The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Season 11 Doesn’t Feel Like The Final Season

Though it's no secret that The Walking Dead is reaching its end, season 11 doesn't come across as a final chapter -- and that's a problem.

It’s no secret that The Walking Dead season 11 is in the process of delivering its final season, but even so, season 11 hardly has the feel of a show that’s ending. Now that AMC has aired The Walking Dead season 11 part 1 finale, it only has 16 episodes left before it’s all over. Characters like Daryl, Carol, and possibly more will live on in spinoffs, but for most of the main cast, this is where the story ends.

It was confirmed over a year ago that AMC’s plan was for The Walking Dead to draw to a close with a supersized season 11. Since season 3, the series has always told 16-episode stories, but that changed when the circumstances of the pandemic led to The Walking Dead season 10 getting six additional episodes. That made season 10 its longest yet, but season 11 will be even bigger at 24 episodes. Of course, that also means the release format is differing a bit from what came before. Season 11 is being split into three parts, with the second string of episodes starting in February 2022.

Like the comic book version of the story, The Walking Dead has moved into the Commonwealth saga in the aftermath of the Whisperer War. This decision is indicative of how the show may tie up its remaining loose ends, considering that the Commonwealth was the last story for the comics as well. However, the show is certainly changing – and adding – some things, such as the new season 11 villains, the Reapers. In fact, the direction that The Walking Dead is taking with the show is actually making it feel like season 11 isn’t really the end.

Walking Dead Season 11’S 3-Part Story Is Already Problematic

The three-part format created advantages for The Walking Dead with telling its final story, as it provided it with ample time to wrap everything up. Unfortunately though, the series isn’t utilizing this format to its full potential. The Walking Dead has a massive cast of characters, so it was understandable that a 24-episode final season would be needed to give everyone their due. The issue with its approach thus far is that The Walking Dead is limiting its scope when it shouldn’t be.

Though the show has spent some time with the people of Alexandria, the two main stories that have been playing out in the first eight episodes have been about Maggie’s group and Eugene’s group. What’s going on in Alexandria with the food shortage and the storm in the part 1 finale has felt more like a subplot than a major storyline. Everyone who’s not with Maggie or Eugene has been underused in season 11, and that accounts for several key characters, including Carol, Rosita, Lydia, Judith, Jerry, and a few others. The same also goes for Alden, who was inexplicably cut out of the Reaper story in episode 3, and hasn’t been seen since.

TWD’s Reapers Shouldn’t Be In Season 11

The Reapers feel out-of-place in The Walking Dead season 11. Most of the show’s main villains (the Governor, the Saviors, and the Whisperers) have all taken more than one season to beat since there was much to do with each faction and how they impacted the show’s main characters. For that reason, it made sense that The Walking Dead was extending season 10 and supersizing season 11 to benefit the Commonwealth arc. That’s why it’s so surprising that the series bothered with secondary antagonists like the Reapers in the first place. The Walking Dead season 11 is admittedly longer than usual, but that doesn’t mean the series should combine two distinctly different villain groups into its last big story. And since viewers were well aware that the Commonwealth is the endgame for The Walking Dead, the Reapers have often been perceived as filler to stretch out the season and delay the Commonwealth’s inevitable run-in with Alexandria.

The Commonwealth Story Is Taking Too Long

As it was mentioned earlier, The Walking Dead’s season 11 plan should have been a boon to the series in terms of what it can do with the Commonwealth, but there’s a feeling that the show is dragging its feet. First of all, the Reapers have slowed things down significantly, which has resulted in Eugene’s group being so limited in screen-time that they already missed half of part 1. The Walking Dead has had eight episodes to dive into the Commonwealth, but only made use of four of them. It still has 16 left, but that’s just the length of a normal season, when it originally had a lot more available to them.

Part has already been concluded, and The Walking Dead only just recently reached the precipice of the Commonwealth’s discovery of Alexandria. Presumably, Eugene is about to break and give up the community’s location, and that’s what will set everything in motion. This is ultimately where the story really takes off in the comics, so the same is likely to apply to the show as well. Much is guaranteed to transpire when the Commonwealth arrives on their doorstep, as some characters may eventually welcome them, whereas others will never be receptive to their ways. When looking at all the storytelling potential this idea has, it would be better if The Walking Dead was a great deal closer to this moment.

How TWD Can Fix These Issues In Part 2

Season 11 has had a bit of a slow start with the Commonwealth, but it’s not too late to fix the problem. One way it can do is that by closing out the battle with the Reapers in The Walking Dead season 11 part 2 premiere. Leah has taken over now that Pope is dead, but that shouldn’t result in an extension of their conflict. Instead of having Daryl, Maggie, Negan, Elijah, and Gabriel escape the Reaper compound to fight another day, The Walking Dead should find a resolution immediately, thus allowing part 2 to leave the Reapers behind and move forward. Getting Maggie’s group back to Alexandria will be good for the show because reuniting most of the cast will help streamline its story and get several of them off the sidelines. But, that can only work if the characters have something meaningful to do. The Commonwealth suddenly showing up early in part 2 and upending their way of life in Alexandria could be just the jolt that The Walking Dead needs.

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