- Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead” season 10, episode 16, “A Certain Doom.”
- “TWD” finale has a few callbacks to season one, five, and six while introducing a new group from the comics.
- Showrunner Angela Kang and Ryan Hurst join Insider to point out a few additional details you may have overlooked on Sunday’s episode.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Let’s start with an easy one. The finale’s episode title, “A Certain Doom,” is a direct reference to the comics.
“A Certain Doom” is the title of one of the most heartbreaking issues of “TWD.” In the comics, Rick is in a relationship with Andrea instead of Michonne and he has just learned that Andrea was fatally bit by a walker. Issue No. 167 is a giant farewell to Andrea as characters ranging from Carl and Jesus to Michonne and even Negan all say their goodbyes.
There’s no death on the season 10 finale to match Andrea’s, which may have some fans a little confused, but “A Certain Doom” is also the name given to Vol. 28 of the comics which encompasses six “Walking Dead” issues featuring the Whisperers up until their demise.
The TV show characters certainly still faced their own sense of doom as they needed to escape a herd of the undead of Sunday’s finale.
Maggie is still wearing her wedding ring from Glenn.
When Maggie finds the box from Carol, you can catch a ring on her left hand. Insider confirmed with an AMC representative it’s Maggie’s wedding ring from Glenn and not a new one signalling she may have remarried.
Glenn gave Maggie the ring on season three, episode 15. The two never had a formal ceremony, but Steven Yeun previously told Comicbook.com the ring represented that they were together regardless of whether or not they were officially married.
Carol wrote the letter to Maggie that she reads at the episode’s start.
If you were squinting and pausing your screen trying to read it in full, here’s what we could make out:
You need to come back. Jesus is dead. So is Tara. Enid. My son.
They were murdered by a group called the Whisperers. Have you heard of them? They wear the skins of… and hide in herds. Live with the dead. Whisper to communicate. When you come across walkers, you need to be careful. Watch hands for knives. Do not underestimate.”
There’s more writing underneath, but the camera never focuses on it.
Daryl, Carol, Kelly, Luke, and more cover themselves in walker guts to successfully cross through a horde of of the undead undetected.
We’ve seen this tactic used several times throughout the show in order to smell like and blend in with the dead.
Rick and Glenn first used it on season one and, as Daryl mentioned, Negan has covered himself in walker guts a number of times. We saw him and Father Gabriel walk among the dead on season eight.
Sunday’s episode specifically feels like a remix of season six’s escape from Alexandria.
The last time the survivors had to wade through this many walkers was when a large group overtook Alexandria on season six, episode nine.
Then, Rick led Carl as they all tried to form a chain holding hands to escape safely. That didn’t go so well as Rick’s girlfriend Jessie and her son Sam were devoured and Carl wound up shot in the eye.
Father Gabriel, who was there for the season six debacle, decides that four groups of two will travel through the herd in order to try and lure the walkers away from the building. Maybe Gabe should have led the group on season six.
At this point, Beta’s mission isn’t one of revenge. It’s more of a suicide mission.
After losing Alpha, Beta’s mental health drastically starts to deteriorate. We recently learned Beta was a famous country singer, Half Moon, before the zombie apocalypse. The herd of the dead offer an eerie parallel to a throng of fans following Beta.
“I believe it is more of a suicide mission than anything else,” Hurst told Insider. “What I loved about playing Beta, especially in these last couple episodes, was that so much of ‘The Walking Dead’ is about watching people sort of evolve or devolve with their relationship to impending doom to death and how their humanity sort of reacts to that inevitability.”
“With Beta, you saw somebody who had an exterior that was very formidable, was very sort of loyal and devout. But underneath it, he was harbouring this humanity that seemed to fester,” Hurst continued. “In those last moments… he was replaying the little bits of humanity that he still had inside of him that he didn’t want to necessarily admit.”
Hurst recorded some of the country songs for his character, Beta. Cast member, Dan Fogler, wrote one of them.
This isn’t really specific to Sunday’s episode, but we thought this was a fun fact fans would enjoy knowing now after catching up with Hurst. Two episodes back, Beta played one of his songs near the episode’s end, “The Turtle and the Monkey.” AMC later released another track, “I Went Down to the Well.”
