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The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 24 Recap: Finality Arrives

The following article contains spoilers for "The Walking Dead" Season 11, Episode 24 — "Rest in Peace."

The future is a much-hoped-for but never certain thing in the "Walking Dead" world. You can knock on wood, do your best, and battle the forces of evil, both human-shaped and walker-shaped, but darkness always looms. In the show's final episode, the future becomes incredibly important. And it turns out that some of our characters have a lovely one ahead of them, while others are forced to deal with their maker. That's the luck of the draw, or the apocalypse. And every single character on the show has faced it down at one point or another.

As "The Walking Dead" shambles to its conclusion after 11 seasons, its future is embodied in the forms of Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) and Coco (Eleni and Elijah Carrillo), two kids who have seen a lot of horrifying things since they were brought into the world but have resolutely managed to survive. Their parental figures would do anything to ensure that they see another sunset. But will they make it? Will their parents? And who will be left standing when our troop of intrepid walker-killing survivors faces their biggest threat(s) yet? This is what went down during the show's last waltz.

Carol and Daryl try to save Judith

Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) bursts into the Commonwealth's hospital with Judith in his arms, shouting for help. As he desperately tries to get her assistance, Judith sees nightmarish visions of walkers coming at her, trying to break into the faculty. It turns out those walkers also exist in reality and have breached the first set of the hospital's doors.

When Daryl awakens, he's sporting a black eye and surrounded by death but determined to ensure the survival of those still breathing. He donates his own blood to Judith with the assistance of Carol (Melissa McBride) as his friends scour the hospital for further walker incursions. Judith awakens and sobs to Daryl that it feels like she's about to die, but he insists she won't as she touchingly tells him that she's supposed to find her mom and dad and be with them. Moments later, the hospital's breached by walkers, leaving the surviving characters to battle for their lives in its stripped-by-Pamela-of-supplies corridors.

Eventually, Tomi (Ian Anthony Dale) is found and takes charge of Judith's care, and surgery is performed. She survives and seems to bounce back hale and hearty. It's a lovely gesture toward the possibility of happiness and hope in a future that's been so dangerous and dire. It also sets up the chance that Judith might be reunited with her parents sometime in the future through their own oncoming spin-offs.

Coco is rescued but loses her mother

Accompanied by Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Rosita (Christian Serratos) finds Coco being held in a nursery in the Commonwealth — one which has been attacked by walkers, who have made messily easy pickings of the infants being held there. The group is soon pinned down in an ambulance but manages to battle their way toward safety in a nearby building. Rosita stumbles with Coco strapped to her chest — yet all hope is not lost. She breaks free and manages to reach safety. But, alone with Eugene, she reveals that she was bitten on the shoulder. She entrusts custody of Coco to Eugene.

In the lower ward of the Commonwealth, the casualties number two. Jules (Alex Sgambati) is swarmed and eaten by a bunch of walkers, and Luke (Dan Fogler) is bitten on the leg, but he manages to survive to get to the hospital. Losing the lower half of his leg in the process, the blood loss is too great for him. He dies among friends in the hospital hallway.

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), meanwhile, continue to fight about their proposed partnership. Negan insists he should be the one to dispose of Pamela, as Maggie has much more to lose if "hell rains down" upon Pamela's death. He confesses that he finally — after so many years — knows what Maggie must have felt watching Glenn die, which makes Maggie cry.

Princess (Paola Lázaro) and Max (Margot Bingham) spring Mercer (Michael James Shaw) from prison, and Princess and Mercer make up mouth-first. Out of the horde of walkers passing by the prison emerge Lydia (Cassady McClincy) and Aaron (Ross Marquand), and they head to the hospital to treat her wounds.

Fire rains down on the Commonwealth

Unfortunately, Pamela Milton's (Laila Robins) troops are seen killing anyone trying to climb the fence, gating off The Estates from the lower wards. Mercer vows to protect these innocents and tells the gang there's enough gas to get them home to Alexandria. He says these people aren't the Alexandria gang's problem. Ezekiel (Khary Payton) rallies the gang to join together and battle for the safety of the Commonwealth.

