What We Want to See in THE WALKING DEAD's Final Season - Nerdist
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What We Want to See in THE WALKING DEAD’s Final Season

The Walking Dead‘s final season is here. It’s been a journey with over a decade of material as we’ve watched a rotating group of survivors in the zombie apocalypse. The series is lining up with the final arc of its comic book source material detailing the group’s interactions with the Commonwealth. Of course, things look a lot different in the TV series versus the comics with characters like Carl, Rick, and Michonne gone while others like Daryl (who doesn’t have a comics counterpart) and Carol (who died in the comic’s prison arc) leading the way.

There are a litany of hopes and desires from Walking Dead fans in terms of what they want to see in this final chapter. No two fans have the exact same relationship with the show (and that’s okay!) and love this universe in different ways. Still, there are some loose ends, big aspirations, and comic beats that many of us want to see in the end. Are some of them farfetched? Of course. This is a world where the undead roam the streets and a man had a pet tiger, after all. But other things draw from comics inspiration or simple fan questions that never really got answers.

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive but here are some things that should (and maybe won’t) happen in The Walking Dead‘s final season.

photo of Khary Payton as Ezekiel on The Walking Dead sitting at a table with brick wall behind him

Josh Stringer/AMC

Answers about Rick 

Rick Grimes plays a major role in the comic’s Commonwealth arc as the group integrates into the community. But, there’s no Rick on the show and pretty much everyone except Judith, Daryl, and Michonne (who is also MIA) believe that he died years ago or never even knew him. And honestly, they aren’t even sure if he’s still alive or not at this point. 

Yes, those Rick Grimes movies are still coming (sigh) and will provide further details. But, it would be tragic for this show to wrap without Rick’s found family knowing that he survived the bridge explosion. A reunion would probably be a stretch but they deserve to know the truth. And, it would also give us a little sense of finality considering this show started with Rick Grimes. 

Ezekiel’s Ultimate Fate

We can simply assume that Ezekiel will succumb to throat cancer, but that’s not necessarily true, especially now that he’s at the Commonwealth. In the comics, they are a large community with tons of resources and a caste system that places people into the same job/career they had prior to the apocalypse.

They certainly have oncologists and researchers who have been able to supply chemo and other medicines to those in need. This could be a great opportunity to explore something that The Walking Dead has only briefly touched on in the apocalypse. How does a person handle a potentially fatal diagnosis? Ezekiel’s survival could further prove that there is hope for everyone in this world.  

A Daryl/Rick reunion 

Again, a Rick reunion is a reach. But if it happens, it would be interesting to see Rick and Daryl encounter each other again. They were best friends until ideological differences over several things led to the fight culminating in Rick’s “death.”

Daryl’s been harboring some serious guilt (as he should) over Rick and seeing him alive might lessen his pain a bit. It won’t change what was taken away from Rick, specifically missing time with his children and Michonne, but perhaps they can mend their friendship. It would be a joyful and memorable moment to see them reconcile and embrace each other one last time. 

photo of Daryl DIxon from The Walking Dead season 2 with Rick Grimes in background

AMC Networks

The Grimes Family Gathering

Rick has an entire son and doesn’t even know it! Oh, the joy it would bring a Richonne fan (it’s me, the Richonne fan) to see him hold his namesake in his arms. And Judith, who barely remembers her father, needs to not only reunite with him but see her mom again too.

Ahhh just imagine how incredible it would be if Michonne finds “the brave man” and brings him back to their children. The Grimes family deserves to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after… at least, as happy as you can be in the apocalypse. This probably won’t happen on the TV show but we can still dream about it in those movies, right?

Wherefore art thou, Heath?

It’s been 84 years since Heath disappeared. But some fans still want to know more about what happened to him. Showrunner Angela Kang pretty much confirmed that he was kidnapped by Anne/Jadis and given to the CRM. But, what is he doing now? Is he alive? Does he encounter Rick? What did PPP stand for? Heath’s disappearance brings up those questions and, according to Scott Gimple, there is a high-level plan to answer them. This is your last chance to tell us, The Walking Dead, so make it count!

