The infamous pike scene isn’t the only moment from the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead which is haunting fans. The final stand of the victims is truly a heroic act.
When Daryl, Carol, Michonne, Siddiq, and Yumiko walked up the hill to find ten of their fellow survivors decapitated with their heads on pikes, everything changed for them. Both they and the viewers were forced to see ten of our characters in such a horrific and broken state. Thankfully, this wasn’t our last image of these great characters from The Walking Dead.
When Siddiq speaks to those left behind after Alpha’s act of brutality, we hear the true story of how our survivors fought back. Anyone who has survived this long in the apocalypse is a fighter, but what we see in the final moments is ten people who are willing to sacrifice everything in the name of the family.
Ozzy and Alek are two of the bravest and most selfless survivors we’ve met recently. When the Highwaymen were introduced in episode 913, it seemed like they would be another threat. Instead, they became part of the family as they agreed to help out with the fair and protect the Kingdom. They rushed into the barn in an attempt to rescue those that were captured. Ultimately, they gave up their lives to try and help people they didn’t even really know. They weren’t the villains many thought they would be at all. They were just people who wanted to help out…and see a movie or two.
DJ is an example of a smaller character having phenomenal growth. When he was first introduced, DJ was part of the group of Saviors that accompanied Negan to Alexandria and launched a grenade attack on the community. Following Negan’s defeat, DJ changed his ways and became a loyal member of Alexandria. In his final moments, DJ rushes into danger to save the people he literally fought in a war against. If that isn’t growth, I don’t know what is.
We also see Frankie, a former Savior and wife of Negan, give it her all to fight. Much like DJ, Alexandria became her home after the Sanctuary fell and she was able to build a life with those who were previously on the opposite side of war from her.
An example of heroism from this scene that might have been missed is Tammy Rose defending Rodney, who is still tied in his bonds. From what we’ve seen during her season 9 arc, Tammy Rose is a mama bear. She may have lost her beloved son Ken at the start of the season, but she made the honorable decision to raise the baby that the Whisperers abandoned. While traveling to the Kingdom for the fair in episode 913, we saw Tammy Rose fight hard to save Earl, the baby, and her fellow survivors from walkers. One of the final things she would do during her time on earth is to protect a young man who feared for his life.
During the aforementioned episode, Rodney and Addy both showed their ability to fight. It should be noted that during the walker attack, Addy stepped in to save Gage. The selflessness of these survivors was on display long before this night. The look of fear on Rodney’s face while the Whisperers rush in to attack is chilling and heartbreaking. He may have tried to stir up some drama with Henry and Lydia, but he definitely didn’t deserve to die this way.
What we see from Tara during the skirmish with the Whisperers in the barn is her pulling an attacker off of DJ. It’s another missable moment that really says a lot about the heroism and need of these characters have to protect their fellow survivors. Tara has saved many lives over the years, so it makes complete sense that she would do the same here at the end.
Enid stands armed with a knife at the front of the barn and ready to take down any Whisperers that threaten her people behind her. The look of determination on her face says it all; she is prepared to die for her family. From being a character who tried running away from her community to someone who steps forward to defend those, Enid has truly come full circle.
Henry looks at Alpha as she enters the barn and the look on his face is one of bravery and anger. He knows exactly what she is capable of, and he likely knows that he and all of his people in the barn are about to meet their end. Alpha is a powerful figure, but Henry’s look could kill.
“The Calm Before” will go down as one of the most shocking and devastating episodes in The Walking Dead history. To lose so many characters in such a brutal fashion is unimaginably painful. That being said, fans and the characters left behind can take great solace in the fact that these ten people went down fighting as heroes who defended each other and died as a family. This is exactly what The Walking Dead is all about.
How did you react to the heroic last stand our characters made? Share your thoughts in the comments!