The Walking Dead concluded its final ever episode with character deaths, emotional farewells and a tease towards the future.
After 11 seasons, the show’s final episode, titled Rest In Peace, aired on Sunday (November 20). The episode picks up as the survivors are caught between the threat of the Commonwealth army led by Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robbins) and the zombie hordes that have taken over the streets.
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The episode featured three major deaths in total. A dramatic run towards a hospital leads to the first two, namely Jules (Alex Sgambati) who is pulled into a zombie horde, while her boyfriend Luke (Dan Fogler) is bitten in an attempt to try and save her. He later dies at the hospital.
The biggest death in the finale is Rosita (Christian Serratos), who is bitten after falling from a wall pipe into a horde of walkers. She manages to fight off the horde and escape, saving her baby Coco, but she later shows Eugene (Josh McDermitt) a bite on her left shoulder.
Rosita dies later in the episode after peace is brought to the Commonwealth, with leader Milton arrested and placed behind bars. Her final moments are with Eugene, as she tells him: “I’m glad it was you in the end.”
The episode then jumps forward one year, where we see Daryl (Norman Reedus) bidding farewell to the Commonwealth. After an emotional goodbye with Carol (Melissa McBride), he rides out on his motorcycle alone – setting up events for his planned spin-off series.
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In the final few minutes, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are shown in a montage sequence in separate places, as they recite words inside a journal. As Rick reads out his letter, faces of past characters flash across the screen. “I think of the dead all the time,” Rick reads. “And about the living. Who I lost. I think about them all every day. Their faces. What I learned from them. How they made me who I am. So much more than all of this made me who I am.”
Michonne, who is searching for her lost husband, is seen galloping on horseback as she reads out her letter to Judith. It climaxes with voices past and present repeating the words, “We’re the ones who live”, with more flashback images to characters past and present.
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The final scene concludes with Rick, dressed in a Civic Republic Military jacket, surrendering as a helicopter descends from the sky.
The line “We’re the ones who live” has been repeated throughout The Walking Dead’s run. It was first said by Rick in season five episode Try, following a confrontation with Pete. “We know what needs to be done and we do it,” Rick tells the group. “We’re the ones who live.” The phrase was also repeated by Michonne in the season seven midseason finale.
Speaking about the decision to include Rick and Michonne in the finale to Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Scott Gimple said: “To finish the story of The Walking Dead, we needed Rick and Michonne. And to show Rick and Michonne, we had to show them in circumstances that they’re in.
“And it really was like, no matter where these characters are, the situations they’re in, whether they’re living or dead, they’re forever connected by their time with each other. That they are part of a family that is unbreakable. And that is in some ways one long life, which is something thematically we have invoked throughout the series and in the even earlier moments of the finale. And that’s what we started with.”
Three spin-off shows are currently planned following The Walking Dead, including The Walking Dead: Dead City featuring Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and a solo spin-off show for Daryl, titled Daryl Dixon. The third spin-off show is a Rick and Michonne series, which is set to start production in January next year.
These come after various spin-off shows which have already aired, including Fear The Walking Dead, currently in its eighth season, and anthology series Tales Of The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead: World Beyond, centred around teenage protagonists, also concluded in December last year after two seasons.