And so it’s come to this: the end of The Walking Dead has arrived.
The episode begins with Daryl, still with Judith in his arms, enters a medical facility and yells for help. Commonwealth soldiers rush to meet him and knock him out as Judith is put on a gurney. She gets up and closes the facility’s doors just as walkers approach from all sides. They bang on the doors and try to claw their way in, so Judith places a table in front of the doors to keep the walkers out. For now.
She then rests on the floor next to Daryl for a quick nap. Nice to see that getting shot doesn’t take the energy out of a kid.
Meanwhile, the survivors continue dealing with the growing herd. Jules gets bitten on the arm and Luke on his leg as he tries to save her. He’s ripped away from Jules as she’s devoured by the dead.
Anyway, Daryl awakens to find the others in the facility and working on Luke’s bloody leg. Daryl gets up, telling Carol that he’s fine, but Judith’s lost a lot of blood. The doctors have left and are holed up in the gated community, so the Commonwealth has to fend for itself. Daryl wants to take the fight to Pamela and he knows that Mercer can help them, but they have to wait for him to arrive.
Yumiko takes out Luke’s harmonica and promises to always play it as Luke soon dies. Magna gets a blade and puts Luke down for good. Magna, Yumiko, Kelly, and Connie all sob…but I just don’t care.
Aren’t you glad we brought those characters back a few episodes ago just to kill them?
Daryl wants to provide a blood transfusion for Judith. Luckily, Daryl’s blood goes with anyone’s. Merle used to make him sell it for money when he was a kid. Carol sticks the needle in Daryl’s arm and starts the blood transfusion.
The others decide to sweep the hospital at the sound of banging and knocking.
Mercer stews in his holding cell when the sound of gunfire rings out, one shot killing the walker by the door. Then, an explosion follows as Princess and Max enter.
Outside, Negan asks Maggie if her gun is for her. She doesn’t respond and tells Negan that she’s still rejecting his offer.
As a horde arrives, Ezekiel stops Mercer from opening fire, as Aaron and Lydia are in the crowd. No sign of Jerry and Elijah, though. Everyone loads up and heads for the hospital.
Rosita, Gabriel, and Eugene enter a home riddled with walkers and come across a fucked up sight as Coco is surrounded by walkers on all sides while trapped under a crib and crying. Rosita takes out all of the walkers as the three reunite with the children. Gabriel radios to the others that they found the kids.
Back at the hospital, Judith finally awakens. She asks Daryl what’s happening, and he tells her that she’s not going to die. She feels like she’s going to and starts talking about being together with her family, but Daryl assures her that she will live. Judith then slips back into unconsciousness just as Carol tells Daryl that walkers have breached the perimeter.
Eugene, Gabriel, Rosita, and Coco are in an ambulance in an alley behind the hospital, but they went through a horde of walkers and now their ride is fucked. Well, that’s fucked.
Daryl barricades Judith’s room as he heads out to help the others deal with the growing swarm of walkers. One walker shatters the window with a rock as the dead stream into the hospital from all sides. Daryl pulls Judith’s gurney out and leads the others through the corridors as the walkers continue advancing.
Eugene, Rosita, and Gabriel exit the ambulance and deal with the dead while trying to find a way out. They climb a pipe on the side of a building, though Rosita’s having a bit of trouble. She falls, but kicks and bashes her way through the horde and climbs onto the ambulance. She jumps across and manages to make it onto the pipe and into the building. Nary a scratch on her, too, as far as we can tell.
Huh. That’s even more impressive and implausible than Glenn hiding under a dumpster.
Meanwhile, Mercer and the others watch the citizens in the lower wards pleading for help. They can and plan to do more. Another soldier updates Mercer as everyone loads up to get Judith to Tomi, who has set up a safe house. Inside, Tomi examines Judith and promises to do what he can. He tells the others to clear the room.
Aaron, meanwhile, patches up what’s left of Lydia’s arm and tells her that she’ll sometimes feel like her arm is still there. She’s more upset about Luke and Jules and worries that Elijah has suffered the same fate. It’s just what happens: people die, cities fall, and things don’t work out. Aaron hasn’t given up hope.
