AMC’s The Walking Dead
11×24: “Rest in Peace”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Corey Reed & Jim Barnes
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, click here.
Daryl rushes to the hospital to find help for Judith after she was shot by Pamela Milton. He gets attacked by Commonwealth soldiers, though. And poor Judith has to get up to lock the doors before a horde of zombies makes its way inside. She has enough strength left to get it done. But then she passes out on the floor with Uncle Daryl while the zombies push against the glass. A precarious start for the very final episode of The Walking Dead. Things aren’t much better for Luke and Jules, as they’re both swarmed and chomped by zombies. The survivors are able to pull Luke away, but Jules is torn apart.
When Daryl wakes up in the hospital he sees Carol, along with the others helping Luke after they had to cut off part of his leg. Judith is asleep or passed out after having lost a ton of blood. Luke’s barely hanging on after the amputation. There are no doctors or nurses or medicine left because Pamela took all the supplies before holing up in her home. Daryl thinks they should go after Pamela, but it’s not a great idea, particularly while the survivors are hurting so bad. And it’s only a matter of moments until Luke finally lets go, dying in the arms of his friends. After that his friends have to make sure he won’t come back as a zombie, an extra part of the pain to losing people in the post-zombie apocalypse wasteland.
Daryl decides he has to give blood to Judith; he’s a universal donor, which he knows from Merle making him sell his blood for money when they were kids. He has Carol hook him up. He refuses to lose anybody else if they don’t have to, especially not Little Ass Kicker. The group hears noise outside so the Connie and the women go have a look for themselves. Meanwhile, Mercer’s locked up in the Commonwealth prison, a zombie outside his door. Then someone starts firing an assault rifle. Princess and Max have come to rescue the big man, blowing the door off its hinges.
Negan’s still trying to get Maggie to go with him and take care of things themselves, but she’s going with the general plan. Soon, they’re reunited with Mercer and the others, along with Aaron and Lydia. Then they’re getting on the road. Elsewhere, Rosita, Eugene, and Gabriel have found the house where the kids were being kept, now overrun by the dead. Rosita rushes for a room where she hears her daughter crying and saves her baby, as well as other remaining children, from the zombies inside. A truly horrific scene, though it ends with hope.
When Judith opens her eyes she’s confused but Daryl is there waiting. She doesn’t even remember what happened. “Am I going to die?” she asks. She’s frightened of dying, worried she won’t find her mother and father again. But then she fades away, scaring Daryl. At the same time, walkers have made their way into the hospital, so they’ve all got to go. Daryl and Carol lock Judith into the room then go to the doors, where the zombies have pushed through and are starting to bust the glass. More walkers come through the halls, as well. Undead chaos erupts as the survivors fight until they can’t anymore, and Daryl calls them back. They grab Judith and head for a way out of the hospital. That’d be fine, except the walkers are coming out of every hall and doorway. In the alleyway nearby, Rosita, Gabriel, and Eugene fight just as hard against the horde of walkers surrounding them. They have not choice but to make a perilous climb up a pipe into a window. Rosita falls off into the swarming undead but manages to get up onto the ambulance. She makes a jump, then makes it to the window. Jesus! One of those pulse-pounding scenes. Thought Rosita was a goner there.
Ezekiel, Maggie, and the rest of the gang have their eyes on Pamela’s place. Mercer has guards friendly to the cause and they’re working to get Judith to Tomi so he can help save her life. When they get Judith there Tomi starts working on the girl immediately. Now, the survivors can pay attention to other things since Judith is in good, capable hands. Lydia’s dealing with the loss of her arm, getting a little advice from Aaron, who’s been through the exact same thing. She’s also scared Elijah’s dead out there somewhere. She knows it’s part of this life since the zombie outbreak: “People die, cities fall.” Not an easy part of life, but a part of it nonetheless.
Maggie’s looking for Negan, concerned he’s going to do something stupid. She finds him with a rifle ready to head for Pamela. She asks what his “angle” is but Negan says: “I am doing this for you.” Negan thinks if Maggie and the others go about things the way they intend to, it’ll only bring hell down on them. He then relates to her about how she felt when he killed Glenn, after being down on his knees himself, along with his wife. He apologises for what he took from Maggie and Hershel Jr. Then Maggie takes away Negan’s gun; not an acceptance of the apology, but an acknowledgement that she and Negan can do good work together if they choose to do it.
Eugene talks with Rosita and he discovers she was bitten when she fell earlier. He starts to cry, but she urges him: “I need you to pull your shit together.” She doesn’t want anyone to start grieving before she’s actually gone. She has time left. But Eugene has loved Rosita, as a friend and more, for a while, so it’s only natural. She’s only trying to stay strong for herself and her child. She and Eugene exchange I love yous. Goddamn it! I thought Rosita was going to be okay. This series finale has been tugging at the heartstrings from the very start.
Good news: it seems Judith’s going to be okay. Little Ass Kicker wakes up to Uncle Daryl, or “Big Ass Kicker,” and Aunt Carol. She also mentions that what she said earlier about Michonne looking for Rick was true, which Daryl never knew until now. They’re all interrupted by people getting shot for climbing the gates of the estate where Pamela lives. Mercer’s not going to sit back and watch. He tells the others to get going, but Ezekiel says they’re all in this together, refusing to let the Commonwealth fall “without a fight.”
