It was very good, very intense and suspenseful. Carol and Daryl (Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus, respectively,) were thrown into the midst of the chaos, with great performances per usual, with very little dramatic and/or mental instability seen earlier in what turned out to be, in my opinion, a stellar season. There were also a couple of emotional scenes built around Eugene, Jerry, Princess (her character was introduced just a couple episodes prior,) as Eugene’s story arc continued. Ryan Hurst as the domineering Beta was particularly expressive, jaw-dropping, and ultimately tragic. There were, however, two elements that could have been more refined, one of which concerns the latter. Hurst’s character was defeated far too easily. I was anticipating an elongated, no-holds-barred confrontation, especially given Beta’s epic brawl with Daryl in a previous episode (it was INTENSE!) and given the animosity between Beta and Negan, both in the comic and previous episodes. I did get my Negan fix, though, albeit barely, the always impressive Jeffrey Dean Morgan being showcased in just two or three brief scenes. They could have easily rectified that by delivering an epic showdown between Negan and Beta. What actually transpired felt unearned and cheap. Finally, the resolution of what remained of the Whisperer War storyline felt too easy. In fact, it was practically wrapped in a proverbial bow. Even more damning was the fact that we’ve seen our survivors resort to this tactic before– one other time, at least.
Directed by the incomparable Greg Nicotero, A Certain Doom benefited from what I’d call a tasteful amount of grisly body horror, some of which was quite graphic. He never overdoes the visuals, though. Even if the walkers are enjoying a perfectly good meal, it’s never for shock value. Also to the hour’s benefit (and many a fan’s delight,) was the triumphant return of Lauren Cohen’s Maggie Rhee. Going forward, I’m eager to see how things play out between her and Negan, all things considered.
Overall, a highly enjoyable and satisfying finale (despite its shortcomings,) which wouldn’t have been complete without a few threads left unresolved.