Maggie catches up with Negan and demands her rifle, as he’s going after Pamela. He has no goddamn angle: he’s doing this for Maggie and wants Pamela gone as much as she does. After all, does it matter as long as it gets done? If Maggie take Pamela out, hell will rain down on her and she won’t come back. But she has to come back, so Negan’s going to do it.
Last night, when Negan was on his knees and about to lose everything, he finally understood what Maggie must’ve felt. Negan knows that he owes Maggie more than this, but he’s sorry for what he took from Maggie and Hershel. She still takes the rifle, but also asks Negan if he’s coming. Not to their spin-off, but to take out Pamela.
The others get a bit of breathing time. Max rests as Eugene offers to take Coco off of Rosita’s hands for a little bit. Rosita’s fine, though. Eugene has a surprise for Rosita. Teaching a child to swim has its benefits, apparently. Right now, Eugene can’t wait for summer. Then Coco can go swimming at Oceanside. Or what’s left of it, I suppose.
Eugene brings up when Rosita fell, prompting Rosita to reveal that she’s actually been bitten on her back. Rosita doesn’t want Eugene to cry, as she doesn’t want the others to know yet. but instead pull his shit together. Okay, so Rosita doesn’t have plot armor that thick after all. Eugene tells an awakened Max that he’s fine.
Wait a second, this feels similar to Andrea in the comics…
Judith rests with Daryl and Carol at her side. She slowly awakens- again- and says she was afraid that Daryl would leave just like her Mom and Dad did. Well, Daryl’s not leaving yet.
A gunshot rings out as Mercer sees the Commonwealth guards shooting anyone trying to climb the gates. Mercer locks and loads and tells the others they can sneak out the back to head back to Alexandria. These aren’t their people, but Ezekiel that they are. The others may not think this place is worth saving, given how they’ve been treated, but Ezekiel won’t let the people fall without a fight. He’s with Mercer to the end.
Everyone agrees as Ezekiel tells Mercer to lead them on to the final battle.
The residents continue banging at the gates of The Estates and pleading for someone to open the gates. Maggie’s got a clean shot at Pamela, but Vickers is blocking her.
Not to mention Mercer arrives with his soldiers. Pamela orders Vickers to arrest them, but the others have also arrived and the standoff begins. Pamela calls Mercer a traitor, but he tells Pamela that she disappeared dozens and led the death to their doorsteps. Not to mention she shot a child and she’s left thousands to die.
The walker herd advances, but Gabriel goes forward and plans to open the gates himself. Not too shabby for a priest who once locked the doors of his congregation to keep parishioners from getting in the church.
Daryl yells for this to stop, saying that they all deserve better than this. She built this place to be like the old world, but that’s the fucking problem. If the gates stay closed, Pamela will still lose everything. They have one enemy, and as Daryl says, they ain’t The Walking Dead.
Vickers orders the soldiers to lower their weapons as Mercer arrests Pamela Milton for high crimes against the people of the Commonwealth. So Maggie sees no reason to shoot, as Negan says that’s worse than death.
The gates are opened for the citizens to enter and closed again to keep the walkers out. Also Elijah is safe because of course he is. Jerry looks for his family, but Ezekiel tells Jerry to come with him and that Nabila is safe.
Pamela approaches the gates, apparently not under arrest just yet, and sees that Lance is one of the walkers at the gates. He just happened to make it right to the front, huh? Even Carol’s arrow is still in his neck. Somehow. As she prepares to let walker Lance bite her, Maggie opens fire and puts him down for good. Now time to take the Commonwealth back for good.
Mercer says the variants are too dangerous to just leave around, but they need a vehicle out to clear a path. Also, don’t engage the walkers more than absolutely necessary. So the citizens hold a barricade with riot shields.
A truck passes by and arrives at a building filled with fuel barrels. Loud music plays to attract the walkers away from the estates. At the same time, the fuel is dumped into the sewers.
