By C. Michael Forsyth
With the eagerly anticipated Season 7 of The Walking Dead set to air October 23, and fan theories running wild, I thought I’d have a bit of fun myself. Submitted for your approval, a final episode revelation that Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling might have written: It turns out hero zombie-fighter Rick Grimes died for a few seconds while in the hospital and returned, unknowingly, as a zombie himself. (His brain function relatively undiminished, naturally, since he was out so briefly).
This, of course, isn’t the first twist ending that lovers of the show have proposed. Multiple people have theorized that the entire series has been a nightmare and Rick is still in a coma. The notion circulated so widely on the Internet, that the show (and graphic novel) creator Robert Kirkman came forward to deny it. Still hope for Jim of 28 Days Later, I suppose. (That zombie stomper was, coincidentally, also in a coma when the zombie apocalypse broke out).
It would’ve made a nifty twist. But Serling probably would give the series finale one extra twist, in a scene like this:
Rick, his wife Lori, former partner Shane, and son Carl hover over his hospital bed as he emerges from his coma.
RICK: It was awful. I dreamt the whole country was overrun with zombies.
SHANE: It’s OK, old buddy. You’re back with us in the real world now.
CARL (Whispers): Mom, do you think we ought to tell him about the vampires?
LORI: Wait till he’s had time to rest, dear.
An even bigger bummer of an ending would be if it turned out that Rick, a sheriff’s deputy, was actually shot DEAD in the first episode, and even being in a coma was all in his imagination! In this scenario, in the final scene, Rick is surrounded by walkers, with no hope of escape. One elderly zombie emerges from the herd and approaches him.
RICK: You won’t get me, you bastards!
HEAD ZOMBIE: There’s no reason to be afraid. Don’t you see, Rick? You’re already dead. We all are.
As Rick’s panic subsides, he now sees the “zombies” as ordinary citizens who gather around to greet him.
ZOMBIE MAIL CARRIER: I thought he’d NEVER stop running from us, Pete.
RICK: B-But who are you?
HEAD ZOMBIE: Pete is fine. But gosh darn it, if some folks don’t still insist on calling me St. Peter.
Such a “dead and doesn’t know it” ending would bring the saga full circle. It was the twist in Carnival of Souls, the creepy 1962 B&W film that inspired George Romero to make Night of the Living Dead.