HOLLYWOOD—We’ve been waiting and the penultimate episode of season eight of “The Walking Dead” has finally arrived. Last week we got an inside look at Jadis, this week Negan returned in the flesh to the Sanctuary to make his presence very clear: he is far from dead. This week’s episode, ‘Worth’ delivered a ton of great storytelling that I know without a doubt will play a role in next week’s season finale.

Things kicked off with Rick finally reading that letter that Carl left him recalling happier times in their life, specifically when he was a kid. At its core, Carl was asking for his father to seek peace, seek solace and end the feud with Negan. Oh, we know that is never going to happen, but seeing Michonne decide to read that letter Carl left for Negan had me waiting for the result. Just exactly what did Carl want Negan to know? Aaron has barely been present this season, but while Enid returned to The Hilltop, he stayed behind hoping to make in-roads with the women of the Oceanside. Too bad for him, they didn’t care too much about his desire to make amends.

Just watching that scene of Eugene boast his authority around to his little sheep sickened me to my stomach; this guy is such a coward and a waste of space. If there is one thing the writers of season eight can deliver that would make my day it’s the end of Eugene as we know it. For so many other great characters to die, and this peasant to still be around annoys me to the core. I mean he belittled Father Gabriel so much I was ready to toss my remote at the TV screen. So to see Rosita and Daryl kidnap him left me in stitches.

Now for the moment I was eagerly waiting for: the return of Negan. I thought Dwight was about to crap in his pants when he came face-to-face with Negan. More worrisome, I thought Negan was going to take him out, but wait for it. Simon was the one who was near speechless when he saw Negan. Whew that was perhaps one of the most suspenseful moments I’ve witnessed in a very long time.

I was certain Negan was about to bash in Simon’s head after telling him to get on his knees. But he didn’t, but at the same time I think Negan made it very clear he had plans for Simon, he just didn’t want Simon to know what they were. Another scare involved Negan asking Dwight to stay behind for a chat, as he dismissed everyone else. Ok, it’s become very clear to me that Negan has plans for both Simon and Dwight, and they don’t look good America.

Daryl and Rosita were the heroes of the week; to see them kidnap Eugene and make him squirm with the thought that his betrayal would lead to his demise left me cheering louder than ever before. Daryl was a mere second from putting a knife through Eugene’s head, but the more that idiot talked the more he pissed off his allies, resulting in Rosita nearly blowing his chin out with her gun. Yes, Eugene, you’re about to learn being ‘Negan’ is not as great as you think.

Simon and Dwight were both on edge, big time edge about the return of Negan, which prompted Simon to push a revolt against Negan to take down the man who has not only kept them alive, but scared most of them senseless. Simon didn’t learn from that threat Negan delivered, and with Dwight being so loyal, I’m certain he’s going to sell Simon out to Negan. As Daryl fought off walkers, Eugene threw up on Rosita to create a distraction to escape, and it worked unfortunately.

In the pouring rain, Aaron found himself fending off walkers, just as his energy was near depleted. Making the situation worse was the fact that he lost his knife, and was forced to use a stick to fend off some very hungry walkers. Aaron begged the women of Oceanside who came to his aide to join him, the Hilltop, the Kingdom and the others in fending off Negan and the Saviors.

Dwight, Simon and the rest of the Saviors met in the courtyard in their battle to take out Negan, but little did Simon realize that Dwight had already double-crossed him, just as Negan was waiting in the dumpster. Yeah, Simon, Negan heard it all, good luck on getting out of this pickle. Simon was peeved at Dwight, and he wanted blood, but Dwight should be careful. Why? I think Simon’s demise would ultimately lead to Dwight’s end.

Negan challenged Simon to a duel in front of the entire Sanctuary camp. In the beginning, Simon delivered quite a few great punches to Negan’s face and looked like he was doing already. Too bad Negan was prepared for a bloody battle and fought back just as hard. Gregory is just as big a coward as Eugene is, and when the bloody battle got tense, Dwight delivered an out, to alert Rick and the others of what is going on.

Negan with rage in his face choked Simon to death to prove a point to Dwight and everyone else: if you betray me you pay with your life. Yuppers, Simon is no more America, but it was nice to see him actually attempt to do what Dwight wanted to do, but was too scared to make the move and try to dethrone Negan. Yes, as I expected, Dwight found himself double-crossed by Laurel, the one that survived Dwight’s betrayal. Negan was not too happy with that news, and Negan started to piece the puzzle together, as Dwight found himself cornered.

Damn, Negan is intelligent, he gave a fake plan that Gregory would take back to Rick and lead to further onslaught. What is Negan going to do with Dwight? Eugene was pissed, but he found a way to return back to the Sanctuary ready to go after Rick and the others more now than ever. Well Simon is not dead after all; he’s a walker, just as the final moments saw Negan receive a radio call from Michonne who delivered to him the message Carl left him.

Oh this is juicy good, strike Negan where it hurts most: his heart. Michonne started to read the letter which asked the enemy to realize that his attempt to help someone led to his demise. Carl asked Negan to start over, to realize that a fight would only lead to more fights. Negan responded saying surrender is not an option; he wanted to take out everyone at the Hilltop, the Kingdom, Rick and all the others. The war is in full effect now, and the question that remains is who will be left standing at the end of next Sunday’s finale. It all comes to this, until next week “Walking Dead” die-hards!