It's Daryl's words that cause Pamela to give in. "You built this place to be like the old world, and that's the f****** problem [...] you got one enemy, and it ain't the walking dead." Pamela is arrested by Mercer and is silently drawn to a 'walkerized' Lance (Josh Hamilton) who stands at the gates, but a bullet from Maggie's gun ends Lance, again. Pamela will spend the rest of her life stewing in prison — and worse, via Mercer's plan, she will have to witness her gated community burn to bits. Pamela later muses about how hard it is to weigh the scales of justice — the needs of the many versus the needs of the few. Daryl and Carol are less than sympathetic to her plight. "At least we don't have to worry about who gets your house," Carol cleverly remarks.

That's because Mercer formulates an evacuation plan involving loud music to drive the walkers into a single area in the town, then pouring gas down into the sewers and setting it off with remote-triggered dynamite. To the strains of Living Colour's "Cult of Personality," they manage to do just that, and all of the remaining invading walkers are killed. But not before both Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) emerge safe and sound from the horde and are rescued.

Happily (and Unhappily) ever after?

Once it's all over, Maggie and Negan chat. "Glenn was beautiful. I'll never love anyone like that again. I'll miss his smile, his goodness, and the way he made me feel," she explains. Maggie says the horrifying memories she has of Glenn's last moments haunt her and will always haunt her, which means she forgives but cannot stand being around Negan. "All I have are my memories, and I don't want to remember Glenn like that." With that, Negan accepts her quasi-forgiveness. As he leaves the Commonwealth, Daryl spies him through a window, and they share a firm nod of respect.

Luke's memory is toasted during a cozy dinner where all our principals have gathered to celebrate their fortune. Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) reunite romantically, and Rosita tells Gabriel about her bite. Rosita is helped upstairs, and after a talk with Eugene and a prayer from Gabriel, she finally finds a peaceful death.

A year later, the Commonwealth is a thriving settlement, and its citizenry is happy. Eugene and Max have a daughter named Rosie. Mercer and Ezekiel are running the Commonwealth with Carol as an enforcer. Judith receives her compass back from Negan, and it's indicated a trade and mailing route has been established between settlements. Carol and Daryl have a final chat by a stream as Daryl prepares to continue his roaming ways. "You're my best friend," Carol confesses to him, and they hug. Daryl vows to Judith he'll find her parents, and Judith tells him he deserves a happy ending too. Then, Daryl heads into the unknown.

But that isn't all, folks. We close on a series of glimpses of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in a muddy, walker-laden swamp and Michonne (Danai Gurira) training a horse for combat.

How Can I Watch The Walking Dead?

Now that it's all over, you might wonder how you can re-watch the show from the beginning. The answer to that is more complicated than you might initially think. The highest number of seasons may be found on Netflix, which has seasons 1-10 at press time. Pluto TV has the first six seasons for free with ad support on its on-demand service. And you can watch Season 11 on AMC+.

Hungry for even more walker-based action after you've binged the original recipe variety? There are tons of sequel series to choose from, and many are waiting in the wings. The prequel-midquel series, "Fear the Walking Dead," was renewed for Season 8 in 2021, which will air sometime in 2023 on AMC. It follows a different group of survivors grappling with the walker outbreak in California. Then there's "The Walking Dead: World Beyond," which lasted for two seasons and took up the story ten years after the first walker outbreak. "Tales of the Walking Dead," an anthology series that takes place concurrently with the main show, aired its first season in 2022.

Even though "The Walking Dead" has reached its final chapter, its characters will live on in multiple spin-off projects, which are slated to arrive in 2023. Per an announcement at the end of "Rest in Peace," "The Walking Dead: Dead City" will follow Negan and Maggie as they move to a walker-infested Manhattan. Daryl's further adventures will also be explored in a spin-off (per Den of Geek). And finally, there's slated to be a six-part series centering on Rick and Michonne. They — as Grimes family's secret saying goes, which was finally revealed in this episode — will be the ones who live.