Rick is forced to face the past as he struggles to maintain the safety of the communities and protect the future he and Carl envisioned.
The Walking Dead wraps up an era as Rick Grimes exits the show after 9 seasons. But, can the episode live up to the expectations that it brings? The answer is yes and no.
Injured in the last episode with a bar through his side, Rick limps his way away from the zombie horde wounded and bleeding. Through his injury and journey he fades in and out of reality revisiting friends from the past and reflecting on his life and the state of the world.
It’s an interesting episode that doesn’t quite deliver the emotional impact one would hope until the very end with the last ten minutes redeeming an otherwise eye rolling script. But, it’s the details of the episode that really stand out and when examined, the show is deeper than would seem on the initial glance.
The episode is a book end in many ways reflecting the first episode and our introduction to Rick. Much like that episode, he’s injured limping along and taking in the world around him. In each, the injury is to the same side as he slides along trying to figure out what to do and where to go.
Through his struggle he fades in and out of reality visiting by friends of the past with a hint towards the Wizard of Oz. Shane delivers a pep talk focused on courage, Hershel talks about heart, and Sasha wisdom. All while trying to get home. There’s also a bit of A Christmas Carol too with Rick visited by three ghosts to give him advice.
And all of that leads to that ending, how does it end for Rick?
I could easily ruin it and spoil the situation but there’s something about finding out for yourself. That final 10 minutes is where the emotion sits delivering “holy shit” moments one after another and an emotional punch at numerous times. The moments you hope for with characters coming together is there with each delivering their own. And the show does Rick right in the end and… well, you’ll have to watch and see.
While it’s not a perfect episode it does set up an interesting future, especially the teases toward the very end of the episode of where things are going. It’s the closing of a chapter of a book which has many chapters to go.
The episode could easily have gone for the cheap emotional punches but instead delivers something more for long time fans who will notice the subtle winks and nods. It shows the writers want to deliver viewers something a bit more than just surface entertainment and for those that can appreciate that, it absolutely pays off.
Overall Rating: 8.0