The end of The Walking Dead is here.
Well, no point in delaying the inevitable. Let’s jump into the next and final issue of The Walking Dead with issue #13: “The Farm House.”
I will say, though, that based on how things ended in issue #192, I was left wondering where the story would go after the death of Rick Grimes. So for the news to suddenly come that the next issue would be the final one, that really threw me off. I imagine it did for many of you as well. So how does this all wrap up? Follow along.
It’s a very straightforward tale, this final story. From the beginning when we first see the roamer approaching the home, there’s no indication of when or where we are. For all we know, this could be some home in either Alexandria or the Commonwealth.
But it turns out that there’s been a time skip and we’re rejoining Carl, along with Sophia as his wife and their daughter, named Andrea. No huge surprises there. But unlike the start of the series where roamers are commonplace, the surprise here to Carl and Sophia is that a roamer is even here at all. Not that they’re uncommon, but that, apparently, society has managed to reform itself.
By the time we got the Commonwealth, taking care of roamers was pretty easy business anyway. They were still rampant, but no problem. Here, though, they seem to be a rarity. Given the various checkpoints and lookouts that we’ve seen in the past, it’s no surprise that we still have something like that in place here. So the question remains how would a roamer even get this far?
That leads us to an all grown-up Hershel, who has an exhibit on The Walking Dead. How meta. Hershel’s traveling sideshow consists of him carrying roamers around in a cage like you would animals or people in the circus. Since roamers are so rare, I could see why someone would take the opportunity to make a business out of this.
It’s hard for me to call it out of character since we know next to nothing about Hershel besides this. There are comparisons to be made, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Either way, Carl confronts and punches Hershel for his actions, but Hershel is just excited that Carl even found the roamer at all. These roamers are his property and he’s running a business.
But when Carl informs Hershel that he killed it…yeah, you get why the man would be pissed. Apparently roamers are worth a lot because they’re so hard to find. I find that hard to believe because it’s not like the roamer threat has been eliminated altogether. Still, the law is the law and Carl is responsible for destroying someone else’s property. I know. It makes no sense that a roamer is considered to be ‘property’ of any kind.
The law is just concerned with what Carl did, even though Hershel’s actions could get someone killed. Despite the trouble that Carl now finds himself in, he’s still got friends in high places. Being the son of Rick Grimes tends to make happen. Sheriff Kapoor informs Carl that there will be an informal hearing on what Carl did. He understands what Carl did, but he can’t let his feelings get in the way of upholding the law.
So pretty much sucks to the law.
But let’s catch up with another familiar face: Earl. Sadly, it seems like Earl’s memory may be leaving him, but he’s still sharp as ever. It’s a nice, quiet scene between Earl, Carl, and Sophia as Earl laments that Carl didn’t remain a smith, like Mikey did. While Earl still may think that there are patrols in territories between communities- and that Carl was out on a run- he still knows what’s going on.
It might not be 100 percent, but Earl isn’t too far gone. He enjoys the simple life, as he tells Sophia that he should have left after the Hilltop’s expansion. More than that, he enjoys being away from civilization. Can’t say that I blame him on that one. Sure, things are calmer and it’s nice to have time for yourself, but at the same time, a little human interaction every now and then would be nice.
Despite being a former Hilltop citizen, Earl has some harsh words for Maggie, saying that she’s responsible for spoiling Hershel and giving him anything that he wants. Sound familiar? Again, comparisons are there, but more on that in a moment.
There’s a lot of great artwork and penciling in this issue. Charlie Adlard as always provides some great images, and when flipping through the pages, I found myself just wanting to admire the art in the same way that Carl and Sophia admire the night sky. Moments like this were rare when Rick and company were always on the move. Even in Alexandria things weren’t completely back to normal.
But it’s calm moments like this that make you appreciate how precious and short life can be. For our protagonists, they rarely had the chance to just stop and take in the world around them. After all, they were busy fighting the dead and, in some cases, each other.
