Well, I don’t think anyone saw this coming.
There we all were, wondering how The Walking Dead would continue without Rick Grimes when, suddenly, leaks started to come out saying the series would be ending with Issue 193.
It has to be a joke, I thought. It has to be.
But no, this really is the end.
Robert Kirkman somehow managed to keep the ending of The Walking Dead completely secret, even going as far as to create fake covers for future issues that will never exist.
Personally, when I heard of this deception, I was unhappy about it.
I believe that a writer, director, developer, or whatever should never mislead their consumers about future products that they know will not happen.
However, after reading Kirkman’s reasoning behind this, I do understand why he did this.
I still think he should have come clean about the ending of the series but I can see that he wanted to surprise his readers in a good way.
Honestly, I am just sad that it is over.
I remember when I started reading The Walking Dead comics.
I had just finished binge watching the first two seasons of the television show and I wanted to know what would happen next so I started reading.
What I found in the comics was a far superior story to the TV show, with even more engaging characters, plot points and shocking moments.
After catching up, I continued to read the next issue every month to see what would happen.
And, even though I was recently thinking about how much The Walking Dead had descended into mediocrity, I was still a massive fan.
Even after the death of the main character, Rick Grimes (which I thought was handled poorly), I was eager to see how the series would continue… only for it to end in a surprising twist.
Enough about my opinions on the overall series though, now I want to talk about the final issue itself, Issue 193 “The Farm House.”
Since I found the previous issue to not be a very good one, and felt that Kirkman was rushing to conclude his story, I fully expected “The Farm House” to join the likes of Game of Thrones among the worst endings to great series in 2019.
Thankfully, this is far from we got.
I actually love this ending.
Do I still think it is a little rushed?
Do I think there are a lot of unanswered questions about certain characters?
But, overall, this was a fantastic way to end a story that I have been invested in for so many years.
The ending does not fix the mediocre Commonwealth Arc that came beforehand, not by a long shot.
However, it does bring a fitting end to the series and the many characters we know and love.
Picking up after only Kirkman knows how many decades after Rick’s death, “The Farm House” sees Carl living in the countryside with Sophia and their daughter Andrea, named after Carl’s amazing stepmother.
The issue starts with a Roamer coming across Carl’s house who kills it, before angrily storming into town to confront Maggie’s son Hershel, who sadly reminds me a lot of Sebastian.
Turns out the undead are so rare these days that they have actually become a circus attraction, and Hershel is not happy that Carl put down his property.
This starts an unbelievably absurd legal situation where Carl faces a fine for killing something that could have easily killed his daughter.
Carl states this is not what his father died for and he is exactly right.
Maggie then walks in, now the president of the Commonwealth, and convinces the judge not to fine Carl so long as he gets another Walker for her spoiled son.
It was heartbreaking to see how similar Maggie and Hershel have become to Pamela and Sebastian.
It is a parallel that Kirkman makes plainly obvious with Sophia saying Hershel could end up like Sebastian if Maggie is not careful.
Angered by how Hershel is allowed to keep the dangerous undead, Carl kills the Roamers in the night before going off on a job with his ex Lydia.
It is here that we get a full display of how far the world has come, both after Rick’s death and the zombie apocalypse itself.
Because of the decline in humans, animal populations are sky rocketing with a massive flock of birds flying over the two’s heads.
They then meet up with Eugene, who has actually started to build his railway network, giving off a very wild west theme.
Upon returning, Carl is arrested for killing the Roamers and is sent to Michonne who is now a judge.
It is here that we get a big highlight of the issue, where Michonne actually quotes what is written on the back of each volume, “in a world ruled by the dead we are finally forced to start living.”
After this powerful statement, Carl is released back to his family.
Before this though, we get a final scene from Hershel where we come to understand he is not as similar to Sebastian as we had been led to believe.
Showing those Roamers actually allowed Hershel to feel close to his father Glenn, who he never had the pleasure of meeting.
This gives us another perspective on the whole situation.
We then see that a statue has been made in Rick’s honor, with him in the pose he was in when he saved the Commonwealth from disaster right before his death.
A fitting memorial to the hero we followed for 192 issues.
Finally, we get the final and best scene in the entirety of “The Farm House”, where Carl reads Andrea the story of Rick Grimes.
During his narration, we get shots of Maggie with Hershel, Jesus and Aaron resting on a riverbank, what looks like Negan laying flowers on Lucille’s grave, Princess and Mercer walking their dog, Lydia arriving home to her partner, Magna and Yumiko in a park, Eugene watching his train go by, Laura eating with her crew, Michonne going to see her grandchild, an elderly Pamela going to see a thankfully still jailed Sebastian, and Rick Grimes’ grave right next to Andrea’s.
Carl then tells his daughter she would have liked her grandfather to which she replies she knows, appearing irritated, before she joyfully asks him to “read it again”, as if Kirkman himself is asking his readers to do so.
The final shot sees Carl smiling as he reads to her in his rocking chair, the panel entirely white and vacant around them, except for the big “The End” to the side and, just like that, I break down.
I cried seeing such a heartwarming ending to a series I have loved reading for years.
This was a fantastic end to The Walking Dead story, and I am overjoyed with how it subverted my expectations from a day ago, when I first heard the story was concluding.
Sure, it does feel a little rushed and it makes characters like Princess seem pretty pointless in hindsight but, overall, I am happy with the ending.
Goodbye, The Walking Dead.
You will be missed.