After a long, weird, and frequently tragic season on The Walking Dead, it all comes down to this: on Sunday, April 2, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the Alexandrians, and a ragtag army of junkyard-dwelling weirdos will have their best (and perhaps only) shot at defeating their common enemy.
But the upcoming season finale also represents another last best chance: for a handful of the show's most polarizing characters to prove that they're not complete and total jerks. You know these guys; they're the ones who've been given second (and in some cases, third and fourth and fifth) chances to prove that they aren't the absolute worst, only to wizz it down their respective legs, because they are selfish cowards. Well, no more. Starting now, they're all on notice. And come Sunday, these gentlemen of dubious moral fiber need to redeem themselves, or die trying.
He's lost his wife, his dignity, and half the skin on his face as a result of his alliance with Negan — and he's just showed up to Alexandria to join Rick in fighting the Saviors. Hasn't Dwight (Austin Amelio) done enough to prove that deep down, he's one of the good guys? ...No. No, he has not. Going turncoat was a start, but Dwight has a lot to answer for [casts meaningful look at the charred, still-smoking corpse of the Saviors' physician]. This man put Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in a highly unfashionable sweatsuit and tortured him with dog food dinners and ghastly pop music for days on end; it's going to take more than one single offer of help to offset those sins. Either Dwight does something huge and significant to help topple Negan's evil empire, or he gets fed to that junkyard zombie that looks like a decaying post-apocalyptic porcupine from hell.
At this point, one of the biggest mysteries of The Walking Dead is how Gregory (Xander Berkeley) — who is as pompous and effete as he is ineffective, who has no useful skills to speak of, and who seems to show up onscreen purely for the purpose of drinking all the liquor and making bad situations worse — ever managed to get himself elected head honcho at the Hilltop. (Seriously, who looked at this guy and said, "Yes! That fine fellow, who smells like a Sunday-morning frat house carpet and still doesn't know any of our names, should clearly be in charge of maintaining our fragile symbiosis with this dangerous world!") But whatever sorcery resulted in Gregory being placed in this position of power, he is officially on notice — especially since he last appeared to be planning a special solo trip to the Sanctuary, where all the smart money is on him doing something stratospherically dumb. Of course, he's welcome to prove us wrong! In fact, we hope he does. But if he doesn't, he'll make a lovely, loamy, tequila-flavored fertilizer for Maggie's vegetable garden.
The betrayal, it burns. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) came so close, so many times, to actually making himself a useful and productive member of the Alexandria community... and then he sold his soul for a jar of pickles and a mid-level position in the Negan administration, leaving fans agape and in full-on Tyra Banks Top Model freakout mode. ("I was rooting for you, Eugene! We were all rooting for you! How dare you?!") His gob-smacker of a response to Rosita and Sasha's rescue attempt was just the latest in a litany of reasons why he's no longer fit to breathe — unless he really pulls it out in this finale episode with an act of... well, if not actual heroism, then at least something other than self-interested sniveling cowardice. C'mon, Eugene. Make the correct select. It's what the Gremblygunk would want.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.