The walkers head towards the barrels and as the music stops, the fuse is triggered and sets off an incredible explosion. Well, I guess that’s where the episode’s budget went.
In her cell, Pamela tells Carol and Daryl that it’s not easy having so many lives to watch. It’s hard to pick who does the job no one wants. There are ugly decisions to make, but as far as Carol is concerned, they’ve already made an ugly decision by keeping Pamela alive. After all, they’ve all done things. At least they don’t have to worry about who gets Pamela’s house.
Maggie joins Negan and thanks him for what he said. She’s stopped wondering if Negan would ever say those words and if she could ever forgive him. Glenn was beautiful and she’ll never love anyone like that again. She’ll remember so much about him. But when she looks at Negan, she sees his bat coming down on Glenn’s face. She hears Glenn calling out for him as he’s dying. So she can’t forgive Negan.
She’s grateful that he saved Hershel, and even though Negan is trying, she doesn’t want to hate Negan anymore. She doesn’t want to hurt like that and she doesn’t want Hershel to see that someone has that kind of hold over her. If Negan and Annie want to say, they earned their place. But Maggie can’t work with Negan and she can’t move on. All she has are her memories and she doesn’t want to remember Glenn like that.
Anyway, time for a good old family dinner, which includes Rosita even though she’s bitten and should’ve turned by now. Yumiko then offers a toast to Luke. She then has a kiss with Magna before she can say anything else.
Gabriel joins Rosita at the table and asks if she’s alright. She says everything’s perfect and she wants to remember this moment. She then whispers something to Gabriel, who then takes her hand in his hand.
Maggie and Carol bring Rosita to see Coco one last time. They leave her to rest next to the baby while Gabriel sits at her side and prays for the Lord to receive Rosita into His arms. He takes Coco and promises to see her again some day.
A somber Eugene enters and tells Rosita that he wouldn’t be the man he is today if he hadn’t met her. Just throw Abraham under the bus, why don’t you?
Anyway, Rosita closes her eyes one last time and passes.
One year later, Eugene pays his respects to his fallen friend as Max hands their baby, Rosie, to him. Not far from here, Governor Ezekiel and Lieutenant Governor Mercer address the citizens. They may not be bound by blood, but they are still family. They pledge to live by those words.
Time for an ending montage.
Daryl meets up with Connie and tells him that the frontier is quiet for now. Connie is keeping the new administration honest in the meantime, and Daryl notes that she seems happy.
Lydia and Elijah deliver a package to Judith. In it is her compass and a note from Negan. He hopes that it can guide her to her dreams and thanks her for letting him use it. Also, Lydia’s wearing a glove where her left hand used to be. Did she get a prosthetic built?
Whatever. Back at the Alexandria Safe Zone, life is as normal as it can get. Aaron never thought they’d get back to this. But Gabriel says this happened through effort, not luck.
Over at Hilltop, Maggie tells Daryl and Carol about the future. There’s a lot out there and she wants to find it.
By the lake, Daryl tells Carol that he wishes she was coming with him, but she tells him that this is the best for the both of them. Daryl is proud of Carol. She took Lance’s job and made it better for everyone. He believes that they’ll see each other again. After all, they’re best friends.
As Daryl prepares to ride into his spin-off, Judith promises to keep an eye on Dog and Carol. He promises that if he sees Judith’s parents, he’ll bring them home. But Judith tells Daryl that he deserves a happy ending too. Carol prepares to see him off as the two tell each other that they love one another. As friends, of course. With that, Daryl Dixon rides off into his own series.
But wait! There’s more! We finally catch up with Rick and Michonne as they write notes to Judith. Rick thinks of the dead all the time and about the living and who he’s lost. They both think about who they’ve lost and what they’ve learned from who they’ve died. They will always be together, even when they’re apart. Love is endless. We also get a montage of who we’ve lost and the moments that led us to this point.
We then join up with Michonne as she thinks of Judith. She knows they’re safe just as she knows that Rick is safe and alive. Michonne promises to find him because she knows that he’s trying to find them. They’re the ones who live.
No, we literally hear the characters say that over and over and it feels so forced.
