The Walking Dead series finale recap: How does The Walking Dead end?

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

The Walking Dead series finale was the final chapter in the AMC show’s story. How did it all end for the beloved show?

It was a moment that many thought would never come, and it was one that fans certainly didn’t want to come. After eleven seasons, 177 episodes, and countless deaths, The Walking Dead came to an end as its series finale aired on AMC.

It was a poignant series finale, one that looked forward more than it looked back, and that certainly divided audiences. But at its heart, The Walking Dead allowed its central characters to do what they have always done: Survive. Well, most of them at least. And it made sure that we knew that, despite one door closing, several more are open… like, really, really open.

Here’s what happened in the series finale of The Walking Dead.

*** This episode contains MAJOR spoilers from The Walking Dead series finale. If you haven’t seen season 11 episode 24 and don’t want it spoiled, don’t read on. ***

What happens in The Walking Dead finale?

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Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Nadia Hilker as Magna – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

The early parts of The Walking Dead season 11 episode 24, titled “Rest In Peace”, are very much focused on wrapping up the season 11 story (As it should be). As a result, the survivors find themselves surrounded by the Walkers that had broken through into the Commonwealth.

Daryl saved Judith by giving her a blood transfusion in the hospital just before it got overrun, after which she told him the truth about Michonne’s exit and her intention to find Rick. And with that, he, Carol, Maggie, Negan, Ezekiel, Gabriel, Rosita, and more teamed up with Mercer (who was broke  out of prison by Princess and Max) to stop Pamela and save the people of the Commonwealth from “The Walking Dead”.

In the end, they did just that, convincing the guards to do the right thing by allowing the normal Commonwealth folk into the esteemed Estates. Pamela was arrested for her crimes, and the decision was made to use the fuel and dynamite to blow up the surrounding area, destroying the Walkers to prevent the more dangerous variants from escaping.

After that, Pamela was incarcerated and Carol and Daryl vowed to make the Commonwealth a better place than it was.

Who dies in The Walking Dead finale?

The long-running series is known for killing off central characters, so it’s no surprise that it bowed out doing the same. That said, there weren’t as many deaths as you might expect.

Jules, Oceanside fighter and girlfriend of Luke, was the episode’s first death after she was attacked by multiple Walkers in the herd. During the scuffle, Luke was bitten by a Walker and even though his foot was amputated, the blood loss he sustained eventually took his life.

The biggest death in the episode was Rosita. She survived a close call with the herd when she fell into it and swung out like a titan. Unfortunately, she was bitten before she could escape (something we didn’t learn until later) and she died peacefully the next day, knowing that her loved ones and daughter Coco were safe. Her death was easily the most heartbreaking moment of the episode, as she quietly slipped away with Eugene by her side.

How does The Walking Dead end?

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 – Photo Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC /

After the war with the Walkers, we take a one year time jump to see that our survivors are thriving. Though not as much time is spent with them as there should be, we learn that Ezekiel has become Governor of the Commonwealth, with Mercer also being promoted to the role of Lieutenant Governor. Meanwhile, Carol has taken over Hornsby’s old role. Eugene and Max are still together, with a child they named Rose after Rosita.

Alexandria and the Hilltop are up and running again, and Maggie thinks now is the time to explore the world they haven’t seen yet, a.k.a. set up some spin-offs. Though she told Negan a year prior to this that she could never forgive him but that he had earned his place, it’s clear these two will cross paths again as a trip to New York City awaits in The Walking Dead: Dead City.

Daryl decides to hit the road (a road that we know will take him to France in his own spin-off) but not before a beautiful farewell with Carol, who he told that he loves her and wishes she was coming with him (we do too, Daryl!).

As we get to the end of the story, we see Rick Grimes and Michonne. They aren’t together and haven’t found each other yet, but they are searching for each other, writing letters they will probably never get. Rick is then found by a helicopter from the Civic Republic Military, with a voice referring to him as “escapee Grimes”. He surrenders after angrily killing a Walker, smiling as we get a beautiful montage of all of the show’s characters telling us that “We are the future”. Michonne races towards a herd of Walkers, and we know her search for Rick will continue in the upcoming spin-off that will feature Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in the lead roles.

Just as it cuts to black, we return to Alexandria one more time as Judith and RJ say “We are the future”.

Next. All 11 seasons of The Walking Dead ranked from worst to best. dark

Have you seen the series finale of The Walking Dead? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!