The Walking Dead

Walking Dead’s Oceanside Scene Makes Luke’s Absence Even Worse

The Walking Dead season 11 part 2 finale ends with a scene set at Oceanside, and it makes the absence of Dan Fogler's Luke on the show harder to ignore.

The Walking Dead season 11 part 2 finale ends at Oceanside, and it makes the absence of Dan Fogler’s Luke even worse. Following the part 2 finale, The Walking Dead season 11 will move into its final stretch of episodes. As such, it makes sense for this episode to end on a cliffhanger — in this case, one featuring the people of Oceanside being rounded up by the Commonwealth’s soldiers. But by choosing to show Oceanside in the final scene, The Walking Dead is drawing attention to the fact that audiences don’t really know any of these residents, and anyone who might be familiar, like Luke, is conspicuously absent.

Dan Fogler made his debut as Luke in The Walking Dead season 9, arriving alongside Magna, Yumiko, Connie, and Kelly. Before too long, these newcomers became regular faces among The Walking Dead cast, and currently all but Luke are appearing in the final season. He was last seen in The Walking Dead season 10, episode 16, taking part in the plan to destroy the Whisperers’ horde. Recently, Fogler addressed Luke’s absence from Walking Dead, remarking that the character is probably “with Jules” and “at Oceanside, just living it up on the beach.” Jules is a woman from Oceanside with whom Luke started a relationship, so Fogler’s guess at his character’s current whereabouts makes sense. That is, until The Walking Dead season 11 returns to Oceanside and Luke is nowhere to be seen.

At the very end of The Walking Dead season 11, episode 16, “Acts of God,” the Commonwealth takes over Alexandria, Hilltop, and Oceanside. At Oceanside, Commonwealth soldiers forcibly gather the whole community. Lance Hornsby approaches the residents as they’re being lined up, flipping his lucky coin as if he’s looking to it for help in deciding what will happen next. It’s an ominous ending that teases a terrible fate for the people of Oceanside, but it lacks emotional impact since none of them are characters the audience cares about or even knows. Some may recognize Rachel Ward, Oceanside’s leader, but it’s hard to argue she’s much of a character beyond being the community’s spokesperson. Instead, using someone like Luke could have given the threat to Oceanside more emotional weight while also revealing where he’s been since season 10. As it stands now, the scene is a weak ending for season 11 part 2 and — especially given Fogler’s recent comments — a strange reminder that a notable character is just inexplicably gone from the final season.

This is by no means the first time The Walking Dead has appeared to forget about a character. Heath is perhaps the best-known example, having gone missing in season 7 with barely a mention since. Walking Dead‘s showrunner, Angela Kang, has confirmed Heath was eventually captured by Jadis and traded to the Civic Republic, but that’s not information revealed in the show itself. Cyndie is another character who simply disappears between seasons, never to be heard of again, and even Connie was missing for enough of season 10 that many began to doubt she’d ever return.

In the case of both Heath’s actor, Corey Hawkins, and Connie’s Lauren Ridloff, their absences were due to other filming obligations, and it’s very likely the same is true for Fogler. He has continued to appear as Jacob Kowalski in the Fantastic Beasts movies and he plays Francis Ford Coppola in the upcoming miniseries The Offer. Chances are both of these commitments made him unavailable for Walking Dead‘s final season, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to leave his character’s fate unknown.

With only eight episodes left, it’s doubtful Luke will return or be mentioned. And that’s a real shame since he injected a welcomed lightheartedness into the show. Not to mention, the lack of awareness over Luke’s whereabouts contrasts weirdly with all the concern when Connie disappeared, making it seem like his friends don’t even care. Capping off The Walking Dead season 11 part 2 with a scene set at Oceanside and no mention of Luke only makes this worse, drawing unnecessary attention to another character disappearing without any explanation.

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