Maggie and Negan have their rifle trained on Pamela, as the survivors head out with the friendly soldiers and Mercer to confront Ms. Milton. Quite a tense scene. Mercer calls Pamela a traitor and acknowledges all her horrific crimes, from disappearing people to shooting a child. People continue to beat on the gates but there’s also a massive horde approaching from the woods and there’ll be a massacre if the gates aren’t opened. Gabriel goes to the gate, saying he’ll kill anyone who stops him from opening it. Pamela orders the priest to be shot. Daryl stops everybody, telling them: “We all deserve better than this.” He says making the Commonwealth like “the Old World … was the fucking problem.” Then Daryl slickly says the name of the show before the soldiers give up and Mercer puts Pamela under arrest. The gates are opened in time for people to get inside, keeping the walkers out. Lydia’s reunited with Elijah again. Jerry hears his family’s safe in Alexandria. And Pamela nearly allows herself to be chomped by a walker, but Judith tells her “It‘s never too late” to change and do better. She’s stopped from death by walker when Maggie finally fires a shot to kill the zombie.
The work begins now. Mercer’s gathering the forces and troops to try cleaning up the Commonwealth, after the city’s been overrun by the undead. It’s a big job and everybody’s hands-on for this one. The gang use “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour to draw walkers towards the estate, where they’re going to draw all the undead and then blown them to hell. The plan works pretty well as the bourgeois neighbourhood goes SKY FUCKING HIGH after the explosion. A fitting image of the rich and their material things being destroyed simultaneously fixing the zombie problem in the Commonwealth.
In prison, Pamela’s pontificating about leadership. Carol doesn’t give a shit about any of that; nobody does anymore. Pamela’s a forgotten relic of the old Commonwealth. Outside, Negan tosses his Whisperers mask and then he has a chat with Maggie. She thanks him for apologising because she kept wondering when he’d “say those words.” She says she’ll never be able to forgive him. She talks about her love for Glenn and “his goodness.” She says every time she sees Negan she remembers Glenn’s brutal murder. It actually gets to Negan as he listens to Maggie. She says she doesn’t want to hate Negan anymore; for herself and for Hershel. So she’ll try to live with him.
The survivors are all gathered for a nice, normal dinner together. They all toast Luke with some wine. Daryl stands by the window where he sees Negan; they share a comforting nod. Yumiko’s about to say something to Magna when the latter grabs her for a kiss instead. Eugene keeps looking at Rosita, trying not to grieve her yet while she’s still with them. And Rosita quietly tells Gabriel the truth about her fall. Judith notices the looks shared between Rosita and Gabriel from across the room, her young but smart brain recognising what’s happening.
Rosita lays in bed with her daughter, then Gabriel joins her and kneels by the bed to say a prayer. She’s ready to go now, saying goodbye to her daughter and to Gabriel, too. Then Eugene comes to see Rosita, sitting by the bedside. He thanks her for helping make him the man he is today. They take each other’s hand and speak their final words, as Rosita slips away into her final sleep leaving Eugene devastated.
One year later, Eugene lays flowers on a stone with Rosita’s name and others on it. Ezekiel is busy giving a speech about all the sacrifice given by others to help return the Commonwealth to something good again. He’s the new governor, along with Mercer as his second-in-command. He pledges that the Commonwealth will now be all about family. Daryl is back to his outlaw gig, out riding along the New Frontier of America. He and Connie are still being cute. Judith gets a delivery with the compass bearing her initials and a note from Negan thanking her.
There’s a bright future ahead. The Commonwealth isn’t the only community coming alive again. Hilltop and Alexandria are being renovated back to their former glory. Maggie tells Daryl and Carol she thinks they have to explore more of the world out there. We get a moment between Daryl and Carol, as Daryl prepares to go out exploring more on his own, and Carol’s left with Hornsby’s old job, creating better spaces for those within the community but actually doing the job unlike Lance. “You‘re my best friend,” Carol tells Daryl as they share a hug.
Then Daryl says goodbye to the kids, telling Judith he’ll find Rick and Michonne if they’re out there. He says he’ll be back eventually, and Judith says he deserves “a happy ending, too.” Daryl tells Carol he loves her and she returns the gesture. They hug one last time, then Daryl heads of on his bike into the great unknown. Thankfully we’ll see some of these characters again in new, different shows, but saying goodbye to The Walking Dead itself is still crazy emotional after all this time, all the characters and their struggles, all the love and the loss and the bonds created and shattered and salvaged.
Then we see them again: Rick and Michonne.
Rick and Michonne reminisce on the people they’ve lost and what those people taught them. Rick and Michonne write mostly to their kids. “We are endless,” Michonne writes, and Rick writes about an “unstoppable life” that will always be in their hearts. It’s beautiful to see Rick and Michonne still surviving, still pushing, never giving up one each other or the kids. And thank god we’ll see these two more again. For now, Rick’s confronted with a helicopter hunting him down, and Michonne is riding her horse into a gigantic horde of the undead. Back home, Judith tells her brother: “We get to start over. We‘re the ones who live.”