Connie/Daryl reunion

Connie and Daryl have to reunite at some point. Right now, she’s with Virgil but it’s not clear where they are in relation to Alexandria. The season 11 trailer shows them in some kind of peril and we hope that Connie makes it out unscathed. (Virgil can kick rocks, tbh.) Not only is her sister Kelly missing her but so is Daryl. Please come back together, fall in love, and live a great life with Dog. (Which probably won’t happen considering Daryl is going to leave for parts unknown. But still.)

Connie and Daryl stand against a white backdrop in the walking dead

Gene Page/AMC

Rick and Morgan 

This is perhaps the biggest stretch of them all. Rick’s first friend in this post-apocalyptic world was Morgan. If it weren’t for him, Rick likely would have been bitten by that walker in his own neighborhood. Morgan took him in, cleaned his wound, and gave him the 411 on the new world.

Their relationship has had its separations, ups, and downs over the years but they have always had a healthy respect for and influence over each other. This reunion would require Morgan to perhaps be taken by the CRM and end up running into Rick once again, which really isn’t a stretch. Timelines are constantly being toyed with in the TWD universe so the powers that be (Gimple) can make it happen. If nothing else, it would be one hell of a bookend for this series. 

Deeper Insight into the CRM 

Every Walking Dead fan’s engagement with this universe is a bit different. Some people watch all three series religiously but this isn’t the case for all viewers. Some of us stick strictly to The Walking Dead and haven’t veered into its two spinoffs. Others may be into Fear the Walking Dead but didn’t feel the need to jump into World Beyond.

And some viewers may be checking out World Beyond simply because it’s a limited series and they are curious about the CRM. The latter show does explore this mysterious organization but the flagship series needs to give us more insight. Does the CRM have a relationship with the Commonwealth? What’s the full breakdown of this “A” and “B” business?  It would be great to explore this through our primary characters. 

A Maggie and Michonne Reconciliation

This is a long shot considering Michonne may not return to this show. But it would be great to see Maggie and Michonne mend fences after years of conflict. Michonne wouldn’t even visit the Hilltop because their relationship was so fractured. Then, Maggie left and so did Michonne. There is a lot that remains unresolved between them after Rick’s demise and it would be nice to see them be friends again.

Michonne looks at Maggie's profile in The Walking Dead

AMC Networks

One Final Time Jump 

The comic series did one last time jump following Rick’s demise (that’s totally not a spoiler anymore, btw) to show where the characters ended up 25 years later. By this time, Carl is married to Sophia with his own farm, Michonne is a judge, Hershel sucks, and walkers are worth money. Of course, things will be quite different on TV because, well, most of these people are dead, MIA, or completely different.

The show doesn’t necessarily have to go so many years in the future, which may not make sense when aligning things with the Carol/Daryl spinoff and Rick movies. But one final time jump, even a short one, can make for an easy way to wrap things up. It would give those characters whose arcs will end with this series some finality.

Carol and Daryl Decisions

We’ve known that Carol and Daryl will get their own spinoff series after The Walking Dead wraps. So, the show will answer a lot of questions about why they decide to leave, a choice that isn’t truly shocking for either of them. Carol has had one foot out of the door for many years now. Outside of her connection with Lydia, there’s really nothing to hold her back. Her relationship with Ezekiel has been done and she wants to explore the rest of the world. Furthermore, Carol really won’t fit into the Commonwealth dynamic (assuming most or all of our group go there). She certainly won’t want to be a homemaker like she was many years ago.

Daryl is slowly going back towards his original loner attitude. He spent a lot of time living in the woods and doesn’t care to go back to any semblance of the old world. Pamela Milton and Daryl certainly won’t get along. He’s a drifter at heart, even though he does fiercely love his apocalypse fam. The security of having them around is a plus for someone with an abusive family background but Daryl might be afraid of losing more people like he lost Merle and Rick. 

The duo has talked about taking off on Daryl’s bike for parts unknown. But it will be interesting to see if there is a specific event or catalyst that makes them leave. Maybe Daryl sets off to find answers about Rick. Maybe Carol is tired of losing people and wants to be alone, which makes sense considering there’s yet another unsavory group of killers in their path now. Or perhaps they discover new information and set off on a joint mission. It’s not clear yet if they will be traveling together or if the show will look at their individual journeys. We will see what happens!

