Walking Dead Finale: We are the survivors. An astonishing number of characters were killed off over the course of 11 exciting seasons, but with one final message, The Walking Dead officially ended. Even so, things in the Walking Dead Universe are just starting to roll.
Let’s talk about what happened on Sunday’s series finale, “Rest in Peace,” before we speculate on what the future holds for AMC’s flagship brand.
What Happened Exactly in the last Episode?
Last week’s episode, “Family,” left our heroes at war with both invading walkers and the leaders of the Commonwealth; the last episode, directed by executive producer Greg Nicotero, who has been with the show since the beginning, continues up where that episode left off.
Rest in Peace begins with Daryl (Norman Reedus) rushing to the hospital to check on his surrogate niece Judith (Cailey Fleming), who was shot by the villainous Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins). While Judith is being cared for by Tomichi (Ian Anthony Dale), the rest of our survivors band together to fend off the walkers and make their way to one of the Commonwealth’s affluent estates, where Pamela is hiding out and refusing to let her lower-class citizens in.
Ezekiel (Khary Payton) rallies the good guys to step in despite an offer from Mercer (Michael James Shaw) to let them escape. Daryl comes out of hiding after Pamela threatens to have Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) shot for trying to unlock the gate, saying, “We all deserve better than this.” You tried to make this area look like the old world, and that’s exactly what got you into trouble. You face just one adversary. It’s not like we’re the undead or anything.
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Pamela, freshly arrested, sees a walker that looks like a zombified Hornsby (Josh Hamilton), approaches him carefully so he may bite her, and then Maggie shoots the walker. This time, Pamela won’t get off so easily! Maggie proclaims, “Now we’ll take this place back.” Then, a strategy to attract the walkers it is set into motion, and the estates are blasted with Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality.” Everything is rigged up with fuel and explosives, and when the record player stops playing, the dynamite goes off.
Fast-forwarding a bit, we find that Ezekiel has taken over as governor, Mercer as his deputy, and Carol (Melissa McBride) in Hornsby’s former position. In the show’s last minutes, we see a montage of memorable scenes and characters, with a group of voices from both the show’s past and present echoing Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) renowned message of hope: “We’re the ones who live.” Judith and R.J. (Antony Azor) spend the final moments of the series gazing over the lush, verdant scenery beyond their now-secure hamlet. ‘We get to start over,’ she tells her brother. We’re the survivors, after all.
MASSIVE round of applause for Christian Serratos for her portrayal of Rosita Espinosa from S4E10 to S11E24 of #TheWalkingDead!#TWDFamily pic.twitter.com/c9AoZwWkMq
— The Walking Dead World (@TWalkingDWorld) November 21, 2022
Who was killed in The Walking Dead Finale?
As any fan of “The Walking Dead” knows, the series finale simply wouldn’t be complete without a few grisly deaths. To be sure, we knew a good number of characters have to survive because of the previously planned TWD spinoffs and movies. Jules (Alex Sgambati) and Luke (Dan Fogler) weren’t so fortunate; they came back from their extended vacation at Oceanside just in time to meet their deaths.
At the beginning of the episode, Jules gets bitten by a walker; Luke tries to save her but fails, resulting in both of them being bitten. Magna (Nadia Hilker) puts a knife through his head after being carried to the hospital for an emotional death scene in which people closest to him express how much they love him.
The great loss in “Rest in Peace” is Rosita (Christian Serratos), who has been a staple of The Walking Dead since she was first introduced in Season 4. This is not to slight Luke or Jules, who joined the show late and were never important characters. Happily, she gets the fierce and heartfelt farewell performance she merits.
The Walking Dead can’t end without a dash of Morgan Jones included! ♥️#TheWalkingDead pic.twitter.com/AflKGrXHmQ
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) November 21, 2022
After Rosita, Gabriel, and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) find her lost kid, they are encircled by walkers and must climb a wall to safety. Rosita, her baby strapped to her bosom, looks to fall to her death. But wait! She gets up, fights off the walkers, and then climbs onto an ambulance before jumping back onto the wall.
She doesn’t escape unhurt, and in a devastating scene, she admits that she was bitten. Rosita takes pleasure in the “ideal” moment following the crew’s victory over Pamela and the walkers by having a Thanksgiving-style lunch with them before telling Gabriel the good news.
She is taken into a bedroom and laid down next to her sleeping daughter, whom she kisses for the last time. Gabriel says to the girl, “We’ll see you again someday,” as he and the girl leave. Rosita says to Eugene, “I’m pleased it was you in the end,” as he comes in for a final goodbye. In the future, we find out that Rosie is the daughter of Eugene and Max (Margot Bingham).
Who Came Back in the End?
The Walking Dead did not end without bringing back both of its original stars, Rick and Lori. Both Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira, who had been absent since Season 9 and Season 10, respectively, make surprise appearances in the series finale. At first glance, it seems like the only thing between Rick and Michonne is a blaze.
An emotional Rick explains, “I think of the dead all the time, none about the living…who I lost,” as flashes of late legacy characters including Carl (Chandler Riggs), Laurie (Sarah Wayne Callies), Shane (Jon Bernthal), and Glenn (Steven Yeun) appear onscreen. Michonne, in the meantime, has written a letter to Judith, in which she promises to return to her and R.J. As her voice and Rick’s begin to blend together, she says, “We’re connected.” Everyone we’ve ever cared about is still in our lives.
RICK GRIMES IS BACK! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/4gOh3RtQKr
— TWD Universe (@twdufans) November 21, 2022
Rick, meantime, is beside a body of water when he hears the approaching chopper and immediately begins to freak out. Rick is shocked to hear a mysterious voice tell him to give up. The unknown speaker replies, “Come on, Rick; just as he warned you, the living have no way out.” It turns out Rick is near a huge city. As the chopper touches down, Rick raises his hands and smiles devilishly, as though he’s prepared for whatever happens next.
What Comes After the Walking Dead Finale?
What comes after that is… a lot! In addition to Fear the Walking Dead, which has been renewed for an eighth season, The Walking Dead has inspired several spinoffs, including the recently concluded World Beyond and the anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead. But as we hinted at before, several of our primary characters had already been confirmed as having their own series, and “Rest in Peace” ironically helped prepare us for the birth of three new stories.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) reveals to Carol and Daryl toward the end of the series that she would want to discuss the future. There is a wealth of information waiting to be uncovered, and I believe it is high time that we do it. Maggie and Daryl are planning to do just that, though they intend to do it independently of one another.
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AMC announced the Daryl and Carol spinoff, which will star Reedus and McBride together, more than two years ago. However, McBride left the project earlier this year when filming for the next season moved to Europe. This change to Daryl’s vehicle necessitated that he go out on his own by the series’ final episode.
The original characters from “Rest in Peace” have a heartfelt, intimate farewell to one another. The conversation begins with Daryl saying, “It’s not like we’re never going to see each other again,” to which Carol replies, “I’m allowed to be a little sad. You are the person I can always count on to be there for me.
Let’s talk! How is #TWDFamily holding up after the series finale of #TheWalkingDead? Sending you all love from Team Skybound! pic.twitter.com/GvkY9nIEWI
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) November 21, 2022
Afterward, Judith and R.J. come to say goodbye to Uncle Daryl, who has promised to find and return their parents if he gets any news about them. Judith chimes in, “You deserve a good ending too.” Later, Daryl and Carol share a final moment of affection before he rides off into the sunset on his bike. Okay, technically Daryl Dixon’s territory.
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