During this moment, Carl is upset by the fact that Rick never got to meet Andrea. I imagine he would have loved the fact that Carl’s daughter was named after the woman that he loved. But Carl is also glad that Rick died when he did. After all, he became a legend that way instead of growing older and losing memory, as is the case with Earl. Perhaps that makes Carl a bad person, but he just misses his father that much.
So the informal hearing arrives with both sides stating their case. For Hershel, again, his traveling show is a legitimate business. There are, as he says, only a few roamers in the safe zone and people pay to see them. I’m going to assume that these people are also insane. Hershel uses this as a chance to go after Carl’s reputation, saying that him being the son of Rick Grimes shouldn’t give him the ability to do as he pleases.
Yes, Carl does bring up his father quite a bit in this issue, but not to gloat. He just wants to make sure Rick’s legacy is upheld. Given how many people did and still do revere Rick, I’m not going to blame him one iota for that. Carl doesn’t deny what he did. He acknowledges that they live in different times now and some people may not even remember what a roamer looks like.
However, as Carl was taught, you have to kill the dead before they can kill you. The dead are a novelty, but that doesn’t mean Hershel should parade them around like rare gems. As you’d expect, Carl has no regrets for what he did, and he knows that if Rick was around, he wouldn’t like this either. Seems pretty straightforward. So what happens to Carl next?
In enters Madam President, who you’ll know as Maggie. Yes indeed, Maggie seems to have taken a new position of leadership since we last saw her. Given her tenure as leader at the Hilltop, this sounds about right. We don’t know how she ascended into this role and that’s fine because all we need to know from this scene is that Maggie has some pull with the judge.
This pull is what’s able to get Carl out of receiving any formal punishment. He’s not in trouble, but he does have to find a new roamer to replace the one that he killed. At that point, I think I’d rather just sit in a cell. Carl probably would, too.
Still, Maggie had hoped for a bit of gratitude from Carl. She saved him from having to pay a fine that she knows he can’t afford, especially given the high market value of roamers. Maggie’s words, not mine. She tells Carl that people have gotten soft and are too casual in these peaceful times. The world is continuing to expand, such as this area soon to link up with the Western Alliance.
Things are changing, but Carl believes the roamers are still dangerous. Indeed they are- it’s only a matter of time before someone gets bitten. Again, Maggie believes that those days are behind them, but just like Alexandria, a little bit of peace time only lasts for so long. She wants Carl to let go of his anger for Hershel’s business and not look for danger, but Carl believes everyone has to do their part to keep the world going.
Even an asshole like Hershel, I suppose. Well, I can call Hershel’s business abhorrent, but not necessarily him as a character, and we’ll get into that in a moment.
When Carl leaves, Sophia takes her shot at her mother, echoing what Earl said about not spoiling Hershel. Maggie wanted to make the world better for him, but instead, she’s turned Hershel into a carbon copy of Sebastian. And like that little shit, everyone hates Hershel. This would effectively make Maggie the new Pamela Milton- even more so given her position. Pamela’s still around, mind you, and we’ll see her in a little bit.
I can’t seem to stop with the teases today, can I? But anyway, Carl is about to embark on a trip but before he can go, he leaves in the middle of the night in order to clear his head.
He also goes to relieve Hershel of his roamers. Hershel should just pick another business. Prior to this, we see him at a shop gathering up supplies, but he doesn’t pay. No, he tells the owner that his family will settle up the debt, but he’ll be back for more business later on. With a flippant attitude like this, why would anyone want to feel bad for Hershel?
Carl is about ready to embark on his trip, but he’ll be accompanied by an old friend.
It had to be intentional on Kirkman’s part that Lydia is the spitting image of Andrea. The look is far too similar to be accidental. Plus, she’s still got Carl’s hat, so she looks even more like Andrea than she did before. Anyway, Carl is looking to get out of town as soon as possible before someone learns what he did, so with that, the two hit the road.
