By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
And It All Comes Crumbling Down
The writers have wasted no time getting to the point of the first half of this season. Things between the Saviors and the other survivors have finally come to a head, the Saviors have all walked off the bridge job, and Daryl and Maggie are ready to abandon Rick. The last part is particularly important as we are entering the last two episodes of the Rick Grimes era. This episode set up several options for that departure in the form of a revolt from the Saviors, Oceanside, Daryl and Maggie, or a combination of all three. It also set up the possibility that Anne/Jadis could kidnap Rick and turn him over to the mysterious helicopter people.
I think the two most likely options for Rick’s departure are either his conflict with Daryl and Maggie or this new angle involving Jadis. Of those two, I think the Jadis thing is the most intriguing but the least likely. This helicopter has been teased for a quite a while with no hint at what it was until tonight. To have that tease culminate in the end of Rick Grimes would be the ultimate payoff. However, the writers really leaned into that internal conflict facing Rick at the end of last season and continued it into this season, so I feel like that has to be followed through on.
My problem with Daryl and Maggie possibly taking Rick out is that it could undo everything the show has been building since the beginning. Going all the way back to the earliest days in Atlanta, Rick has always stressed that the living people are the ones that matter. The show has had its various moral compasses like Dale and Glenn reinforcing that notion for Rick. Even though he has gone off the beaten path along the way and we’ve explored his darker sides, Rick has always come back to the light and done the right thing. That theme was driven home in last year’s season finale when Rick, inspired by the dying thoughts of his son, spared Negan’s life and promised to absorb and protect the Saviors. What does it say about the direction of the show if Rick, after doing the most humane thing possible, is killed by his own people for doing that very thing? Either this will change the whole fabric of the show or the writers will spend the rest of the season telling the story of why the group was wrong to turn on Rick. If it’s the latter then that seems like a redundant story that I don’t know if I can stick around for.
Thanks for reading!