Over the years, many plot points on The Walking Dead angered fans. The bloody end of Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) in training. The unexpected death of Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), which still stings. The disappearance of Andrea (Laurie Holden) at the end of Season 3, which baffled comic book fans. But surprisingly, one of the most controversial moves on a show known for its sudden and heartbreaking deaths was…all but confirming who Lives.
In The Walking DeadAt the beginning of the seasons, the jitter was about the same as on game of thrones: Almost anyone can go there, at any time. Yes, some main characters escaped the Grim Reaper’s grasp, but the “If Daryl Dies, We Riot” merch sold out for a reason. In the early 2010s, it felt like Daryl (Norman Reedus) could die.
In a hypothetical world where this level of suspense existed over the seasons – and the deaths of the main characters generally didn’t fit into a pattern of one in the middle of the season, one at the end – the prospect of TWDThe series finale could serve as a gigantic TV event on par with thrones. After all, it was once the biggest show on TV. He broke several Nielsen records. Fan buzz could reach a roar regarding who would survive and who would become a zombie. The general feeling, in this hypothetical world? Someone, regardless of a character’s size, can fall victim to the sharp teeth of walkers. Instead, since several spinoffs were announced in advance, the critical tension of storytelling evaporated from the series’ final episodes.
Thanks to the announcement of ghost town, fans know that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) survive whatever happens at 11C and make their way to the rotting remains of the Big Apple. And thanks to the announcement of Daryl’s as-yet-untitled spin-off, fans know they don’t need to riot over Daryl Dixon’s death. Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) remains alive, given that she originally joined Daryl; since the initial release which included both characters, she left production. Regardless, the interviews leading up to 11C discussed Carol’s future and possible reunion with Daryl in no uncertain terms.
It should be noted that this was not the Walking Dead team’s decision to announce the spinoff before the series finale. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and showrunner Angela Kang expressed their discouragement, saying it was not their choice. With the outcry in response to McBride’s exit from the Daryl-Carol show, discussing his future both in the franchise and with Daryl served as a bandage for fans’ disappointment. But it also became another blow to a wounded series finale, another character pulled out of peril.
At this point, fans can assume Maggie, Negan, Daryl, and Carol are alive. This deflates the sails of the finale. Yes, fans will have to wait and see how they end up where they end up (given that Daryl’s show originally featured Carol, will she leave with him in the final minutes and disappear in the spin-off? ), but it’s a shame that the major question of the final season comes down to “how and why did all these characters break up?” not “which of these main characters will live to the end?” Can you imagine if HBO announced a Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) or Jon Snow (Kit Harington) spin-off years before the Season 8 finale? What would you say The Caminoin advance of breaking Badlatest episodes? That’s what happened to The Walking Deadand that’s a shame.
Yes, a lot of beloved characters could still go there; Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Rosita (Christian Serratos), to name a few. But the ones at the forefront of the promotional material – the ones that arguably garner the most fervent fan devotion – might as well have full health bars no matter what. They are fine.
Those who have watched the show every Sunday since Halloween 2010 might not mind. For the truly devoted, there’s something unmissable and bittersweet to see The Walking Dead until its end. But there’s a tragic irony in the fact that a show that once inspired legions of fans to seek out spoilers ended up spoiling in the end. Even if Negan finds himself in the middle of a horde with his fists and sharp tongue as weapons, his survival is guaranteed. Isn’t it a disappointment to have this knowledge?
The Walking DeadSeason 11 premiere, Sunday, October 2, 9/8c, AMC