Rest in Peace - Series Finale
Season 11, Episode 24 Preview


Norman Reedus and Cailey Fleming | © AMC

"You may not think this place is worth saving, but it’s worth it to me.”
—Ezekiel, "Rest in Peace" (s11e24)

So, this is the end. Where do I even begin? I never wanted this show to end…but also I wanted desperately to know how it ends, who survives, who is memorialized, and what the world looks like after. I’ve wanted to know the end for 12 years now, but I patiently waited year after year as this show gave me thrill after thrill and tear after tear. I’ll take whatever it gives even if it closely resembles the comic ending, a major part of which was spoiled for me soon after it happened when I glanced at a comment below an episode recap.

Khary Payton | © AMC

I could probably go on forever praising this incredible show and complaining about those so eager to spoil it, especially since I haven’t written much in years. But I’ll try to keep it brief-ish since there’s not a lot of time left and I'm having a busy long weekend of visiting my mom in the hospital and getting the house ready to usher in the holidays. More will come later, if I can. If life starts making sense again. Mom’s failing health piled onto my business’s failing health through the pandemic and created quite the emotionally trying mess.

So, once I can get a handle on things (some day soon, I can just feel it) then I’ll be able to get back to talking about my favorite shows, maybe even creating fan art about them like I’ve always wanted and have said often enough before. Too bad that out of all the shows I’ve deeply loved, only Doctor Who and The Blacklist remain. At least now I’ll theoretically have more free time to finish those hundreds of draft posts about the old favorite shows without any new ones to worry about... Anyway…

Seth Gilliam and Josh McDermitt | © AMC

As I said, I never wanted this journey to end, but I certainly wanted something final before it got cancelled, like so many other shows with unresolved narratives. It turns out I get both wishes. There is an ending, for this story, for certain characters, but it doesn’t really end because some get to move on and what comes after has such potential. As long as the fans always clamor for more from this property, there will be a future. And at least in The Walking Dead’s final farewell, there are actually three good things to come of it for me.

Ross Marquand and Lauren Cohan (top); Christian Serratos and Melissa McBride (bottom) | © AMC

First, I can stop nearly having heart attacks at every premiere, mid-season finale, and season finale…and nearly every week in between. Every muscle is tense the entire episode, just knowing a character I love will meet their fate. I’m reasonably certain that the spin-offs will be safer for Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Maggie and Negan, since these shows were created for them. It’ll be the people they meet along the way that I have to fear for.

Laila Robins | © AMC

Second, maybe I can stop hearing the continual complaints from certain family members about TWD still being on every time I see them or any time someone mentions villains and character development in movies and TV, which is quite often. They stopped watching after “Last Day on Earth” (s6e16) or “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (s7e1) and have no idea what they’re talking about past Negan’s terrifying introduction.

I was sick about it for a long time, but I fell even more in love with The Walking Dead during those episodes, because of the crushing fear and massive, unbearable emotion weighing on each character. These family members immediately dismissed Negan, and anyone following him, as unrealistic—as if gangs and dictators don’t exist in real life—and point to this as the number one way to NOT do a villain. They cannot be swayed in any way to look at it from anyone else’s viewpoint.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Medina Senghore | © AMC

They'll talk about good vs bad character development. They’ll make good points about great villains versus terrible villains, but then they haven’t the first clue what they're talking about when the conversation inevitably comes around to, or tries to sneakily hint at, Negan. They judge him, and retcon their own memories of the entire series, only by his worst moment (which was shockingly evil, I know) without knowing anything that happened next. They missed the survivors’ struggle to put the pieces back together after losing Glenn and Abraham, to find that spark of hope, which made those seasons both brutal and beautiful. They missed where Rick and company fought back and went to war with the Saviors, which had me constantly on edge.

Khary Payton and Jeffrey Dean Morgan | © AMC

“This world is broken, but we don’t have to be.”
—Ezekiel, "Faith" (s11e22)

They missed the defeat and subsequent breaking of Negan and have no idea about his gradual change. They don't know of his backstory, which was heartbreaking and might have given them a little sympathy for the man he used to be. They have no idea he saved Judith, helped defeat the Whisperers, that he attempted to sacrifice himself for his wife and unborn child and a whole group of people who hated him. They didn't stick around to hear him admit, "You're all better than me."

They just don’t care and for them it’s okay to judge without having those experiences. If they had actually been fans, they’d have stuck with it to see how it turned out, because that’s what you do if you’re truly invested in a story, rather than merely invested in what you think should happen, and the consistently incredible performances coming from these talented actors. I don't understand how you can profess to love a show and then make a complete turn over the course of one episode.

Nadia Hilker and Angel Theory | © AMC

Third, it will have a conclusion that will surely be listed among my favorite endings, whether characters I love make it through or whether they pass on. I know some have to live because of those spin-offs—but then I think maybe these sequels are all just an elaborate prank so we won’t see their deaths coming. Or since Carol is no longer riding off into the sunset with Daryl, maybe she’ll pop up now and again as a memory haunting him after something happens in the finale. With a name like “Rest in Peace,” I imagine it will be extraordinarily heartbreaking, lots of death, lots of tissues needed. But, as always, with hope for the future.

Norman Reedus and Cailey Fleming | © AMC

Well, that’s not a happy or hopeful looking scene I leave you with. Somebody help those two please! But that’s all I have for now. It’s ending. I’m still not ready.

Just like I wasn’t ready for Rick to leave in Season 9. I never got a chance to publish my Goodbye Andrew Lincoln post back then, but here’s a relevant excerpt: “Maybe he'll really find his way home in the very end, surprising the shit out of everyone, causing an ocean of tears, and creating the most poignant, well-deserved finale for any TV show ever.” I’m sure it will be poignant and well-deserved, but the way it’s going, I doubt there will be room for Rick. Still, knowing he’s out there, a post-credits scene isn’t out of the question.

This has been such an emotionally fraught journey that I have been here for every step of the way. Congratulations, TWD cast and crew, for the amazing run and thank you for everything. Though I will always treasure the original series the most, you have me forever, in every iteration.

Andrew Lincoln (top); Danai Gurira and Cailey Fleming (bottom) | © AMC

Some more closing thoughts as this chapter of my life ends: I'm crossing my fingers that Judith makes it. That amazing little fighter and sweet baby girl needs to lead everyone into the future and see her mom and dad again.

More people who I hope make it? Everyone of course, but I’ll pick just two, because I can’t be greedy now that five of them are already getting their own shows. Aaron and Jerry. I’ve always been terrified for Aaron. There have been too damn many close calls for him and every time he hurts I want to hug him. And Jerry is too much of a big, sweet, adorable teddy bear with the warmest smile.

I have a feeling that Monday is going to be a weird day for me.


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