The series that showed fans a world taken over by the dead is now, well, dead.
Thankfully, the series won’t be shambling around and rotting away trying to act alive. Rather, creator Robert Kirkman has elected for a graceful, simple, but somehow fitting finale for his hit comic series.
Warning, spoilers for the comics and show ahead.
Fans were understandably shocked at how the series had shaped up until that point. The Commonwealth disputes had created a tumultuous climate among the residents. However, few likely thought they’d be seeing Rick Grimes gunned down after an argument.
This issue makes the biggest time jump the series had ever seen. Rather than just skipping forward a few years, it jumped decades into the future for the finale. An adult Carl and wife Sophia enjoy a peaceful life on the farmhouse, until a walker wonders onto their property one day.
In this version of the world, walkers have not been a threat for years. The Alexandria Safe Zone and other areas were built up more and are now highly functional, so much so that the current generation barely views the walkers as any kind of a threat.
Carl kills the walker, which was technically a property of Hershel, Maggie’s son, for his traveling road show. Since he technically destroyed property, Carl is put on trial. Carl reminisces of a time when walkers were a threat, when people had to fight to survive, and life was hard.
He also reasoned that using walkers in a show was distasteful, as it was disrespectful to those who had perished and become walkers. Ultimately, Carl avoids jail time for his indiscretion and goes back to telling his daughter about how things used to be.
Discussing how his father fought for him to have a better life, Carl ultimately struggles with his father’s legendary status but accepts it. His daughter teases him about how his stories are always about her grandfather, before saying she wants to hear more. The end.
It’s not an epic battle, a huge twist, or even an incredibly eventful finale. But, in a way, it’s the type of ending the series needed. The story has run through many phases, including nomadic, worldbuilding, and territorial conflicts. The ending was confirmed by Kirkman to be a happy one, saying the best part was knowing everything the characters went through indeed meant something.
At some points, Kirkman had considered the idea of going beyond issue #200 and replacing the entire cast over time. So much for that, as Rick’s death was pretty much the big finale, with the classy wrap up coming in #193.
The show is still going, with some material to work with – at least for a couple more seasons, and then there’s always the option to go with original content. Rick Grimes may be gone, and now The Walking Dead has suffered the same fate. However, fans will always have the massive collection and its countless memorable moments to look back on.