February 5, 2023

The End of ‘The Walking Dead’—And the Beginning of a New Universe

The End of 'The Walking Dead'—And the Beginning of a New Universe

No offense to Luke or Jules, who were late arrivals to the series and were never major characters, but the real loss in “Rest in Peace” is Rosita (Christian Serratos), an integral Walking Dead fixture since her introduction in season four. Thankfully, she gets the badass and touching swan song that she deserves. Upon tracking down her missing daughter, Rosita, Gabriel, and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) are surrounded by walkers, so they begin to scale a wall to escape. With her child strapped to her chest, Rosita falls to what appears to be her certain death. But—not so fast!—she quickly rises to fight off the walkers, climb on top of an ambulance, and leap back onto the wall. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get out unscathed, later revealing in a heartbreaking scene, that she was bitten. After the big victory over Pamela and the walkers, the crew gathers for a celebratory Thanksgiving-like meal, and Rosita enjoys this “perfect” moment, before sharing the news with Gabriel. She’s then led into a bedroom and laid next to her sleeping daughter, whom she kisses one last time. “We’ll see you again someday,” says Gabriel, taking the young girl and leaving. When Eugene comes in for the last goodbye, Rosita tells him, “I’m glad it was you at the end.” In the flash-forward, we learn that Eugene and Max (Margot Bingham) have welcomed a daughter of their own: Rosie.


Don’t worry, The Walking Dead didn’t sign off without seeing its original leading man and iconic leading lady. Last seen in seasons nine and 10, respectively, Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira return in the last moments of the finale. At first, it appears that Rick and Michonne may be together, with only a fire separating them. “I think of the dead all the time, none about the living…who I lost,” says a somber Rick as images of departed legacy characters like Carl (Chandler Riggs), Laurie (Sarah Wayne Callies), Shane (Jon Bernthal), and Glenn (Steven Yeun) appear onscreen. Meanwhile, Michonne is writing a letter to Judith, insisting she’s trying to get back to her and R.J. “We’re connected,” she says, as her and Rick’s voices begin to overlap. “We’re still connected to everybody we ever loved.” 

Unfortunately, they are not together. Michonne, now rocking a new version of her classic pre-mom samurai outfit, pledges to find Rick, “because I know that he’s trying to find us.” She gets on her horse and rides off into a walker avalanche. Elsewhere, Rick is by a body of water, and panics when he hears an incoming helicopter. A voice from above tells him to surrender, much to Rick’s dismay. “C’mon, Rick,” says the mystery person, “it’s like he told you, there’s no escape for the living.” Rick is revealed to be just outside a major metropolis. He puts his hands up as the helicopter comes down, and with a devious smile, Rick looks ready for whatever’s next.


And the answer to what’s next is…well, a lot! The Walking Dead has already spawned multiple spinoffs, including the already wrapped World Beyond, the recent anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead, and Fear the Walking Dead, which has been renewed for an eighth season. But, as we alluded to earlier, many of our main characters were previously announced to be getting their own shows, and “Rest in Peace,” ironically, helped prepare us for the birth of three new stories. 

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