Ok, so the end of The Walking Dead is now upon us, and the 12-year-long journey that began back in 2010 is officially over. Chances are that a lot of you loved the show at some point but dropped off along the way and are back to see what happened and whether it’s worth checking out.
Well, throughout this video, we’re going to be doing a Walking Dead for Dummies breakdown that should cover everything you need to know about the ending. Full spoilers ahead from here on out, so if you don’t want to know what it entailed, then I highly recommend that you turn off now. Click the thumbs-up button if you think the breakdown is great, and make sure you subscribe for videos like this every day.
With that out of the way, thanks for clicking this; I’m your host, Paul. Now let’s get into The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead Season 11 Breakdown
Now, interestingly, The Walking Dead’s end doesn’t end with a Walking Dead end. The series breathes new life into things to come, and we see Rick and Michonne setting up their own spin-off series, which is due to start filming next month. The ending sort of acts as a trailer for that, teasing what’s to come. I’ll talk about this more in just a bit, but we start off with Daryl carrying Judith into a hospital, sort of last of us style, with Joel and Ellie. The first episode of The Walking Dead had, of course, a major moment where Rick woke up, and the series is sort of coming full circle from there. The characters are either there or desperate to get there, and returning to a location like this was sort of like poetry; they rhyme.
In case you’re not fully up to speed with where the common wealth is, this was basically a recreation of life before the outbreak, and it had all the characters saying that we live in a society run by corrupt politicians and a family that controls everything. Led by Pamela Milton, she ended up unleashing a zombie hoard, which put the citizens into lockdown. No prizes for guessing what that’s a reference to. This has thrown everything into chaos, and this episode very much becomes about taking her down and freeing the citizens of the commonwealth.
After we see that title sequence for the last time, we cut to the carnage happening in the commonwealth and see both Luke and Jules being attacked by the undead. She’s eaten alive while he’s taken to the hospital, as he’s been bitten himself. In classic Walking Dead style, the character was amputated, but unfortunately this was too little too late and the character goes out as quickly as he came back. Now Daryl ends up giving Judith a blood transfusion due to his being a universal donor. His brother Merle actually used to sell his blood for money when they were little, which is pretty messed up.
However, the transfusion works, and Judith wakes up a couple of scenes later having pulled through. Judith very much foreshadows the return of Rick and Michonne as she brings up how she and the pair were meant to be reunited again someday. This is clearly setting up one of the major arcs that will happen in the series and I think it will likely centre around them finding their daughter.
Well, Lori’s daughter, because she’s not Michonne, and Shane was the biological dad, so…reunited with some chumps.
Nah, but Cailey Fleming, who plays her, has always said that Rick is very much her true father because he’s the person who raised her. In the world of The Walking Dead, the characters are unfortunately going to see several people die, and thus they end up forming families out of who is left behind.
The previous episode to the finale was even calledFamily,” and it’s very much using the literary fast and furious definition of the word. We also get this kicker exchange.
This is a reference back to this scene.
References To Past Seasons In The Walking Dead Season 11
Cut back to the common wealth, and we watch Mercer being rescued, which sets things in place for Negan, Maggie, and co. to mount a mission to the hospital. Aaron and Lydia arrive camouflaged in the walkers, with the latter having had her arm amputated last episode due to being bitten.
Elsewhere Rosita, Gabriel, and Eugene manage to save Coco and the kids, and that Walker trying to reach into the crib was pretty horrifying.
However, upon trying to escape, their ambulance is swarmed by the undead, and maybe they could’ve seen that happening if they’d read their horrorscopes.
The hospital is being swarmed too, with us seeing more smart zombies.
Now, if you’re just checking in here to find out what happened in the finale because you need closure, then, basically, the undead have started evolving. Eating all those braaains must have helped, as there are some now that are able to climb and use tools. Some have the awareness to pick up weapons and blunt objects, which we see demonstrated here. Using a rock, a walker is able to smash a window on the hospital entrance, and thus they can flood the building.
