The Walking Dead has finally ended its epic 11-season run. Well, not quite.


AMC has made no secret of its plans for an expanded Walking Dead universe, and announced three different spin-off shows long before the series's last episode aired.

The new shows will bring back lead characters Rick and Michonne (with Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira confirmed to be returning), continue the stories of Norman Reedus's Daryl Dixon, and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the Manhattan set Dead City.

Naturally, fans were worried the spin-off announcements would take the wind out of the sails of the final season of The Walking Dead itself, despite the finale episode's extended runtime of 90 minutes.

But fortunately, executive producers Angela Kang and Scott M Gimple managed to squeeze in a couple of surprises in the hour-and-a-half (not-so-final) final showdown, even for those familiar with how the comic upon which the show is based ended.

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The final season of The Walking Dead arrived via Star on Disney Plus throughout October and November, with the final part of the 11th season landing on Monday 20th November in the UK.

Want to know what happened at the end of the aptly titled final Walking Dead episode, Rest in Peace? Read on to find out, but beware of heavy spoilers.

The Walking Dead ending explained: Season 11 finale recap

Danai Gurira as Michonne in The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24
Danai Gurira as Michonne in The Walking Dead season 11. Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

The penultimate episode begins with Jules getting swallowed by the horde of walkers closing in on the group in a Commonwealth alley, while a distraught Luke fails to pull her out.

He himself gets bitten and is tragically yet swiftly mercy-killed at the hospital following an amputation gone awry. Despite how quickly he's dispatched, it's an emotional scene that culminates with the bard handing his harmonica over to Magna, Yumiko, Connie and Kelly and sets the tone for the rest of the episode.

Things quickly shift to Daryl and Judith, who both survived the horde of walkers trying to break into the hospital from the last episode. Daryl is immediately back on his feet and gives a distraught Judith a blood transfusion as she reveals that Michonne is in fact alive, and looking for Rick.

Meanwhile, Rosita, Gabriel and Eugene finally find baby Coco in an overturned cot, with a walker moments away from grabbing her. Rosita goes full "Not my daughter, you b***h!" on them, and continues her heroic streak as they rescue the children, surviving a swarm of walkers and pulling off an impossible jump before climbing to safety – with Coco strapped to her chest, no less.

Sadly, she later reveals to Eugene that she has in fact been bitten, but asks him to keep it to himself for now.

Maggie and Negan continue their tense journey towards their sequel forgiveness, with Negan revealing he wants to take out Pamela for Maggie. He tells her he finally understood what she must have felt when she lost Glenn after Annie was almost executed in front of him.

"You take Pammy out with this thing, hell is going to rain down on you, and you ain't going to come back, and you have to come back, so I'm going to do it," he tells her, before apologising for what he took from her and her son.

'Pammy' continues her descent into full villainy, with her troopers shooting any Commonwealth citizens attempting to climb over the gates in order to escape the walkers inching ever closer. Some of them, however, aren't too keen on the Governor's orders and stage a coop aided by Ezekiel, who believes the Commonwealth people are "worth saving".

Daryl echoes the sentiment in a speech once they confront Pamela and the troopers. "We all deserve better than this. You built this place to be like the old world, that was the f*****g problem," he tells her. "We got one enemy and it ain't the walking dead."

Finally, they let people behind the gates in time to keep the walkers out, but Pamela attempts to commit death by a walker when she spots a reanimated Lance and gets close to his maul. Maggie takes him out, however, and Pam is sentenced to life in prison.

The crew deal with the horde of walkers by blasting Living Colour's Cult of Personality and blowing up the whole place.

What happens to Maggie and Negan?

Lauren Cohan as Maggie and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead series finale
Lauren Cohan as Maggie and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead series finale. AMC

After that, it's on to more set-up for the sequels. Maggie tells Negan she can't forgive him. "Glenn was beautiful. I'll never love anyone like that again. I remember his smile. His goodness. The way he made me feel. But when I look at you, all I see is that bat coming down on his head," she tells him.

She does, however, invite Negan to stay, even if there are days she won't be able to look at him.

It's a poignant scene, one that feels true to her character despite the pair being headed for an apocalyptic Manhattan in their own series.

Then it's onto the last supper, at least for Rosita, who finally reveals she's been bitten to the rest of the group. She lies in bed with her daughter and quietly bids farewell to Maggie, Carol and Gabriel before sharing a tearful goodbye with Eugene.

Fast forward a year, when he's visiting her grave alongside Max and their baby girl, which Max has rather gracefully agreed to name Rosie after the love of her father's life.

There's a wall with the names of all those lost in the Battle of the Commonwealth, Ezekiel is the new governor and Daryl and Connie are still just friends. Negan returns Judith's compass with a sweet letter, and Maggie wants to talk to Daryl and Carol about the future.

"There to find out about, and now I think it's time we did," she tells them.

What happens to Daryl and Carol?

Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) in The Walking Dead
Norman Reedus as Daryl and Melissa McBride as Carol in The Walking Dead. AMC

Carol and Daryl bid each other farewell before the latter set off on his own journey, with Daryl telling Carol he loves her in a rare show of vulnerability.

It's implied their goodbye isn't forever. In fact, up until very recently, Melissa McBride was meant to appear alongside Reedus in his character's spin-off, which was originally set to follow the two fan favourites on a European adventure.

McBride is no longer set to star, but the Walking Dead's ending does suggest she'll appear somehow, and so did the show's executive producer.

"We thought she was going to ride off with him. And so, we chose to just make it about they’ve each chosen for their various reasons to go one way or another, and that relationship isn’t over, which is true. This is not just something we’re saying in the past. That story has to resolve itself," Angela Kang told Deadline.

Daryl leaves 'Little Ass-Kicker' Judith with the task of looking after RJ and Carol, and off he rides.

What happens to Rick and Michonne?

Danai Gurira as Michonne in The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24
Danai Gurira as Michonne in The Walking Dead season 11. Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

Just when you think the episode is over, however, a match is lit and we get our first look at Lincoln's Rick Grimes and Gurira's Michonne since they each left the series in seasons 9 and 10 respectively.

They've both been writing letters to Judith, and their voiceovers act as a tribute to all the characters lost throughout the seasons, going all the way back to Hershel. But they're not together, as we soon learn Michonne is still looking for Rick, on horseback, sporting some badass armour and wielding her trusty katana before riding into a sea of walkers.

Rick, on the other hand, is on the run - or so it seems when he attempts to run away from a helicopter, with a booming voice telling him: "Consignee Grimes, you’ve been located and are instructed to surrender. Remain in place with your hands up. C'mon, Rick. It’s like he told you. There’s no escape for the living."

Despite dropping hints of what's to come, and introducing this mysterious 'he', the final scenes see the characters, past and future, remind audiences that "We're the ones who live."

With so much Walking Dead content in the pipeline, we don't doubt it.

The Walking Dead is available to watch now on Star on Disney Plus. Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 a year.

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