The Walking Dead Carol and Daryl sit in a cave

Chuck Zlotnick/AMC

The Final Moments at Alexandria 

There’s no other way to say it: Alexandria looks awful. The community has been through the wringer since Rick and company walked through its gates many years ago. A lot of destruction and reconstruction has happened through several attacks. But the Whisperer war and a lack of general resources really have them in dire straights. It’s sad to see considering that the Kingdom and Hilltop are both decimated. And Oceanside wasn’t looking so great last time we were there. (More on them later.) So this is the last community still standing.

In the comics, the Alexandria Safe-Zone did make a comeback and essentially became a satellite location of the Commonwealth, although we really didn’t get a lot of finality there. The comics left Alexandria in Issue #187 (out of 193) and that was that. We didn’t get to see if it was still standing after the final time jump.

But TV Alexandria may have a different fate. The Commonwealth will certainly come to Alexandria at some point; however, there’s no guarantee it will be worth saving. It would be interesting to see the characters all on the road again towards a new home, something that hasn’t happened in several seasons. And it would be kind of cool (and hella sad) to get one final shot of a destroyed Alexandria after so much history.

What’s up with Oceanside?

Umm, what’s going on with Oceanside? We saw it a couple of times in season 10, particularly when Michonne set sail with crazy Virgil. He came back later to find it completely empty.  The community hasn’t really been in play much since a few of them showed up during a Whisperer conflict. Where is my good sis Cyndie? Why did everyone leave the community? It’s doubtful that this new antagonist group wiped them out because 1) they are a decent distance away and 2) there’s no evidence of a bloody struggle. So, where did they go? We need answers about Oceanside. 

Yumiko from The Walking Dead looks at a wall of photos while wearing Commonwealth militia white, orange, and black armor

AMC Networks

Wall of the Lost Arc

In the season 11 trailer, we saw a glimpse of a wall covered with pictures at the Commonwealth. This is a direct reference to the comics’ Wall of the Lost. Commonwealth residents post pictures of their loved ones on it so, if they arrive, they will be encouraged to stick around for a reunion. Comics Michonne found her daughter Elodie this way. Of course, this won’t be the case on the show. But a Commonwealth Wall reunion should happen.

It will give us an immediate connection to the community through the eyes of an established character and make for a really good “aww” moment. Cause, right now, shit looks really bleak. They could do this with virtually any main character, but all bets are on Yumiko. She makes a ton of sense because we see her looking at the wall in the aforementioned trailer. Yumiko mentioned having a brother named “Tommy” a while back, so perhaps he’s at the Commonwealth.

This seems even more likely considering Ian Anthony Dale’s casting as Tomi. Yumiko is poised to take some of Michonne’s storyline anyway as a former lawyer, which makes her an asset to this community. 

A Sebastian Death?

Sebastian is one of the most hated characters in the comics. He’s annoying, volatile, and the person responsible for Rick’s death. It was heartbreaking and shocking to see our main man go out so suddenly after surviving through so much. The TV show will surely include this character (or a version of him) in the Commonwealth arc, even though there haven’t been any cast announcements yet. The show likes to switch things up a bit, so Pamela Milton might have a son (or daughter) by another name who takes on this role.

The question is, who will die at the hands of Sebastian? It certainly won’t be Daryl because, well, plot armor and spinoff show. But, there are a few possible candidates. It would have to be someone whose been around for a while and is a leader similar to Rick to have the same impact. This could be Gabriel or perhaps Aaron, who certainly seems to be very Rick-like on the show. It’s easy to see how Aaron’s philosophy on leadership could conflict with Pamela Milton’s ideology, which messes with Sebastian’s established lifestyle of doing the worst and getting away with it.

But, with Gabriel as the leader of the Alexandria council, he could be the one who gets into a deep and deadly conflict with Sebastian. Aaron and Gabriel are the only two who could really step into this place but we will have to see what goes down. 

