Episode 608 of The Walking Dead, “Start to Finish,” starts off as innocuously as possible. Jesse goes upstairs and sees an empty food plate that her son Sam has left outside his door. Inside his room, we see him coloring while a trail of bugs crawls down the wall and swarms over a half eaten cookie that has clearly been sitting there for some time.
Cue opening credits.
Then things kick into overdrive. The tower from the end of last episode falls and takes the wall with it. Walkers start swarming in. Everybody panics and starts to run. A lot of action happens that’s hard to describe, but suffice it to say that Maggie almost gets eaten, Deanna gets her leg almost sawed off, Eugene almost gets eaten, Carol trips (what is this, a Friday the 13th movie?!?), Jesse shoots a bunch of walkers, and everyone ultimately makes it to safety in scattered houses. Maggie ends up on the top of a guard post on the wall surrounded by a horde of walkers. Plus, a whole heck of a lot of walkers get killed, but it barely makes a dent in the sheer numbers of them.
Outside of Alexandria, Glenn and Enid see the destruction happen. Glenn decides that since the east wall is down, they can get in by the west wall. Enid doesn’t want to go, but Glenn tries to convince her that people are still alive and need her help. Enid only responds when Glenn tells her that Maggie is pregnant.
Back at Jessie’s house, Rick, Jesse, Michonne, Carl, and Ron rush into Sam’s room and set Deanna on the bed. Sam’s a bit freaked out by it all.
Meanwhile, Carol and Morgan end up in an abandoned house together. Carol tells Morgan that he’s last on the list of people she trusts. She tries to get up but is shaky, and Morgan tells her she might have a concussion.
At the house where Morgan was keeping the Wolf, Denise is stuck by herself with the captive Wolf. They strike up a conversation and he ends up spouting his usual shtick about how they’re all dead and his people are just freeing them. She tells him that Morgan said he wouldn’t let him go until he was sure the Wolf wouldn’t kill again. Denise ends up checking on his wound.
When Rick comes to check on Deanna, Michonne tells him that she’s just finished treating her leg. She moves up to the wounds on Deanna’s midsection and they realize that one of them is a bite. “Well… shit,” says Deanna.
A little later, Rick and Jessie are looking out a window at the horde on the street. He tells her about Deanna. Rick lays out his plan to wait for the walkers to cluster up in a particular area so that he can get to the armory and try to draw the walkers away with flares.
In another room, Michonne and Deanna are talking. Michonne tells Deanna that she looked at the map that Deanna gave Rick and that she believes it can work. She asks Deanna about the Latin she wrote on the map, and Deanna tells her that it was something her husband used to say when things got bad. Deanna tells her that she got to work with her family towards making things better right up until the end, and that’s all she wanted. “What do you want?” she asks Michonne. “I want this place to work,” Michonne replies. “Yes, but what does that mean for you?” she asks. “I don’t know,” Michonne replies.
Later, Ron heads off into the garage. Carl follows and finds him crying, mumbling about how they’re all dead. They argue about their dads, and Ron slowly walks over and locks the garage door with a key and puts it in his pocket. He pulls his gun on Carl and they get into a fight. During the fight, Ron smashes open a window and it draws walkers to them. Rick and Jesse hear the commotion and try to get into the garage but it’s locked so Rick has to break off the door handle. They manage to save the boys just as the walkers break in, and since they can’t lock the door now that Rick broke off the handle, they have to prop it closed with a couch. While doing so, Rick asks Carl what happened, and Carl lies and tells him they were looking for tools and knocked over a shelf.
Ron tells Carl there are things to prop the door with in his mom’s room. When they get there, Ron apologizes, but Carl pulls his gun on him and makes Ron relinquish his gun. Then he says to Ron, “Look, man, I get it. My dad killed your dad, but you need to know something. Your dad was an asshole.”
Rick hears Judith starts to cry. When he goes to check on her, he finds Deanna hunched over her crib. He pulls his axe and goes to kill her, but Deanna is still alive and says that her legs just gave out when she went to see Judith one last time. Rick helps her up and sets her on the bed. She gives Rick two notes that she wrote for Spencer and Maggie, and asks Rick to look out for Spencer. She says, “Will you look out for him like you look out for your people?” Rick doesn’t answer. “Guess what? They’re all your people, Rick. They are,” she says. Rick says, “We haven’t had a chance to make it that,” She replies, “But that’s how it is. I didn’t run over to help you to because I like you. Not because I think you’re a good man, a good father, or that you can grow one hell of a beard. I ran over to help because you are one of us. That’s the right answer.” Then Jessie calls for help and Rick has to rush out of the room, taking Judith along with him.