Their plan is to meet someone by the river bank for the supplies, but it won’t be Jesus and Aaron who meet them. The exchange goes well, but Carl needs to take a detour to a spot called Springhaven. Lydia doesn’t see the point because no one’s ever there.
Springhaven is where Negan appears to have settled. You can see the headstone with Lucille’s name on it and that’s the pretty clear indication that Negan lives here, even though he doesn’t answer. According to Carl, someone has been taking the food that Carl leaves there. Despite Carl’s knocks, no one answers.
We don’t spend a ton of time here, but it’s interesting that this is where Negan ended up after all this time. We know that he’d reformed himself and become a new man, but the last big thing we saw with him was when Maggie confronted him. Now, it appears that he’s chosen a life of solitude. Carl just wants to speak with someone who remembers his father. That way, he doesn’t come off like a myth.
I’m okay with this decision, in all honesty. Negan reached the conclusion of his character arc when he burned Lucille and left that part of his life behind him. Could we have seen more of him? Absolutely, but I like that Kirkman chose that point for Negan’s arc to end.
There’s another nice shot after this when Carl and Lydia look at the birds overhead. The use of shadows is a nice touch and the image didn’t need to have them, but it gives the picture a little more life to it.
This trip still has its tension, though. When Carl and Lydia stop for the night, Lydia invites Carl into the tent, but she has no intention of fucking him. I assume she also didn’t intend to tongue-fuck his eye socket again. But speaking of the eye, Lydia is surprised that Carl wears his eye patch to sleep.
For some time now, Carl took it off when he went to bed. That was a different time, and while it’s understandable why Lydia would be curious, she pushes Carl to the point where he lashes out. His eye socket represents the bad times. He’s not doing it for Sophia, but for Andrea. She hasn’t been exposed to the harshness of the world and Carl wants to prevent her from ever having to see that.
Plus, he wouldn’t want her to be afraid of death and be reminded of that every time she looks at her father. It’s a fair point, though Lydia isn’t entirely wrong when she says it feels like Carl is lying to protect her. The two do make up by the next day, though, so at least their friendship has not been affected.
But what has been affected is how people move from one place to another. What began between Eugene and Stephanie has evolved into a full-fledged endeavor to connect with the West.
Eugene’s doing pretty well for himself. Unfortunately, Stephanie didn’t live to see this day, but her work continues on in Eugene’s efforts to help unite people. It’s nice to see Carl and Eugene reunite, even if just for a little bit, because like Negan, Eugene is someone who remembers Rick. Plus, Eugene has been around for a long time.
Not since the beginning, sure. He appeared later into the series than Maggie did. Still, it’s good to see a familiar face and I’m happy that he’s still putting his skills to good use.
Same goes for another familiar face: Laura. She’s less pleased to see Carl. While the Saviors don’t seem to be a thing anymore, she’s still putting her skills to good use in providing security for Eugene’s workers. Plus, she likes being in the outer areas where the famous Rick Grimes isn’t spoken of like some sort of god.
She’s still miffed at Rick for what happened to Dwight, and given how much time has passed, you would think that she would eventually get over it. As Carl points out, yes, a lot of people died because of his father. At the same time, a lot of people, including, Laura, are alive because of Rick. For that she should at least show some respect. Good on Carl for sticking up for his father’s name.
It’s all short-lived, though. By the time Carl gets home, word has spread about his actions. Sophia chews him out for getting himself in even worse trouble. The authorities even show up in no time, but the guards agree with Carl’s actions.
Sophia just had to let out that immediate anger, but she and Carl make amends. Hershel is claiming that Carl’s actions represented a threat on his life, which could explain why this case escalated as quickly as it did- all the way up to Judge Hawthorne.
And Judge Hawthorne is none other than another familiar face: Michonne. When Michonne arrived at the Commonwealth, we learned more about her extensive background in law. That she made it this far to become, essentially, this world’s version of a Supreme Court Justice, is great progression for her character.
