The Strolling Useless season 11B begins off with a literal bang when a gaggle of survivors ship fireworks right into a hoard of oncoming walkers. The battle between a hardened Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the Reapers taking place within the midst of the explosive blasts is bloody, grim, and superior so far as hand-to-hand fight goes. After 11 seasons, the characters on The Strolling Useless are seasoned fighters. However the problem our weary survivors will face within the last season has revealed itself to be rather more insidious: dwelling in a society.
Followers of the sequence, and the graphic novels it’s based mostly on, have recognized for some time that there’ll by no means be a “remedy” for the zombie virus within the fictional world of The Strolling Useless. However an apocalypse can finish in different methods, and the way in which the ultimate season is inching in the direction of that conclusion is unexpectedly unsettling. Historical past repeats itself, and anarchy will get changed with dead-end jobs.
Increasingly more of the long-running AMC sequence’ survivors have moved and gotten acclimated to The Commonwealth, and it turns into clear within the midpoint of the final season that the present’s Remaining Boss is a return to normalcy. This looks like a pure endgame for The Strolling Useless to try for because it winds down. Is the tip of the tip of the world not … the beginning of the world? And given all the things they’ve been via, ought to or not it’s?
After COVID-19 precautions left a handful of episodes in season 10 and the primary chunk of season 11 caught with intimate two-handers whereas shying away from large battles, the present is again to its full ensemble glory. These episodes didn’t really feel misplaced or invaluable in any respect. Interpersonal relationships and quiet moments are what have saved The Strolling Useless ticking in spite of everything these years. It’s at all times been extra in regards to the dwelling than the lifeless. The sequence will spend an hour on zombie gore and brutal combat scenes after which finish on essentially the most healthful hug you’ve ever seen between two mates who’re reuniting after time aside.
A lot of the season’s arc appears to be like to be floor that we’ve trod earlier than on this present. Within the first two episodes of the second a part of the ultimate season (a mouthful) we see new rivalries spring up between beloved characters, a possible dystopia to dismantle after uncovering its darkish secrets and techniques, Carol wielding a plate of fresh-baked cookies, and even one other time soar. Similar because it ever was.
However returning to acquainted conditions whereas nonetheless introducing new characters isn’t the worst place for a present to be in its last season, greater than a decade later. It’s good to create bookends and reminds us why we began watching The Strolling Useless within the first place. It’s satisfying to see these characters take what they’ve realized and never repeat errors they’ve made prior to now. In that manner, the Commonwealth feels extra like the ultimate examination after a 13-year class.
And naturally the stakes are far totally different for this troupe than they ever have been. We’ve seen the survivors go from the woods to working water earlier than on the CDC and in Alexandria. We’ve seen communities with harmful distributions of energy and management with The Governor and Negan. However we’ve but to see these characters readjust to issues like costume codes, journalism, cash, the service trade, and a socioeconomic class construction. The issues they’re going through within the last season are extra like the issues they confronted within the earlier than instances. The primary menace within the Commonwealth comes not from cult worship or cannibalism, however from a employee’s rights revolt. It’s not a lot terrifying as deeply miserable.
One of many causes zombie apocalypses and the tip of the world in fiction is so beloved is that it supplies an escape from the mundane and the oppressive conventions of recent society. It’s simple to think about what sort of individual we’d be if we didn’t have jobs to go to and payments to pay. It’s an equalizer. The jerk who lower you in line or didn’t depart a tip would get eaten first. That’s the fantasy, proper?
Ultimately, as The Strolling Useless has discovered, these forms of individuals and conditions will come again; that’s the value to pay for safely and complacency. You possibly can afford to be impolite once you’re not preventing to outlive. The first antagonist in Season 11B is an entitled, privileged product of nepotism named Sebastian Milton. His mom, Pamela, is a former politician who appears hell-bent on sustaining the world that benefitted her. They’re precisely the kind of individuals who one would assume lack the power to make it via an apocalypse, and right here they’re bossing our weathered survivors round. Pamela’s energy comes from a reactionary place of familiarity and luxury, and that’s not at all times an excellent factor.
Take into consideration the youngsters, for instance. The Strolling Useless has been on the air (and jumped forward in time) for therefore lengthy that we’ve watched a number of youngsters develop up within the zombie apocalypse. They’ve been disadvantaged of what we take into account to be a “regular childhood” and needed to develop up very quick with the entire violence and loss of life that surrounds them. However when Daryl can’t afford to provide Judith Grimes an allowance when she asks for one, it’s a reminder that so-called regular childhood has its bummers too.
Is it even moral to rebuild society the identical because it was earlier than, flaws and all? This query was additionally raised on one other post-apocalyptic sequence this 12 months: Station Eleven. That sequence’ antagonist (for lack of a greater time period) rejected efforts to convey again society because it was. And such themes tie Station Eleven to one thing like The Strolling Useless’s last arcs, particularly as we the viewers are dipping again out and in of society within the waning days of a worldwide trauma that would have simply ended the world.
In our world, the pandemic has had a manner of unveiling priorities in a manner that’s at instances heartwarming and at different instances painful. The Strolling Useless is completely poised to make use of its last season to deal with this in a artistic, if not just a little on the nostril, manner.