Rick then tosses his belongings onto a very familiar looking boat as he hears a helicopter overhead. He’s told to surrender and put his hands up. After all, there’s no escape for the living. Rick raises his hands as the helicopter approaches. Also, Rick has no shoes. He should work on that.
Back at home, Judith tells RJ that they get to start over because they’re the ones who live- something a person would absolutely say to another person- as The Walking Dead and eleven seasons of walker madness comes to a close.
Couldn’t you have just ended either with Rick, or Daryl riding off?
Anyway, this series has concluded and there’s a lot to say. I’m not gonna wax on about what could’ve been or how the series hasn’t really had a high since “The Calm Before.” It’s impossible to talk about this finale without discussing the slippery slope that the series has been on since maybe Season 6’s “Thank You,” but for now, how is this final episode?
It’s passable and transparent with at least a halfway and half-hearted attempt at raising the stakes. It doesn’t completely stick the landing, but there are aspects of the episode that I did like.
Outside of the time jump, the characters don’t have time to breathe. Even when Daryl is at Judith’s side in the hospital, the walkers didn’t just go away. They’re busting in from all sides. Rosita can’t really savor her reunion with Coco because she doesn’t have much time left. Even Magna’s group doesn’t get time to grieve the loss of Luke because the walkers are at the doors.
Things are hectic and even quieter moments have a sense of uneasiness to them. There’s never an ‘All clear’ moment when the characters can drop their guard. The episode is trying to mirror the nonstop action we got in “No Way Out,” and though this is nowhere near as impressive as that episode, I like the kinetic energy of this finale.
It’s all good in concept, but poor in execution. I never got the sense that many of the characters were in danger- even the ones we lost. I had hoped the series would thin the herd a bit, and it’s not like the series had to kill off tons of characters in its finale. Hell, even the comic book didn’t kill a lot of names in its last two issues. Though Rick’s death at the hands of Sebastian carried a lot of weight on its own, so that balances out there.
Here, we lose Jules and Luke. I’ll get to Rosita in a second, but losing Jules and Luke makes me feel nothing. We hadn’t seen them since “A Certain Doom,” they pop back up two episodes before the finale, and now they’re both dead. I’ll say this: if we just lost Jules and Luke was stuck with the grief, that’d be one thing. But again, going back to pacing, the episode doesn’t stop there because Luke’s life is snuffed out not long after.
But do we really care about these characters? Including this episode, Jules has appeared a grand total of seven times, but she’s just a side character. Luke at least had a bit more to do as part of Magna’s crew that arrived in Alexandria, but then the two of them just vanished. The show can’t produce an emotion out of me by killing off two side characters who we’ve barely seen and who just returned to the series.
I can’t even feel that bad for Magna and her crew because they barely acknowledged Luke not being around. The death is important for them, but we as an audience don’t have the connection to Luke that they do and I feel nothing with his loss.
Talking about these two, we still have no idea what happened at Oceanside after “Acts of God.” We know that Rachel split everyone up, but what’s next? Are the residents just scattered? Did the Commonwealth soldiers wipe them out? Not that I care, but it’s a dangling plot thread that was used as a cliffhanger moment and we get no resolution. It’s just weird that the fate of this entire community is left up in the air.
Granted, at least we didn’t get Oceanside randomly popping in to save the day by throwing Molotov cocktails again.
Man, “Wrath” was such a shit season finale…
But let’s talk about the death that mattered. When Rosita fell into that swarm of walkers, my first thought was of Glenn’s dumpster moment from Season 6. When she popped back up and blew through the walkers, while still having a baby wrapped on her body, I rolled my eyes because I’m still not convinced that Rosita is the badass that the show wants us to think she is, as much as I love Christian Serratos.
Also, for being bitten, Rosita seemed to take it like a champ, even though the wound was fresh. But still, no signs of a fever, no sweating or exhaustion. Carl showed very visible signs of exhaustion when he was about to die. Not that The Walking Dead has been consistent when it comes to people being bitten and the time it takes to die, but a little consistency would’ve been nice.
