Fans were forewarned, but they still had their tissues at the ready because tonight’s gut-wrenching episode spelled the end of an era for protagonist Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) on The Walking Dead.
Rick Grimes has been a central character on the AMC series since it debuted on Halloween, 2010, and in the tense fifth installment of Season 9, titled “What Comes After,” Rick Grimes met his end on The Walking Dead shortly after being thrown from a white horse and impaling himself on a metal spike jutting from a pile of rocks.
Before it happens, he fights the inevitable, though. Fiercely.
A herd of walkers advanced on Rick Grimes while he was frozen in place by the spike lodged in his body. Luckily, he was able to lift himself off the spike by using his belt. After freeing himself, he was able to get back on the horse and flee while the herd followed closely behind. After a while, he found a side road and made it to a derelict house to take shelter.
All the time this is going on, Rick Grimes is trying to stay conscious while he loses a lot of blood. Fevered dreams torment him, including a trip down memory lane with his former partner and friend Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal), who Grimes was forced to kill in Season 2. The hallucinations cause him to wake up each time before the walkers tear into him, including when he was about to lose consciousness in the derelict house.
After escaping the structure, he leaves on the horse in an attempt to lose the horde of zombies again.
There is also a bittersweet moment in the series of hallucinations where Rick Grimes talks to Herschel Green, played by deceased actor, Scott Wilson. Herschel again urges the delirious Grimes to wake up before disaster strikes.
Before long, the injured man falls off the horse at camp and finds a gun. He shoots the closest advancing walkers, but the herd continues to close in on him. He makes it to the bridge and almost gives up when he sees Michonne (Danai Gurira) and his friends coming to the rescue. However, the vision of his friends is only another hallucination, and imaginary Michonne urges him to wake up. He does, and the walkers are still there.
He continues to slowly try to escape advancing doom by walking across the bridge, and the walkers follow him. The real calvary of his friends does arrive, but Rick sees the danger of the herd making it across the bridge and decides to sacrifice himself by blowing it up. He does so by shooting several sticks of dynamite he spied that spilled out on the surface of the bridge.
Afterward, Rick Grimes’s friends see him perish in a huge fiery ball of flame.
Interestingly enough, in the comic book series of the same name, Rick Grimes is the ultimate survivor. And the tragic storyline in the TV series severely departs from how long his counterpart lives in the comics.
Andrew Lincoln, who has played Rick Grimes for nearly nine seasons, explained to Digital Spy back in 2010 that he had never heard of The Walking Dead comics during casting calls for the role.
He said that he had to ask a storekeeper in Camden to introduce him to them. After that, he told them he read the series and really got into it.
Lincoln summarized the highly-anticipated role to Digital Spy.
“His intentions are good, though his decisions may be bad many times. He’s complicated and flawed, which I find fascinating because it makes him human. He sort of erodes over time because of the world he lives in, and there’s nothing more satisfying than playing a character that changes irrevocably, so I embrace all of that.”
— Meg D. (@dendxo) November 5, 2018
The Walking Dead was formerly a ratings juggernaut, and fans regularly tuned in to see the show. Lately, though, the ratings have been in a decline. The Inquisitr previously reported that AMC has been heavily promoting the episodes leading up to Rick’s death, and it resulted in better ratings.
On the other hand, it remains to be seen if loyal fans who have stuck with the show will be tempted to exit when he does.
Executive Producer Greg Nicotero, who directed Andrew Lincoln’s last episode, had this to say to loyal fans that were thinking about bailing in light of a Walking Dead universe without Rick Grimes.
“The thing I can really, honestly say with 100 percent confidence is the show will not suffer because of the loss of Rick Grimes.
“He’s a great character, he’s an amazing actor, but I just I feel that as this show evolves, I just really don’t want people to feel that this departure signals the end of the show, because we have a tremendous amount of story to tell.”
According to The Independent, British actor Andrew Lincoln said that his decision to leave The Walking Dead stemmed from missing his family back in the U.K., and that he wanted to spend more time with them. He said that filming on the show forced him to constantly relocate to Georgia where the show is filmed.
All of the hype and interviews Andrew Lincoln has given over the last few months really set fans up to see Rick Grimes perish in the episode “What Comes After.” Nevertheless, if you made it to end of the episode you saw the shocking end where the former police officer made it out of the fireball on the bridge alive and was airlifted to safety in that mysterious helicopter.
After the episode, Scott Gimple let us in on another unexpected twist during an interview on Talking Dead. He told Chris Hardwick that Rick Grimes’s story is finished on The Walking Dead, but that his story arc is nowhere finished because he will be appearing on a series of films that chronicle his continuing journey.
Fans that stuck around after the emotional roller coaster of an episode and heard the news on Talking Dead were glad to see Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes continue.
Just read about the future plans for The Walking Dead franchise. I'm in!
— ????️TheNoby⛅ (@TheNoby) November 5, 2018