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Working Mothers

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Renat Shiryaev
Renat Shiryaev

Twd E23

Chase Hutchinson is an Authority Editor for Collider. His work has also appeared in a variety of publications including The Stranger, The Playlist, The Inlander, The Seattle Times, and The Boston Globe. He lives in Tacoma, WA (it is near Seattle, though still very much its own thing) where he works as a writer and journalist. You can find him on Twitter at @EclecticHutch.

twd e23

As each episode of The Walking Dead brings us closer to the finale, I sit in dread of which of my favorite characters will die. We know which ones will go on to live in spin-offs, but what about the ones that are left behind. The Walking Dead cast, and crew have become family to me, and so the title of the episode is so fitting of this review.

I have, over the years, come to think of The Walking Dead cast as family. They have encouraged me to keep going even when life threw some nasty hand grenades at me. Carol, Maggie, Michonne, and Rosita have reminded me that women are true warriors, especially when the men get it wrong.

With only one episode to go until the series finale of AMC's The Walking Dead, we have a new preview for "Family" that's giving us seriously bad vibes regarding Judith's (Cailey Fleming) chances of being around when the end credits roll. We touched upon it when the opening, Judith-narrated flashback was released (more on that below), and the scene you're about to see doesn't exactly help matters. While Daryl (Norman Reedus) may have plans for her back in Alexandria, Judith makes a very strong & emotionally-charged argument about why she needs to be fighting by her side. An argument that has Carol (Melissa McBride) thinking beyond the fight to what the future holds.

With S11E23 "Family" hitting AMC screens this Sunday, here's the newest preview for AMC's The Walking Dead. And depending on how Sunday night goes, I feel like I'm going to have a not-too-promising speculation post to share about what I think is going to happen in the series finale:

The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23 "Family": Directed by Sharat Raju and written by Magali Lozano, Erik Mountain & Kevin Deiboldt, the long-running series' penultimate episode finds our heroes now having taken back their home, Alexandria. But the battle is far from over, as sides are being taken within the walls of the Commonwealth while Pamela's (Laila Robins) troops are on high alert with a "shoot-to-kill on sight" order if they come across any of our folks. But even as revolution rages throughout the Commonwealth, there's a much deadlier problem on the way. That's right, a swarm of walkers that aren't like the ones they're used to fighting. Some are faster, can open doors, and even climb. And as we saw in the previous episode, some maintain the instinct to know to pick up a knife (check out our review here). Now, here's a look at the preview images from the penultimate episode, followed by a look at the official promo:

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The pain is too much, and she screams, causing Aaron and Jerry to grab her and hide inside the RV as several walkers move toward it. Panicked for Elijiah, Aaron calms Lydia down knowing they only have one option.

Now that Outpost 22 is essentially no more, the remainder of the group plans to go back to The Commonwealth and take out Pamela. This means a lot of families and children will be left behind at Alexandria.

Even though Negan makes the wise decision to suggest that just he and Maggie should go back to spare their friends, she disagrees. The group gets together and rides the train back while keeping in contact with Mercer.

But everything comes to a tragic halt when Pamela decides to shoot and accidentally hits Judith as she pushes Daryl out of the way. After shooting a fire extinguisher the group escapes, reuniting with Eugene, Max and Yumiko outside.

As soldiers report how dire the situations is from one of the towers, one notices a walker beginning to climb. He reports this before he is brutally attacked himself, accidentally hitting a button that opens the entrance.

The group becomes trapped with walkers coming from nearly every direction. The episode ends with Luke and Jules reuniting with everyone, as they try to push and hold back walkers so that Daryl can get Judith to safety.

It felt like a lot of them were pulled in different directions due to the state of the communities, personal missions and the way of life at The Commonwealth. It does remind viewers that no matter what, they will come together and share the same goal.

"Family" represents one last step on The Walking Dead's journey before the end - this is how season 11, episode 23 sets up for the grand series finale. After more than a decade of corpse-based calamities, The Walking Dead has very nearly skewered its last zombie. Continuing its ongoing Commonwealth arc, The Walking Dead season 11 has positioned Pamela Milton as the story's final villain, and a battle is brewing for control of her community. The Commonwealth's Governor stands on one side and the protagonists assemble on the other, now supported by both Mercer and the prisoners rescued from Outpost 22.

A secondary threat arises in the form of new variant cohort zombies, which are becoming increasingly prominent as The Walking Dead's highly-anticipated series finale looms. Caught between a desperate aristocratic tyrant and the rapidly evolving undead, The Walking Dead season 11, episode 23 sets the stage for a mighty three-way showdown that not only decides the fate of the Commonwealth, but potentially the fate of all human civilization in the post-apocalyptic United States. "Family" also teases a sharp increase in notable character deaths, as the fate of one long-standing survivor hangs precariously in the balance ahead of The Walking Dead's very final episode.

Victory gradually slips out of Pamela Milton's reach in The Walking Dead season 11, episode 23. Her labor camps are revolting, her chief security officer has sided with Alexandria, and zombies have achieved the unthinkable by breaching Commonwealth walls. Making matters worse, the guilt of accidentally shooting young Judith has taken a steep mental toll, and as Pamela's behavior grows increasingly erratic in the face of mounting problems, her solution is to channel the invading zombie herd into the Commonwealth's "wards." These are areas reserved for lower-income residents, and Pamela herself opts to hide among the wealthy in the Commonwealth's "estates."

Not only does this tactic set up The Walking Dead's final battle, it also kills two birds with one stone for Pamela Milton. Earlier in season 11, episode 23, Rosita had mapped out her plan to recover Coco from the Commonwealth's children's home, explaining, "We won't stand out as much in the wards." More by happy coincidence than design, Pamela's plot to reroute the invading zombies through poor areas points the undead directly toward her Alexandrian enemies. This is why the Commonwealth soldiers are more interested in erecting barricades than chasing down Daryl Dixon and his friends in the final moments of The Walking Dead's "Family."

Aside from setting up an almighty clash between The Walking Dead's heroes and the marching undead, Pamela Milton's plan also foreshadows the future of the Commonwealth. As a soldier duly points out, the Commonwealth wards house "thousands" of citizens that are now completely defenseless. By default, The Walking Dead's protagonists led by Carol, Negan and Maggie will become the last line of defense between the undead and the Commonwealth's "lower" classes. Assuming the good guys win, those thousands of citizens in the wards will inevitably switch their loyalty to Alexandria.

The Walking Dead season 11, episode 23 promises a climax broadly similar to the original Robert Kirkman comic books. In the source material, discontent in the Commonwealth bubbles over into a battle with Pamela Milton and her loyalists on one side, and the Alexandrians joining Mercer's anti-Milton revolutionaries on the other. Judging by the closing scene of The Walking Dead's "Family," the final fight in live-action will be against the dead rather than Pamela Milton, but the presence of variant zombies represents a much biggest deviation, since these advanced denizens did not feature in Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic books in any capacity.

The Walking Dead's heroes may know how to handle a regular herd, but as they watch the Commonwealth zombies climbing over obstacles, Negan sums up the thoughts of everyone by muttering, "What the f**k?!" The novelty of variant zombies in The Walking Dead means the main characters currently cornered in the Commonwealth wards are wholly unprepared, raising the chance of major deaths. Ominously, the variant that picked up Lydia's dropped knife in The Walking Dead season 11, episode 22 is nowhere to be seen in episode 23, suggesting the blade plays a significant part inThe Walking Dead's ending. The more pressing question is which character the armed variant will stab.

Variants create an unpredictable environment for The Walking Dead's finale, stacking the odds firmly against the cornered protagonists. The Walking Dead season 11, episode 23 does, however, give the heroes two advantages. While the returning Luke and Jules push their way to safety, Elijah remains unaccounted for after his disappearance in "Family." Jerry has given chase, while Aaron and Lydia are also yet to unite with their friends. These characters could prove vital in drawing zombies from the Commonwealth, or performing a pincer movement. With that said, Jerry's speech to Aaron had an eerie air of finality, implying the happy-go-lucky axeman will die in The Walking Dead's series finale.

The Walking Dead's "Family" ends with Judith Grimes fighting for her life after taking a bullet intended for Maggie. Daryl carries her to the Commonwealth's clinic, which Ezekiel helpfully confirms is "not far," but reaching the facility provides no guarantee of assistance. The Commonwealth's lockdown procedure could mean Daryl arrives to find the hospital completely devoid of doctors. Worryingly, The Walking Dead has comic book precedent for killing Judith Grimes. In Robert Kirkman's source material, Judith dies as an infant while Rick leads the prison escape. AMC's The Walking Dead chose to keep her around, but perhaps Judith's demise was merely being reserved for The Walking Dead's finale. 041b061a72


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