A Closer Look at the Final Scenes of TWD Finales: Part I
Bicycle Girl analyzes the last moments of The Walking Dead Seasons 1 and 3 finales in this TWD TBT post
So it’s Thursday and with The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale is coming so quickly, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the last scenes of each season’s finale. After watching them, I realized that there have been two different kinds of final moments in the seasons. The first kind is what I’m calling the contemplative closing, which was found in Seasons 1 and 3.
Let’s take a look!
Season 1 Finale
When I think of the Season 1 Finale, I always remember the explosion of the CDC with our survivors watching the building burn, mouths agape in absolute shock, but that’s not how the episode ends.
After the building blows apart and shakes the scene, Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” begins to play. The soothing, quiet sound of the song contrasts so greatly with the expressions on the characters’ faces and is so different than the loud boom of the preceding explosion. At first, it seems like an odd choice, but when you examine the lyrics, the tune and its mood are perfect:
The song starts by referring to a journey, one that seems to go on forever, making the days pass slowly and causing moments to be empty and lonely. At the end of Season 1, our survivors seemed to be doomed to that kind of existence. We had no idea where they would go, what place they could call home.
Next, Dylan sings wistfully of a lost love, reminding us of Jim, of Amy and of Jacqui who we’ll never see again. It speaks of a bed, a place to truly rest, something it seems our survivors may never know again.
Here, the song echoes what our survivors are going through. They are already being changed by the difficult task of surviving, so their reflections are unfamiliar. They are experiencing pain that they can’t truly express as they watch the place they had hoped would save them burn, and the paths that they took in their previous lives are quickly being erased, made unimportant by the prospect of a life of ceaseless wandering.
All in all, the Season 1 finale leaves us contemplating what lies ahead. We watch our survivors drive away, and then we see the fire and then finally just the smoke. There’s no going back to the CDC. There is only the option of going forward into the unknown, and we’re left anxious to start that journey in the next season.
Season 3 Finale
The final scene of Season 3 fades in on the strains of strings and soft piano music. We see the sunset through the gates that our survivors were willing to die to defend. Despite the violence and loss of life that proceeded this moment, the sun shines brightly beside only a faint scattering of clouds. The dark day is coming to an end with the promise of a new tomorrow.
We see a caravan pull up with Daryl leading the way on his bike and an armored school bus taking up the rear. Maggie and Glenn open the gate, and Hershel, Beth, Carl and Carol come out to see who has returned. The bus doors open, and Tyreese and Sasha begin ushering strangers out. Hershel greets them at the door. Carol wanders over to the scene.
Carl asks Rick’s what’s happening and is told:
Then, Carl moves on leaving Rick alone. He stands and watches, separated from the group, and then he lifts his eyes to the sky, as if looking beyond the prison itself into the future.
This is significant because we’re seeing the others–Sasha, Hershel, Glenn, Carol and Daryl, stepping up. They’re helping to get everyone inside. They’re taking the lead while Rick hangs back. We’re already seeing signs in the final moments of Season 3 that he will not be the leader when the show returns.
The haunting melody continues in the background. Like Rick seems to be, we wonder what this all means for our group. Then, we’re greeted with three final sights that seem to capture our questions.
Will the fences and walls keep the group safe from threats the living
and from the undead?
And above all–who else will we lose the way that we lost Lori? T-Dog? Axel? Oscar? Milton? Andrea?
The music stops as we stare at the cross and, as if in a moment of reverent silence for the departed, we hear only the sounds of nature.
The scene fades to black.
We’re left to reflect on the past and what lies ahead for our survivors in the following season.
Join me next Thursday when I’ll be breaking down the last moments of Seasons 2, 4 and 5! And follow me on Twitter for more Bicycle Girl!