The Walking Dead

How The Walking Dead Made Oceanside Relevant Again

Oceanside has been one of the more neglected communities in The Walking Dead, but the show has given them a purpose in the final slate of episodes.

Every once in a while, Oceanside will pop up in The Walking Dead as a scenic background where characters fall back on when times get tough. But Oceanside rarely has a story of its own, until the Season 11, Part Two finale, “Acts of God.”

Oceanside was first introduced in Season 7 in Tara’s solo episode, “Swear,” as a hidden community with only women and children. Since the Saviors killed the men of their group, Oceanside has been one of the more hostile communities and is rarely inviting to strangers. So when Pamela Milton and Lance Hornsby come around and propose a deal with Oceanside, they turn it down to side with Maggie and the Hilltop. In “Acts of God,” viewers might question if they made the right choice keeping their independence, but it seems like their dreadful fate was inevitable.

After an all-out battle between Commonwealth soldiers (who are aided by Leah) and Maggie and Daryl’s group, Lance begins to seek desperate measures to secure the “new world” he’s been promising everyone. With Alexandria and Hilltop defenseless, he easily seizes them with the touch of a banner to declare them Commonwealth property. But he has one last community to deal with: Oceanside. In a defining end to a promising mid-season finale, soldiers take the Oceanside residents hostage, with Lance flipping a coin to decide their fate.

It’s a sad realization knowing Oceanside has found themselves in a situation that is too similar to their Savior conflict years ago. While Oceanside has opened its doors to the people of Alexandria, Hilltop and formerly the Kingdom, they’ve always been more secluded and keep to themselves. They’re traumatized by the events brought on by the Saviors, and will do anything to avoid another massacre. In the end, it doesn’t matter if their leader, Rachel, signed the Commonwealth’s protection pact. The Commonwealth declared them an enemy just by being associated with Maggie, Daryl, Gabriel and Aaron.

Viewers won’t know if Oceanside will be around to fight against the Commonwealth in the final episodes, but surely this isn’t the end of them. Oceanside may have been irrelevant in the past and could easily be discarded from the series, but the threat against their community can catapult a bigger fight that unites The Walking Dead‘s most beloved survivors. But if Lance is as menacing as he’s been with Maggie, the wrong side of the coin can easily wipe them out. On a more positive note, if he begins to think rationally again, then maybe he’ll see the benefit of keeping Oceanside alive.

For all viewers know, Pamela is ignorantly unaware of what’s going on with Lance and the other communities. Lance is her voice when she’s not around, and so far, he’s not giving her a good reputation. When Lance returns to the Commonwealth, he’ll have to create a pretty good excuse to explain his gnarly new scar, and how Alexandria and Hilltop “surrendered” to the Commonwealth’s force. This is where Oceanside comes into play. On one hand, wiping out Oceanside creates less of a threat to the city. On the other hand, if Pamela discovers Lance enforced a massacre upon Oceanside, he’s lost all her trust.

All this being said, Oceanside has a big role to play in the final episodes. Their fate determines how big of a fight is going to break out between the survivors and the Commonwealth. If they survive, Oceanside will finally need to break out of their isolation and fight the war they’ve been forced into, and the other survivors will need to process how their actions have affected the innocent lives in the community by the shore.

To see how Oceanside affects the final episodes, watch The Walking Dead Season 11C, which is expected to air in 2022.

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