Editor’s Note: The following accommodates spoilers about “The Walking Dead” collection finale, “Rest in Peace,” which premiered November 20.
Forgive AMC, a minimum of a little bit bit, for nearly drunkenly celebrating “The Walking Dead” in its heyday by feeding audiences as a lot content material associated to the zombie drama as they probably may. Yet because the collection involves an finish, lastly, after 11 lengthy seasons, it appears apparent that the community and the producers greedily bit off greater than they may chew.
The ultimate season pursued an overarching plot, because the hardy band of core characters sought to flee the forces of the neighborhood often called the Commonwealth. At the identical time, they seemed to be working with a hand tied behind their backs, given the already-announced spinoffs that needed to be planted, nurtured and promoted.
Watching the finale, it was acutely apparent that “The End” of the flagship present isn’t actually meant to be the top of something; somewhat, the 90-minute end was punctuated by promos for the spinoff collection which might be coming – “Dead City,” “Rick & Michonne” and “Daryl Dixon” – taking that rather more suspense away from what transpired.
What did that depart by way of the episode, subtitled “Rest in Peace?” A cathartic comeuppance for Pamela Milton (Laila Robins), the Commonwealth’s amoral chief, with Mercer (Michael James Shaw) serving to depose her. Some sobering losses, providing a reminder there’s seldom achieve on this dystopian world with out sacrifice. And a one-year leap into the long run, providing hope of higher normalcy, with Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Mercer having taken over.
It was the smaller moments, truly, that stood out. A chaotic sequence within the hospital. Rosita (Christian Serratos) briefly turning right into a superhero. A pleasant change between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), with a heartfelt apology for what he had taken from her. Daryl (Norman Reedus) bidding farewell to Carol (Melissa McBride) earlier than driving away on his personal mission to star in one other present.
In its early seasons, “The Walking Dead” excelled partly due to its unpredictability, because the montage of characters who had died reminded the viewers. Impressively, the collection saved reloading with new gamers in addition to new threats.
Yet the departure of Rick Grimes, performed by Andrew Lincoln, in 2018 turned out in hindsight to be a pivotal second, not solely dealing the present a inventive blow however indicating the sleight of hand concerned in attempting to maximise it as a company commodity.
You see, Rick didn’t die, however somewhat left, with the promise that he would return in a collection of films. Those plans later morphed right into a restricted collection, however the sense that “The Walking Dead” was now not the precedence in AMC’s “Dead” universe had been fairly nicely cemented.
AMC additionally grew to become overly enamored with extending the model, introducing “Fear the Walking Dead,” following by “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” – basically a teen-centric model of the present – and extra not too long ago the anthology collection “Tales of the Walking Dead.”
During that interval, viewers consumption patterns have modified, even when zombie appetites haven’t. With individuals drifting away from linear TV viewing and watching extra by way of streaming providers, the communal points of viewing the present every week and seeing who would reside or die diminished, a development additional fueled by AMC’s choice to make episodes accessible early to streaming subscribers on AMC+.
Having introduced plans to wrap up the flagship present greater than two years in the past utilizing three eight-episode arcs, these strikes may need made sense as enterprise choices, however they’re tougher to justify as inventive selections.
Executive producer Angela Kang advised Entertainment Weekly that the collection, just like the comics, couldn’t finish in a definitive method, calling it “the zombie story that never ends.” On “Talking Dead,” the discuss present dedicated to the collection, Kang stated, “We tried to give everybody a moment in the sun.”
Yet even with these limits, it’s laborious to get excited a few “finale” with so little closure. Television is all the time hungry for one more hit, and at its peak “The Walking Dead” was the TV equal of a supernova. But AMC turned the franchise into a unique type of zombie, marching onward even when the life had been largely sapped out of it.