These flashbacks, this nostalgia, follow the way Season 11C was presented. There were many montages, reminders of the long history of The Walking Dead and the multitude of characters who have graced the screen since the series debuted on Halloween in 2010. There was a lingering sense of nostalgia, of not forgetting the past as we built into the future, of the Commonwealth repeating all the mistakes of the old world rather than building something new and fair, remembering the journey now that it’s all about to end.
So it’s fitting that the duties of directing the finale went to Greg Nicotero, the special effects wizard behind the show’s look and the show’s most frequent director. I imagine long hours spent with actors in the makeup chair helped Nicotero understand actors and how to best position them to succeed without losing his ability to create some of the most stellar visuals in television history. of horror. Take good pieces of T2 and No LD is one thing, but Nicotero creates some of the best and most intricate sets on television.
Witness, for example, the scene in which Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) all try to escape from the orphanage with babies strapped to them. Eugene and Gabe climb the pipes quite easily, but Rosita brings up the rear, and she slips and falls into the mass, disappearing into their waiting arms. When she bursts from the pile and begins to wreak havoc, it’s a beautifully executed move by second unit manager Tony Giglio, ending with some impressive touches from Romero. Rosita jumps from the top of an ambulance and grabs the pipe, and as she leaps over the horde, a wave of gripping hands follows her, all clawing the air as she climbs the pipe to get into position. security.
Similar shots, particularly through hospital windows as the dead press against them from the outside, also help to reinforce that sense of dread that the waves of walkers in the open space don’t quite capture. do. It’s live extras, and lots of them, that really add to that feeling of claustrophobia. Survivors are locked away and the dead literally fill the streets by the hundreds, gathering at every open door with inhuman patience. All they’re looking for is an opportunity, and where the Commonwealth Walls felt imprisoned, they’re now truly stuck in a bad spot. The high walls make for a great prison, especially when the people of the states have taken all the weapons, food, and supplies behind their strong iron gates. It’s a pretty effective hammer and anvil situation that our old buddies have to work their way out of. We know they will, because they have help and plenty of experience surviving terrible situations, it’s just a matter of how and who survives.
To their credit, the characters who didn’t get spin-off shows are all put in jeopardy at multiple points, and there’s a palpable sense of risk, especially after Rosita’s downfall and a few untimely deaths. Sadly, that buildup never pays off in any real sense, though there are quite a few good scenes of various characters mourning the few friends who are lost along the way. Josh McDermitt is an underrated part of this set, and he’s the glue that holds much of the episode’s second half together, with Christian Serratos making the most of his scenes with McDermitt and Seth Gilliam. The farewell sequences for characters leaving at the end for their spin-offs are also well done, with Corey Reed and Jim Barnes’ script leaving plenty of room for Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus to say goodbye as their characters. .
The story (credited to Angela Kang) is familiar enough, but it’s very well done, and plenty of off-screen emotion carries over to the screen. After 12 years of writing and thinking about this show and various spin-off properties, even I am a little emotional to see it end, and I haven’t spent years of my life sweating at through my clothes in Georgia to get there. It’s never about the end, it’s always about the journey. Maybe the real undead are the friends we made along the way?