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Biggest Unanswered Questions From The Walking Dead Season 11 Part 3

"Rest in Peace," the 24th episode of the 11th season of "The Walking Dead," had the heavy task of wrapping up several character trajectories, ending the saga of the Commonwealth (for now), and tying up major loose plot threads. For the most part, it succeeded, ending long-time series stalwart Rosita Espinosa's journey with a suitably heroic demise, setting up some major players for their pending spin-offs, and knocking the corrupt political system of the Commonwealth out of power in classic "The Walking Dead" style. With the leadership of the Commonwealth transferred over to King Ezekiel, many long-time fan favorites are set up with a relatively happy ending — at least for the time being.

At the same time, the conclusion of the main series of "The Walking Dead" has led to the berth of several new spin-offs, assuring fans that they need not say goodbye to all their favorite characters quite yet. Yet, even with all the stability the group has fought and died for, and despite the fact that many characters are off on their own new journeys away from the ensemble cast, we've got plenty of questions about what's to come. Some of this will no doubt be answered soon with "Fear the Walking Dead" and new shows such as "Dead City," "Daryl Dixon," and "Rick and Michonne," but a fair amount of these mysteries have been kicking around for a while, and we're starting to suspect they may go forever unsolved.

Will we hear more about the original outbreak?

When "The Walking Dead" kicked off on Halloween of 2010, we were introduced to Rick Grimes, who wakes up from a coma in a hospital with no knowledge of the zombie apocalypse that is raging around him. As such, there are major holes in his understanding of what has occurred as he is forced to act fast and think on his feet for his own survival. The fast-paced horror of that pilot episode gave way to years of complicated interpersonal dynamics in a sprawling cast of characters, leaving relatively little time to explore what happened to cause the world to change the way it did.

There have been plenty of hints as to what initially caused the outbreak and an episode of "Tales of the Walking Dead" set in the future notes that scientists eventually learn that the virus was created in a French laboratory. Likewise, we've seen something of the catastrophic early days of the infestation through the underrated spin-off "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" as several children experienced some of their earliest memories of losing their parents to the sudden influx of undead. Yet, there are still plenty of questions around what exactly caused the outbreak, and it's hard to say if the franchise is ever going to address them. In many ways, the beauty of "The Walking Dead" is that we don't actually need to know what happened — but we can't help but be curious.

Smart zombies?

Though there are plenty of surprises with the undead in the early seasons of the show, over time, they become more of a static background threat that could occasionally leap forward and take loved ones if you aren't constantly alert. Over time, the characters grow to know the walkers and their general behavioral patterns, which brings a certain level of comfort. Living humans remain the most unpredictable threat in the post-apocalypse, while the undead stick to a fairly straightforward path, traveling in herds and feeding at every opportunity but otherwise not exhibiting much in the way of interior lives.

This season that changed and the danger of the hordes grows exponentially. Through several episodes, different characters notice odd developments with the zombies, surprised to find them in places that they shouldn't have been able to go, casually dropping hints to viewers that the undead might be changing or even evolving into a greater threat than ever before. Yet, it isn't until Aaron, Jerry, Elijah, and Lydia attempt to take refuge in an abandoned township that they see the extent of the evolution when a walker not only scales a wall but opens a door simply by using the handle. 

Previously, zombies were known to bust through barriers, but using deductive skills was not a thing they could pull off. During the attack on the Commonwealth, we see more of them coming over fences and walls, demonstrating again that the undead are getting smarter.

So where is Rick?

Rick's farewell to "The Walking Dead" series in the 9th season is epic. Despite hallucinating and being near death, he manages to divert a horde of undead away from his friends and family atop a trusty steed. When an explosion takes out a mass of the walkers, it seems certain that Rick has met his demise, as he is nowhere to be found afterward. Enter Jadis, who we meet in the 7th season as the leader of the Scavengers. Her time with the group shows her to be an enigmatic and puzzling character, and she ultimately leaves to join the militaristic CRM. When we see her again in "The Walking Dead: World Beyond," she makes veiled references that could easily prove she knows more about Rick's whereabouts than anyone.

Jadis saves Rick with the help of a helicopter. We assume he was taken to a hospital, but this is where we lose touch with Rick. The series experiences a time jump, rocketing six years into the future, where Michonne writes diary entries to her presumably late husband. However, in the 10th season, Michonne finds Rick's boots and an old iPhone with her and Judith's faces carved onto its surface, and she realizes that Rick is very likely still alive, leading her to head off to find him. In the finale, it seems more likely than ever that we're eventually going to figure out what Rick has been up to, but currently it's still a mystery.

Is that the end of Pamela?

