*EXTREME SPOILERS FOLLOW*
The inevitable finally happened in The Walking Dead season finale - the war against The Saviours began.
For a while, it looked as if Rick had to go from some more heartache before his attempted vengeance against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)could be enacted; his plan fell down around him after Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her Junkyard crew traded in their deal for a better one with The Saviours.
After a brief skirmish with death thanks to a newly-deceased Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Negan regains the upper hand as Carl and Rick kneel before him at his mercy. Negan is no longer messing around as he spells out his plans to Rick - he's going to kill Carl and take Rick's hands. Rick seems unfazed - he reminds his captor, as he promised all the way back in the traumatic season premiere, that he's going to kill him.
Negan prepares to rain Lucille down on Carl's head but is stopped dead in his tracks as King Ezekiel's pet tiger Shiva bursts onto the screen, taking out one of his men and sparking the battle which will shape the future of this series.
“Alexandria will not fall - not on this day!” bellows Ezekiel (Khary Payton) as his people, including Carol (Melissa McBride) and Morgan (Lennie James), unload gunfire on The Saviours.
They're not the only ones - the Hilltop also arrive, led by new leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who Negan has assumed dead this entire season: “That widow Is alive, guns a-blazin',” he shouts, clearly in shock at how everything has unravelled around him.
It's a thrilling sequence featuring many small moments you'll notice each time around: Rick and Morgan's nod to each other as the latter watches the former's back; Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) completing his staggering character transformation (it would have been unthinkable to see him firing a machine gun when we first met him at the start of season five); and Negan flipping the bird to Alexandria as he's sped away by his people.
You can watch the full sequence below.
This season has received its fair share of criticism for taking its time in introducing new characters and locations, however thanks to this extended battle sequence, it's clear to see it's been necessary for it to have achieved the effect it so does. Here's hoping we're in for more of the same next season.
The Walking Dead season seven concludes in the UK tonight (3 April) at 9pm on FOX.Reuse content