Season 11 of AMC’s The Walking Dead has so far divided opinion, but one thing fans seem to agree on is that the quality of the fight scenes is particularly high. With this being the final season, the intensity of the fights is a reminder that anyone can die, which in turn adds to the mounting tension.
It is also interesting to see how combat skills have evolved throughout the series. Whether it’s putting down walkers, hunting Reapers, or a good old-fashioned shootout, the showrunners certainly have managed to keep things fresh and entertaining, even as the series nears its end.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) hands over the gun that will reward Maggie (Lauren Cohen) her revenge against the Reapers in “No Other Way” (Episode 9), exasperating the mounting tension between the characters and providing one of the most significant moments in the final season so far.
Although it is more of an execution than a fight, the scene deserves a mention for the political conflict between the groups and the unspoken conflict between Maggie and Daryl. It demonstrates that, despite their history, there is still room for tension within the inner circle.
Maggie And Leah – Episode 16
Maggie goes from the hunted to the hunter in a one-to-one fight against Reaper leader, Leah (Lynn Collins). A cat-and-mouse chase ensues through the dark woods, leaving viewers unsure as to who is the cat and who is the mouse as each stalks the other through the trees.
The fight is a slow burn, creating a bubbling sense of dread that spills over when Leah knocks Maggie out with her gun, though fans have criticized Leah’s motives for capturing Maggie and tying her to a chair, believing that the former got what she deserved for not killing her when she had the chance.
The Heist – Episode 14
Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Daryl find themselves in a sticky situation after being coerced by Sebastian (Teo Rapp-Olsson)into pulling a heist in “The Rotten Core” (Episode 14). A resulting fight between Daryl and a walker is punctuated by flickering lights, exasperating the disorienting scene. Later, a triggered alarm adds to the rising sense of urgency as the characters attempt to retrieve money from a panic room.
However, it is Carol’s (Melissa McBride) arrival with Mercer (Michael James Shaw) that adds some poignancy to the fight, as it serves as a reminder to viewers why Carol and Daryl make such a strong team.
The Ferals – Episode 6
“On the Inside” (Episode 6) has been praised for its refreshing change of pace and Hitchcockian aesthetic. It introduces viewers to the Ferals, whom Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Virgil (Kevin Carroll) encounter when hiding out from walkers in a seemingly abandoned house.
The struggle between Virgil and his assailant is made all the more terrifying by Connie’s inability to warn or help him, as the viewer is forced to witness the fight through her perspective. The tension rises when Virgil mistakes Connie for a Feral and attempts to stab her through the wall.
The Sleeping Horde – Episode 1
The opening scene of “Acheron: Part I” (Episode 1) serves to remind viewers of TWD‘s characters and their fighting capabilities. The medley of leading and side characters armed with their signature weapons, such as Daryl with his crossbow, Carol with her bow and arrow, and Kelly (Angel Theory) with her slingshot, make for an iconic opening image to the final season.
The sequence also demonstrates how well the characters work together as a team since the entire mission is executed in silence.
The Subway Car – Episode 2
Following Gage’s (Jackson Pace) shocking death after Maggie’s refusal to save him, the group is surged by a horde of walkers, led by the freshly turned Gage, inside a subway car. The claustrophobic location adds to the discomfort of the fight that follows.
The scene is significant, as it shows a tentative moment of trust between Maggie and Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan) when she hands him a gun. Also, Daryl and Dog’s ambush of the horde from behind is especially well shot and choreographed, and the resulting grenade gore bath is particularly pleasing.
The Hallway – Episode 9
The hallway scene, featuring Maggie, Negan, and Elijah against the Reaper, Carver, has been praised by fans as one of the most realistic in the series. The cinematography and choreography are exceptional in this moment, with Carver effortlessly working his way from person to person, before Negan delivers the iconic line “Over here, S**t d**k” and knocks him out with a school bell.
The scene leaves viewers holding their breath while the characters fight for theirs. It is a reminder that they are human; although their combat skills have clearly developed over time, they are still capable of experiencing real-life physical limitations, which adds to the authenticity of the fight.
Stormtrooper Gunfight – Episode 16
The gunfight between Daryl, Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) against the Commonwealth stormtroopers is evidence of the characters’ vast experience. Although it might be hard to believe that three unarmoured men could successfully kill ten plus trained soldiers, it is the evolution of their combat skills over the course of the series that makes the fight so convincing.
The bullets that nick them are reminders of their mortality; although there is more to come from Daryl with his spin-off series, the fact that no one is safe adds to the ferocity of the scene. This, coupled with the building music against the silent communication between the characters, makes it the most impressive fight so far in the season.