"The Walking Dead" is well-known for introducing epic big bads, from the Governor to Negan to Alpha and the Whisperers and beyond. For the 11th season, the major enemy is the seemingly non-violent Pamela Milton, who we never see actively commit murder but who "disappears" countless Commonwealth citizens that prove problematic to her. Aiding her is her hateful and spoiled son Sebastian as well as Lance Hornsby, a politician who constantly lies to get people on his side only to revoke his support in crucial moments to colonize the outlying communities in some sort of manifest destiny plan that we may never see the full extent of.

The 11th season sees Sebastian and Lance both meet satisfying deaths, but Pamela was captured after her evil actions led many of the Commonwealth's most marginalized citizens to perish in the zombie invasion. In the comic series, Sebastian is notably more important as a villain, as his murder of Rick Grimes is ostensibly the major event that drew the story to a close. However, in AMC's adaptation, Sebastian is relatively minor while Pamela's callous disdain for the people she serves turns her into a supervillain. Like the comic version of Sebastian, she is not killed and is instead forced to endure life in prison. However, that leaves the door wide open for this well-spoken monster to make a major comeback.

What's going to happen to the kids?

From almost the beginning of "The Walking Dead" up to his death in the 8th season, Carl Grimes played a major role as his father Rick's right-hand man. When Rick teetered on the edge, nearly giving in to his dark side, Carl was always able to call him back, pointing out that his own belief system should prevent him from crossing those lines. In that way, the next generation has always played a huge role in the morality of the franchise, with this continuing in full through the hopeful tone of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond."

With Rick, Michonne, and Carl all gone, and R.J. a bit too young to take on a major role yet, Rick's daughter with Lori and Michonne's adopted child, Judith, becomes a major character over the last few seasons. Showing the same determination and heroism as her parents, Judith is able not only to calm and defend the other children but also takes part in major events while inspiring the adults around her to keep their eyes on the prize during conflicts. Though we almost lose her in the finale due to a gunshot wound, Judith survives, leading us to wonder where she'll go from here. Not only that, but Rosita's daughter Socorro, A.J., and several others are getting older, so they might also take major roles in the franchise.

Will Michonne find Rick?

As noted above, we have no idea where Rick has been over the last several years of continuity, though the hints dropped in the finale have made it seem likely that he's very much in need of some help. We see him decked out in a CRM jacket, stuck at a riverbank and determining whether to cross it, but dismayed by the number of undead corpses stuck in the mud and snapping at his feet. He throws his backpack on a boat to keep it from being confiscated, leaving a trail for Michonne to find, as a voice through a loudspeaker warns him that there is no escape for the living.

However, if there is one thing we have seen time and again in this series, it's Michonne pulling off superhuman feats of bravery. As Rick surrenders to his captors, images are intercut with Michonne, who has never stopped searching for him. Alone and surrounded by the horde, she continues on, hacking away at the undead with her trusty blade and riding an armored horse into battle in search of her love. "Rick and Michonne" will no doubt see a reunion between the two, even if only through memories and flashbacks, but it's not guaranteed that Michonne and Rick will make it to safety. With Richonne fans across the globe holding their breaths, we're hoping to get some answers in 2023.

What are Maggie and Negan doing in NYC?

This season spends a lot of time delving into the animosity between long-time fan favorite Maggie Greene and the villain turned antihero Negan, who murdered her husband Glenn as well as her friend Abraham during his time as the ruthless leader of the Saviors. Understandably, Maggie is still upset about this, despite Negan's presence as a helpful member of the Alexandria community after experiencing a crisis of faith while spending several years in prison. To make matters worse, Negan never expresses remorse over what he's done, always viewing his actions as a means to an end — even if that ultimately didn't work out.

That all changes in the last block of the 11th season. Now married and soon to be a father, Negan is wracked with guilt over what he's done and attempts to sacrifice himself to a firing squad to save the others. However, he is rescued by the community stepping up around him and Annie. After that, he sits down and apologizes to Maggie for the first time, telling her that it took all of the horrors they've been through for him to fully understand what he had taken from her. 

Though she tells him she can't forgive him, she admits that she's ready to move forward, which will open the door for their pending spin-off, "Dead City." However, we still don't know how they end up in New York.

Where is Daryl going, anyway?

After Rick and Michonne leave the series, Daryl makes a seamless transition into a central role, where he spends more time with the community, helps to raise Judith, and even works for Mercer as one of the Commonwealth soldiers. His dedication to the community has been clear since the early days and he's always been a true friend to both Rick and Michonne during their time as leaders, as he is loyal to a fault and willing to jump into danger at a moment's notice. More so than almost anyone else, he and Carol have remained vital characters, surprising us countless times by jumping in and saving the day.