Rosita passed peacefully, like the show wanted to make it this lovely sendoff instead of the harsh death that it should’ve been. That said, when we slowed things down and she revealed her bite mark to Eugene, coupled with her spending her last moments with Coco and Eugene, it became all too clear: Rosita is getting Andrea’s comic death from issue #167.
There are differences, though. Rosita’s been around for a long time and had just as much of a role in the TV series as Andrea did in the comic. Not to mention Rosita outlived her comic counterpart when she was spared getting her head on a pike. But Andrea’s death was still filled with grief as her condition worsened. Rick was filled with grief over the thought of losing Andrea and having to put her down when she turned.
I appreciate that Rosita’s final moment is with Eugene because of their deep bond and him admitting how much he cared for her. It’s a touching scene and moment for Serratos and Josh McDermitt, even if I think it’s too neat of a death.
Rosita’s death isn’t the focal point in this finale, so we don’t spend the amount of time that we could because there are other things going on in this finale. Plus, with so much going on, Rosita’s death doesn’t get the amount of attention it could get compared to the issue-long goodbye that Robert Kirkman gave to Andrea.
Did we even have to lose Andrea in the TV show? We all know that her characterization was butchered, and Laurie Holden agrees with that sentiment. Comic Andrea had so many of her attributes transplanted onto other characters. Sasha became the group’s best sniper, while Michonne took on comic Andrea’s role of developing a relationship with Rick and filling that motherly role for Carl.
So couldn’t you have just kept Andrea around and course corrected her character? Deliver some justice to a fan favorite in the comics instead of the pathetic death she got in the series. But I can’t really complain about that when this show has made big changes from the comic to the TV show.
Anyway, back to things feeling rushed. For being a little kid that got shot, Judith sure seemed to shake it off no problem. She got a table in front of the hospital doors to keep them from entering before suddenly losing her strength. Must be all that adrenaline.
Pamela diverting all resources to the Estates, her arrest, the elimination of the massive herd all happened too quickly and it’s another sign that the series just couldn’t wrap up everything neatly in this finale. For one, the Commonwealth didn’t come off as the massive residence it started off as. Hell, Alexandria and the Kingdom felt more lived-in than here.
Oh, and Lance not only making it this far to the Commonwealth, but him being the one walker that Pamela recognized? Now that’s convenient. That said, when Pamela got close enough to almost let herself get bitten, I thought that would’ve been a cool moment. In a way, it would sort of echo Carol’s comic death, but also Pamela would rather take the easy way out and die than be imprisoned for her crimes.
So in another remixed moment and a nice twist, Pamela essentially gets Sebastian’s comic book fate: sentenced to a life behind bars. Funny how that turned out. TV Sebastian gets killed off before he can kill a major character, and his mother ends up getting his comic counterpart’s fate. I wish we got to see Pamela in the time skip just to know she was still imprisoned, but it’s not a huge loss.
Sticking with the Commonwealth for a second, it’s great that Ezekiel stood up for this new community. He lost his Kingdom and inherited a new one. Even more than Yumiko who had an actual relative living there, Ezekiel had a stronger bond to the Commonwealth than anyone else. Not just for them saving his life, but for his selflessness and desire to help people.
So of course he’d be the one to rally the others to fight for a community that, as Mercer says, isn’t theirs. Him becoming governor and leading the community alongside Mercer was a great ending for his character. For all the losses he’s faced, I am glad that he got a happy ending. More so since, like Rosita, he outlived his comic counterpart and served a greater role in this Commonwealth storyline.
I’m not sure how Mercer and company even got into the Estates behind Pamela’s back without anyone noticing when you’d think Pamela would have eyes and ears everywhere in this heightened situation, but whatever.
As for Negan and Maggie, I’m still over them dwelling on Glenn, but at least Negan got tell Maggie that he understands how he felt. He was brought to his knees and about to meet his end by mirror reflection of who he once was. He understood now why Maggie has hated him for so long. Yes, this is the same Negan who said, if he could do it again, he’d kill all of them, but at least he acknowledged his crime.