Hurst recorded both of those songs that were written by former and current “TWD” stars. “The Turtle and the Monkey” is a cover of an Emily Kinney song. The actress played Maggie’s sister, Beth, on the show until season five.
“It was one of those sort of like actor’s nightmare situations,” Hurst said. “Before we started shooting, they said, we’re going to make him a country music singer… And they said, well, you can sing, right? And I said, ‘Well, yeah. Sort of.'”
The second song was written by Dan Fogler. In addition to playing Luke on “TWD,” he’s also a musician, and Hurst suggested he write a song for Beta.
“An hour later on my drive home, he sends me this little rough track of him singing. And I was like, ‘Oh, let’s do that,'” Hurst said. “So we pass it along to AMC, and they got somebody to put all the composition together, and went in and recorded another song.”
Carol and Daryl have a small, significant conversation you may miss the first time around about Michonne’s absence.
Carol and Daryl share the following conversation as they’re setting up traps for the Whisperers:
Carol: “Helping some people, that’s all she said?”Daryl: “Yeah.”Carol: “If they’re like us, I get it.”Daryl: “I just wish she would have told me. I’d’ve gone with her.”
If you couldn’t figure out who the two were talking about, it’s Michonne. Daryl catches Carol up to speed with what Judith told him at the end of season 10, episode 15 about her mum going away to help some people. Of course, that was a half truth. Judith withheld that Michonne was leaving to also search for Rick.
If Daryl knew there was a chance the man he considered his brother was alive, nothing would have stopped him from going after him.
It makes sense Carol would get any updates about Michonne second-hand through Daryl. On season nine, we learned Carol and Michonne’s relationship was a little rocky after her old friend (Rutina Wesley) placed a bunch of lives at risk.
Bertie is still alive and makes a brief return to give Carol some side-eye.
If you don’t remember Bertie, the character has been one of the longest-surviving minor characters on the show since her introduction on season six when Rick’s group saved her and brought her back to the Alexandria community.
Since then, Bertie has become a valued member of the community, fighting against the Saviors, and, eventually, a leader of the Hilltop alongside Maggie and Jesus. That’s why she had a cold interaction with Carol on Sunday’s finale.
Carol didn’t tell anyone at any of the communities that she freed Negan out of his jail cell earlier in the season to get him to infiltrate the Whisperers and kill their leader, Alpha. As a result, Negan played his part a little too well. When Alpha and the Whisperers attacked – and destroyed – the Hilltop community, Negan was with them. Bertie and the Hilltop community are holding that against Carol.
You can catch Bertie near the end of the episode to know she made it out of the tower alive.
Negan gives Lydia her mother’s Whisperer mask.
If you thought Negan gave Lydia his own Whisperer mask, take a closer look. He had been holding onto Alpha’s mask as partial proof he killed her. He turned it over to Lydia on the finale so she could exit the building by blending in with the dead.
By the episode’s end, Lydia tosses it off a cliff with Alpha’s walker horde. Not only is it a symbolic gesture of Lydia letting go of allowing her mother to have control over her, but it also allows the idea of Alpha to die with her walker army.
Daryl sticks close to Kelly to make sure she gets through the sea of walkers.
Daryl is likely extra protective of Kelly since her sister Connie isn’t there to look out for her. Daryl already thinks he lost his friend Connie, he likely wouldn’t be able to forgive himself if anything happened to her as well.
Ryan Hurst could not see at all as they were filming his death scene.
Daryl stabs Beta in the eyes with two large knives. Hurst said he had to be walked out and guided to set in order to film his final scene because he couldn’t see a thing due to the additional prosthetics he had to wear on his face under his Whisperer mask.
“It was real technical walking from the makeup trailer completely and totally blind, led by an AD [assistant director], stepping over, extras or laying on the ground at 4 o’clock in the morning in the Georgia heat,” Hurst said.
“At the end of the day, it was strangely peaceful to just kind of be led at night by somebody else, just walking through a bunch of zombies. I don’t know. There’s something cathartic [about it],” Hurst added, while chuckling.
Norman Reedus suggested Beta’s short and quick death on the final.
