I posted this here instead of in the review thread because it’s so long. I know no spoilers; this is what I deduce from what has been happening in recent episodes of TWD.
In my opinion, the end game in TWD S8 is the survival of Negan after the AOW, probably because he is so kkkool and Gimple etc. are fan boys. However, they have realized that they went too far in making Negan the worst of the worst and are now trying to pull back, even if it means killing Carl and twisting other characters into unnatural shapes to do so.
They are pushing Rick far into the dark side to try to make him morally equivalent to Negan, as when he reneged on his word and killed those Saviors, even the ones who helped him. That’s so that when Rick reads Carl’s letter, he will come to think that he and Negan are not so different. It will be all the more shocking when he has a change of heart and a complete reversal of direction, and makes an impassioned speech to the assembled Allies about coming back, forgiveness and mercy, living together and moving on to a brighter future. Everyone will be reduced to tears and mush and forgiveness, Michonne will beam proudly through her tears like a good wifey, and the result will be that Negan will be the only Savior to survive.
They are trying to humanize Negan and make him seem less crazy murderous than Rick so we will tolerate or even applaud his ultimate survival – because, you know, he’s not so bad. They will blame the murders of the Librarians and the Oceanside men, the attack on Daryl, Sasha and Abraham, the attempted assassination of Gregory and the like on renegades like Simon who disobeyed orders. Denise and the escapee from the Sanctuary will be Dwight’s fault. Maybe Negan will read his own letter, see the light and embrace the good, and he and Rick will hug like brothers. Poor Daryl.
They want us to forget our introduction to Negan in which he gleefully and horrifically murdered Glenn and Abraham, broke Rick by almost maiming Carl and generally abused the whole group. They want us to forget about the first Dr. Carson and the furnace, Dwight and another young man and the iron, Sherry and other women in sexual servitude, the murders of Olivia and Spencer, and the torture of Daryl. Not to mention enslavement and extortion. I’m surprised that they even allowed Negan to order Simon to kill even one of the garbage people as punishment, though we know that’s a long standing policy. I guess the garbage people don’t count.
So we’ll see if I’m right. I hope I'm wrong. If the former, maybe crazy Morgan won't get the memo and will kill Negan anyway before his disappearance.