Michonne lays out the situation in front of her: this is no trial, but a hearing. As the representative of the high court, her rule is final. Badass, am I right? Michonne’s traded in her sword for a gavel. Though, to be fair, she could always bash in a roamer’s head with a gavel.
Again, Carl states his case to the people. Between this and the preliminary hearing, he’s getting good at this whole giving speeches thing, just like his father. Carl knows the law, even if he doesn’t like it. Seeing that roamer near his home gave him memories of a darker time. He won’t replace Hershel’s roamer, and perhaps Carl himself isn’t fully adjusted to the way people live now.
He’s outside of the safe zone since he’s a messenger, and things are still bad, despite what people would have you think. He wants his daughter to maintain her optimism in the world, especially since she’s never even seen a roamer before. They have to maintain what the world is, yes, but did people forget what life used to be like? It wouldn’t take much for society to fall apart again.
He refers to the words on the statue outside of the courthouse, which read that people have been forced to start living again. The trials that they went through gave society an even better world than before, and that’s a result of the dead making them live. They can never forget the sacrifices of those who came before them.
And that’s Carl’s case.
Michonne, just as you thought she would, agrees with Carl. She hates the roamer displays and is looking to outlaw them altogether. As a result, she tells Carl that he’s free to go. No fine, no replacement, no nothing. I’d like to think that Carl’s actions did everyone a favor by shining a light on Hershel’s traveling roamer circus. Perhaps more people were against it than they believed, but they needed a little push.
So what’s the deal with Michonne taking on her last name? As she later tells Carl, Hawthorne represented life before the world went to hell. She hid it like she hid much of her past, but eventually, as time went on, she felt that she earned it back. Like how she eventually opened up to Rick and the others, it’s a slow, but steady way to show how Michonne comes out of her shell.
All the killing and adventuring, though? All behind her, even to the point that she’s given Carl her sword. She’d do anything to help him out and believes that Rick deserves more credit, so she’ll do whatever it takes to honor him. Like the conversation with Eugene, the reunion is a touching moment between old friends who, after all this time, are still there for one another.
So is Hershel beyond the point of redemption? Well, not in his mind.
Hershel confronts Carl, saying that he’s not as bad as many make him out to be. He never got to meet his father and, when you think about it, Glenn’s death was almost 100 issues ago, if we’d gotten to 200 issues. His death, while impacting, almost feels like an afterthought compared to everything that has happened since. As such, no one talks about him.
Hell, I doubt many people even know about Maggie’s past husband. So of course he wouldn’t be a topic on anyone’s minds, but Hershel thought that his actions would bring him closer to his father. Yeah, fat chance on that one, Hershel. I’m pretty sure that if Glenn saw what his son was doing, he’d kick his ass, as he would not approve of his actions.
There’s something to be said about Hershel keeping roamers with him on the road, and his grandfather keeping roamers in a barn. Hershel may be trying to remind people of the threat outside their walls- fearing that they’ll forget what it’s like- but he’s going about it the wrong way. It’s hard to gain sympathy from him when he takes such reckless actions.
This image, though. Rick Grimes is indeed larger than life, and if his legacy doesn’t just live on through word of mouth, then it definitely lives on in this statue. Whoever did this must have a pretty good recollection of Rick’s posture and such. The pose looks similar to one he would have given during his big speech to the Commonwealth, but I doubt any aspiring sculptors were taking notes.
But the legacy of Rick Grimes is one that should be remembered for the impact that he made wherever he went. Maybe when kids grow up, they’ll have a better idea of who this great man was.
We start to wrap things up with Carl and Sophia out on the porch, with Carl asking Sophia if she ever thought they’d make it this far. Truth be told, when every day was spent on the move to survive, it’s not an unfair question. The idea of being in peace time almost feels unreal. Again, going back to when we first arrived at the Alexandria Safe Zone, it’s unnatural to have time to unwind and just live life.
