Why That Major ‘Walking Dead’ Twist Matters for the Show’s Ending

The Walking Dead - Season 11 Episode 18 - Pamela Milton and Sebastian Milton
Spoiler Alert
Jace Downs/AMC

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11 episode 18, “A New Deal.”]

All it took to throw The Walking Dead’s final minutes into question was a single walker bite.

To be fair, no one’s quite sure how the show is going to make it to the finish. However, with spinoffs on the way for Daryl (Norman Reedus) as well as the duo of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and Carol’s (Melissa McBride) survival heavily implied, it appears all the front-and-center characters will make it out alive. That wasn’t the case in the comics. Given the final few minutes of “A New Deal,” one of the biggest deaths in the source material won’t translate to television. It all boils down to Sebastian (Teo Rapp-Olsson), who bled out after a walker ripped open his neck on this week’s episode.

Here’s why TWD’s most annoying character had the potential to be one of its most important, and how his absence impacts the end.

the walking dead season 11 episode 18, teo rapp-olsson as Sebastian

What Did Sebastian Do?

Don’t get it twisted—in the comics, Sebastian’s still a real wet fart of a human being. He’s still Pamela’s arrogant, obnoxious, bratty son, and he still makes life hard for the protagonists once they reach the Commonwealth. The key difference? In the comics, Sebastian’s deadly. He believes fully in the Commonwealth’s philosophy of haves and have-nots, and when Rick’s group disrupts that status quo, he takes it as a personal slight. (Rick’s around for the Commonwealth arc in the comics, as is Carl; Carl’s death and Rick’s “death” don’t happen in the source material.)

Sebastian blames Rick for the Commonwealth’s steps toward equality, and desperate as he is to remain “above” everyone else, he’s not having it. In the middle of the night, Sebastian sneaks into Rick’s room and shoots him in the chest, killing him. It’s a heartbreaking moment made even worse when Carl finds his father’s reanimated body in the morning. Somewhat like Negan, Sebastian is imprisoned for the rest of his life. Unlike Negan, he doesn’t receive a redemption arc.

the walking dead season 11 episode 18, Teo Rapp-Olsson as Sebastian

Jace Downs/AMC

Why Does This Matter for the End?

Given that Rick’s trapped with CRM at this point (or so we assume), there was little danger of him dying by Sebastian’s hand. But plenty of fans did expect Sebastian to kill someone. Theories once ranged from Negan to Daryl to Aaron (Ross Marquand), given Aaron’s close resemblance to comics-Rick. Now, it seems likely no one winds up taking that iconic death.

It bears mentioning that even without Sebastian, a version of this death might still occur. But if it doesn’t, it wouldn’t be the first time TWD opted out of a major comics end. After all, in the comics both Lori and Judith die during The Governor’s attack at the prison. But this holds extra significance because it’s the last major death, and it happens to the most significant character. Rick’s death was massive and controversial. The show’s choice to leave that box unchecked serves as a clear indicator that the screen will likely diverge from the page, where conclusions are concerned. We’ll have to wait and see what other changes emerge as the final episodes play out.

The Walking Dead Season 11, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC