“What’s Been Lost” Sets Up the End Game for The Walking Dead

The end is near. The Walking Dead flagship series now just has four episodes left with “What’s Been Lost” just airing. The episode featured a fairly large character death and a shift in trajectory for our main characters, setting up what to expect for the last four episodes. We’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory so if you haven’t seen “What’s Been Lost,” proceed with caution.

War is Coming

”What’s Been Lost” was a Carol and Daryl-centric episode that was focused on Pamela Milton’s order to remove our heroes from the Commonwealth. The episode opened with Ezekiel removed off-screen while men with guns went after Carol, attempting to take her as well. Milton herself ordered our heroes to be abducted and as we would later find out, taken outside of the city limits.

I loved seeing Daryl vulnerable in a fight scene. It was a subtle reminder that our characters can fall at any time. They aren’t invincible. Now we all know that Daryl is going to outlive the flagship show but he can’t win every fight scene, now can he? Not at least without some help from his bestie. Also loved seeing Carol and Daryl reunited. Could this be their final episode working so closely together? It’s possible. Hard to think about all the “last times” but the show is reminding us that this is the end.

Carol and Daryl knew that the incarnated Hornsby was their only chance at fighting their friends. They found Hornsby a mere shell of himself in the prison cell, the destroyed body of a guard being devoured by the now-turned Sebastian, who was going to go for Hornsby next. Yet Hornsby was in a trance-like state, staring at his coin. It was almost as if on the inside, he was trying to pull himself out of this defeated position he’s in. Or decide to give up.

Hornsby leads his troops in The Walking Dead S11Ep17

A bulk of the action in “What’s Been Lost” saw Carol trying to take Hornsby to the location he said he knew the rest of the main characters were at. Daryl, having been separated during a shootout breaking Hornsby out, would be playing catch-up most of the episode. During these scenes with Carol and Hornsby, we saw that his gears were still turning. Survival instincts had kicked in and he knew that he had a shot to live and fight another day. He gave Carol a sales pitch about not taking down the Commonwealth but instead, trying to fix it. More social commentary is mixed into the show here. Can a society based on feeding the poor and those without power ‘false hope’ survive? Or is it doomed to fail?

When Daryl did meet back up with Carol and Hornsby, this is when we truly saw that Hornsby was not all the way with it. He slipped up, gave up the location where our characters were taken and he was no longer valuable. For a man like Hornsby, who has used manipulative tactics to keep himself of use to those who really don’t like him, this is a very out-of-character moment. And it cost him his life.

The decision made to kill Hornsby by Daryl and Carol makes sense for the fact that he is dangerous and only has his own well-being in mind. We’ve watched him go mad with power (perhaps another nod to real-life politicians) and stop hiding the fact that he didn’t care about anyone else. So while killing him makes sense, it’s also a dangerous move.

Pamela Milton is going to find out about his death and she will react with anger. Despite her own hard feelings towards Hornsby, it’s a situation where only she can punish him. He still was of use to her but she had to break him down to nothing to regain his allegiance before she could use him again. Now these people who she already sees as a threat to everything she holds dear—her power, her money, her stature, her Commonwealth—are attacking her from all sides. War is coming.

The Ballad of Eugene Porter

Eugene continues to be the man who defies all odds and here in “What’s Been Lost,” he does so again. Yumiko was supposed to announce that she would be prosecuting Eugene but she publicly flipped the script and said she was defending him. Another dent in the armor of Pamela Milton.

Yumiko in “What’s Been Lost”

With four episodes left, I can’t envision a lengthy trial for Eugene but what I am wondering is if Yumiko will be arrested on some bogus charge and both will be incarcerated. Of course, leading to our heroes breaking them out for the final battle vs the lovely soldiers of the Commonwealth. Of course the plot twist here could be Mercer himself freeing them, finally breaking free of Milton the tyrant and picking the other side for the big battle to come.

Will There Be A War At All?

Of course Pamela Milton is going to want war but if Mercer flips, who all is coming with him? Will the people of the Commonwealth take arms to defend the regime? Or will they choose freedom, choose resistance and choose choice? It’s an interesting idea that in a show built around wars and huge battles, that the whole series could end with a whimper…but a whimper that brings change.

Perhaps everyone standing up to Milton and her surrendering is the right way to end the show. A newly elected leader takes over. A man or woman of the people. Maybe someone who had ruled elsewhere and did a good job at it. Perhaps someone who never wanted to leave the Commonwealth and already wanted to stay and fight to make things better. As far as happy endings go, I can’t think of a better one than the Kingdom becoming the Commonwealth and the King once again sitting on his throne.

Carol and Ezekiel in The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 18

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Written by Andrew Grevas

25YL Media Founder

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