Yet that’s where we end up here, as Carl, Sophia, and Andrea can enjoy living in the moment and look ahead to the future. This leads us into the tale that Carl reads young Andrea before she goes to bed. It’s all about The Trials. I’m guessing “The Trials” is what we’re calling the period when the roamer problem was rampant compared to now.
Carl reads to Andrea that this is a tale about hope. One day, the dead decided that they didn’t want to be dead anymore. Life changed and people’s lives were tested in The Trials. They soon forgot who they were and darkness soon spread across the world. But one man came along. That man’s name? Negan.
No, naturally it’s Rick Grimes. Rick wanted to remake the world, so he made friends and lost some of them along the way. He wouldn’t let The Trials turn him into a bad person, even though they did test you at times. Nowadays, people are happy and living their best lives, and that’s all because of Rick Grimes.
As I reread this story and look at the panels of characters we’ve followed over the years, I must admit, there’s a bit of sadness in knowing that this is the end. But at the same time, I feel happy that these people are still doing well for themselves years after things calmed down.
We see Negan at Lucille’s grave, Princess and Mercer, Magna and Yumiko, Eugene hard at work, Laura with her comrades, Michonne, Elodie, and the grandson, Maggie and Hershel, Lydia and Conner, Pamela visiting Sebastian- who is still in his cell- and to end it all, Rick’s grave right next to Andrea’s.
I feel sad just typing that out because yes, it’s a happy ending, but bittersweet that it’s all over. But Carl’s tale is a very heartwarming one, wouldn’t you say? That’s something grand to hear the first time around.
But if you’re Andrea, you’ve probably heard this story over and over again. I like how it seems like she’s gotten annoyed with hearing this story, but she happily wants her father to read it again, and he does just that.
And with that, my friends, The Walking Dead, and the ongoing adventures of Rick Grimes and company, comes to a close.
Even now I’m still torn on how we wrap things up here. It did feel like there was more story to tell in between the time skip and now, but at the same time, would Robert Kirkman have wanted to keep going after killing off Rick? That I can’t say. There are many examples of a series going on after the departure of its main character, but here we are, many years after the death of Rick.
I enjoy that we don’t have any sort of huge stakes with this issue or lingering thread that leaves you holding onto a future issue. It’s a simple take that shows us where the characters are, how the world has changed, and that the future is bright for these people. Instead of always fighting for their lives every day, they now have a chance to live.
It’s a future that Rick Grimes would no doubt have wanted to see, but his legacy lives on in Carl Grimes.
This comic has been fun to cover from month to month and now it’s one less thing to talk about. There was a lot to digest going into this issue, which is why I didn’t want to rush out a rundown of what happened. I’m happy that Kirkman ended things on his terms, even if I wish that the series could have continued.
Like the deaths of Rick and Andrea, chances are that Kirkman knew this was coming all along. It’s always a strange feeling when something you follows reaches its conclusion, but all things naturally come to an end. The Walking Dead is no exception, and Kirkman has crafted quite a world with this series. While the series on AMC continues to this day, the comic, right now, has come to an end.
Sure, we don’t know or see everything that happens. For example, how did Maggie come to power? How are things over at the Kingdom? What about other characters that we don’t see in this issue, like Dante or Heath? But then, not everything needs an answer. This gives us closer on the plot and where the characters have ended up since Rick died.
Whether it was the prison arc, the arrival at Alexandria, Negan’s first appearance, the battle with the Governor, the introduction of the Whisperers, Alpha’s border, Michonne reuniting with her daughter, and many other moments, The Walking Dead has had its share of great moments, both happy and sad. It’s been a hell of a ride keeping up with this issue from month to month, but alas, the ride has ended.
So, thanks to Robert Kirkman for giving us such a great series. For you folks out there in reality-land who might actually be reading this overly-long entry, thank you for following along. The comic may be done, but we’ll still have the television series when it returns, so look forward to that.
With that said, thanks for reading along, keep on reading plenty of comics, and take care.