The Walking Dead Review: Rick Grime’s Long Goodbye in “What Comes After”November 5, 2018
I’m not sure what surprised me more, the fact that they decided to say goodbye to Rick Grimes in only episode five or the fact that they advertised this non-stop for weeks. It really doesn’t surprise me that although Rick may be gone for good, they didn’t actually kill him outright. I think the surprise of him leaving so soon in this season would have had more of an impact but instead, TWD fell back on its old shady, misdirection ways. That being said, the episode was solid, written well and helped springboard the show into the next chapter.
As Rick tries to evade the zombie horde, slowed by what looks like a wound that will kill him, he fades in and out, leading the seemingly endless swarm of zombies all over the place. flashing back to revisit some characters who had some words of advice for him on many different topics, Rick gets to think back on some choices he has made and sacrifices people have made through his long journey to this point.
First up on the ghostly flashback trail is Shane (Jon Bernthal) and this was probably my favorite guest star in this episode. Sitting in a cop car, eating bad food, the two reminisce about days gone by before hitting on heavier topics, such as Judith. They chat about who is the real father but even though this is all in Rick’s head, we know who the parent is. Shane gives him a verbal vote of confidence and kick in the ass and sends him on his way. Next up was Hershel (RIP Scott Wilson) who was as honest and smart as ever. Hershel was not just a moral compass for Rick but for everyone, however, on this occasion, he has some parting words of wisdom for our dying hero and what he must do.
The one thing that didn’t work too well for me was the flashback visit by Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). As Rick has a stroll through countless dead bodies, most of whom are his friends, Sasha rises up to have a chat with him. The conversation itself wasn’t bad but it just felt off. Rick and Sasha were never that close and I’m guessing she was there mainly because other people declined the offer to come back from the dead and chat Rick up.
Rick arrives at the bridge, zombie horde in tow, and has another hallucination about his closest friends, all there to save him. In fact, they do show up but not in time. There is a great moment between Rick and Daryl, a simple look and a nod, as Daryl understood what Rick was going to do. Daryl did his best to hold off some of the zombies with his bow and arrow until Rick was able to shoot the dynamite (conveniently located in large amounts on the bridge) and blow everything sky high. It was a great visual, watching countless flaming undead walk into the river below while the shock of what just happened washed over everyone.
However, Rick’s story doesn’t end there. Jadis, who has been in contact with the mysterious helicopter people (what is it with her and strange people?) sees Rick washed up on shore and still alive. Before you can say ‘get to the choppa’, the two of them are whisked away to who knows where, and Rick Grimes time on The Walking Dead comes to an end.
There was another subplot going on, believe it or not, as Maggie finally got her face to face with Negan. It was a great scene, Maggie standing there shaking in anger as Negan bragged about killing Glen. However, Negan finally cracks, sobbing like a baby and begging Maggie to kill him so he can join his dead family. It is at this point Maggie realizes that keeping him alive would be even worse than death for Negan so she lets him live. It was a strong scene, not just between the two of them but also between Maggie and Michonne, who eventually lets Maggie pass to quell her thirst for vengeance.
There is also another time jump, and a big one, where we see new characters being added to the mix and gun-toting, hat wearing Judith Grimes announcing her presence. It was a fun and interesting way to wrap up an episode full of memories, heartache, and loss.
Looking back on this episode, it was a great way to say goodbye to Rick Grimes. His character has carried the burden of this group, his family, both blood and otherwise, for a long time. He mentioned how tired he was to Hershel so relax Rick, the burden is yours no longer. However, just where did he go? Who are the strange people associate with Jadis and the helicopter? What has happened during this latest time jump? For the first time in a long time, the questions raised on this show are not that of idiocy but more of interest, of what people are doing and where the show will go next. The Walking Dead, you have my attention, so let’s see where this new beginning takes us.
Four stars out of five