If you were caught off guard by how quick the Negan, Beta, and Daryl fight scene was, episode director and executive producer said it was Norman Reedus’ suggestion.
“There was a lot of talk about it because Ryan really wanted Beta to continue to fight after that,” Nicotero told Comicbook.com. “Norman had his thoughts and Angela [Kang] and Corey [Reed] had very specific beats because Norman was like, “Yeah, I should just stab him and he should die.”
The shot of the blockaded door reminds us of an iconic moment from season one.
On the pilot episode as Rick wanders through the hospital corridor and comes across a door that says “Don’t Open, Dead Inside” that’s also boarded up by a piece of wood.
On season one, the undead threatened to break through the door. On the season 10 finale, the living, dressed as the dead, forced their way through the entry.
Father Gabriel gives Judith a sweet message to send to Rosita in case he doesn’t make it out of the tower alive.
Gabriel says to tell Rosita, “Eres mi media naranja.”
While Judith translates the phrase literally, wondering why Gabe would refer to Rosita as a half orange, the idiom means you are my better half or soulmate.
Father Gabriel has his stand-off in a “tower,” a nod to his comic death.
The show referred to the place where the survivors hid out as “a tower,” despite the fact it’s not shaped at all like a tower and looks like a number of interconnected buildings.
Regardless, on the season finale, it looks like Father Gabriel is about to meet his end defending the tower alone. In the comics, Gabriel dies alone after falling from a literal tower and getting caught in one of the ladder rungs. There, he’s gutted by Beta.
On the show, Gabe lives to see another day.
The finale serves as a real full-circle moment for Father Gabriel.
When we first met Gabriel on season five, we learned he locked his congregation out of a church to save his own skin during the apocalypse. It was a horrifying revelation to learn about someone who was supposed to be a man of God. Back then, he never would have have put his life on the line for his entire flock.
On the season 10 finale, we see how much he has grown. In what could possibly be his final moments, he’s prepared to do what he couldn’t do years ago by sacrificing himself to protect his community.
The mystery man with Maggie is not a comic-favourite.
If you’re wondering if this is Mercer, Kang confirmed that’s not the case.
Who is this masked man? We have a few guesses.
Dog makes it out of the episode alive.
In case you’re worried about Daryl’s canine, he’s briefly seen in a quick shot that’s easy to miss. As Maggie greets Aaron’s daughter, Gracie, you can catch Dog in the background with Judith and R.J.
Connie’s return scene was the first one filmed for the episode in advance to accommodate Lauren Ridloff’s Marvel schedule.
Near the episode’s end, we finally learn that Connie’s alive. She’s been wandering around in the forest since escaping the cave-in with Magna.
“To be honest, we filmed that in advance of ever doing that final episode,” Kang said of shooting Sunday’s scene with Ridloff to accommodate her filming schedule for Marvel’s “Eternals.” The movie was originally set for theatrical release this November before being pushed back a year.
At the episode’s end, Eugene, Ezekiel, Princess, and Yumiko are confronted by a group of soldiers with guns. The scene is straight out of the comics.
The armoured soldiers are part of a group called the Commonwealth who are introduced on the cover of issue No. 175. In the comics, the group is made up of 50,000 survivors who are under the control of a governor and protected by their own army. That’s who we appear to see on the finale.
Kang said we’ll “check back in” with the Commonwealth in the upcoming extra six bonus episodes of season 10.
“I’ll say that there’s really interesting themes that come up in the comic books in this stretch that we’re heading into,” Kang said of what to expect in the final 30 episodes of the series.
“There are types of stories we’ll be telling that I think will feel actually quite different even this many years in. There’s still just ground to cover that we’re certainly feeling energised by and interested in,” Kang added. “There’s a pretty large amount of original story that we have going forward that we’ve been having fun working on.”
Finally, the letters “PM” are briefly seen on a train car at the episode’s end.
While it could be a coincidence, those are the initials of the leader of the Commonwealth community, Pamela Milton, who appears on the cover of “TWD” issue No. 176.
If Pamela doesn’t appear on the next and final season of “TWD,” the initials are a nice, subtle nod to the character for those who notice.
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