I kind of wish they’d introduced these elevated aspects in earlier seasons, as we did hit a point where the undead were just cannon fodder.
This makes them feel infinitely more dangerous, as we had just hit a point where people were slicing through them without any danger.
We sort of get that demonstrated in the scene with Rosita as she falls off a pipe, gets swarmed, and then still seemingly comes out on top.
Jumping on top of the ambulance, she shimmy up the pipe she just fell from and manages to get back to safety…or so we think.
Rosita reveals later to Eugene that she was actually bitten during this moment, but that she didn’t want anyone to know.
Going back and rewatching this scene knowing the reveal makes it hit even harder.
She just sits there staring at Coco, trying to take everything in. Eugene brings up teaching her to swim at the oceanside beforehand, and knowing this won’t happen is devastating. Eugene is going to be the one who has to care for her now, and it ties back to this idea of family and how the ones left are the ones who raise the others. She just feels like she was robbed and is sitting there imagining the life she should have had.
Now this scene is mirrored in the one that precedes it with Maggie and Negan.
Here he apologizes flat out for taking Glenn away from her and their son. Negan has his own child on the way, and he now knows what he took from the pair in his power play to intimidate them. In the last episode, he was almost executed along with Annie, and it was very much a role reversal for him, making him realize how Maggie and Glenn would have felt.
Negan has gone on one of the most interesting arcs in the entire series, and seeing the regret on his face speaks volumes, and he vows to kill Pamela for her.
From here we get a very reflective scene which acts very much as the calm before the storm. Daryl, Carol, and Judith have a big scene in which she asks about what she said about her parents in her delusion. She apologizes for not telling her about what Michonne said, but the peace is quickly broken when we see survivors trying to climb the gates of the commonwealth.
Pamela is ordering for them to be shot by the guards, and this causes those inside to mount up.
They storm the troopers, guns drawn, and slowly convince the forces that the way Pamela operates is wrong. They were so stuck trying to make the world how it used to be that they forgot all the problems that came with it. People are cowardly and selfish, and they have forgotten that humanity has one enemy: the walkers.
We ain’t the walking dead.
which is a bit on the nose, but it shows how they have to keep their humanity instead of just mindlessly focusing on their own wants and needs above all else.
Maggie spots Pamela getting arrested, and Negan tells her that for a person like her, it’s actually worse than death.
Now, this is very much Negan talking about himself as well. Rick allowed him to live, and that was a greater punishment than if he’d killed him because of the guilt he had to confront.
They let the people outside in as a hoard closes around them, and Pamela walks up to the gate. Here stands a reanimated Lance, and Pamela would genuinely rather have her face bitten off by him than go to jail. It’s a man she looked down on for years, and he’s very much a reflection of the evil deeds she’s carried out.
He represents the people, and this metaphorically symbolizes an uprising against corrupt politicians.
Her attempt to get eaten by him shows that she’d rather have her head torn apart than actually have to face up to what she’s done.
which is a bit mental.
Maggie instead shoots him, and Judith convinces her that it’s not too late to help people.
She changes her mind, but there’s still the hoard to deal with.
Mercer brings in a new plan that involves the citizens mounting up with riot shields and herding the walkers using the song Cult of Personality by the band Living Colour. This has a lot of meaning to it, and the phrase was coined in the 1950s in an anti-stalin report.
The song was meant to explore what good people and bad people have in common and how people tend to follow those whose personalities they gravitate towards more often than all their ideals.
Some people are larger than life, but at the end of the day, they are just humans. However, their personalities make them seem bigger, and people can become idols based on who they are and how many people follow them.
Politicians and their followers often are said to have been swayed and that they’re in the cult of personality.
So having the walkers follow this song is a sort of nod to that. However, Pamela was a political figure, and many people fell into her personality cult. This scene following after her downfall and having them go to the estate metaphorically shows how the brain dead zombies have finally seen through the cult of personality.