The finale sees Daryl spending most of his time working to save and defend Judith as the horde overruns the streets of the Commonwealth. In her delirious state upon waking up, Judith admits to Daryl that Michonne is on a quest to find Rick. Surprised to hear that his friends are still alive, he doesn't make any immediate moves until we cut to the One Year Later segment that ends the series. After showing that he's been up to his old antics, prowling the woods to stay on top of any threats to the town, Daryl says a touching goodbye to Carol while preparing to head off on his own journey. Where is he going? We're not sure, but we're guessing that Rick and Michonne are at the end of that path.

Will we see familiar faces in the spin-offs?

The ending of "The Walking Dead" was pretty great overall, but the series couldn't fully manage to grant adequate screen time to its countless amazing characters. Though arcs for Daryl, Judith, Maggie, Negan, Mercer, and many others wrapped up or at least put them on the path to their next adventure, plenty of others struggled to find a resolution. It's hard to blame anyone for this, as it is simply a result of the series having introduced so many characters that we love that there just isn't enough time for all of them. Still, it leaves us wondering if that was really the end of the road for many fan favorites that have never truly had their arcs resolved.

The Commonwealth is now the home of many recurring characters, from sisters Connie and Kelly to King Ezekiel himself, and these are all people we're dying to see more of. Since Magna's group first appeared in the 9th season, they've counterbalanced the loss of major cast members like Rick and Michonne by repeatedly proving their survival skills are unmatched. Likewise, Eugene and Max fought hard for their relative sense of peace, but are we ever going to see what Eugene is like as a dad? With so many new series on the way, we hope this isn't the final goodbye to some of these greats.

Lance's alliances?

Lance Hornsby is a major villain for part of the 11th season, a truly insidious character who is willing to do terrible things while hiding behind his broad politician smile. He exists in service to Pamela, with whom he has a bizarre obsession and perhaps a romantic connection. When he loses Pamela's support, he does so in a big way, making an ill-advised power play that yields catastrophic consequences, both in the Commonwealth and beyond. Pamela holds him in a cell, locking him in with the zombified corpse of her son Sebastian and turning her back on Lance with chilling finality.

Yet, Lance is able to escape with Carol's help and tries to win her over. Naturally, one of Carol's great skills is her ability to see right through people, and Lance's charm doesn't dissuade her. She and Daryl attempt to leave him to the wilds, shrugging that he might survive. Lance isn't satisfied with that and attempts to kill them both only to be shot down and ultimately turned into a walker himself. 

However, this is a pretty pat ending for a guy that regularly claimed to have several ongoing alliances. We know that Aaron works with him and comes to regret it, but who else was Lance out here scheming with? Are we going to see more of them going forward, or was he just lying in an attempt to save his own skin?

Will there be follow-ups to forgotten plot threads?

Over the years, "The Walking Dead" has been surprisingly adept at tying up its loose ends and viewers seldom lose sight of a major character or plot thread without some sort of explanation. However, the people behind the show are only human, and there are times when a premise simply outlives its shelf time. As such, there are still a handful of questions left over from the earlier seasons that we've never quite resolved. For instance, way back in the 4th season, Grady Memorial Hospital was shown to be overrun by villainous monsters masquerading as healthcare officials, but after Beth Greene's death, we never hear about it again. Though Beth was able to stop the head of the organization, we've spent years wondering what happened to everyone else.

Some unresolved plot lines are a little more recent. One major question we're hoping to see answered is — what is the Civic Republic even doing? We're pretty sure they have to be aware of major townships like the Commonwealth, and it seems highly unlikely they wouldn't know about the growing police force that Pamela Milton creates. We've seen their "ends justify the means" approach up close and personal through the "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" spin-off, but their status as ruthless protectors of humanity has always been a bit vague. How did a significant transfer of power in the Commonwealth go beneath their notice? We're dying to hear more.

How will the communities connect?

The early seasons of "The Walking Dead" see Rick's group, scraggly and in need of help but ultimately a team of loyal survivors, moving from community to community attempting to find stability and safety. From the Greene Family Farm to the Prison to the false promise of Terminus and many others besides, this is a group of nomads that desperately needs a home. Ultimately, they find that with Alexandria, though that isn't without its own struggle as early power plays could have easily led the group back out into the wilds. Beyond that, Negan and his Saviors disrupt and very nearly ruin the relative peace Alexandria has fought for at every turn. Still, the community survives, and even in the 11th season, it's still standing — though we don't quite know what state it's in.

Hilltop is destroyed during the Whisperer War, and we've learned that Alexandria and Oceanside are invaded by Commonwealth soldiers. However, with the power shift in the Commonwealth, it's harder than ever to fully understand where the outlying communities are at. The benevolent King Ezekiel is unlikely to ever turn his back on the other communities, particularly the ones he once found a home in. Aaron was uniquely committed to Alexandria, which means he very well might return to it as a leader and usher in a new era. The full status of Oceanside and whether it will make a comeback is unknown, but we're looking forward to finding out soon.