This Walking Dead article contains spoilers.
The end of The Walking Dead is only the beginning. That’s the teaser that closes the series finale of AMC’s zombie flagship. A Rick and Michonne series, Daryl’s spinoff, a Maggie and Negan show called Dead City, and more Fear the Walking Dead are indeed on the way, but for at least one major TWD character, this finale really is the end of the road.
While last week’s episode seemed to set up Judith Grimes as the finale’s big death after she was shot by the cowardly Pamela Milton — which would have mirrored Rick’s own demise in the comics at the hands of Pamela’s son Sebastian — Daryl and the crew are able to save her, in part due to a last ditch blood transfusion. Apparently Daryl was a universal blood donor all along but decided to wait to reveal this information until the most dramatic moment possible. Just go with it.
But despite Daryl’s declaration later in the episode that the people of the Commonwealth are not the walking dead (a line spoken by Rick in the comics just before he’s killed), this is indeed still a series titled “The Walking Dead.” That means the show needed to end with at least one big death. And since Andrew Lincoln exited the show in season 9, making it impossible for Rick to die in the Commonwealth arc as he did in the comics, it was always going to be someone else to kick the bucket in “Rest in Peace.”
That someone ends up being Rosita, who gets to say one last goodbye to all her friends and loved ones before passing away peacefully in the final minutes of the episode. Her fate is sealed much earlier in the episode, though, when she falls into a horde of walkers while trying to climb up a drain pipe to safety. While at first it seems like she’s miraculously managed to escape the horde unscathed (hardly the first time this has happened on the show), Rosita reveals to Eugene later that she’s been bitten on her back, which means no amputation is going to save her.
It’s a tragic end for one of the series’ longest lasting characters — Christian Serratos debuted as Rosita all the way back in season 4 — made all the more tragic by the fact that she leaves an infant daughter behind who will never get to truly know her mother. That said, it’s a much more peaceful end for the character. After all, Rosita never even made it to the Commonwealth in the comics by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard.
Rosita is killed in issue 144 by Alpha during the Whisperer arc, and her decapitated, zombified head ends up in the infamous pike scene from issue 145, similar to Henry, Enid, and Tara’s fate at the end of The Walking Dead season 9. To make matters worse, Rosita was pregnant when she was murdered in the comics, meaning the death of her unborn child, too. So those heartbroken by Rosita’s death on the show should find some small comfort in knowing that Rosita escaped a much darker fate.
“I just really wanted people to have that emotional experience in our finale, especially,” Serratos told EW after the finale, revealing it was her decision for Rosita to be the show’s final death. “I think a show that was about possibly losing your loved ones, you want to lose somebody at the end. I know it sounds so dark, but I feel like the show, we owed it to the fans to break their hearts one last time, if that makes sense.”
Another thing to note is that Rosita joining Luke (Dan Fogler) and Jules (Alex Sgambati) on the list of the dead in the series finale is one final subversion from a show known for going off script when it comes to the source material. Although Rick’s death could never close out this series, it almost seemed like his daughter Judith would play that role. That Judith begins the finale slowly dying on a hospital gurney is no accident either, since it’s meant to rhyme with Rick waking up from a coma in the pilot — a Grimes waking at the start of the series and another closing their eyes for the final time in the finale were likely very tempting bookends to this saga.
But the show ultimately ditches the comic book ending in this regard, choosing to let Judith help build the new world her father and Rosita were always fighting for. As for Rick himself, he’s still out there in TV universe. The final minutes in the episode tease that his journey on our screens is anything but over, comics be damned.