The Walking Dead Fall Finale Recap: Ready… Aim… Fireworks?

Sunday, as we reached the end of the first of three arcs that make up the 11th and final season of The Walking Dead, not only did Daryl’s stint undercover with the Reapers come to a dramatic conclusion, but everything from walkers to the weather conspired to leave just about every character on the show in grave danger. Who looked like they were especially [bleeped]? Read on…

‘YOUR MOM IS STILL WITH YOU’ | As “For Blood” began, a storm raged through Alexandria, necessitating the house in which everyone tends to hole up being barricaded like it was auditioning to play a set in Night of the Living Dead. Shortly, Carol ventured out with Connie and Kelly to fortify the wall (some of which was already blowing around like a napkin in the breeze), and Aaron and Magna hustled over to the windmill to put out a fire. Meanwhile, Rosita, Virgil, Lydia and Judith would stay behind to try to keep the kids chill and the house standing. Easier said than done, what with the rotting front door rattling in its hinges as loudly as Gracie was shaking in her shoes.

Speaking of Aaron’s daughter, she managed to get herself grabbed through a window by a walker, prompting Rosita to stalk outside and diminish the number of zombies roaming about. The ominous music cues, not to mention the kids’-eye-view of her fight, suggested that Gabriel was about to become a single parent. But Rosita made it back inside, exhausted but intact, to deadpan, “Let’s stay away from the windows.” When everyone was forced to move upstairs in case that rickety door didn’t hold, Judith — Virgil’s assurance that Michonne was very much reflected in her every move — went looking for troublesome Gracie, and the two of them ended up trapped in the basement. On the floor was a rising tide; outside the door, walkers galore.

‘THE LORD SPEAKS THROUGH ME’ | In Meridian, Pope was tipped off to the fact that the horde wasn’t just a horde by the fact that the Reaper he sent to lead them away never returned. Rotters “didn’t kill him,” the madman declared. “She did it. My enemy.” In other words, Maggie. Though impressed that she had weaponized walkers — and apparently never having heard of the Whisperers — Pope wasn’t fussed about the gates holding. Bombs between them and the horde would keep the Reapers safe. But what he didn’t realize was that his foes were mixed in with the walkers, and soon, thanks to Daryl dispatching a guard, inside the compound as well. 

As Leah tried not to facepalm over Pope’s babble, he called for (I would swear he said) the Watch-It, which looked for all the world like a massive fireworks launcher. Alone with his ex, Daryl confessed that his people were among the walkers and invited her to run away with him. Just would she please stop Pope and not let his family be bottle-rocketed to death? Before Pope could start his pyrotechnics show, Maggie drove a truck through the front gates so as to let in the horde. Change of plans, said Pope. Aim at the courtyard. Even with our people there? asked Leah, aghast. “God will protect them,” he replied. Sure, Jan. Finally, Daryl drew his knives on Pope, and Leah stabbed her leader in the neck. He forgot that what mattered was people, she told Daryl. Her people. And just like he would, she would do anything to protect her people.

Except kill Daryl, it seemed. Instead of do that, Leah walkie-talkied that Pope was dead and Daryl, one of the enemy, and let her ex slip away. At the same time, Negan & Co. were flummoxed by the fact that the Reapers were retreating. Why would they do that? Oh s—t. Leah was going to launch all the fireworks after all. Would it be death by Roman candle for Elijah and Maggie? And where the hell was Dog through all of this? I do not like the idea that Daryl would head for the hills without his four-legged friend. (I also don’t buy it.) What say you, Deadheads? On your way to the comments with your questions about and reviews of the fall finale, stop off at the poll below and grade it.

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