‘The Walking Dead’ Stars Breakdown Season Finale Shocker

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the season finale of “The Walking Dead”, then TURN BACK NOW! Spoilers lie ahead…

It was a battle to the death — or was it?

The season 8 finale of “The Walking Dead” aired last night, with nemeses Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) determined to defeat one another in their ‘All-Out War’ — and while it seemed as though Rick finally ended it all by slitting Negan’s throat, it turns out the bat-wielding baddie still has some life left in him.

Related: Andrew Lincoln Hilariously Predicts Rick Grimes’ ‘Heroic’ Final Scene On ‘The Walking Dead’

As Deadline reports, Rick spares Negan’s life in order to make him an example. Sentenced to life in prison, Rick reveals: “You’re going to be evidence that we’re making a civilization.”

Both Andrew Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan appeared on “Talking Dead” — the series’ after-show — to discuss the shocking plot twist.

Related: Jeffrey Dean Morgan Reveals He Delivered His Daughter: ‘I Was Freaking Out Of My Mind’

“It’s just vengeance up until that point and in the moment that he says, ‘The kid didn’t know a damn thing,’ he realizes where he’s about to go and what he’s about to become,” Andrew explains, highlighting Rick’s critical turning point. “And I think in that moment, in that fleeting moment, that’s when he decides, If I continue with this, if I don’t try to save this man’s life, it’s over. So I think it is ultimately a story about restraint rather than revenge and love rather than hate, which has always been integral to our show.”

As for the tension between the two on-screen? Jeffrey insists it’s all real. “Any time that Andy and I shared the screen or shared a scene it gets intense. And I think we bring that out in each other, and certainly the last fight, we kind of kicked the sh** out of each other. Not meaning to, that’s just where it goes. That’s the kind of intensity that that sort of scene needs.”

Showrunner Scott M. Gimple also joined the two stars on “Talking Dead”, pointing to this moment as the catalyst for an evolution that will shape season 9.

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