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The Walking Dead 11.24 Review – ‘Rest in Peace’

November 21, 2022 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
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The Walking Dead 11.24 Review – ‘Rest in Peace’  

This is it, my friends. The final episode of The Walking Dead. We made it! But who among our survivors made it, and who didn’t? Who are the ones who live?

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

The plot: Picking right up where we left off, Daryl rushes Judith to the hospital and the others eventually make their way there as well, though they lose Jules in the process and Luke is bitten trying to save her. Luke dies from blood loss after a double leg amputation, however, while Daryl gives blood to Judith to keep her from the same fate. They’re forced to leave, however, as the dead get back in. Meanwhile, Max and Princess bust Mercer out of his cell, and Rosita, Eugene and Gabriel go to rescue the children. They find them, but in a struggle to escape, Rosita is bitten. The group eventually reunites, including Aaron and Lydia, and get to a safe house where they can get real medical attention for the injured. The group rallies behind Mercer and Ezekiel to stay and help save the people of the Commonwealth, leading to a confrontation with Pamela at the gates where she’s locked out the rest of the Commonwealth citizens. The tense stand-off nearly ends in a huge shootout, including a sniper rifle, but the troopers side with Mercer, and he arrests Pamela. As she’s about to let Walker Hornsby bit her willingly, however, Maggie shoots him and saves her. The whole group sets into motion a plan to blow up the Estates and kill off the herd, which works remarkably well. The next day, following Negan having offered a sincere apology to Maggie for what he did, she acknowledges this and knows he’s trying, but she can’t ever forgive him all the same. The survivors, minus Negan, celebrate with a big meal together, but Rosita finally tells Gabriel she’s been bitten, and she gets to have a peaceful goodbye with him, Coco, and Eugene before dying in bed. Cut to one year later! Ezekiel is the new governor of the Commonwealth, with Mercer as his lieutenant governor, and the communities all over are flourishing. Daryl is about to head out on a new mission of exploration, and he bids a lovely goodbye (for now!) to Carol and Judith before driving off on his way. Cut to…Rick and Michonne! Separately, writing letters to their loved ones as he deals with the CRM and she continues her search for him. And the show closes at the end on a montage of just about every character ever repeating their secret shared credo: “We are the ones who live.”

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

Wow. What a ride it’s been, huh?

Just over 12 years ago, we watched as Rick Grimes woke up to a world irrevocably altered in his absence. We’ve watched as he found his family and friends, and as his friends became family. Through loss, grief, violence, wrath, and mercy, this family of survivors has fought not only to survive but to build a future, to give themselves and their children a chance to thrive in a broken world. As a show, The Walking Dead has had its highs and lows, though in my opinion it’s been far more highs, and even their lows are miles ahead of many other shows. The team of writers, actors, and everyone on their crew have consistently delivered an amazing show, and for that I cannot applaud them enough. This has been and will always be one of my favorite shows ever, with stories and characters I won’t soon forget. And I’m looking forward to checking out the spin-offs when they come out and seeing what more the TWD universe has to offer. But enough of that, let’s talk about this finale!

Tonight’s episode had a lot to cover, and as a result, some things were rushed. This is pretty much inevitable when trying to wrap up an 11-season series in a bombastic, action-filled finale like this. Though this show has generally always done big action really well, but it’s at it’s best with the emotional arcs. Tonight’s episode is no exception, and once when the most memorable moments are those emotional ones, rather than most of the action scenes.

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

While the bombastic explosion of the Estates of the Commonwealth was cool and all, it’s not what will stick with us. What will are Rosita fighting like hell for her daughter’s life, even at the expense of her own. Magna, Kelly, Connie, and Yumiko desperately trying to save Luke’s life, promising to keep the music alive for him, and sobbing as he passes. Negan, at long last, making a heartfelt and sincere apology to Maggie, knowing full well it’s worth so little in the face of what he did to her. Maggie letting him know she’s heard this, acknowledging it and how he’s changed, but being honest in that she can’t forgive him all the same. Pamela being so thrown and overwrought by either what she’s done or being forced to face consequences for it that she’s about to willingly let herself be bitten (by walker Hornsby no less!). Rosita’s tearful but peaceful goodbye, and then all the moments in the time jump showing us how these people have come together to change their world and make it better. Daryl and Carol’s goodbye…and the glimpses of Rick and Michonne, still out there in the world somewhere.

