Well, the Season 7 finale has aired, analyzed, re-watched, digested & regurgitated for dissection.
My opinion: "It was good."
1- No real payoff except for the "run & gun" parts. Which, it seems, are the parts TWD writers try to avoid. We knew Sashas fate episodes ago. No surprises there. Shiva was the highlight of the episode.
2-Negan, in one of the most out of character moments since his introduction, makes an error in judgement that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. For a man who covers his bases, he didn't in the one instance that mattered.
3-There's a "surprise twist" & then there's a "cheat". The Scavengers betrayal of Rick was a cheat. No subtle forshadowing. Plus, the Scavenger culture is simply ridiculous. Their speech, their mannerisms...it's just too silly. A Scavenger kicked Michonnes ass, really? An UNKNOWN scavenger too. Are we to believe they're awesome warriors by their creed & their junkyard life? Another cheat.
4-Flashbacks can be a useful tool to help further a story narrative but when used for ret-conning is totally unnecessary. Fluff & padding.
5-Red shirt syndrome. Lotta deaths, just no-one we really cared about...or knew who they were in the first place.
6-Repetitive Storylines. Negan is only different from the Governor in a few ways. Same shit, different guy.
7- Zombies relegated to few & far between gags. They're not much of a threat anymore. Hell, where our characters at one time had to remain silent to avoid attracting walkers now, it appears that entire speeches can be loudly yelled without interruption by those pesky undead.
8-Run time too long. Too many commercial breaks. Finale ratings are usually higher, so ad rates go up. Longer run time means more breaks which means more money.
TWD should take some lessons from the "Ash vs Evil Dead" playbook. A 30 minute episode mandates a brisk, active pace without sacrificing character development at all.
It was good. "The best episode ever!" - No.