The Walking Dead’s penultimate episode recently aired, meaning there is only one episode to conclude the series. It was a great episode that ended on a cliffhanger that could see the death of a beloved character.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 11, episode 23, “Family.”
The episode begins with another narration by Judith (Cailey Fleming). It is a powerful intro as each survivor takes up their weapons again. In a very touching scene, viewers also see Judith hand off the beloved sheriff hat to her brother RJ (Antony Azor), which belonged to their father. Throughout season 11, our survivors have been scattered, tending to different missions, each one vital. Now the Commonwealth has threatened them all, and it is time to fight back together.
The exiles of the Commonwealth have joined forces to take down the Commonwealth soldiers at Outpost 22, formerly known as Alexandria. They are gearing up to head to the Commonwealth to locate Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Rosita’s (Christian Serratos) baby, Coco, and take down Pamela Milton (Laila Robins). Judith holds her ground about going with the group, sighting that she wants to be a part of the fight and carry on the legacy of her family, an act that will prove tragic by the episode’s ending.
The Walking Dead season 11 episode 23
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is reunited with Max (Margot Bingham), aided by her brother Mercer (Michael James Shaw). Eugene is free, but he is still wanted by Governor Milton. And must lay low lest he is recaptured and killed on sight. Milton is beginning to suspect Mercer is somehow involved in Eugene’s escape.
Milton calls out another code, this time B17, which we now know is a call to lead a herd to the Commonwealth to keep the citizens in line and show that the community is safe. In season 11, episode 17, “Lockdown,” Milton called out B14, which saw a herd lead to the gates, but a lockdown was also issued.
In this episode, the walker herd being led to the Commonwealth contains two surprises, Aaron (Ross Marquand) and his group are camouflaged with walker’s guts to blend in, and viewers see that this horde includes the new “climber”‘ variant of walkers when one picks up a knife.
This is the point when we see Lydia (Cassady McClincy) be bitten on the arm as she tries to hold on to Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), resulting in Aaron and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) cutting off her arm. Jerry volunteers to search for Elijah, Luke (Dan Fogler), and Jules (Alex Sgambati). His goodbye seemed too much. Will Jerry die before the end?
Our survivors breach the Commonwealth, as does the variant horde. Mercer calls troops away, and Milton suspects why he does this and takes troops to the area. She is correct and ends up in a shoot-out with Daryl and the others. In the process, Judith is shot by Milton. The episode concludes with Judith being carried through the walker horde by Daryl as the others try to them off. They see walkers climbing, and Negan says, “What the F–K?” Judith looks at Daryl in her semi conscience haze and says, “Daddy?”
Throughout the episode, several heart-to-heart talks are building to the conclusion of the series. We saw Gabe and Rosita and Negan and Ezekiel (Khary Payton), with Maggie listening in, have some heartfelt moments. One conversion that should have been more is the one between Judith and Daryl on the train. This would have been the opportune moment for her to share with Daryl that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) didn’t die. Likely these conversations are foreshadowing deaths we will see in the series finale.
The Walking Dead series finale, “Rest in Peace,” airs on AMC and AMC+ on November 20, 2022.