Season 8 of The Walking Dead was dubbed the "All Out War" season, so fans knew to expect a pretty high body count as each episode followed the next. And speaking personally, the season finale on April 15 exceeded my expectations in terms of the conclusion to the war between Rick Grimes and Negan. Just when it seemed like Negan's time on earth was up, it turns out that Rick may have spared him his life. And the tweets about Rick and Negan on The Walking Dead's season finale had fans going absolutely bonkers.
When Rick and Negan finally had the showdown that we've been waiting for all season long, it truly looked like it could have been anyone's victory. After injuring his hand due to exploding bullets being planted in all of the Saviors guns (nice move, Eugene), Rick found Negan and tried to fire his gun at him. When he ran out of bullets, Rick chased him down and the two fought it out. It looked like Negan was going to slay Rick with his trusty bat Lucille, but as it turns out Rick got the last say in this war.
Rick slashed him in the throat with a piece of glass, and fans seriously thought that Negan was as good as dead.
But by some twist of fate, Rick actually told Siddiq to spare Negan's life. So somehow Negan was able to survive the slash, which sent fans into a complete frenzy.
And some fans were so so happy to see that Negan will live on. Hey, at the very least we know that a living Negan is good for drama.
In the last second before Rick finished Negan, he was reminded of the letter that Carl wrote to him before he died back during the midpoint of the season. Carl told his dad that all he wanted was to make peace with Negan, and to finish the war with him. And it looks like he really took that to heart, because he wound up sparing Negan's life.
This entire season has been riddled with some of the most painful deaths that we've seen in the series' history. One of the toughest and most heartbreaking losses was the death of Carl Grimes. During the midseason finale episode "How It's Gotta Be," it was apparent that the end was near for Carl when we learned that he unfortunately was bitten by a zombie. After a long midseason break, it was clear to fans on the outset of Episode 9 that Carl would be a goner by the time the show's 45 minute runtime was up. We've watched Carl grow up before our eyes since the very first season of this series, so this loss hit home extra hard.
Another awful death this season was Eric Raleigh's, which happened much earlier in the season during the third installment of the season. In the episode before, Eric and his boyfriend Aaron were caught in a battle with the Saviors when Eric was shot. In the following week's episode "Monsters," Aaron wanted to stay with him, but Eric urged him to carry on and continue fighting. And at the tail end of the episode, when Aaron went back to check on Eric, we saw him limping away, confirming that he's turned into a walker. Cue tears.
And one death that I think everyone can agree was absolutely heartbreaking was the loss of King Ezekiel's beloved feline companion, Shiva. Just one week after we saw Eric's seriously unfortunate death, Shiva sacrificed herself for Ezekiel after Jerry, Ezekiel and Carol found themselves surrounded by a group of walkers. Shiva threw herself into the zombie army and threw one of the walkers off, which in turn redirected the rest of the walkers' sights on her. Ezekiel cried out for her to run, but sadly it was too late.
But that's not to say that everyone we lost had fans in their feels. The most satisfying death of the season (and the one fans were waiting all season long to happen) went down during the penultimate episode of Season 8. Negan's longtime right-hand man Simon finally met his maker last week after Negan finally found out that he'd been working behind his back and disobeying orders.
If you remember, in Episode 10, Simon was ordered to come to an agreement with the Scavengers by Negan, and instead he went behind his back and killed all of the them (except Jadis). When Simon returned to the Sanctuary he lied to Negan's face — but did he really think Negan's wouldn't find out?! In Episode 15 Negan confronted Simon about his obvious desire to become the leader of the Saviors and replace Negan, and challenged him to a battle. Who came out alive? You know the answer.
But now it looks like this "All Out War" and the combat between Rick and Negan has finally come to a cease fire — at least for a season's break. Sadly, we have to wait a little while before the next chapter of this story begins. With Negan alive and Rick feeling a change of heart, the upcoming Season 9 looks like it'll be the most interesting one to date.