It was greater than a decade in the past that The Strolling Lifeless aired its gorgeous first episode. Such a robust starting is troublesome to recollect as we now discover ourselves on the finish of a meandering closing season that, like the numerous that preceded it, lacks a lot remaining emotion or engagement. In some ways, it hasn’t ever actually felt like this concluding season was truly constructing to something of consequence or, in a broader sense, even actually closing. There are three spinoffs quickly coming down the pipeline that imply this closing episode, entitled “Relaxation In Peace,” just isn’t going to be the final irrespective of how a lot we may need it to be. But, by some means having caught with the present via greater than twelve years, a number of presidents, and a reshaping of society as we all know it, the closing of this chapter nonetheless was an enchanting one. It was rushed, chaotic, and, to be blunt, relatively disappointing. Nonetheless, even because the present just isn’t going to be remembered as the most effective on account of its precipitous decline in high quality, it definitely will maintain an notorious place in tv historical past for simply how lengthy it dragged on.
Selecting up proper the place the final episode ended, we see Daryl (Norman Reedus) desperately bringing a seemingly grievously wounded Judith (Cailey Fleming) to a close-by hospital. She had been shot by the corrupt chief of the Commonwealth Pamela (Laila Robins) and now your entire neighborhood has been overrun. The episode initially focuses on holding Judith, fading out and in of consciousness, from dying. Had the episode solely centered on this and allowed us to really feel extra of the strain, it may need been compelling. As a substitute, it needed to take care of an entire host of different characters and situations all taking part in out on the similar time. There are a few supposedly vital character deaths, together with that of Luke (Dan Fogler) who dies after being torn aside by the undead, however there are additionally some pretend outs like when Rosita (Christian Serratos) falls again right into a horde of walkers solely to bounce proper again up just like the Energizer Bunny. However hey, that is The Strolling Lifeless the place sure characters are mainly invincible when the plot calls for them to be and others are disposable to provide the phantasm of hazard. Intermixed via all of that is the present’s continued hinting of how the walkers have developed to develop into extra of a menace through the use of instruments and scaling limitations. It doesn’t actually imply something right here as it’s only a setup for the spinoffs and feels extraneous to this closing episode.
Whereas all this chaos is unfolding as walkers take over the Commonwealth, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) have a second to themselves the place they focus on taking out Pamela. Negan, within the continuation of a half-hearted redemption arc for killing off Glenn (Steven Yeun) and any remaining curiosity most viewers had within the present, offers a bit speech about how he’s the one which has to do that in order that Maggie can nonetheless preserve her maintain on goodness. It has some kind of influence on her as she decides to work with him to convey down Pamela. Such a improvement isn’t horrible in concept, however it’s drowned out by all the varied different plot threads that the episode hurriedly ties up. Truthfully, it could be spectacular if it wasn’t so insipid. On the heart of that is Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride) who proceed to look at over Judith. When she wakes up, they briefly focus on her dad and mom (extra on them later) earlier than they get interrupted by the forces of the Commonwealth killing off the civilians attempting to get into the rich space of city. Ezekiel (Khary Payton) offers a speech the place he rallies the remaining characters to take down Pamela that’s meant to be inspiring although largely simply exists to maintain the whole lot transferring to the ultimate confrontation. Besides, that doesn’t actually occur.
The present has been attempting to undergo a little bit of a change for some time, the place as an alternative of being about how the world made folks merciless, as had been hammered dwelling prior to now a number of seasons, there was a residual goodness that might triumph. Once more, not a nasty potential emotional shift in concept, however it feels far too pressured in the way it will get thrown in right here. Daryl manages to persuade the Commonwealth forces to let within the remaining folks and arrest Pamela. Nonetheless, relatively than be taken and confined, she walks over to a wall of walkers the place it looks as if she is about to be killed. That too doesn’t occur when Maggie decides to indicate mercy and purpose with ridiculous precision to forestall her from being eaten. It’s each lackluster and laughable as then everybody simply comes collectively to take again the neighborhood from the undead. There’s a literal needle drop, Residing Color’s “Cult of Persona,” which the present justifies through the use of to attract the walkers away from the people the place they’re then exploded when the track ends. Whereas meant to be thrilling, it’s all too neat and straightforward. Positive, there’s a defiant Pamela who offers a closing taunt earlier than being imprisoned, however it’s all conveyed with such pace that none of it leaves an influence. It’s as if, after so many seasons that had been devoid of substance and unable to justify their existence, everybody simply needed to be carried out. Not less than, till they get to start out recent for all the opposite reveals that at the moment are coming.
The spotlight of the finale comes after we truly get a protracted monologue the place Maggie speaks to the ache of dropping Glenn on to Negan. Sadly, any emotional depth or try to grapple with loss will get misplaced when the present instantly places that every one behind it for a cutesy dinner scene. Set to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, it finally ends up bordering on feeling like a parody of what a finale like this ought to be. There’s a “twist” after we uncover that Rosita truly wasn’t high-quality, however it doesn’t really feel significant when her character solely sporadically popped up within the episode. Nonetheless, after laying subsequent to her youngster whereas Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) sends her off with one closing prayer, and he or she says one final goodbye to Eugene, she perishes – off-screen. It finally ends up feeling just like the present needed to have a closing pileup of our bodies although wasn’t certain precisely the way to do it. As we then get a flash ahead to a 12 months later, the whole lot is simply hunky-dory for all our characters, with Ezekiel now serving as governor whereas the Commonwealth is prospering. Daryl nonetheless goes on patrols, however it appears as if the whole lot is quiet. Nonetheless, the present had lengthy been treating the zombies as simply background noise to broader conflicts so the truth that this exposition is dropped on us feels prefer it has been a very long time coming already.
As for the way this can arrange for future reveals, for people who care about such issues, the most important indication of what’s coming is when Maggie vaguely references wanting to debate the longer term. Daryl and Carol have a bonding second the place he expresses how he needs she was coming with him into spinoff land which received’t be taking place since McBride not too long ago exited their present. There are many hugs and the rising up of a rating designed to tug on the heartstrings, although it nonetheless simply comes throughout as empty. To see Daryl drive off on his bike into the gap is nearly foolish, particularly with what follows it. As we had recognized was coming for some time, we get a quick glimpse of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) seemingly writing to one another round separate fires whereas nonetheless aside as a montage performs. They every are dealing with their very own issues, with Michonne using on a horse and Rick dealing with down a helicopter who orders him to give up, although it simply comes throughout as a cynical tease for extra that it hasn’t earned. As all of the characters give the closing message of “we’re those who reside” it ought to have included “so we are able to trick you to maintain tuning in.”