Maggie and Negan Need a Resolution

Don’t get me wrong. Maggie has all the reasons to strongly hate Negan. The horror of watching someone beat your husband’s head to a pulp doesn’t ever fade away. But at this point, there has to be some sort of resolution or agreement. Maggie could kill Negan after all of these years but that just doesn’t seem sensible anymore. So Maggie must accept that Negan is a part of the Alexandria community for now. It doesn’t mean she has to become his best friend or like him. However he’s there and, honestly, she really can’t make a unilateral decision to force him out because she’s not in charge. That’s what the council is for.

And Negan will have to figure out how to navigate this space and the continual consequences of his actions. Sure, he may have changed (to a degree) but that doesn’t mean he is absolved from facing his past. Looking at Maggie and Hershel are the ultimate reminders of his brutal decisions.

Will Maggie ever forgive his sins and accept him fully? Probably not. Will he somehow make amends for his actions? Maybe. It could happen if he somehow sacrifices himself for Hershel and/or Maggie, which would be high key lazy. Negan may decide to leave on his own volition and that’s okay too. We don’t know how The Walking Dead will settle the Maggie vs. Negan conflict but it must happen this season, hopefully sooner rather than later. 

Big Death By Walker 

The comics shocked everyone when Andrea got bit saving Eugene. (It’s funny how walker deaths seem so shocking at this point.) Michonne is the loose equivalent of comics Andrea so the show would have to remix this with someone else major. This took place between the Whisperer War and Commonwealth arcs so it’s not impossible to slide this in, especially with walkers looking like they are about to roll up in Alexandria. As much as we hate to lose people we really know and like, it is inevitable this season.

Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa sits at a table looking off into the distance

Josh Stringer/AMC

Do Something Smart with Rosita

Rosita is a boss character whose been around for a long time. Yet, she’s been mostly sidelined since her revenge mission against Negan way back in season seven. She had the odd love triangle going on and became a mom but it doesn’t make sense for Rosita to not play a larger role in Alexandria, especially since we haven’t seen her express a desire to not be a leader.

Rosita has all the skills that Carol, Maggie, and others have so let her get some real action for more than five minutes, please. Just because she’s a mom doesn’t mean she can’t be a part of missions or expand as a character too. She may be able to pick up her previous profession at the Commonwealth. (We don’t know exactly what she did. But Rosita does have a vague military background and engineering, mechanical, and explosives knowledge. Perhaps a Militia leadership position?) Or she can become the leader of Alexandria if it is rebuilt. Please, for the love of God, let her do more.

Who Will Lead the Commonwealth?

In the end, comics Maggie became the President of the Commonwealth with Hershel becoming rather Sebastian-like in a bad way. I can absolutely see this happening on The Walking Dead. Maggie’s always been a leader who isn’t afraid to make tough calls. People look to her and follow her, even though she certainly doesn’t have a perfect decision-making track record.

She’s certainly gotten a lot darker since she left with Georgie, an edge that may set her up to have power in this massive community. The show could take an alternate direction and bestow that honor on someone else but who would want to take it? Aaron, Gabriel, and Carol are pretty much over life at this point. Daryl certainly doesn’t want to lead anything.

And none of the other characters have the track record or power to do it, except maybe Yumiko. But, all signs point to her becoming the Commonwealth judge, not a President. So it looks like Maggie is the prime candidate for the future position.

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee stands in a dark, abandoned subway station

Josh Stringer/AMC

All the Jerry Content 

Jerry is finally a Walking Dead series regular after being around for a while. We don’t know where his story arc goes but we will see him more. And that’s a great thing. Jerry is a favorite among fans with his jokes, love for food, and ability to go ham if necessary. Give us all the Jerry content. We deserve it.

Unusual Pairings 

Season 10’s extended episode with Gabriel and Aaron was an interesting journey with two characters who don’t appear as a duo often. The final Walking Dead season should do more of that considering we see the same people together far too often. Throw Princess and Daryl into a weird conversation. Put Rosita and Alden together for no reason. Let Mercer and Carol meet and have a verbal sparring session. It’s the perfect time to make interesting or uncommon pairings among these characters.

Will all of these things happen? Probably not. But thinking about our greatest hopes and dreams for the end of this apocalypse story only amps up the excitement for its final season.

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