Review of episodes 17 and 18 of the final season of The Walking Dead – Walking into oblivion

For two-thirds of its long final season, The Walking Dead didn’t really feel like it was coming to an end. Sure, the surviving heroes once again faced extinction at the hands of a seemingly insurmountable threat, but the feud between them and the Commonwealth was no more dramatic than past conflicts with the Saviors, the Whisperers, the Governor, and soon. Now, with only eight episodes to go, I couldn’t wait to get to the part of the season that illustrates this drama as the very last act of the show. After watching the first two episodes of season 11C, I’m still left waiting for the train to feel like it’s coming to the station.

I think the problem stems from AMC’s plans for a much grander Walking Dead universe: it’s even marketed as the Marvel-like “TWDU”. There are no fewer than four spin-offs already airing or that have been announced, in addition to the two we’ve seen in years past, leaving the questionable fate of the main characters set aside safe even as their lives should be threatened in these. latest episodes. I’ve written before about how the spinoffs have deflated some of the tension in this important final season, and while I’m enjoying the episodes despite that, I think the biggest problem with the series goes beyond those self-inflicted spoiler wounds.

The problem with these first two episodes of season 11C is that they don’t seem to bring the show close to saying anything about its world. The show has always involved me with its roleplaying characters, and I’m involved enough to never miss an episode because I want to see what happens to them. I really care about Daryl, Rosita, Maggie and the rest. But the character closure is, in large part, coming up in spinoffs for the series’ biggest characters, so what needs to happen in these final two months of episodes – and sadly what’s missing so far – is a final thesis for the series. . What has life in an undead world taught these heroes and anti-heroes? After every loss, every community burned, every beheading of a leader, what has all this led to?

The imagery within the Commonwealth was not subtle.
The imagery within the Commonwealth was not subtle.

It’s clear what the show would sometimes mean: how rebuilding the world gives these survivors the opportunity to right past wrongs, how raising society from the dead gives you a chance to reimagine something better and fairer. This is illustrated by how the Commonwealth leadership is all too keen to resurrect the past status quo (in their world) of haves versus haves, class inequality and political maneuvers so underhanded and stabbed that would often make our real- the worldwide campaign announcements seem docile in comparison.

Much of this revolves around the ongoing drama surrounding the recently unmasked scam carried out by Sebastian Milton, spoiled brat and heir to the Commonwealth leadership role, in which he was sending lower-class people of the community into dangerous areas to retrieve loot for his own earnings, having many of them killed and covering his tracks as often as needed. The disappearance of dissidents, the exploitation of the poor for profit, and the greed and nepotism of it all are heavy handed branches of history to take, making it difficult to find an illuminating thesis. The Walking Dead isn’t saying anything about those things that haven’t already been said countless times before.

While the shouts of protesters outside Milton’s lavish estate are meant to elicit images of our real-world turmoil of the poor seeking justice, they ultimately sound hollow with some strange written decisions, such as how the small but fiery crowd comes so easily belittled by the people they are there to protest. Frankly, it all seems a bit mundane when you compare it to the mass protests – and actual uprisings – we’ve seen in real life in recent years, and maybe that’s even worse when you consider the world these people live in. and how they were likely changed by such harsh conditions before founding (or founding) the Commonwealth. After more than a decade of living in such a cruel world, even though many of these occurred within the walls of security, those who survived in the Commonwealth have made peace too easily.

A better thread to draw on, which these episodes suggest may be pulled more over time, is how our core heroes are negotiating their own peaceful exit from the Commonwealth while knowing that those left behind will continue to be subjugated by a regime of exploitation. Judith takes on the voice of moral consideration in this regard, prompting Daryl to explain how he and other leaders can justify leaving for safety, acting as if they are unaware of the ongoing conflict within the Commonwealth. The two come in verbal strikes, despite one being around 11, and it honestly works. It’s a much less traveled path than the cartoonish Miltons and Hornsby villains. I hope we will see more of this angle in the last six episodes.

These first two episodes do a good job of reminding me of why I love the characters, at least, albeit in a specific way, it manages to do it with a pretty cheap stroke of heart. At the beginning of both episodes – and presumably all eight on this final list – Judith recounts an ongoing montage of the series’ best moments. Rick waking up in the hospital, Daryl finding his brother undead, Herschel’s latest tearful scene, and more.

The Walking Dead may make it to the finish line, but I'm still here for the characters I love.
The Walking Dead may make it to the finish line, but I’m still here for the characters I love.

Against the backdrop of the wisest words of her years and Judith’s sincere music, these nostalgic images hit the mark. By the end of the season, this is probably going to feel like a lengthy fan montage of the show’s best moments, and I admit, it really really works on me. But I find it’s an inexpensive way to create intense feelings from fans, so I’m a little conflicted every time an episode starts with these montages of melancholy. Seems like a shortcut to get me interested. I’m already interested in the cure, so it tells a good story.

Other times, thankfully, the current story still has the same effect of remembering why I’m still here watching when so many others have been saved. I really care about the characters, their interpersonal dynamics and their well-being. When Daryl almost decides to kill someone in a fit of rage, he only manages to stop seeing the red and be discouraged when Carol intervenes. Their story together is my favorite of all, but others, like Maggie and Negan, Rosita and Gabriel, and others are shown with a touching effect. In this way, the series seems to come to a touching ending that I can’t wait to see. I just wish he had a great message to convey too, and with only six hours left for me to see, he’s nowhere in sight.

I love a series that makes its ending look epic, as if everything is coming to a dramatic end. It keeps the promise of the years perhaps passed before, making the profit incredible. I think Lost, despite all its flaws, does it well. Even imperfect games like Mass Effect 3 do. There is room for both of them to be imperfect, as The Walking Dead season 11 was always meant to be, but memorable nonetheless. Maybe it will still come with the last six episodes that I haven’t seen yet, but I’m worried that these last 12 years with the show will soon be seen as the longest prequel in the world.

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