We’re just one episode away from Rick Grimes’ exit from The Walking Dead, and it looks like we have an idea of how his end will play out. However, whether it will be a satisfying goodbye for a beloved TV character isn’t entirely clear yet.
Before we get to that, we actually spend a lot of time with Michonne this week instead. While her days are occupied with writing the new community charter and playing with little Judith, Michonne sneaks out every night to take out her pent-up aggressions by clearing the area of stray Walkers. During one such kill-spree, she drops her sword and has to bash a Walker with a baseball bat she finds on the ground. Looking at the bloody bat reminds her of Negan and unsettles her. This is what you call foreshadowing.
Later, Michonne is informed that Negan is refusing to eat. She reluctantly pays him a visit, demanding that he end his hunger strike. Negan says that he’ll eat if she will stay to talk with him. She agrees to give him 20 minutes.
Negan teases Michonne with a small bit of personal information about his wife dying of cancer before the zombie apocalypse, but this is all a ploy to needle Michonne about her own dead son. He pulls that old “We’re the same, you and I” chestnut out of the Supervillain Monologue handbook, accusing her of being relieved that her son died, because the boy made her weak and now she’s free to be her badass true self, like he is. Michonne tosses Negan’s plate of food on the floor and storms out.
The argument leaves Michonne on edge. Eventually, she calms down and returns to Negan with another plate of food, letting him know that she refuses to let him break her. When Negan begs to be allowed to see his precious bat, Lucille, Michonne laughs and tells him that she doesn’t have it. She doesn’t even know where it is. The damn thing is just out there, somewhere, discarded. Negan loses his shit upon hearing this news and repeatedly bashes his head into the wall.
On her way to Alexandria for a confrontation with Negan, Maggie stops home at the Hilltop to pick up some supplies, including a crowbar. Jesus spots her and immediately recognizes what she’s up to. He questions whether killing Negan is really the right thing to do and puts some doubt in Maggie’s head, but not enough to dissuade her from going. She rides out with Dianne, who has her back.
Jadis & Gabriel
Gabriel wakes up in the dump and finds himself tied up on the ground. Jadis stands nearby with a Walker strapped to a gurney, which she then dangles over him, as she had for Negan once before. Gabriel looks into his heart and tells her that he forgives her. Once again, Jadis can’t go through with whatever weird ritual she had planned. She pulls the Walker away and instead chloroforms Gabriel unconscious again.
When that wears off and Gabriel wakes up again, Jadis is gone. She set him free, leaving him with a her equivalent of a Dear John note.
Flood waters threaten to wash out the half-completed bridge. Eugene recommends scrapping the project, but Rick isn’t ready to let his grand plan go yet, not even when Carol informs him that she and her crew are leaving.
Jerry arrives with news that Maggie is on her way to Alexandria. Rick radios ahead with orders to stop her at the gate, but the girl manning the walkie-talkie relay position is on Maggie’s side and doesn’t pass on the message. As Rick prepares to hop on a horse, Daryl offers him a ride on his motorcycle, promising to get him there faster. Rick accepts, only for Daryl to take him on a detour obviously meant to stall him. Rick demands that he stop, and the two get into a tussle that results in the both of them falling into a conveniently located sinkhole pit.
The pit is too deep for either man to easily climb out of. They argue about whether Maggie should kill Negan. Rick worries that doing so will just make Negan a martyr, and will mean that Carl died for nothing. Daryl tells him about Oceanside killing the Saviors.
Speaking of which, Jed and his group of angry Saviors put the clues together and figure out that the Oceansiders are responsible for killing Justin and Arat. They storm into the work camp and have a standoff with Carol. Jed makes the mistake of calling her a weak woman. Carol pretends to lower her gun, but of course that’s a trick and she fights him off.
As Rick and Daryl struggle to climb out of the pit, gunshots from the conflict nearby attract a herd of Walkers their way. By setting aside their differences and working together, Daryl is able to boost Rick up high enough to grab a tree root and pull himself the rest of the way out. Daryl then kills Walkers that tumble into the pit, and climbs onto their corpses until he can reach Rick’s hand. Friends once again, Rick pulls him the rest of the way to safety.
Once out, Rick and Daryl split up. Rick finds his horse (they really didn’t drive very far on that motorcycle, did they?) and tells Daryl that he’s going to lead the herd away from the work camp. He’s not ready to give up on the bridge yet.
Rick rides for a bit with a herd behind him, but gets trapped by a second herd coming from another direction. His horse panics and rears up, throwing Rick to the ground. He lands on a concrete block, impaled through the side by a piece of rebar. Ouchies.
The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Rick passes out with a whole lot of Walkers lurching towards him.
The preview for the next episode shows Rick pulling himself off the rebar and escaping the Walkers, but the clip also strongly suggests that the whole thing is probably a death dream that will end with Rick dying right where he is. Assuming that’s true (which, admittedly, has yet to be confirmed), it seems like an inglorious end for the man who led this show for nine seasons. I’m not even sure how I’d actually prefer Rick Grimes to go out, but this just doesn’t feel right. I’ll try to withhold judgment until I see how it actually plays next week, but at the moment this just doesn’t sit well.
The episode in other respects is neither one of the show’s best nor one of its worst. Most of the storylines are very predictable, and none of the zombie action is particularly memorable. Everything about the situation in the sinkhole pit seems terribly contrived, as does Rick’s accident.
I think a final verdict on this episode may depend on what happens in the next one.