It might be a reach, but there are things you can apply to real life here and see how following someone blindly can often lead to your downfall.
This leads to a gigantic explosion that’s easily the best in the show’s history. It wipes out the entire estate, along with the walkers, and is the final goodbye to this corrupt leadership and everything that it stood for.
In jail, Pamela talks about how heavy the crown is and how leadership comes with the necessity to make ugly decisions.
Outside, Negan throws away the whisperer’s mask, symbolizing the end of that chapter, and he and Maggie sit together.
Maggie says she’ll never be able to fully forgive Negan for smashing Glenn’s head like it was the like button, but she remains grateful that he saved her son and that he’s still trying. She knows she doesn’t want to hurt anymore, so she will try because she doesn’t want anyone to have that kind of hold on her. However, she knows it will be difficult because she remembers Glenn dying every time she looks at Negan, and she doesn’t want that to dominate her life. She says Negan and Annie have their place now, but she apologises for being unable to look at him some days due to the pain it will bring up.
However, Daryl watches him leave, and as he later sends the compass back, I don’t think that they’re around all that much. However, they have to be close for that to happen, so they’re likely residing at Hilltop.
Now this also sets up their show, The Walking Dead: Dead City. This will star both Maggie and Negan, and though we don’t have a general outline of it yet, it’s going to likely be about forgiveness and Maggie learning to look at him without seeing him murder her husband.
Look, I’ve seen the start of Batman v. Superman, and maybe… there’s hope these two can make something, just to also get murdered in front of the one they love.
They have a last supper, and if you cast your mind back to season 7, there was a dream scene in which a picnic played out. We even saw Glenn there, and it was very much a future that would never come to be. It’s very much a similar thing, with it being a happy and peaceful time. The song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac plays over the top, and we see several things playing out.
Magna kisses Yumiko, and they make up, and we see Rosita also tell Gabriel. Rosita is just enjoying the time she has left, and psychic Judith can also sense something is up. Everyone must slowly have become aware as we see her getting carried up to be with her daughter, where Gabriel reads her her last rights.
He takes Coco and says that they’ll see her again some day.
Eugene comes in, and the pair have, of course, had their highs and lows throughout the series. My man was basically like Forrest Gump holding on for his Jenny, and in the end she says:
There must’ve been some dust in the room, because this final scene broke me a bit and made me go full Kevin Smith. It shows the bond that the pair had, and out of everyone, in the end, she’d rather have him by her side.
Now from here, we get a one-year time jump to see how things have moved on. There are still the memories of those that died, but Eugene has his own child now named Rosie after Rosit. Look, I’m not crying.
Ezekiel is now the governor, with Lieutenant Mercer as his right-hand man. Carol has taken up the position of being the new and improved Lance.
Negan has sent Judith a present through Lydia, and we see that this is a compass that she let him use. This shows that he no longer needs it because he’s not searching for anything or looking in another direction from where he is.
He hopes that will help guide her to her dreams, and this once more resembles the picnic scene from season 7 showing how everything has worked out.
Here they’ve built a community and a future, and Maggie says that they should branch out more. Carol and Daryl did have their own spin-off show in the works, but we know that Melissa McBride pulled out, and thus this ending is the pair very much saying their goodbyes, even though it’s not like they’ll never see each other again.
Daryl is off on the road, and it’s possible that he might bump into Rick and Michonne. He says that if he sees anything out there, he’ll find it, and Daryl popping up in their show would be a big thing to get viewers to check it out. Judith promises to look after Dog and Carol for him, and the pair say they love each other. It was the best of friends that deserved that happy ending.
Now he’s getting his own show too, which could possibly take him to France. This is where the virus originated, and it would make sense as to why this goodbye was so heartbreaking because he probably won’t come back.
Though walkers still roam the landscape, there is a feeling of security to it and that everyone is going to be alright.
However, it’s not over, and a match sparks up to reveal Michonne and Rick both writing letters to Judith.
