions would come later.
5) Tara Meets the Oceansiders
Tara may not have been seen for nine episodes (she had gone off last season with Heath to find supplies) when she reappeared in episode 6, but she would end up playing an important role when she found the Oceansiders, a community made up of all women after the Saviors killed all the men. Remember, Tara had no idea about the horrible things Negan had done to her fellow Alexandrians, or even that her girlfriend, Denise, had been killed. But finding out that the Oceansiders had a big supply of guns turned out to be very important when she would learn later that Negan had taken all of the Alexandrians’ weapons. Despite almost being killed by them, Tara had promised the Oceansider who saved her that she would keep the community’s existence a secret. But we knew that, eventually, she would give her secret in order help her friends. Oh, and in the new season, are we finally going to find out what happened to Heath?
6) Rick Decides to Fight
Oh, this moment had been a long time coming. But a lot of awful things happened in episode 8 before it got here. Aaron was badly beaten by a couple of Saviors over a misunderstanding. Spencer’s attempt to suck up to Negan only lead to his brutal, fatal stabbing by the leader of the Saviors. And when Rosita’s attempt to kill Negan with the bullet Eugene made for her failed, the cost was Olivia’s death and Eugene being taken prisoner by the Saviors. But by the end of the episode, Rick had learned that he couldn’t protect his people from Negan no matter what he did, and the best thing to do was to fight back.
7) Rick Finds New Allies
Rick makes a deal with Jadis and her silent followers, a new group living in what looks like a massive junkyard, in episode 10. But first, he has to do battle with a walker adorned in armor and spikes. It’s quite a battle, and a couple of times it looks bad for Rick. But, hey, this is Rick Grimes we’re talking about. He wins, proving his mettle to Jadis. She agrees to fight with them against the Saviors if Rick and his followers will find them new guns. It looks like they have new allies. Or do they?
8) Has Eugene Really Joined Negan?
It sure looked that way. No being forced to sit naked in a small room while listening to Easy Street over and over for Eugene, which Daryl had to endure when he was held prisoner. Eugene impressed Negan by making that bullet for Rosita. He thinks there’s a place for a man with his talents in the Saviors. But is Eugene really aligned with Negan? In a later episode, he did help Sasha, who had been captured by the Saviors, by giving her a pill that would allow her to kill herself rather than be used as a pawn by Negan against her friends. It may take a lot of season 8 to find out for sure whose side Eugene is really on.
Bonus: That Amazing Season Finale
Yes, I know my list is already at 8. But I had to make a special mention of the key moments in that great season finale, episode 16. There was Sasha’s sacrifice, in which she timed taking the poison pill Eugene gave her so that she’d be dead and a walker when Negan opened the box with her inside it. Rick uses the surprise attack on Negan to signal the others to begin the fight. But things go bad when Jadis and her followers turn on Rick and his group. Turned out they got a better deal from Negan. So, is that it? Has Negan won? Looks like Negan is going to kill Carl in front of Rick when, just in the nick of time, King Ezekiel’s tiger shows up, followed by the members of the Kingdom and the Hilltop (the latter lead by Maggie). All right, so maybe it was a little melodramatic, but it sure was fun to watch Negan go on the defensive for once.
So, Rick and the others won the battle, causing Negan and the Saviors to retreat. But, as season 8 of The Walking Dead begins, the war has only just started. I can’t wait!