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by LaTaeya Lane

AMC’s The Walking Dead started with a Georgia Deputy Sheriff named Rick Grimes, portrayed by (Andrew Lincoln). Suffering from an on-the-job gunshot wound, Rick ended up in a coma only to wake up and learn that the world he once knew was gone and riddled with the dead as they plagued the Earth roaming, lurking, and walking, ready to devour any living being that crossed their path.

Rick set out on a journey to find his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs), and along the way, he met a man named Morgan Jones (Lenni James) that would save his life and set him on a path to great leadership. Rick found his family and a group that would be the genesis of a story that eventually changed how humanity would survive the apocalypse.

Rick’s sole purpose was to survive, and through that purpose, he strived to find a permanent place where his family and the community that he has grown to love could thrive and have a future; however, for Rick’s purpose to have true meaning he had to endure the psychotic nature of many different enemies. Unfortunately, those enemies included people from other groups.

Rick’s leadership started with a small camp just outside of Atlanta. From there, his survival adventure led him to a farm where he met The Green family, then he and his group lived on the road for a while. Next, he found a Prison where he thought he could build a life and fortify. After he crossed paths and fought and survived Woodbury’s Governor (David Morrissey), he and the group again tried to start over. On the road again in search of a new place, he and the group met a man named Aaron (Ross Marquand), bringing them to a gated community called Alexandra. It is there where Rick and the group find their place until they meet a group called The Saviors, led by the now famous Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan). After many lives lost and another war, the Alexandra safe zone is where Rick brings other local communities together, such as Hilltop, The Kingdom, and Oceanside.

As the years went by, Rick developed many friendships, allies, and enemies. He lost his wife Lori and his son Carl, but he was able to start over and build a new life with his daughter Judith (Cailey Fleming) and his partner, the katana-wielding Michonne(Danai Gurira).

After years of fighting and shortlived moments of peaceful times, Rick’s survival is tested again as he attempts to save his community from Walkers breaching the borders of the Alexandra safe zone. We last see Rick being taken away in a helicopter as he seeks medical attention for his injuries as directed by his possible ally Jadis (Pollyanna Mcintosh), who he met while trying to form an alliance to fight against Negan and the Saviors.

The surviving members of Rick’s group have done their best to pick up the pieces of a life first orchestrated by Rick. Many years have gone by, and we now see the group has left Alexandra to seek a new home and more opportunities for growth and expansion in a place called the Commonwealth. However, things are not as they seem. The organization of this group quickly reveals a vast amount of unfair treatment, injustices, and corruption among its leaders. We see the legacy of Rick Grimes live through each and every character as they prepare to fight the injustices of the Commonwealth.

Rick’s brother Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) has been there from the beginning and has now taken on the leadership role in Rick’s absence. However, he has also taken on another important role: father figure to Rick’s daughter Judith and his youngest son RJ (Antony Azor), whom he shares with partner Michone. As the final season wraps up, we find Daryl and the group back at Alexandra as they try to fight their way through a herd of evolving Walkers, tapped by the Commonwealth’s troupers,  searching for a safe place to regroup. At the same time, Judith suffers from a wound after she attempts to save Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) life. Meanwhile, as Aaron and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) try to help Lydia (Cassady McClincy) cope with a newly amputated arm, they do their best to get back on track to be reunited with the rest of their group.

All the puzzle pieces move together simultaneously as the group fights through the darkness of what they thought would be a good life in the Commonwealth community. They fight for the true meaning of freedom and eventually are victorious, but not without the consequences and casualties of war.

The Walking Dead’s Series Finale tied some loose ends while keeping the door open to various storylines and spinoffs. Despite knowing that some stories will continue, such as Daryl’s, Maggie’s, Negan’s, and Rick and Michonne’s, it’s sad to see the end of an Era. The showrunners did an excellent job with the flow and finalization of the story as they showcased the continued strength and determination of the group to fight for what is right. The feature film length of the final episode brought tears to my eyes as I experienced the final zombie visualization push through the screen.

We have seen Rick’s story evolve through his eyes and through the eyes of some of the most beloved heroes and anti-heroes that the TWD universe has to offer. The reason why The Walking Dead is the greatest show of all time is because it is through its heroes that it displays the true nature of what it means to be human; the light, the dark, the strength, perseverance and determination, the hope of family faith and love, the spirit of friendship and loyalty all wrapped up into a shared experience that has transcended time and American Television. Rick’s story will live on because it is the story that has pushed the envelope and defined what it means to truly live as hope and light guide the way forward.

Check out the final episode trailer below:

L.L.

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The Walking Dead season 11B Mid-season Recap and Review

Warning Spoilers Below!

In The Walking Dead’s season 11B mid-season Finale, we see Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel on a mission with the Commonwealth’s troopers to clear out some buildings nearby. Unfortunately, things go left when Daryl realizes Hornsby is leading him and his crew into a trap. As they move with the troopers, Daryl works out a plan to take them down. A major shootout erupts in a salvage yard, and Daryl and company come out on top as they take down Hornsby’s men. However, Daryl is on his trail after learning that Leah is after Maggie.

 Maggie is on a path to put an end to Hornsby’s shenanigans. Accompanied by Elijah, Marco, and Lydia, she converses with Negan and Annie as she plans for Negan to watch Hershel, so he is protected from the crossfire of war. In the process of Negan accepting Maggie’s offer, she tells Negan that she is starting to trust him, which is a defining moment between these two characters. Maggie leaves Hershel with Negan and Annie and sets off the end things with Hornsby.

Back inside the Commonwealth Community, Connie, Kelly, Eugene, Magna, and Ezekiel are working to expose the community to the truth behind all the missing people in the Commonwealth. Max is working Behind the scenes to provide the group with evidence so she can fully expose Pamela Milton and the underhanded agenda that the Commonwealth community poses.

Leah and Maggie eventually face off in a fight to the death. This very intense fight sequence ends with Leah’s demise as Daryl saves Maggie with one fatal shot. However, as he defends her, Daryl shoots Hornsby in the face, which only angers him to such a degree that Lance eventually takes over Hilltop, Alexandra, and Oceanside.

Maggie and Daryl reunite with Aaron and Gabriel, not realizing they don’t have a safe and stable place to call home anymore.

Overall, this was a good episode that closed the chapter on Leah and her one-woman Reaper army while starting a new chapter revealing Lance Hornsby’s true intentions with the Hilltop and its sister communities. The shootout scene with Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel was well structured and had a great flow. In addition, the scene’s mood had a freshness that added to the TWD universe.

The Maggie and Leah fight scene was epic, creating solid layers of character dimension among the two women. This scene gave us a chance to see Maggie in a different light. The fierceness within Maggie displays a complex character that has evolved since we were introduced to her in season two. Another character that has undergone a tremendous transformation is Daryl. First and foremost, Daryl has learned to trust himself and understands that he has a lot to offer. He has grown to become a force that people love, respect, and follow throughout this journey.

The scene with Connie and Kelly created a new mood that graduates the TWD universe into a New Era of progression. It makes a statement that whispers notes of the past while simultaneously implying that a future of collaboration and peace will not be possible in this post-apocalyptic world.

The final eight episodes of The Walking Dead will air this Fall and will surely keep us on the edge of our seats.

This is the perfect time to binge the entire show before the Fall.

L.L

Check out the episode trailer below:

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