The moment has arrived. The Walking Dead is not waiting for a season or even midseason finale to send Rick Grimes off here in season 9, with tonight, episode 5, being Andrew Lincolns last on the show.
This is no secret or spoiler. AMC has been advertising the hell out of Ricks departure since the season began, even spelling out that yes, this is his very last episode ever, so you better tune in. But how Rick leaves the show is still a mystery to fans, and I thought Id go through the various options that are on the table for tonight. I havent watched my screener yet (Im about to), but here are some of the main theories about how Rick leaves The Walking Dead for good.
In A Body Bag
The most common thought is that Rick Grimes is, of course, going to die. We have more or less never seen a character leave The Walking Dead without dying to this point, the exceptions being Heath who simply disappeared several seasons ago, or Morgan who went over to Fear the Walking Dead. So its kind of expected that Rick will die in some fashion.
My hope that is if we are going down this path, one that gives some sense of finality to his arc, that Rick at least gets a few moments of badassery to go out on. This would require him getting off the rebar, fighting his way through a horde and saving his friends before he dies in some epic way that is hopefully better and more memorable than what we saw with Madison on Fear the Walking Dead.
This feels like it would be the most fitting end for his character, a heroic sacrifice, but possibly also the most predictable, so perhaps this wont happen and well get some sort of a curveball.
As A Walker
This is definitely the most bleak theory, but its possible and could be a part of The Walking Deads newfound artistic vision. We know that in this episode Rick is going to be hallucinating bits and pieces of his old life, including some past, now-dead characters who show up to say hello.
What all this could be leading to is that whatever journey Rick is on, in the end, he never gets off the rebar and it was all in his head. And the last we see of Rick is him turned into a walker on the rebar, or a walker wandering around the area having pulled himself off post-mortem. A walker version of Rick would be the most haunting, harrowing image in the shows history, and would be a bit of a bookend with Shane. And all these hallucinations could also imply that zombies are reliving parts of their old lives in their minds as they stagger around as monsters.
Thisseems a little heavy for The Walking Dead if you ask me, and Id be pretty surprised if we see Walker Rick before the night is out, where Daryl or Michonne is forced to kill him. If Rick dies it may be bleak, but Im not sure it needs to be that bleak.
In A Helicopter
This has been a long, long running fan theory, that this entire Jadis/helicopter plotline could be leading up to Ricks non-lethal exit from the show. We have learned in recent episode that this mystery group is trading Jadis supplies for As and Bs, different types of people that are right now by best guess, leaders and followers.
Rick is clearly a leader, and has previously been listed as an A by Jadis when he was captured. The idea here is that Jadis and her helicopter friends manage to find Rick either on the rebar or stumbling around after getting off the rebar and abduct him. This would be a way for Rick to leave with the potential to return, but it does create some problems.
You have to think about how this would affect the rest of the cast. If the group A) saw Rick taken, the rest of the series would almost have to be about them trying to find and rescue him, but we know they cant if hes leaving the show. If B) no one saw Rick taken, then he would simply disappear like Glenn was going to during his fake death, which doesnt make much narrative sense, and everyone would still be looking for him. Would we really have a time jump and just have everyone be like well, I wonder whatever happened to that old Rick Grimes? as that would be weird. But perhaps theres a way to make this all work somehow.
All of these theories end with Rick leaving the show, if not permanently, at least for an extremely long time if he shows up in the finale in some dream or flashback or final appearance or whatever. Its a sad day for the show, but the best we can hope for now is that they manage to get this hugely important send-off right.
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Body Bag, Walker Or Helicopter: How Will Rick Grimes Leave …
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero