The Walking Dead Season 11 Just Set Up Its Ending In 3 Ways

A completely authentic comic book ending is already impossible for The Walking Dead, but season 11 just set up elements from Robert Kirkman’s final chapter in three big ways. As The Walking Dead chugs toward its final episode, speculation is rife over how far AMC’s TV adaptation will honor its source material. Kirkman’s story ends with Rick Grimes inspiring a (mostly) peaceful revolution at the Commonwealth, and overthrowing Pamela Milton’s corrupt regime. Sebastian then assassinates Rick but, fast-forward into the future, and the new-look Commonwealth is a sprawling community covering a large chunk of the United States, all thanks to Rick.

With Sebastian dying, Rick still missing, and spinoffs incoming, The Walking Dead’s series finale can’t copy the comic ending verbatim. Nevertheless, season 11’s « What’s Been Lost » drops three hints that at least parts of those final issues will be adapted. The biggest clue is the tunnel conversation between Carol and Lance, with the latter pointing out, « You and your people will hold 50,000 lives in your hands… and then you’ll have a choice to make. Will you let the Commonwealth burn? » Not only is this The Walking Dead’s most direct acknowledgment yet that Carol’s group will likely take over from Pamela Milton, just as Rick did in the comics, it’s also fascinating that Lance talks as if the revolution has become inevitable. Rick Grimes may not be leading the charge, but the comic books’ « overthrowing the Commonwealth » ending appears to be firmly going ahead.

Aside from Lance’s prediction, The Walking Dead season 11, episode 20 drops another big hint that times are a-changing in Commonwealth land. Pamela Milton sets up a press conference, anticipating Yumiko will follow orders and announce her intention to prosecute Eugene for Sebastian Milton’s death. Instead, Yumiko experiences a sudden change of heart and confirms she’ll actually defend Eugene in court. Pamela is incensed, and other Commonwealth higher-ups begin visibly squirming in their seats, but The Walking Dead subtly shows residents in the background applauding Yumiko and nodding enthusiastically. There’s a very clear divide in the room.

Even though Pamela has successfully navigated a series of crises to avoid losing her position of authority – first blaming Sebastian’s crimes on Lance, then making Eugene a scapegoat – this scene in The Walking Dead season 11’s « What’s Been Lost » proves an undercurrent of discontent remains flowing among her population. If, as Lance believes, the survivors from Alexandria seize control of the Commonwealth in the near future, the support for Yumiko and Eugene indicates they’ll have plenty of allies from the working class.

In The Walking Dead’s comic book flashforward, the Commonwealth has vastly expanded, incorporating numerous communities across a massive area. A huge step in this development is the construction of a railroad spearheaded by Eugene and Stephanie. Designed to connect the various safe-zones, Eugene’s ultimate intention is for the railroad to stretch all the way from east to west, uniting the United States for the first time since the outbreak began. When Lance Hornsby shocks Daryl and Carol by revealing the Commonwealth already has a working train system in « What’s Been Lost, » he brings The Walking Dead’s final comic chapter one step closer to live-action reality.

Should the teased revolution go as planned, the Commonwealth’s new leaders will find themselves in possession of a functional train system, which should make travel between communities and expansion of territory much easier, mirroring the freedom comic-Eugene strove for. Though the train’s existence is now confirmed, a far-future time-jump in The Walking Dead’s final episode still looks unlikely thanks to AMC’s upcoming spinoffs. Another possible obstacle arises when you consider the live-action train is already rolling, whereas the comic version was rebuilt by Eugene and Stephanie, and couldn’t run when the Commonwealth arc began. Lance’s train is taking innocent civilians somewhere, and whoever waits on the other side won’t necessarily take kindly to their supply line being taken away.

The Walking Dead continues Sunday on AMC.