‘The Walking Dead’ Series Finale Review: Extended Season 11 Episode 24 Finally Comes To An End, After Biting Off More Than It Could Chew (SPOILERS)

Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for “The Walking Dead” series finale, “Rest in Peace,” which premiered on November 20.


Forgive AMC, at least a little, for almost drunkenly celebrating “The Walking Dead” in its prime by feeding audiences as much content related to the zombie drama as it could. However, when the series finally comes to an end after 11 long seasons, it seems obvious that the network and the producers greedily bit off more than they could chew.

The final season pursued an overarching plot as the resilient group of core characters attempted to escape the forces of the commonwealth known as the Commonwealth. At the same time, they seemed to be operating with their hands tied behind their backs, given the already announced spin-offs that had to be planted, nurtured and promoted.

Watching the ending, it was very obvious that “The End” of the flagship show is not meant to be the end of anything; rather, the 90-minute finale was punctuated by promos for upcoming spin-off series — “Dead City,” “Rick & Michonne” and “Daryl Dixon” — taking that suspense far more away from what happened.

What did that leave in terms of the episode, subtitled “Rest in Peace?” A cathartic success for Pamela Milton (Laila Robins), the amoral leader of the Commonwealth, with Mercer (Michael James Shaw) helping to depose her. Some crushing losses, offering a reminder that there are rarely gains in this dystopian world without sacrifice. And a jump a year into the future, which offers hope for greater normalcy, with Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Mercer taking over.

It was the smaller moments, actually, that stood out. A chaotic sequence in the hospital. Rosita (Christian Serratos) briefly becomes a superhero. A beautiful exchange between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), with a sincere apology for what he had taken from her. Daryl (Norman Reedus) says goodbye to Carol (Melissa McBride) before leaving on his own mission to star in another show.

In its early seasons, “The Walking Dead” stood out in part for its unpredictability, as it reminded audiences of the montage of characters who had died. Surprisingly, the series was reloaded with new players and new threats.

However, the departure of Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, in 2018 was, in retrospect, a pivotal moment, not only dealing a creative blow to the show, but signaling the magic involved in trying to maximize- it as a corporate commodity.

You see, Rick didn’t die, he just left, with the promise that he would return in a series of films. Those plans later morphed into a limited series, but the feeling that “The Walking Dead” was no longer the priority in AMC’s “Dead” universe was pretty well established.

AMC also became overly enamored with brand extension, introducing “Fear the Walking Dead,” followed by “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” — essentially a teen-focused version of the show — and, most recently, the series from the “Tales of the Walking” anthology. Death.”

During this period, audience consumption patterns have changed, although zombie appetites have not. With people moving away from watching linear TV and watching more via streaming services, the common aspects of watching the show every week and seeing who would live or die declined, a trend further fueled by the decision of AMC to make episodes available early to streaming subscribers on AMC+. .

Having announced plans to wrap up the flagship show more than two years ago with three eight-episode arcs, these moves might have made sense as business decisions, but are harder to justify as creative choices.

Executive producer Angela Kang told Entertainment Weekly that the series, like the comics, could not end in a definitive way, calling it “the zombie story that never ends”. On “Talking Dead,” the talk show dedicated to the series, Kang said, “We tried to give everyone a moment in the sun.”

Still, even with those limits, it’s hard to get excited about an “ending” with so little closure. Television is always hungry for another hit, and in its heyday “The Walking Dead” was the television equivalent of a supernova. But AMC turned the franchise into a different kind of zombie, moving forward even when life had largely been wiped out.

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