Before we succumb to The Walking Dead withdrawal, let us rejoice in the return of its sister series, Fear the Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead rolls out its Season 8 finale, "Wrath," at 8 p.m. today on AMC. Anticipation is running high because fans have been waiting impatiently all season for the final showdown between the allied forces of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and those of the evil, bat-swinging Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
It's also the end of a season that saw the untimely demise of beloved Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). The loss of his son was a psychological and emotional blow for Rick that threatened to push him over the edge into the dark abyss. Carl would not have wanted that.
And in case you were wondering, we've been assured that tonight's episode will, indeed, find closure -- no red herrings; no bait-and-switch.
I'll be just fine as long as they don't kill off Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) or Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). OK, also Maggie Green (Lauren Cohan), Michonne (Danai Gurira) or Morgan Jones (Lennie James).
Well, we already know that Morgan survives (see below).
Don't take my word about proper closure. Lincoln, himself, told Entertainment Weekly that this season's finale will not leave us hanging, as they have in the past (R.I.P Glenn and Abraham).
"It does feel like it completes something," Lincoln said. "But it also feels that it offers a lot of interesting story arcs for the future, which is quite unusual.
"I would say this is a smorgasbord -- you've got everything in this one. It's quite an unusual structure, but it's very emotional, I hope, because that's what I felt [while shooting]. It's epic."
About the episode's structure, Reedus added, "There are four things that happen that could be the finale, and they all go off at the same time. They head in different directions, and they're all individually as good as the next. They're all very, very satisfying. I like that about it. I like that it's not just one person's story."
Lincoln also hinted that the season might not end with the final showdown at the expected and familiar sites of the Hilltop, Alexandria or Sanctuary.
"The location we shot at was phenomenal and unusual," Lincoln added. "I hope that it's going to look on screen as good as it felt when we were shooting there."
In a separate interview with ComicBook.com, McBride teased, "What can I say about the finale? It's a little unexpected. I would agree with Norman, but also when I read [the script], I was, like, 'Well, that's a turn, that's a twist. OK, then what?' So I'm really anxious for Season 9 because I want to know what."
There won't be time tonight to absorb all of the above, because we slip immediately into the revamped Fear the Walking Dead. Season 4 debuts at 9 p.m.
The biggest change this season will be that Morgan crosses over to join Fear. I've seen two new episodes and most of the first is consumed just getting Morgan from the Walking Dead family in Virginia to Texas, where Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and her Fear family are moving to this season.
Between seasons, production shifted from just south of Tijuana, Mexico, to Round Rock, Texas, just north of Austin. The ballpark of the minor league Round Rock Express is heavily featured.
Although sworn to spoiler secrecy by AMC, I'll just say the transition is brilliantly accomplished and fans will not be disappointed. It's one of the most gripping and emotionally satisfying episodes of either series.
Introduced along the way is marvelously cast Garret Dilahunt (Deadwood, Raising Hope) as fellow traveler John Dorie. Also joining the series are Maggie Grace (Lost) and Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg).
As many have speculated, Morgan's crossover signals a time jump for Fear in order to synchronize the two series. A leap forward solves all the timeline problems and essentially gives us a fresh beginning following last season's dam explosion. Moving to a new community in Texas will be unchartered territory and, for me, it was a vast improvement.
The AMC Fear synopsis is appropriately circumspect: "A lone traveler's wearying journey is interrupted by new acquaintances, some who become friends, others who become foes."
Want more? This bit of flowery prose comes from an AMC news release: "The characters ... somehow build an existence against the crushing pressure of lives coming apart. There will be darkness and light; terror and grace; and the heroic, mercenary and craven, all crashing together toward a new reality for Fear the Walking Dead."
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Style on 04/15/2018
Print Headline: Fans ecstatic: Both Walking Deads on tonight