Rick Grimes's final episode of 'The Walking Dead' has surprise twist

The Walking Dead said goodbye to Rick Grimes Sunday night, and he went out with a bang … literally. After impaling himself on rebar at the end of last week’s episode, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) spent most of this episode seemingly near death. Though he continued trying to lead the herd of walkers away, he often slipped into dream sequences that brought back fan favorites from seasons past. Shane (Jon Bernthal), Hershel (Scott Wilson), and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) appeared in Rick’s dreams to help talk him through some issues and to tell him to wake up, each time with walkers approaching.

Rick led the walkers to the bridge in the hope that it would collapse under the weight, thus saving the Hilltop, but no such luck. So Rick blew up the bridge with himself on it, appearing to die. Although Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) thought they had just witnessed Rick’s demise, that wasn’t the case. As Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) was waiting for the helicopter that shows up from time to time, she saw Rick on the shore by the river, injured but still very much alive. The last time we see Rick, he’s being whisked away on the chopper, with Jadis telling him he’s going to be all right.

It was a roller coaster of emotions for fans. Going into the episode, they weren’t prepared to say goodbye to Rick. One fan tweeted:

After believing Rick was dead, then finding out he wasn’t, then finding out he was alive but having no idea what his future holds if he does survive, left fans confused but also optimistic. Another fan tweeted:

That optimism was quickly quashed when the show’s executive producer, Scott M. Gimple, said definitively on Talking Dead that that was the end of Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. But it is not the end of Rick Grimes: Gimple said there’s still a lot of Rick’s story, which will be told in a series of AMC original movies.

There’s also still plenty of story to tell on The Walking Dead. After the helicopter rode off with Rick, the show skipped ahead a few years — and it’s safe to say Rick’s legacy and penchant for killing walkers lives on. A group of people were surrounded by walkers, and it wasn’t looking good for them. Gunshots suddenly came from the woods, taking out multiple walkers. When the group ran into the woods, there stood a little girl of about 7 years old with a small Samurai sword on her back and a gun. She introduced herself as Judith Grimes.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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