The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 18 asks parents to reflect how much of themselves is mirrored in their children?
How much of a child’s failure is a report card on their parents and how much was always their own free will?
This advance Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 18 review for “A New Deal” contains marginal, light spoilers.
“It’s weird suddenly being a parent. When Sophia was born, I had no idea what I was doing.” – Carol Peletier to a lost Daryl struggling being an adoptive father to Judith.
The overlaying theme of TWD 1118 is the illusion and delusion of parental guidance. A desert mirage without an oasis. Even the big bad wolf of the TV series, Negan, is reduced to a worried straggler, three chess moves behind the pack, at looming fatherhood.
“Is it all getting too real for you?” “No.”
Though a weathered, grizzled looking Negan subtly promises at a routine hospital ultrasound he won’t run… You can tell in Negan’s eyes that steering his child’s future strikes fear at his heart more than even Rick Grimes could.
“What would he do?”
“It doesn’t matter he’s not here, you are.”
Daryl Dixon loses Judith’s confidence early in “A New Deal” over an argument about running away from The Commonwealth instead of trying to help the people there. It’s the first time in a while we are reminded of the cynical Daryl that went against Rick’s plan to unite seasons ago.
The Commonwealth to Daryl is another Sanctuary with fancier lodgings. Adult pessimism facing off against youthful hope. Experience vs naivety.
After Judith disappears, Daryl asks Carol ‘What Rick would do in his place?’ To which, Carol responds that, ‘He’s not here, you are.’ It really dawns on Daryl that the responsibility falls on his shoulders. He’s not a temporary stand-in or some kind of proxy, he’s all Judith Grimes has.
Daryl openly admits to not knowing what he’s doing, that all he can do is try his best. Eventually, coming to the self-realization that he wishes things were actually how Judith wants them to be.
Governor Pamela Milton’s skipped good night lullaby
Negan and Daryl represent the starting and middle parts of parental life. The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 18 shows us these stages to contrast to when a child becomes an adult. To the life trials of Sebastian Milton.
When the clay can now longer be molded by a parent much further. The cement has hardened on the foundation of their character. You’d need a demolition team with a pickaxe and jackhammer to break everything from the ground up to start over. In other words, the parent’s influence or lack of it is here to stay.
Pamela Milton defiantly believes in her son Sebastian’s redemption. That he’s the same good boy meant to carry on the Milton legacy of his grandfather.
However, there’s two scenes in TWD 1118 that definitely show Sebastian’s true nature when outside his mother’s hemisphere of authority.
One of which is a unique, reverse take on an infamous scene from the early Walking Dead seasons.
Did every skipped good night lullaby by Pamela Milton in a trade off for Governorship cause Sebastian to turn out this way? Or did it have nothing to do with his upbringing?
The Commonwealth: Predetermined vs Free Will
The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 18 shines a major spotlight on the fabrication, the lie of social mobility at The Commonwealth. We discover even the lottery there is hand picked by Governor Pamela Milton. Nothing is left to chance.
The elites rule at the top and the town’s people serve them through an unwritten contract they never signed. Running on the proverbial treadmill at the carrot being dangled in front of them. That one day they’ll be at the top of the pyramid too but that day will never come.
They’ll keep running and running and when their bodies give out, a younger model will be placed on the treadmill.
How much then is a child’s life predetermined from the environment they were born into… And how much arrived through hard work and supposed free will?
As we find in the action packed final minutes of “A New Deal”, the only equalizer in the socially entrenched playing field is chaos and disillusionment. Just as Magna tells Yumiko she’d rather be outside the walls than working inside them.
The last scene is a return to the sheer panic, claustrophobia and havoc of older Walking Dead episodes. When no matter how serene the surroundings appeared to be, it was always one wrong door opening from anarchy and pandemonium.
– Be sure to read our Laila Robins Interview on Pamela Milton
The Walking Dead Final Season Release Date
The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 18 “A New Deal” will be available to stream exclusively on AMC+ on Sunday, October 2. TWD Season 11 Episode 17 “Lockdown” will air on TV in its normal Sunday time slot. Followed by the TV series premiere of Interview with the Vampire.
What will become of Carol and Daryl going into the upcoming Daryl spinoff? Time will tell…
More Walking Dead Season 11 Interviews
Visit our TWD section for more coverage of the 8 final episodes of The Walking Dead!