Here we are, finally. And the season finale and the series finale of this very long show that started way back in 2010, which counted the beauty of 11 seasons and 177 episodes, and that needed a period of assimilation to be treated in review. A show that has invented a new type of series, in this case based on the comic Robert Kirkman. The Walking Dead was – and still is – a mass phenomenon, despite the sharp drop in ratings that started from the seventh season, the one that saw the introduction of the excellent character of Neganwhich however opened a series of weak and repetitive narrative strands.
We have already talked about it many times during the reviews of this anomalous eleventh and final season, made up of 24 episodes, 8 more than the usual 16 we were used to since the third season, and to which we were also used in the spin-off Fear The Walking Dead: the closer we got to the ending, the more it seemed that it eluded us and that we had preferred to open new situations rather than close them. A bit like the aforementioned syndrome LOSTwhich in the sixth and final season had not done that to confuse its viewers more. That was the case with The Walking Deadapart from the final lines of the show.
More or less from the 20-21st episode, in fact, there seemed to be a recovery, which moved the series towards its finale, albeit with confusion. We have already mentioned how many times we have found ourselves faced with scenes we have already seen and seen again, with situations that have been repeated over the years. Dynamics between friendly and enemy characters, clashes, dialogues… Little originality, few really interesting situations and few characters who have been able to give good moments. With exceptions, of course.
A first third focused unnecessarily on Reapersthen abandoned together with the wasted character of Leaha second third dedicated more to the internal events of the Commonwealthto Lance Hornsby and other lieutenants, to the Governor Pamela Milton and his son Sebastianto the army and its general Mercer.
A final third divided between the inside and outside of the Commonwealth, with Eugene tried, the exiles from the Commonwealth, the war on Pamela Milton, but also the old and new threat of the undead, who have also managed to evolve into the variant of the Climbers, the only originality, perhaps, of these last jokes of the series. And now ready to talk about this ending, without being able to hold back from making spoilers.
The Walking Dead ending and references to the past
We had therefore left in the penultimate episode, a Judith Grimes suffering, passed out, in the arms of Daryl who rescued her by carrying her outside the Commonwealth Government building, where Pamela Milton had just shot her. The Alexandria group, retreating from the same palace, had found itself targeted by the threat of climbers who had breached the Commonwealth and which not even the army itself could cope with. Daryl and the others manage to take Judith to the hospital and here is the link between the beginning and the end of this long-running series: as well as the best friend Shane he had tried to protect Rickin a coma in the hospital in the very first episode with a stretcher barring the door of the room where he was hospitalized, is now Daryl to try to protect, doing the same thing with his daughter Judith (who, by the way, is perhaps Shane’s daughter). Finally, a few minutes into the episode later, the children are found and rescued.
References to the pilot episode aside, we find ourselves immersed in an ending where the first keyword is the leak. Both by climbers and by the Commonwealth Army. Escape also for Pamela Milton, but by his own citizens. Rather than defending his community, in fact, she definitively reveals herself for what he is: selfish and nothing more. He locks himself down in a small area of the Commonwealth locking citizens out and leaving them to die. A scene that reminds us of flashbacks of Father Gabrielwhen he locked the faithful of his Community outside the Church only to survive a zombie attack.
It will only be the remaining part of the army, the one no longer controlled by Mercer, who will be able to definitively dismiss the former Governor after the great scene dedicated to Father Gabriel, who, going towards his death (which then does not arrive) , manages to open the gates of salvation for the last remaining citizens of the Commonwealth. Just like he hadn’t done in the past. Army convinced only by the intervention of Darylwhich has its moment of the season here, with a speech not even Gandhi.
Rest in peace
An ending full of references to the past, but which also has an important title: Rest in peace. We therefore have to deal with death, as we have very often done throughout the show. We say goodbye soon Luke And Jules, the couple reintroduced for just a couple of episodes and then eliminated after a ridiculous playing time (at this point they could just make them disappear). It must be said, however, that the scene of the last farewell to the most complete musician of The Walking Dead was well constructed. Instead, we do not greet either Judith or Lydia and, therefore, one wonders what is that great death that justifies such a title, to have the confirmation that we have now since the very famous episode 15 of the ninth season: in The Walking Dead no more important characters die. Even Ezekiel, who died in the comic, manages to survive a tumor in a post-apocalyptic world. Lack of “courage” on the part of the screenwriters?
The problem, perhaps, is that The Walking Dead it doesn’t end. Let’s explain better: this is a good ending, because it closes all the narrative arcs of the saga. Each character has its own ending that can satisfy the audience. However, we know that the spin-offs will have to come out, and this is exactly what “ruins” the party for us. Negan And Maggie they won’t die, because they will have their own show; Daryl And Carol they won’t die, because they should have had theirs (but only Daryl will have it). Well, in short, it’s up to Rosita. While trying to save the children, unseen, she is bitten just before saving hers Coco. Thus, her character leaves the show right at the end and it is really touching to see the way she says goodbye to her daughter forever, knowing that she will never be able to raise her, as touching is the way her friends will have to say goodbye to her, Rosita, just at the time of the party celebrating the return of civilization and Alexandria. A character never incisive in all of her presence in The Walking Dead, but whose presence we were used to from the distant season four.
The ending of The Walking Dead is sometimes obvious, sometimes “too good”, but with important moments. That of the greeting between Carol and Daryl, announcing his trip; Negan apologizes to Maggie, who doesn’t forgive him but she definitely decides to try to stop hating him. It seems obvious to say that the best character of the final season and probably of the show in general it’s really Negan, whose painstaking writing has managed to perfectly and consistently change a villain into a hero. Without Negan The Walking Dead is not The Walking Dead, and we dream, sooner or later, of an encounter with the one who first gave him a second chance: Rick Grimes (and here’s another parallel, as Maggie saves Pamela from being bitten by Lance Hornsby zombie causing her to be arrested instead of killed. Just her that he saw die Glenn at the hands of Negan).
Only he is missing, we have named him: Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead ends the only way it could end: with the return, in a sense, of its protagonist. The only way, because The Walking Dead it has no purpose. We open and close a parenthesis to explain this concept by answering a question: why is the story of de Game of thrones? Why does it start and end just like that? The answer may be “because it is a parable”. A story, a long event, which takes the world of Westeros from the absolutist Monarchy to the oligarchic Monarchy, making us imagine in the distant future, a second narrative that perhaps leads this oligarchy to a democracy. Perhaps.
The Walking Dead is not like that: there is no beginning and end of the pandemic, on the contrary. There is no “happily ever after” because there can be no concept of forever as long as the zombies are still alive. Therefore, Rick could only return and, at the same time, Michonne. We find out that both are still alive. The first, fleeing from CRM (treated in The Walking Dead: the world beyond); the second, engaged in the search for him. We also see a flashback in which Rick, fleeing a CRM helicopter, hides his possessions on a boat. The same possessions we see Michonne find in Season 10, when she leaves the show and somehow enters her own spin-off.
In short, the main series of The Walking Dead is over, but the AMC Universe still leaves us Tales of the Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, Rick and Michonne, The Dead Island and it spin-off about Daryl, title unknown. However, we will still miss him, a bit as a pleasure, a bit by tradition, despite a disappointing last season and not up to the previous two, still recovering.