The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23 Review: Family

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Well, that's one way to set up the series finale.

The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23 burst at the seams with great character moments, twists and turns, and, most importantly, zombies.

One of the more prominent criticisms of the series over the last few years is that it was less reliant on zombies in favor of human threats.

Last Resort - The Walking Dead

That's not to say humans were at bay on the penultimate episode.

Pamela was more intent on taking down her enemies than ever, and her actions will probably be her undoing.

Mercer Prepares for an Uprising - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

We'll start with Mercer because when someone vows to "f--k shit up" on The Walking Dead, you best believe they will succeed.

Knowing Mercer had picked a side and was ready for change was a significant driving force of "Family" because the Commonwealth soldiers wouldn't think twice about killing our favorite characters without him.

Vickers was paying attention to everything, so telling Pamela he was up to something was a development I expected from the get-go.

However, Vickers could see the privilege in Pamela's actions when she wanted to contain the lower-class parts of the Commonwealth.

Happier Times - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know Pamela has been vocal about her family legacy, and she's more interested in protecting that than the people who work and live in the Commonwealth that keep it what it is.

Pamela's been losing her grip on the wheel of this community gradually, and now that she knows everyone is against her, it makes her more ruthless.

The chilling visual of our survivors thinking the army trucks were dispatched to kill them, only to realize it was to seal them in with variant walkers, was masterfully directed.

The "what the f--k" from Negan was a perfect segue into the series finale because many of these characters haven't been in the presence of these more intelligent zombies before.

Judith is Ready - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

They've spent so long with a set of rules that have kept them safe, and now, with the Commonwealth crumbling, how will they be able to save each other and take down the horde?

Judith getting shot by Pamela was a harrowing development, but it's hard to say it was much of a surprise. Judith has been narrating these final episodes, with many theorizing that she's on her deathbed at some point in the near future.

There was a great deal of symmetry in how her brother, Carl, was shot back on The Walking Dead Season 2.

In essence, Judith took on the role of Carl, and Daryl took on the part of Rick as he scooped her up and rushed to find medical supplies or, at the very least, safety.

The Happy Couple - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

Daryl took Rick's kids in when they needed it the most. He's become a father figure to them, and deep down, he knows he's only looking after them temporarily.

Given that The Walking Dead series finale is under lock and key -- critics are getting it at the same time as you guys -- it certainly makes you wonder what big cameos and surprises are in store.

As a big fan from the series debut, seeing Rick and Michonne in some capacity would be the perfect bookend to the main series.

We need to get some insight into why all of the spinoffs are necessary, and thankfully, Maggie and Negan's trip to New York on The Walking Dead: Dead City is looking more plausible by the episode.

Maggie Pre-War - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

Negan has proven to make selfless actions lately, which has not gone unnoticed by the people who used to publicly protest his existence. I think Maggie realizes that he has changed even though she'd never admit it.

Negan's actions as the leader of the Saviors were heinous. Plain and simple. There's no getting away from it.

It's hard to believe he'll ever truly be redeemed in the eyes of the people his actions affected, but at least he's trying to make better decisions.

Eugene fighting back against the soldiers and helping people was something I didn't have on my bingo card, but it was so freaking satisfying.

Aiming at the Horde - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

Eugene was earmarked for death, and personally, I figured he would have died long before now, but he's adapting to the world he's in, and that's pretty commendable.

I hope that all of this has been worthwhile for him and that he lives to see another day, but there is a lot of uncertainty as we head into this final episode.

Lydia being bitten was a shocker because, beyond the spinoffs, she's the only character I would have said would survive the main series.

She's been through so much and seemed to have plot armor throughout some of the deadliest battles.

She's Back - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

The shock when her arm was bitten is something I won't forget any time soon. I hope Jerry and Aaron managed to stem the infection in time.

Then again, how do we know that a variant walker didn't bite her and that the parameters are different when it comes to walker bites?

Jerry going back into the horde seemed like a goodbye, and I hope it wasn't. He's another character who has beaten the odds, and hopefully, that continues into the series finale.

If I had to guess who will die, I'm going to say Rosita. It will suck because she's such a great character, but it seems too coincidental for her to dislocate her shoulder on the road to the Commonwealth.

Hiding in the Horde - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

The battle for survival inside the lower levels of the Commonwealth will likely involve jumping from building to building.

There are many balls up in the air with the series finale, and it's hard to believe everything that needs to be wrapped up will be when it's all said and done.

The series has been more concerned with setting up spinoffs than giving satisfying arcs, which could hinder the finale's impact.

I could be wrong, but for now, I don't have much hope.

Shelter - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23

What did you think of the penultimate episode?

Do you think Judith will die in the finale?

What are your best theories for how this will end?

Hit the comments below.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.

Family Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23 Quotes

Mercer: You all right?
Princess: I'm fine. How's Eugene?
Mercer: Safe, for now. Where are you?
Princess: On a train, headed back to you.
Mercer: A train?
Princess: We're bringing people... Prisoners that Hornsby and Pamela disappeared. What are you planning to do?
Mercer: Change things, take Pamela down. Think you'd be okay with that?
Princess: Yeah.
Mercer: If you can get those prisoners back to me, they're witnesses. I'd have legal grounds to remove Pamela.
Princess: The train takes us to a depot a ways out. If we can make our way to the city, can you get us in?
Mercer: Old access tunnel under the west wall. Leads up into Union Station. Industrial building, basement entrance, guarded, but I can meet you there.

Vickers: Governor, come in.
Pamela: Anything yet?
Vickers: No, ma'am. Saw his sister, then reported to the wall. He just pulled additional backup to deal with the horde. Nothing unusual.
Pamela: Where did he take them from?
Vickers: Sector 7... Processing... And Tunnel H. Did you want me to recall any of those troops?
Pamela: No, I'm sure Mercer has his reasons.