by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 24.
After 11 seasons, The Walking Dead television series is finally over. In the comic books, the series ended with the defeat of Governor Milton and the rebirth of the Commonwealth, and then a fast-forwarding 10+ years into the future, showing how the remaining characters had fared as a true ‘civilization’ emerged once again. In contrast, while this episode was something of a wrap-up, there were some loose threads left hanging, possibly because we only got a glimpse of one year into the future, rather than a decade or more.
This episode started off with lots of action. Jules and Luke, having just returned in the previous episode, got killed off before I could blink. Judith saved Daryl, just as Daryl had saved her. Mercer was rescued by Princess, and somehow everyone snuck into The Estates, even though the Commonwealth soldiers were watching the walls. There was certainly a lot of hand-waving in the name of story expediency. Yet the showdown with Pamela Milton was satisfying, from watching her unease at soldiers shooting citizens who climbed the wall, to being overthrown with words, rather than bullets.
I also appreciated that Gabriel was the one who stepped out first to open the gate. This brings him full circle, since he started the apocalypse by locking out his parishioners so that he could survive a walker horde. It was a brief moment, but very meaningful for his character.
However, if felt like a bit of a cop out that with such a massive cast of ‘regulars’, only two (I’m not counting Jules) died. There was a massive showdown, and there easily should have been a few more deaths. But I guess that they wanted to save characters for sequels.
Most importantly, the Commonwealth and Alexandria have both survived. And based on the ‘one year later’ ending, they have thrived as well. Ezekiel is the natural choice for Governor, having displayed so much concern for and loyalty to the people of the Commonwealth. Having Mercer and Carol at his side strengthens his position, as you know that neither of them will let the former King make a foolish decision. I especially love that Ezekiel and Carol ended up together after all… in a way.
Rosita’s story was somewhat disappointing in the way it was carried out. Not that she died (although obviously, that was a sad thing) but in the way that it happened. It was fantastical that she jumped out of the crowd of walkers and then leapt across the gap. I could almost buy that Rosita was granted some kind of adrenaline rush, knowing that she was also saving her own child. And it makes sense that she was bitten. Yet she was completely fine. Not just at first, but all day. Long enough to make it through the entire night, fighting walkers. Long enough to see the next day. Long enough for everyone to cook a fancy Thanksgiving-style dinner. Long enough to attend the party that followed. More than twice as long as Carl’s long final day! Only then did she have her sad goodbye with Gabriel and Coco… and then they left her! I would think that Rosita would want to die with her baby in her arms. Instead, they left her with Eugene. It just seems fantastical and strange.
Of course, while there were three deaths, Rosita was the most significant character who died in the finale, so I guess that they wanted to give her a big sendoff. But I would have rather had it be on a more realistic timeline, and with her loved ones by her side (not to say that she didn’t love Eugene, but it is different from Gabriel and Coco).
The most powerful moment of the final episode was Negan’s apology to Maggie. It was only natural that Negan’s experience in front of the firing line, believing that he and his family might die, would finally give him true empathy for what Maggie had experienced in the Saviors’ lineup. And her explanation as to why she couldn’t forgive him, or be around him, was both believable and emotional. It will be interesting to see the followup to this in Dead City.
While brief, Jerry’s panic at not finding Nabila was also emotional for me. I also loved that Eugene had a happy ending, and a child of his own!
My favorite surprise of the episode was Walker Lance appearing at the gate, channeling more than a bit of Ash Williams (Evil Dead) with his demonic undead face. Pamela’s contemplation of suicide via Lance was somehow satisfying, and I was almost disappointed when Judith called Pamela back, making Milton realize that she had not actually killed Judith.
There were a few throwbacks to prior episodes in the finale, but the one that was most meaningful was the way that Daryl barricaded Judith in the hospital room, in the exact same way that Shane barricaded Rick in his hospital room at the start of the series.
Naturally, it was expected that this episode would set up sequel series, yet it did not completely do so. There was nothing relating to Dead City (the Negan/Maggie spin-off), nor was there any mention of the smart walkers (although one did use a rock to break the hospital window). Surprisingly, the setup instead related to Daryl’s spin-off (now seemingly without Carol). Judith finally revealed that Michonne had found evidence that Rick was alive, and after a year, Daryl finally went off to find the couple. We know that somehow, Daryl will end up in France for his solo series, so I am guessing that he does not find them.
And what about Rick and Michonne? It looks like Danai Gurira came back from Wakanda with some new magical armor, but still has not found her man. Rick apparently became part of the CRM (Civic Republic Military) long enough to be wearing one of their jackets, and then attempt to escape. Additionally, he is also important enough to the CRM that they wish to recapture him, rather than kill him. I am very curious as to what happened to Rick, and his miniseries with Michonne is the sequel to which I am most looking forward.
On a personal note, I have enjoyed writing Walking Dead reviews and recaps over the last few years, and I look forward to exploring more Walking Dead on the FoCC Blog in the future. Thank you to all of the readers of my articles!
For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, this week’s Walking Dead: No Man’s Land season mission features Daryl, Mercer and Princess setting the explosives at The Estates, racing to finish before the herd arrives.
Do you watch The Walking Dead? Join the conversation on the FoCC forums!