Could there have been more deaths? Sure. But despite the title, this show isn’t ultimately about death–it’s about the living.

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

Still, I can’t not talk about the losses we did have in this finale. Both Luke and Rosita’s deaths were tear jerkers. Luke, lost in the all-too-standard bloody fashion of their world, stood out to me for how we took a long moment to see the grief set in. It wasn’t so much losing him that hit hard–we’ve not seen Luke in a while, he’s never really been a main character, and there’s some tragedy to him dying bloody despite not really being a fighter. But the show pausing to live in that loss, even briefly, was unusual and hit hard. That felt so genuine, so real, and the characters so rarely get to really feel and express that.

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

Rosita’s death is in some ways less surprising, but in others not at all. She’s always been a fighter, from the moment we’ve met her, and nothing’s ever slowed her down for long. Not even being pregnant or post-partum! So it was fitting to that lifestyle that she was bitten, and that it happened in defense of her daughter is as well. And her action scenes were the best of the night! Her going full Sarah Connor on the walkers in the children’s center was fantastic, and her falling into that group of walkers with Coco strapped to her chest made me gasp aloud. Her throwing them all off of her after at first felt a little much to me, kind of ridiculous on matter who you’re talking about, but when it was revealed that this was not without consequences after all, I was more willingly to let it slide. As tragic as her loss is, though, it was lovely that she got to have a peaceful final goodbye to her loved ones. Those final moments with Coco, Gabriel, and most of all Eugene were so touching. Eugene telling her he wouldn’t be who he is now without her, and her final words to him, “I’m glad it was you in the end,” were both real tear jerkers. And truly, that’s what this show is about in the end: life-changing connections to other people.

That’s what the final statement of this show is after all: that it’s our connections to one another that give us life, that shape our future as individuals, as friends and families, and as communities. That’s what makes them the ones who live. Or, as Daryl puts it, “People deserve better. We aren’t the enemy, we ain’t the walking dead.”

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

The confrontation at the gates where he says this, is a great set piece that illustrates this. For starters, Ezekiel’s speech to the group about them all being a family, including the other citizens here, and that this place is worth saving, is what brings them together to stand up to Pamela one last time. I don’t think they would’ve just slipped out the back anyways, but leave it to the King to bring people together for a cause, right? Once there, it’s Mercer’s words and his connection to this place and these people, it’s Gabriel’s insistence on opening the gates, and Daryl’s blunt statement of the problems with how they’re treating their own people, that shift the tide. And while Pamela is hard to read, both here and later on, I think she’s aware that she’s really fucked this all up. Her walk towards the walkers, towards Hornsby, is so slow and deliberate, that she has to know and she’s struggling to come to terms with it. If she just wanted to escape punishment, there are quicker and less painful ways to go. And it’s when she hears Judith’s voice that she jerks back–whatever else she’s done, she knows now she didn’t actually kill a child, and that’s something. I have to commend Laila Robins on that moment of her nearly giving in to the walkers, though. She’s done an amazing job as Pamela overall, but the gravity in this moment, the tension of wondering if this was actually going to happen, was very well done.

Also, what a great full circle moment for Gabriel! Originally, he survived by locking people out of his church when they sought shelter, but this time he refused to let that happen again. Good for him.

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

Another of this show’s trademark personal connections had a big moment that’s been a long time coming: Negan actually apologized to Maggie for killing Glenn. Now that he’s had a taste of what she felt, what she lost, at his hands, he tells her he’s sorry. All while knowing and saying he knows it’s not enough, but as she tells him later, she no longer has to wonder if he’ll ever say those words. But all the same, she can’t forgive him. She lays out exactly why she can’t, because she loved Glenn so much, his goodness, his smile, everything, but when she looks at Negan she can only ever see him the way he died. His garbled voice calling for her while Negan beat him and mocked him in his dying moments, and she can’t help but feel hatred for that. This conversation and moment between them was just fantastic. It was complicated and it didn’t shy away from either the horrible things Negan has done, and did to her specifically, nor did it deny that he’s changed now. Maggie even acknowledges this aloud, but that’s why sometimes she just can’t look at him, though she’s done trying to deny him being a part of this community. Because she also doesn’t want to feel that hate, doesn’t want it to control her or her life, and doesn’t want her son to see it controlling her. She isn’t a hateful person, and hate like that takes up so much energy. These two end on as good a note as they ever can, really, and it was perfect.