Maggie, to her credit, admits that she can’t forgive Negan and she’ll never love someone like Glenn again, but she at least acknowledges what Negan has done for her. He saved Hershel and has proven himself many times that it’s been tiring for Maggie to not see this, so I appreciate her seeing that Negan is a changed man. Their moments tie a nice bow on an otherwise complicated working relationship.
It doesn’t really set up their spin-off, but at least there’s some resolution here.
Daryl, meanwhile, is ready for his own spin-off and he had a nice final moment with his best friend. We won’t get to see that Daryl and Carol spin-off, but at least the two parted on great terms as another sign of their powerful bond. Daryl’s off for another adventure while Carol gets to take Lance’s role and do it the right way. He may not have been Rick, but Daryl proved himself as being there for Judith and RJ.
I guess that’s how we segue into the ending. I hadn’t pinned my hopes on seeing Rick and Michonne again, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if we did. It was nice to see Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira before they appear in their own spin-off, but the sappiness of the moment ruined it. I get it: it’s the final episode and we want to look back on all the people we’ve lost and friends made up to this point.
But I think the scene could’ve been more powerful if it was just Rick and Michonne writing their letters and us finding out what they’ve been up to. No need for a montage of “We’re the ones who live” or even ending with RJ and Judith. Just end with Rick and Michonne as the finale sets up their spin-off. Hell, just end with Rick and the helicopter.
Though timeline-wise, Rick throwing his items onto the boat would have to take place before Season 10’s “What We Become” because we see Michonne find those items on that boat. Just how long as Rick been gone, anyway?
Again, from a thematic standpoint, ending with Judith and RJ makes sense. They’re the next generation and continuation of the Grimes family. Like Carl, all that’s been done up to this point was to create a better future for them. So in that regard, I get it. But if you had to have this scene, have it come before we see Rick and Michonne. As is, it’s just this awkward ending that just dangles there.
Hey, maybe this is more like “No Way Out” than I thought: it has a very abrupt ending!
Well, here we are. After so many ups and downs, the series has trudged along to its finale. Yet between the spin-offs and Fear the Walking Dead, it’s just the flagship show that’s ending. This series helped redefine zombie horror when it started, only to arrive at the point where the show lost the spark that made it special.
There may have been bright spots here and there, with “The Calm Before” being the last time The Walking Dead felt like its old self, but there have been cracks forming in this series for a long time. The series didn’t wrap up everything that it could have and didn’t feel like the epic finale that it had been building towards, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve watched.
It’s just passable, which isn’t a feeling you want to have for a series that’s often been the conversation of TV drama since it’s beginning. A fear of trimming down the cast? Mostly lackluster episodes in 10C with two exceptions? The Negan cliffhanger? Glenn and the dumpster? Again, there are many potential explanations for how the show fell from its heights, but that’s for experts to speculate.
Whether the comic or TV show, The Walking Dead went from being a special show to just another show. It had too much to juggle and while I applaud Angela Kang for breathing new life into the series, that renewed energy didn’t continue to this finale. The few bright spots don’t make up for an otherwise lackluster ending. It’s a cynical thought, but right now I’m just glad that the series is over.
Will I check out the spin-offs? Maybe, but The Walking Dead has slowly been a draining experience. Those first few seasons were magical and a sight to behold. Did the series still have great or downright excellent episodes? Absolutely. But this finale and this final season in general wasn’t the show’s strongest. I think the series lost a big part of itself when Andrew Lincoln departed because Rick was the heart of the show.
Others stepped up to fill that gap, but nothing could fill the Rick Grimes-sized hole made when his character left. I’m curious to see where he and Michonne end up next, but like the other spin-offs, I’m not as excited for it as I’d want to be.
But I’ve rambled on long enough. 11 seasons and so many spin-offs later, The Walking Dead has come to a close. The universe continues to expand, but the main series is done. I hope you all have enjoyed following my ramblings on this journey. If you got a big kick out of this finale, more power to you. I may not be as invested, but I’m curious to see what happens next in the world of The Walking Dead.
With that said, thank you all for reading, keep on watching plenty of television, and take care.