The Walking Dead Recap Season 9 Episode 5: Does Rick Die?

The Walking Dead

What Comes After

Season 9 Episode 5

Editors Rating 5 stars *****

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Photo: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Say what you will about what The Walking Dead has become, but even if you loathed tonights ending, theres no denying that What Comes After delivered a full-circle Rick Grimes tribute and season-finale-level game-changers. Negan is broken. Rick is gone, but still breathing. Cue a major time shift and a band of new survivors. And meet Lil Ass-Kicker, a.k.a. Judith Grimes, who came here to do two things: hand out beatdowns and color and shes all out of crayons.

As shocking as Ricks exit was, the signs were really everywhere. The episode has been promoted as Ricks final, with no mention of his death. The fallen friends he met while slipping in and out of consciousness kept saying, We dont die. We know theres no way Rick simply croaks alone on a concrete slab. And please allow me an honorable mention for saying this last week (and yes, Im about to quote myself): It seems that any chance for Rick to get out of this thing alive has disappeared (unless Jadis-Annes chopper comes to airlift him to a hospital). Not exactly a prediction, but pretty damn close!

Before Rick flies off into the great unknown, he embarks on an agonizing journey that straddles the physical and metaphysical worlds or more simply put, slowly bleeds out while taking a wild This Is Your Life head trip. The opening scene carries new meaning now that we know how it all ends. At first, it looked like a nod to the first episode of the series, when Rick woke up alone in a hospital. But there were no skyscrapers outside his window back then, and what looked like a swarm of crows in the distance turned out to be helicopters. The unrecognizable voices asking him, What is your wound? might be members of the rescue chopper posse. All hints at what was yet to come.

To get there, though, Rick had to remove his belt, toss it over a piece of metal above his head, and pull himself off the rebar spike that impaled him. Is that possible? With a surge of adrenaline and two zombie hordes closing in, probably. But if youre still judging this show based on plausibility, you might want to find something else to do on Sunday nights. Things certainly dont get more realistic from there: Rick survives an immense loss of blood, has enough energy to ride/fall off that jittery horse, scraps with some zombies, and most impressively after all that, gets blown clean off a bridge into raging waters and washes ashore, alive.

But how about those dream sequences? In an obvious nod to the iconic image of season one, Rick leads the newly formed megaherd into downtown Atlanta; the outbound lanes are jammed with abandoned cars, while the inbound lanes are wide open. Soon hes reunited with Shane in their sheriffs car, like they were before Rick was shot and the world went to shit. As they eat fries and bust balls, Shane hits Rick where it really hurts cracking wise about how Judith is his daughter. You think hed say, Hey brother, thanks for taking such good care of the kid I had with your wife. Then again, Rick did kill him. Theyre probably right theyre both assholes. (Kudos for the jump scare as Shane lunges at Rick and the scene fast-cuts to a zombie preparing to take a bite.)

The best cameo is Hershel, who looks so wonderfully healthy and wise and two-legged. Hershels farm is basically heaven, and after Rick stops apologizing for everyone whos gone and every bad thing thats ever happened, Hershel tells him he cant stay (i.e., dont die yet). Sashas appearance was a bit of a head-scratcher her over Glenn or Abraham or T-Dog or even the kid that was eaten in the revolving door? but that sea of bodies was impressive. (Cue another first-episode reference with the door marked Dont Open Dead Inside.) Theres a lot of talk in these scenes about Ricks guilt, making amends, endings, and finding his family. Rick never finds Carl and Lori, but Sasha is pretty clear thats not in the cards: Your family youre not going to find them because theyre not lost. And you are not lost. He will be soon, though.

While Rick is walker-walking along the line between life and death, Maggie arrives at Hilltop with a crowbar in her hand and murder on her mind. It only takes a minute of debate and a few tears for Michonne to cough up the jailhouse keys and step aside. From behind bars, Negans ploy is pretty transparent: Hes not trying to get in Maggies head, hes trying to push her over the edge so shell put him out of his misery. Cant blame her for doing him that favor after Negan says he delighted in hearing Maggies screams and cracked open [Glenns] skull and popped out his goddamn eyeball. When Maggie opened the cell door, it seemed like a trap. Would he wrestle that crowbar from her and escape? One of the episodes biggest surprises was seeing how truly broken Negan has become begging for death, ugly crying, following orders back into his cell and dropping to his knees. Even Maggie cant believe what shes seeing. She delivers a line that might sum up how a lot of people feel about Ricks good-bye: Youre already worse than dead.

About that good-bye it is a doozy. Rick somehow makes it to the other side of the bridge and friggin Eugenes calculation that the megaherd would cause its collapse was all hooey. As luck would have it (over and over again in this episode), someone left a crate of dynamite on site, and Rick still has at least one bullet left in his Python. The gang arrives in time for Daryl to snipe a few walkers with his crossbow, but after that, they can only watch helplessly as Rick takes aim and blows the bridge and its reasonable to presume, himself to smithereens. Just as heartbreaking as Michonnes grief was seeing Daryl see it all happen, losing his recently reconciled bro, and being unable to save him. There was also a gruesome poetry in the heaps of walkers who were drawn to the fire, who went up in flames, and then plunged into the surging river below.

Thats when the show began to feel like the third Lord of the Rings movie just when you thought it was over, boom, another ending! Jadis-Anne appears, and frankly, with all that was going on, I was not in the mood for her bullshit. But somehow, Rick washes up on shore and Jadis-Anne is just as lucky: She not only found a passenger, but shes upgraded from an A (Gabe) to a B (Rick), whatever the frick that means. Inside the chopper, Rick has a tube in his nose and his eyes roll back, possibly from the unimaginable pain hes in, or more likely, at the thought of his future with Ziggy Trashpile. (Note one of the more obscure callbacks to the series debut. If youre wondering about the oddly upbeat music in that scene, its Wang Chungs Space Junk, which we heard when Rick was trapped in the tank and heard Glenns voice for the first time: Hey you! Dumbass. Hey you in the tank. Cozy in there?)

But wait, theres more! As the chopper disappears into the sky, the shack in the foreground suddenly ages. Ill tell you what I didnt need in this moment more randos. Yet thats what we got; couldnt quite make out their rushed introduction, but the interwebs tell me four of the five are Magna, Yumiko, Connie, and Luke. Far more important is whos behind the childs plea that leads them to safety. If you didnt know from the second you heard that voice, shes got a gun, and a sword and a sheriffs hat. Judith, she says. Judith Grimes. She even has the James Bond thing down cold.

By the looks of Judy Kick-Ass, weve jumped ahead approximately five years, if she was roughly three and is now somewhere around eight. I dont know where to begin with all of the questions this raises. A-town and the other settlements are sure to look different; the guarantee that windmill Michonne talked of building last week (and we see in the opening credits) is up by now, and lets hope Maggie fixed that tractor. What state is Negan in? Did Carol and Zeke have a royal baby? Have the Saviors assimilated? Whos in charge? When and how will Maggie make her exit leaving to join Georgie, perhaps? Did someone erect a statue of Rick, and if so, is it Bearded Rick or Five OClock Shadow Rick or Clean Shaven Rick? My only complaint is that they didnt jump even further ahead, so we can see young Hershel and Judith as the power couple theyre destined to be some day. Ive been saying the show needed to shake things up for a while now. Love this or hate it, consider it and us shook.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 9 Episode 5: Does Rick Die?

Related Post

Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
This entry was posted in The Walking Dead. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.