‘The Walking Dead’ series finale brought more closure than expected, but really failed to put the series to rest

It’s hard to talk about “The Walking Dead” Without talking about death. It built its reputation as a show where anyone could be killed, and in fact, it turned in roughly a third of its cast each season in its early years. (Lest you forget them, the series finale gives its final moments to a montage of those we’ve lost over the years.)

It’s been a long time since Death really moved the story forward. With several spin-offs on the horizon, the show has struggled throughout its final season to retain suspense in the days of series power, when it seemed like anyone could die at any time. If Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are set to star in a new series, anytime their lives are allegedly in danger, the dramatic tension over whether or not they’ll make it out alive snapped at knees.

But even with the series’ three most visible characters off the table, a cast of dozens of characters have made it through the last two seasons relatively unscathed. The show has remained as violent as ever, but devoid of the actual sacrifice and pathos that violence might naturally evoke. Throughout the final season of “The Walking Dead,” new characters were introduced and developed enough to serve as sacrificial animals with a frequency that recalled old jokes about red-shirted bunting in “Star Trek,” but the series didn’t give its audience time to think about the deaths of these characters. They died in the service of furthering the conspiracy, nothing more.

It was inevitable that the series finale would require an epic final battle against the titular zombie hordes. The Walking Dead was always at its best when it leaned back to its comic book roots, after all, and to stay true to it, the episode delivers plenty of comic-worthy live-action, including several huge explosions and enough shots of flesh-shredding and blood-pushing to make us vegetarians. All temporary.

Despite this, there was very little actual consequence of all the devastation. Instead of offering anything resembling true destruction, the ending gave us the main character a single death. On top of that, they introduced him via the tried and true “Walking Dead.” A trope for a character who appears to run from danger—only to dramatically lift her shirt to show the audience a stray zombie bite, then be delayed for another half hour. While it’s natural to want to give Rosita (Christian Serratos) a well-deserved final send-off to her long stint on the series, she honestly deserves a more exciting exit. Her final moments were bittersweet, but not nearly as heartbreaking as it would have been if she had died in the heat of battle like the badass she has been for most of the series.

It’s true, of course, that the plot wasn’t driven by deaths alone, and to its credit, the finale did a little more justice to the main surviving cast. In fact, many of its individual character moments, steeped in the show’s lore and beautifully rhythmic with scenes from previous seasons. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) began his run on the series as a cowardly priest who locked his parishioners out of his church at the dawn of the zombie apocalypse; When he risks his life to open the gates and provide safe haven to the inhabitants of the Commonwealth fleeing from the hordes, it’s a perfect perfect moment. Likewise, Negan’s evolution from the series’ most bloodthirsty villain to a man finally able to offer genuine remorse for his actions, and Maggie’s sincere response to his apology felt heartfelt to both characters’ journeys. It’s almost enough to believe that they’re ready to have more adventures together. (And, of course, they’re slated to start next year.)

The epilogue is followed by a 10-minute coda that fast-forwards annually and recalls the epilogue to Kevin Costner’s 1998 vehicle “The Postman”.And the Of all things, as the leader of the new community dedicates a memorial to the dead and ushers in a new era of peace. (This can’t be accidental – one character has even popped up to deliver the mail.) Eugene (Josh McDermitt) has started a family. embraced Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Mercer (Michael James Shaw), and Carol (Melissa McBride) in lead roles; Daryl roams the frontier in search of adventure. If it’s not the most authentic place to leave the story, it’s at least a well-deserved happy place.

But we are not done yet. a secondly Then Koda tries to give the fans what they really want – the return of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). Unfortunately, what should be a moment of pure excitement is undermined by the fact that it is almost entirely unrelated to the events of the previous hour.

There is a clumsy attempt to connect them to their children and their community through a monologue that plays on the final montage mentioned above. But most of Rick and Michonne’s comeback dates back to what can only be described as a trailer for their upcoming movie, as Rick surrenders on a beach to an unseen entity, and Michonne saddles a horse in pursuit. It’s hard to gauge how much appetite is left to answer the questions this raises, but leaving things here only serves to remind us that while The Walking Dead itself may have ended, the franchise continues. Whether it thrives or just deteriorates as a shell of its former self remains to be seen.

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