The end is near. The 21st episode of the final season of The Walking Dead, titled “Outpost 22,” has just aired & now we are down to 3 episodes left. What does the end game look like? “Outpost 22” laid the groundwork for some of the themes that will be important to the conclusion, which will look different than the end of the comic. We’ll get into that soon. If you haven’t seen this episode, we’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory so proceed with caution.
“Outpost 22” clearly said the words that so many of us have been saying at home: Our main characters have split apart for too long now. It doesn’t feel right to see them almost estranged from one another, as they have been since joining the Commonwealth. We’ve longed for the dynamics and relationships we’ve spent the last 11 seasons watching. Here in the final hours of the series, we’re getting back to what’s important. We’re getting back to family.
A tearful scene between Maggie and Carol really drove this point home. When was the last time these two women had a scene together, just the two of them? I genuinely can’t remember but it feels like it’s been years. Which made Maggie, whose sense of vulnerability has been severely lacking, pouring her heart out to Carol really memorable. Really special. It felt like home.
Carol correctly brought up the fact that our characters have become a family after “the fall” and that family barely speaks to each other anymore. Given what we would find out later in “Outpost 22,” that our characters are being taken to Alexandria, which has been claimed by the Commonwealth, the end game feels clear now.
Home Sweet Home
Arguably the biggest mistake our characters made was fracturing into multiple communities. At one point, we had people living in Hilltop, Alexandria, and The Kingdom. By splitting resources, splitting people, and splitting food, our characters become vulnerable. It’s really no wonder all of those communities fell, many died and desperation lead them to the Commonwealth.
“Outpost 22” laid the show’s cards on the table. By reuniting the family and going back to Alexandria, together, they can stand tall. Maybe it won’t be a definitive ending but we can end The Walking Dead on a peaceful note. Everyone back together, as a family, perhaps living out Rick’s vision. It’s a nice thought.
On The Other Hand…
While it does seem like our characters are headed for a family reunion at one of their former homes, we do know these spin-offs are coming. We know that Daryl is going to Paris, presumably to tie into the final scene of The Walking Dead: The World Beyond and the work the scientists were doing there. Which begs the question: Why wouldn’t Daryl stay with his reunited family? He’s really taken to Rick and Michonne’s kids, even calling them “his kids” lately. What could possibly tear him away from those kids? It’s possible that everyone being back together at Alexandria could make Daryl feel safe enough leaving the kids with Carol but what’s going to be the event that makes Daryl feel like he has to leave his family?
Same with Maggie and Negan. We all know that they’re headed to NYC. Is Maggie leaving her son behind? Is Negan leaving his pregnant wife behind? Why? What’s the catalyst for them to need to go to NYC and for Daryl to literally cross the Atlantic Ocean? There has to be some major event coming to send our characters in different directions than the reunited homestead in Alexandria. What it will be, I’m not sure.
Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
Over the last few episodes, we’ve seen several scenes that could possibly be the final scenes between beloved pairings. Here in “Outpost 22,” we quite possibly saw the final scenes between Father Gabriel and the mother of his child and former lover, Rosita.
The relationship between the two since splitting has been hot and cold. There’s an undeniable chemistry between the two, which was on full display in this episode. But there’s also an underlying tension at times and yet, unspoken feelings too. This wide range of emotions was on full display in “Outpost 22” and if this was the last time they would have scenes alone together, it was time well spent with these beloved characters, reminding us why we care about them so much.
Meanwhile at the Commonwealth
While we didn’t spend any time at the Commonwealth in “Outpost 22,” we spent a lot of time thinking about Pamela Milton and her devious plans. We still have a few characters left at the Commonwealth so even though it appears that Alexandria is going to be the location for fights to come, we are going back to the disgraced utopia (presumably next week).
While this episode pointed all signs outside of the city limits, I can’t help but wonder if Alexandria will fall during the battles to come and our characters return to take over the Commonwealth. While it would lose some of the emotional impact of Alexandria standing tall to end the series, it would symbolize progress and steps towards the rise of society again. Narratively speaking, there’s something to that. Maybe, just maybe, that’s how we end this series.