There was a lot going on in the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead, and with all the smoke bombs, surprise walkers and gun fire it was hard enough keeping track of who belonged on which side, let alone keeping an eye out for a reference to a 22 year old movie.
As you might remember, last week in an interview with EW, Norman Reedus compared the Season 7 finale to the 1995 film, Braveheart. Saying:
"It’s completely different than all the other ones. It has similar elements, but it’s completely different, and, you know, there might be a little William Wallace in it."
Having seen the episode, it's certainly fair to say it was indeed quite different than all other. But where exactly was the William Wallace/Braveheart moment? Well, obviously the whole episode was about the group fighting for their freedom, much like the plot of Braveheart, but there were a couple particular moments that seemed to pay direct homage.
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If we're going for pure William Wallace comparisons then it's pretty clear that Sasha embodied this Scottish warrior more than any other character in the finale. Faced with an impossible situation, Sasha chose to kill herself in a way which meant she would reanimated, turning herself into a weapon.
In Braveheart, William Wallace went out with similar gusto, fighting until he was eventually betrayed, tried in court and found guilty. However, faced with certain death by various torturous devices, Wallace took advantage of his last moments, yelling "FREEDOM" as he died, and leaving the crowd shocked.
In fact, Sasha embodying William Wallace was further demonstrated by Sasha's music choice, choosing to listen to Donny Hathaway's "Some Day We'll All Be Free" as she took the suicide pill and turned, surely a nod to the famous "FREEDOM" war cry.
The Heapster's Irish inspired move
But while Sasha was the obvious Braveheart reference, there did seem to be another nod to the film in The Walking Dead finale. The scene in which it was revealed that Jadis and the Heapsters are in league with Negan and the Saviors is reminiscent of the scene in the film where the Irish appear to fight alongside the English, only to meet in the middle of the battlefield and switch sides.
But, while in Braveheart the scene is uplifting given the Irish have chosen to unite with the Scots to face off against the English, in The Walking Dead it wasn't quite as humorous, with Jadis and the Heapsters revealing their true alliance with the Saviors at the start of the battle.
The references to Braveheart aren't the only time The Walking Dead has paid homage to other films or television, with executive producer Greg Nicotero frequently sprinkling in nods to other horror films. Here's hoping they continue when the series returns in fall for Season 8.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Season 8 in October.