The Walking Dead 7×16 Review: The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
So if “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” had consisted of nothing more than the last thirty minutes of the episode, I’ll admit, I would have been happy.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Instead, viewers had to suffer through nearly an hour of nonsense before finally experiencing the meat of The Walking Dead season 7 finale – which, by the way, was entitled “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”…you know, in case you didn’t hear Negan tell Sasha all about that. (By the way, this was pretty damn close to breaking the fourth wall.)
Here’s the thing – it was pretty obvious in the cold opening that Sasha was killing herself. Sure, we didn’t exactly know why or what the timing was, but yeah, it was happening. Eugene had given her the “suicide pill” (for lack of a better term), and “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” kicked off with her listening to music in the dark. And then, so far as we could tell, she passed out. The subsequent scenes of her listening to music and her flashbacks with Abraham were seriously unnecessary; had they been better edited we would have gotten an episode without an extended run time – and one that was also much cleaner.
I wish that I could say that was the most frustrating thing about “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”, but it really wasn’t. Sure, it added to the extra-long run time, but in the end, did we really need more hemming and hawing about whether or not The Kingdom (plus Morgan) and The Hilltop would join Rick & Co. in their fight against the Saviors?
(Because in case it wasn’t obvious, of course they were going to!)
Also, surprise NOT surprise, the Garbage Pail Kids were garbage PLOT kids – they had garbage trucks and garbage lines and in the end they turned against Rick. Probably the best thing to come of this nonsense was Michonne’s fight, although I’ll be honest, only comic book readers could TRULY appreciate it, as it was almost exactly what happened with comic book Andrea during Alexandria’s war with the Saviors.
Meanwhile, I think it’s pretty obvious that the Dwight plot is completely useless. He showed up at the end of last week’s episode claiming that he wanted to help Rick and his people, but he was absolutely useless in “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”. Oh sure, he apparently left a toy with the words “didn’t know” written on it behind – which Daryl (of all people!) conveniently found – but I still don’t understand why they didn’t leave this plot line for next season. Sure, it made for an interesting ending to last week’s pretty boring episode, but NOTHING CAME OF IT this week! So really, what was the point?
The long and the short of it? I’ve been attempting to write this review for almost two hours, and in the end, I just don’t have anything positive to say about the first hour of “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”. Sure, the last twenty-ish minutes were thrilling, but was that really worth it?
The answer is that no, it wasn’t, and I believe that the biggest part of the problem is that the show has somewhere to go – thanks to the source material, of course – but they don’t know how to GET there. Looking back, I think that’s probably always been the problem with The Walking Dead – to be honest, the fact that they recreated comic book Andrea’s fight and near death almost to the panel with Michonne (despite being able to begin it from an entirely different place), is more telling than anything else.
Of course, The Kingdom and The Hilltop showed up just in time to drive off not just Negan and the Saviors but the Scavengers as well. I have to believe that the latter will come back to haunt everyone in the end, but at least everything is on the up-and-up…for now, anyway. The only thing about that whole situation that had me rolling my eyes was the fact that Shiva the tiger knew who was “good” and who was “bad”…and even then I was only rolling my eyes because an animal having that level of knowledge was ridiculous – in general Shiva was freaking awesome (both the CGI and the fact that she was so, you know, helpful).
Okay, sure, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” left us with plenty of ANSWERED questions – we know that Negan has declared war on Alexandria…and, we have to assume, the Kingdom and the Hilltop as well. Even if we hold on to the hope that Dwight is undermining things from within (sorry not sorry but don’t even get me started on Eugene), I have a feeling that the writers are going to drag this ‘war’ out as long as they can.
And I for one am glad that this is the last time I have to accept that sort of bullshit, because this, my friends, is my Walking Dead break-up letter. Am I saying I’ll never watch the show again? No. Am I saying I’ll never review it again, as long as I live? Sadly, even that isn’t true (though I wish it was/could be). But I’ve reviewed nearly 60 episodes of this show for The Geekiary, and I’m *tired*. As a fan of The Walking Dead comics, I’ve always been unsure of their portrayal of women, and the show’s treatment of Sasha tonight definitely didn’t help. So long story short: I’m over it.
Will I stop watching this show? Nah. I’ll pick it up next season, but I’ll enjoy it as a mere bystander. As I said, this review is, more than anything, my break up letter…and in case you couldn’t tell, it’s been a long time coming.
Good luck with season eight, Walking Dead. Sorry not sorry, but you need it.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is a fandom and geek culture expert, public speaker, and character cosplayer who is best known for her Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), and Andrea (The Walking Dead) cosplays. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.