Meanwhile, Rosita, Tara, and Eugene are in a garage waiting things out. Rosita starts to get a bit whiny about it being the end and feeling like Abraham is dead, but Tara reassures her that he’s not. They decide to go into the main house and see how things look on the other side. Eugene sets to work picking the lock on the door into the house.
Back at the Wolf house, Carol is resting. When Morgan goes to the window, Carol runs away.
Back at Jessie’s house, the walkers are breaking through the couch defense and the front door. Michonne and Rick pull everyone back upstairs and use the couch to block the stairs. As the walkers pile up, Rick instructs Michonne that he’s going to kill one walker, he wants her to kill another. “We’re gonna need at least two,” he says.
Back at the Wolf house, Carol shows up and tells Denise to get away from the Wolf. Morgan shows up right behind her and they end up in a stand-off.
Back at Jessie’s house, Michonne and Rick drag two dead walkers into one of the upstairs bedrooms. Rick tells the group that they’re going to cover themselves in walker innards and all go to the armory. “Anyone who stays here is gonna die,” Rick says. “What about Deanna?” asks Father Gabriel.
Michonne enters Deanna’s room. She’s near death. Michonne wakes her up. Deanna realizes why she’s there and says, “No, I’m not ready. Soon. I will be. And when I am, I’ll do it myself. It’s my life. Start to finish.” She holds up a gun. She speaks the Latin she wrote on the map. Michonne asks her again what it means. Deanna says, “Someday this pain will be useful to you.”
Michonne stands up to leave. “Thank you,” she says to Deanna. “For what?” “For believing.” “I still believe. I cocked it all up, but I figured it all out. What do you want? Now you figure it out,” Deanna says to Michonne. “I will,” Michonne replies.
Back in the other room, Rick and the group are covering themselves in walker innards. Sam walks in and is even more freaked out. Jessie tells him that he has to just pretend to be brave. Sam agrees that he will be.
Back at the Wolf house, Carol and Morgan are debating killing the Wolf. Carol wants to kill him, Morgan does not. Eventually, Morgan knocks the knife out of Carol’s hands, and they get into it. A Morgan/Carol fight? Two bad-asses going at it? Awesome. It’s a short but brutal fight that only ends when Morgan picks Carol up and slams her whole body on the ground, knocking her unconscious. But then, the Wolf grabs Lenny’s staff and knocks him unconscious with it. Denise yells out, but he grabs Carol’s knife and holds her at bay.
Back at Jessie’s house, Father Gabriel pulls Rick aside. He tells him, “I’m not gonna give up out there. I will not turn back, no matter what happens.” “Yeah, I know,” Rick replies.
At the Wolf house, the Wolf frees himself from his ropes and — despite Denise’s pleas — gets her up against the wall with his knife against her. As he’s about to kill her, Tara, Eugene, and Rosite enter; they were in the garage of the Wolf house all along. They pull their guns on him, but he has a knife to Denise’s throat and makes them relinquish their weapons. He holds Denise hostage as he walks out of the house, taking her with him, into the street filled with walkers.
Back at Jessie’s house, the group — now covered in walker guts — walks through the swarm of walkers in the house and out of the house, slowly. They look around and see the street is just swarming with walkers as far as the eye can see.
Upsstairs, Deanna is about to end her life with her gun when she hears the walkers coming up the stairs. She opens the bedroom door and fires six shots, killing six walkers. Then she screams at them, welcoming the end, going out her way.
The group is on the front porch. They look at each other, then they take each other’s hands and set off into the street. As they make it down the porch, we suddenly hear Sam quietly say, “Mom?” Then he says it again. Then he says it one more time, louder.
Everything fades to black and we hear the walker snarling increase.
Cue end credits.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!
During the first break of Into the Badlands (the show that follows The Walking Dead on AMC), we are treated to special “two-minute prologue.” We see Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham driving in the truck when they come across a group of men on motorcycles in the middle of the road. They stop, and the lead man tells them to get out of the car or they’ll kill the three of them. When they get out of the truck, the man tells them to hand over their weapons. “Why should we?” Daryl asks. He proceeds to tell them that everything they own, weapons, the truck, fuel, etc. is no longer their property.
“Who’s are they” Sasha asks.
“You’re property… now belongs to Negan.” the man says.