The End is the Beginning

"No matter how things go down, I got your back." - Sasha, "The Walking Dead"

"The Walking Dead" brought its seventh season to a close on Sunday. It, predictably, ended with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) dead and the Saviors in an all out war with the rest. It was an uneven episode, but a decent way to wrap up the season.

I say uneven because the flashbacks with Sasha and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) weren't great, and I thought were underwhelming for both characters. But the episode marked some forward movement and some action, something that had been sorely missing in the back half of this season.

But the question is whether the show is back on track. Last season ended with the mother of all cliffhangers. While it angered some, it kept people talking all summer until the show returned in October. But that return wasn't what many expected.

The tone of the first half of the season, particularly the premier, was violent, dark, and depressing. Finally, the mid-season finale ushered in some hope. But the second half of the season, which premiered the Sunday after the Super Bowl, didn't bring a lot of forward movement.

And it didn't bring a lot of return viewers. The numbers ebbed down to season two levels. Still good, and still topping the charts, but down greatly from the show's highs. The finale, too, was at the lowest levels since season two. It's clear now a chunk of viewers have left and may not be coming back.

But I thought the finale was a turning point, one that offers hope for season eight. The sequences with Negan weren't as hopeless and brutal and, in fact, the episode let a little of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's wry humor come through.

And the storyline of all out war might present some interesting challenges, though doubtless many of our favorites will likely not see a season nine.

But more importantly, fans now have something to look forward to during the long stretch until the show returns to celebrate episode number 100 next October. And that's a good thing.


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