Spoilers for the midseason finale of The Walking Dead follow.
Tonight's mid-season finale of #TheWalkingDead definitely made up for the lackluster start to Season 7. Yes, throughout the past half-dozen episodes there were definitely some fun moments here and there, but nothing like the intensity of previous seasons...until now.
Some of the biggest midseason finale highlights involved Negan's signature brand of treachery as he posted up in Alexandria, as well as the separate plot threads finally coming full circle.
Negan Reminds Rick Why He's So Dangerously Unpredictable
From the start of the episode, it's clear that Negan is in a sadistic mood, made evident by his shocking response to Spencer's request to take over Alexandria from Rick.
For those who are unfamiliar with the comics, Spencer brown-noses his way into a meeting with Negan and attempts to persuade Negan to kill Rick. Negan responds to the odd request by gutting Spencer right there in front of everyone.
Tonight's mid-season finale played out in a similar fashion.
Rick Concludes That Scavenging For Negan Isn't Worth It Anymore
Quite a few other plot-threads were explored during the episode, one in particular was Aaron and Rick attempting to gain access to the weapons cache on that floating barge.
Both Rick and Aaron assumed their plan was foolproof, but just like everything else on The Walking Dead, their plan was more perilous than they thought. By the time Aaron and Rick get out on the water, many walkers begin swarming their boat. When the boat starts taking on water, the situation appears very grim.
Luckily, Aaron and Rick made it out alive, but considering the repercussions of their actions, Rick would have to explain to Eric that Aaron died attempting to retrieve some guns. In Eric's eyes, the cost of Aaron's life wouldn't be equal to what would have been gained in the weapons cache. Fortunately, Aaron lived and gained access to the floating barge. Inside, seemingly enough a massive stockpile of guns stood waiting them.
They didn't have to risk their lives for those guns. On top of that, after they delivered the guns right to Negan, Negan's men beat Aaron bloody. Aaron didn't instigate a confrontation, but the Saviors punched and kicked Aaron to the ground anyway.
Rick Is No Longer Abiding Negan's Rule
This is likely the breaking point for Rick. He's done with servitude under Negan.
Throughout the first half of Season 7, Negan psychologically tormented Rick, abused his community, and now — with the mid-season finale — killed two more members of Rick's group, along with taking Eugene captive. Rick won't tolerate any more abuse from Negan.
Rick should have snapped out of it much earlier on, but it took tonight's scavenging mission to wind up being pointless for Rick to realize that no matter how much he collects for Negan, it'll never be enough to satisfy Negan. The rest of their lives would just be living under tyranny and torture.
'All Out War' Event From The Comics Is On Its Way
The promotional preview for the second half of Season 7 confirms Rick attempting to unite Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom communities together, in a play to remove Negan from his position of power. So it looks like Rick really has had enough of being Negan's errand boy and is taking up arms like he should have done in the first place.
With Rick assembling the communities together to take Negan down, it's only a matter of time before Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom are ready to go to war.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC in February.