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

Then there’s Daryl. His moments come more in the time jump, in my opinion, though he’s plenty involved in the fight for the Commonwealth and most notably in doing everything he can to save Judith. But even one year later, Daryl’s still not quite found his ending, but he’s going out there to seek it. I’m not sure what he’s looking for, but he’s still actively trying to make the world better and safer, which is a far cry from who he was when we first met him, a young hothead with an even worse brother. Who would’ve thought this is where he’d end up? Fighting for a whole community, for the future of people he doesn’t know, heading out into the world out of, basically, altruism. Telling his best friend he loves her and he’ll miss her, and the same to his surrogate daughter-of-sorts? But this is who he is thanks to the people he’s met and known and loved. I love that Judith tells him he deserves a happy ending, too, and I hope we’ll see him find his yet, since we know we’re not done watching Daryl Dixon’s adventures!

Plenty of other great moments and endcaps and full circle moments happen along the way here, too. Ezekiel being the governor now, along with Mercer. Carol being a new and much better candidate in Hornsby’s role. Jerry being alive! And being with his family, of course. Lydia finding happiness, connection, and family. Yumiko and Magna getting back together. Eugene and Max starting a family, naming their daughter after Rosita.

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

Finally, the end cap of Rick and Michonne! I’m glad they didn’t come riding in to mysteriously join the fight at the end, that would’ve felt unearned, but this was a perfect way to include them and also tease the story yet to come for the two of them. Both of their letters overlapping, the glimpses of their current-ish situations: Michonne riding off like the warrior she is to find him, Rick being foiled in an attempt to escape the CRM, they both speak to who they are, to their connection to one another and to the larger group. A connection that endures, a connection that makes them the ones who live. And that montage! I loved it. A-plus montage, pulling it all together, wrapping up this show perfectly while leaving open the stories yet to come. We are the ones who live.

Image Credit:Jace Downs/AMC

It’s kind of impossible to rate this episode as a standalone. As an individual ep, it wasn’t their best, but it had so much to do. As a series finale, a thing that is always hard to pull off, I think it did pretty damn well. Some weak points where things had to be rushed, or story arc wrap-ups had to be swift, and a few lines lacking some of the nuance this show usually manages, instead having to go for something more straightforward or blunt. But all in all? I think it did well. I think it delivered the story beats it needed, it stayed true to the show and the characters, and it gave us a look at the future for these characters: everything isn’t tied up into a neat little bow, but they are in a good place to move forward into a better future together. It’s hard to ask for much more than that.

What did you think of the series finale? Sound off in the comments, one last time!

On a personal note, it’s been a true pleasure and honor to get to review them here on for the last seven years. These reviews have let me watch more closely than I would have otherwise. I’ve truly enjoyed watching them more critically and getting to write down those thoughts, as well as interacting with the readers here! Whatever our opinions of what was going on in the show, I’ve enjoyed getting to discuss the show with all of you in the comments. I’m not sure what’s next up for me on the site, but whatever it is, I hope to see you all here again. Thank you for reading and coming on this journey with me. Stay safe out there, and be excellent to each other!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
It's kind of impossible to rate this episode as a standalone. As an individual ep, not their best, but as a series finale, it did pretty damn well. It had some weak points--rushed moments or sequence of events, story arc wrap-ups done quick, few lines lacking some of the usual nuance. But all in all, it did well. It delivered the last big story arc and it focused on the characters and the emotion more than the action. Everything isn't tied up into a neat little bow, but that's a good thing since it would feel strange if it were. Some big losses, some tears, but a hopeful path forward into the future, and a few good teases for the spin-off stories yet to come.

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan