Review, The Walking Dead, TV Shows

The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 23 Review and Recap: Family

The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead is one episode away from being completely over. Just let that sink in for a minute. While this is certainly sad news, we also have good news: there are so many upcoming spin-offs to look forward to!

So how did this second-to-last episode play out? Read along below to find out.

Warning! This article contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 23: Family.

This one starts off with a retrospective on Judith and the whole Grimes family. As with previous intro retrospectives, this one makes us a little sad with the flashbacks, but also reminds us that this episode will feature Judith in one way or another.

“This isn’t the future my brother wanted,” she says. “Not what my mom and dad fought for. Not yet.”

It’s that “not yet” part that really leads me to believe that this will be the main theme of the last two episodes. Judith is dead-set on maintaining her family legacy, but in a slightly different direction that the whole crew has been heading for the last season or so. She doesn’t want the violence and bloodshed. She feels like her dad wouldn’t want it, either.

Still, this episode has a lot going on, and the road to that final conflict is being established.

TWD Mercer


When we left off at the end of Episode 22, we saw Mercer showing his full intentions to “fuck shit up.” So in this episode, Mercer brings Eugene back to Max and Yumiko to start that plan to get Pamela Milton out of power.

Behind the scenes, Mercer is making plans to take Pamela down with the help of a few of his troopers and Princess (whom he affectionately calls his girlfriend in this episode. Awww).

But it all comes tumbling down for Mercer when his treason is revealed by Vickers, the woman whom he thought was with him in this coupe attempt. With the leadership of the Commonwealth’s army in question, the giant horde of walkers that’s been approaching the city is out of control. I have a feeling that the final battle in next week’s episode with feature a whole lot of walkers — both traditional slow walkers and these new “climbers,” as they’re called.

Negan and Maggie

While this dynamic duo has more of their trademark venom to spew at each other, Negan suggests that the two could work together as a force to be reckoned with. But Maggie quickly shuts that down. “We’re not a we,” she says. Ouch.

But a bit later, Maggie overhears Negan talking to Ezekiel about trying to do what’s right. Negan has changed and the look on Maggie’s face leads me to believe that she might actually be starting to accept that.

Of course, this was probably written to plant that seed for the spin-off with Maggie and Negan that will premiere next year entitled The Walking Dead: Dead City. It’s said to take place around New York City (specifically Manhattan), but many fans are confused about the dynamic between the two long-time enemies. How could Maggie possibly forgive Negan for killing her husband? Will they even be partnering up for this spin-off, or will we see an entire show full of Maggie’s scowl and Negan’s constant apologizing? Lord, I hope not.

TWD Horde

Aaron, Lydia, and Jerry

This small group (which also includes Luke, Jules, and Elijah) starts off shambling within a horde of walkers, Whisperer style. But since the horde is being led to The Commonwealth by Pamela’s troopers, our heroes decide they need to break off and hide in a nearby trailer before they get too close to town.

What confuses me at this point is the fact that we hear whispers instructing everyone where to go. We can plainly see Aaron whisper “Now’s our chance,” but then we hear “Get to the trees” from someone unknown. I figured that this big group of walkers had a few Whisperers in it. How they got there, I have no idea, but I figured they would explain it. Nope.

And what’s even more freaky is if you turn on closed captioning during that part, it says, “Jerry: [Thinking] Get to the trees. Get to the trees.”

Wait, what? Did I miss a psychic storyline somewhere? Is Jerry telepathic? Maybe it was just a flub on the part of the closed captioner, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong here. It seems like a major event that wasn’t explained later. Maybe it will be explained next episode as we learn more about the “variant” zombies?

Once the group gets inside the trailer, the swarm of undead is too strong for Jules, Luke, and Elijah to fight, so they’re swept away. Lydia stretches out her hand to grab Elijah’s, but a walker takes an impressive bite out of her forearm. Uh oh, Lydia’s a goner! Or is she?

Jerry and Aaron pull her in and perform a makeshift arm surgery on her with Jerry’s blade to stop the infection from spreading. So now I’m hoping to see some of Aaron’s badass metal arm attachments shared with Lydia.

Daryl with Rick's gun


In perhaps the most heartbreaking moment of an episode filled with heartbreak, Daryl, Carol, Judith, and a few others are ambushed by Pamela’s soldiers in the lobby of the Commonwealth’s train station. The troops fire down from a balcony, trapping our heroes down below.

When Pamela grabs a gun herself to fire off a few rounds, her first shot hits Judith right in the upper chest/shoulder area.

Pamela looks distraught over the shot, but Daryl wastes no time picking the little girl up and running out with her in his arms.

As showrunner Angela Kang mentioned in the aftershow, this scene was very reminiscent of the scene where Rick ran with Carl in his arms just after he got shot. The scene even goes so far as to have Judith whisper “daddy” to Daryl.

Judith didn’t die in this episode, but if she does in the next one, it would mean that RJ (Rick and Michonne’s young son) would be the last to carry on the Grimes legacy. Another spin-off idea?


That final episode

The short teaser for next episode shows a whole lot of fighting in what should be a pretty grand finale. But one thing really stood out to me at the end of it. The shot only lasts a split second, but we can see Daryl and what looks to be Judith lying on the floor. We do know that Daryl makes it out of this alive (he has his own spin-off, too!), but what about Judith? This might just be her end. But are we ready to lose another Grimes?

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    Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and author of "AI For All," a guide to navigating this strange new world of artificial intelligence.
    He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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