By announcing The Walking Dead was ending, it made the Season 10 finale kind of boring.
The Walking Dead has returned, at least for one episode fir now. The long-running series postponed its Season 10 finale earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that episode has now aired. Except, now it's not the Season 10 finale. A lot has happened with AMC's zombie universe mothership since the last new episode aired, leading to what was ultimately a disappointing hour of television.
It was announced in September that not only would six additional Season 10 episodes be shot to air sometime in 2021, but that the show would end after an eleventh season to air at an even later date. Knowing now that The Walking Dead will end after its next season takes quite a bit of a sting out of what would normally be a high-stakes Season 10 finale. Warning: The following contains spoilers for Season 10, Episode 16 of The Walking Dead, titled "A Certain Doom."
There's no way the show would kill off what few of its memorable characters are left. Over the last several seasons, the show has gotten rid of Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Glenn (Steven Yeun), and any number of other fan-favorite characters for a variety of reasons. In their place, a string of newbies have come and gone--some semi-memorable, others not so much, none of them ever fully filling the void of beloved characters.
Now, knowing the show will end after next season, it's obvious the show wouldn't do away with the few long-lasting characters that are left before the show ends. After all, they've made it this long, so it feels like there's no way Daryl (Norman Reedus) or Carol (Melissa McBride) will bite the dust before all is said and done. That's certainly something the show would save for a series finale, to leave things on a powerful note.
The problem is, that's not going to happen either. When it was announced that The Walking Dead would end after Season 11, AMC also revealed a spin-off is in the works that follows the continuing adventures of Carol and Daryl. Essentially, this means they're untouchable. No matter what circumstances you might find them in before the end of the series, they're not going anywhere.
With their deaths off the table, that leaves characters like Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) as the most emotional punches the show could throw in its final season, so why would they be killed off now? Then there's Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The once engaging and disturbing villain is now a good guy and not very exciting. Would his death actually mean as much as it would have a few seasons ago?
So imagine our surprise that they aren't killed in this episode. In fact, while this installment features the final battle with the Whisperers and the death of Beta (Ryan Hurst), it happens with minimal collateral damage. Even Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), who looks like he won't make it out of the episode alive, is saved by a returning Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
Honestly, Maggie's return is the best thing about the episode, even if it was the worst kept secret imaginable. Cohan appeared at the show's Comic-Con panel and her character is featured in the trailer. A surprise like this would have packed a wonderful punch if it hadn't been spoiled ahead of time. As far as legitimate surprises go, the introduction of the Commonwealth at least teased what's coming next.
This is where we're at leading into the final episodes of The Walking Dead. Oddly, facing the end of its life, this is the safest The Walking Dead has ever felt. That's a hell of an odd place to be for a show that was once an unpredictable and exciting dose of horror.