Rick says he thinks about the dead all the time, which Michonne also echoes. But beyond that, we get flashes of basically all the characters in the show in a sort of days of our lives montage. It’s very spiritual talking about how all their souls kind of wind together and the pair sort of have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles campfire scene. You know, when they reached out to splinter psychically, it was sort of like that.
A helicopter arrives, and it becomes clear that Rick has escaped the CRM. This stands for the Civic Republic Military, and they’re antagonists that have appeared in pretty much every spin-off show ranging from Fear the Walking Dead to World Beyond.
On the Walking Dead World Beyond, Jadis stated that she traded them rick for admittance into the Civil Republic, which is located in Philadelphia. Made up of 200,000 survivors, Rick was taken there, and due to the stick he’s carrying, we know he was part of a decontamination center.
Now comicbook.com did a big interview with the showrunners to talk about what’s going on in this scene, and they said that due to his hard work, he was promoted to being a soldier.
When discussing the scene with the site, the director said:
“In this particular moment in time, they’re thinking about each other, and they’re thinking about the people that they love and the people that they’ve lost. And to do that, and to know that the reason they are still dedicated to their fight is because of the people that they lost and the people that they love, So, that was what it was all about. And without a doubt, I feel that we captured that spirit and the spirit of moving forward to see what the world has in store for them.”
When discussing what the upcoming series holds, he said:
“This series presents an epic love story of two characters changed by a changed world. Kept apart by distance. By an unstoppable power. By the ghosts of who they were. Rick and Michonne are thrown into another world, built on a war against the dead. And ultimately, a war against the living. Can they find each other and who they were in a place and situation unlike any they’ve ever known before? Are they enemies? Lovers? Victims? Victors? Without each other, are they even alive — or will they find that they, too, are the Walking Dead?”
Now I think the upcoming series will explore Rick’s time with them, and along with Michonne, he’ll take them out, possibly with some help from Daryl. He’ll then tell him of Judith, and this will bring everything full circle.
The Walking Dead Season 11 Ending Explained
Now Michonne is also wearing a samurai-esque suit, which likely comes from the group that we saw in her last episode before this.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the boat we see is also boat 672, which has appeared earlier in the season.
This came after Michonne recognized Rick’s boots and realized that he was out there.
So lots of things are going on, and huge shoutouts to Movie Idol for saying that Beale could be involved in this scene too; we just don’t see him.
Either way, that wraps up the season, and you know what, after all its ups and downs, I thought that this was a pretty good way to close things off. For years now I’ve wondered how they’re actually going to end this whole thing, and though it would be impossible to do it and completely knock it out of the park, I thought this was as satisfying a send-off as we could’ve got.
It has some action to it, a heartbreaking death, and also hope for the future.
Sure, the gang has been through this a number of times where they set up shop and then it all comes crashing down, but this feels different.
It gave me enough to want to check out the Rick and Michonne series, which I think is as good as it can get in terms of being a season finale that sets up some spin-offs.
It’s wild looking back at The Walking Dead and thinking about how much it popularized zombies. Back before they became the go-to thing, this was the show that resurrected them, and though it’s had its bad and good times, I think I probably will look back on it fondly.
It had thousands of copies, just like how screen rant takes your entire thumbnail style and tries to pass it off as theirs, but still, this is the original.
Whether it’s the best is up for debate, but yeah, I did think this was a satisfying conclusion to a story that I didn’t ever think would get one.
Anyway, that’s our breakdown, and obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments below.
We’re running a competition right now and giving away 3 copies of House of the Dragon Season 1 on December 15. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is like the video, make sure you subscribe with notifications on, and drop a comment below with your thoughts on the episode. We pick the comments at random at the end of the month, and the winners of the last one are on screen right now, so message me at @heavyspoilers if that’s you.
If you want something else to watch, then make sure you check out our breakdown of the perfect scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We break down the entire thing, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know more.
With that out of the way, thank you for sitting through the video; I’ve been Paul, and I’ll see you next time. Take care, Peace