I wanted to write an ode to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) this week. AMC has been promoting the whole “Rick Grimes final episodes” on The Walking Dead for months now. As it turned out, it was just another clever marketing ploy to trick viewers into watching the first couple of season 9 episodes.
Well, they got me. I thought they were going to kill off Rick, but the mysterious helicopter we’ve been seeing for a while now (part of Jadis’ human trafficking network) swooped in, scooped up Rick and saved his life in the nick of time.
Once again, showrunner Scott M. Gimple and AMC pulled a second-rate ratings scam (anyone remember the whole Glenn under the dumpster debacle?) and viewers should be pissed. But likely they’re not, because their hero Rick Grimes is still alive.
The episode itself, entitled What Comes After, leading up to this cheap conclusion, wasn’t all bad. When last week’s episode ended, Rick’s horse had thrown him onto a rebar. The dead were approaching and it looked like he was a goner.
This week, he frees himself using his belt and climbs back onto his horse, staying ahead of the zombie herd. Flirting in and out of consciousness, Rick has a series of delusions featuring some of his long dead friends.
Good Times With Old Friends
The highlight of these hallucinations is Rick sitting with old pal Shane (Jon Bernthal) in their sheriff’s car, talking about old times.
“God damn cowboy, you look like s—t,” Shane says to him.
“I’m looking for my family, Rick replies.
“Your family? One could argue it’s my family you’re looking for, right? How is my baby girl by the way? Got my eyes doesn’t she?”
It concludes with Shane thanking his old friend for raising his daughter. The whole scene is in Rick’s mind, of course, but obviously Rick still believes Judith is Shane’s.
There’s also an emotional scene with Hershel (the late Scott Wilson) as the pair stand in a barn, gazing out onto serene farm land.
But most of the episode focuses on Rick riding the horse that got him into his predicament in the first place. When the horse finally takes off for good, Rick shambles along, holding his wounded side, trying to stay ahead of the dead.
He gets to the bridge he’s been so obsessed with completing and stumbles across it. He’s hoping the dead will weigh it down and it will collapse. But when that doesn’t happen, he spies a box of dynamite, pulls out his gun and takes a shot. This begs the question, why is there a box of dynamite on an unattended bridge under construction? Ah yes, because it was a convenient way for the lazy writers to conclude Rick’s storyline.
All his friends have arrived, but don’t get to the bridge in time to reach him. When the bullet from Rick’s gun hits pay dirt and the bridge blows up, his friends think he’s dead.
Then we see the helicopter arrive to pick up Rick. But why did no one else see the helicopter? It’s not like Rick landed all that far away from the bridge and his friends.
Yet Another Time Jump
Cut to a scene where several new characters fight a group of walkers. Shots ring out, zombies fall and the newcomers hear a child calling them. They run into the woods and come across a young girl holding a gun. She picks up a cowboy hat and puts it on her head.
“I’m Judith,” she tells them. “Judith Grimes.” Oh brother.
Gimple, who also co-wrote this episode, has once again employed his use of a “time jump” storyline. This type of storytelling allows writers to end existing storylines without any real resolution (maybe because they have no idea how to work out the mistakes they’ve made) and start telling a brand-new story. He already destroyed Fear The Walking Dead this year, with his lazy two year time jump. All to bring in Morgan and obliterate most of the Clark family.
Gimple smugly announced on Talking Dead last night that there will be a series of Rick Grimes movies, with him at the helm. Keep in mind, this is also the same mastermind who killed off Carl for no good reason. If the movies are anywhere near as bad as the last couple of seasons of The Walking Dead have been or the disaster that Gimple turned Fear into, I think I’ll pass.