All good things must come to an end… or so they say. That in mind, AMC network has never been one to let go of a good thing and simply let it sail off into a sunset. Just look at Breaking Bad; they have kept that going much longer than probably necessary with the spin-off prequel Better Call Saul. Now, when mega hit series The Walking Dead has seemingly been on life support for a while, they are changing the narrative following the bombshell episode What Comes After, which premiered on Sunday, November 4th.
Before going further, let’s look back to this past spring when the news began to swirl around social media that Andrew Lincoln would be taking his final bow as Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead after Season 9. Then, as Season 9 approached, it became a reality that he was really going to be departing from the series, a series which has really been built around him. The oddest part of it all, he would be gone only 5 episodes in, leaving a massive amount of Season 9 still to be aired. So what gives? A gimmick, that’s what gives! In all fairness, it is a gimmick which may have saved the series, but one that could also drag it on for much longer than any good thing really has a right to.
Laying the groundwork for the beloved hero’s demise at the end of The Obliged, where he is thrown off his spooked horse because of two walker herds intersecting, Rick is nearly impaled by fractured concrete rebar. How the hell is he going to get out of this?
A good question to ask, the anticipated ‘final’ episode for Rick saw him amazingly pick himself up, get back on his horse and try his best to push forward. Bleeding, in a lot of pain, and weakened, he is near death. In the midst of it all, he keeps blacking out and fading into memories of his friends and group members of the past – Shane, Hershel, and Sasha. A myriad, each offers Rick something different to take away in what seems to be his final moments on Earth.
Quite well-paced, filled with tension, and gifting some great cameos of former cast members, Rick’s alleged final episode on The Walking Dead was nothing less than brilliant. In fact, it was so good, it really could have been the conclusion of the series after its long, successful run. That said, this is television, and if there is more money to be made, there is more story to be told. Let’s not mince words, Rick Grimes is not dead. By some miracle, he is still alive, but technically the build up that he was leaving The Walking Dead was not completely dishonest. No, instead of being killed off, Rick has been cast away in that mystery helicopter spotted several times in the past 2 seasons. Where is he being taken? What will become of him? Will he ever find his way back to his family?
All compelling questions, the drama continues to build as Scott M. Gimple dropped the news on Talking Dead that Rick will return for multiple The Walking Dead feature films to be aired on AMC. Whoa, talk about catching everyone off guard. Furthermore, Gimple provided some detail to ease the nerves of fans, stating Rick’s story has only just begun, with the possibility of his past, present, and even future being revealed in future productions.
Which still leaves that one burning, yet to be answered question, what will happen with th current configuration of The Walking Dead? Brace yourself, there will be another time jump for the series finding Judith Grimes older and now ready to pick up where her late brother, Carl, left off as a regular adolescent, bad-ass, sharpshooter. Difficult to wrap your mind around, like it or not, The Walking Dead is going to be around for quite a while after the latest plot twists.
In truth, curtailing the cynical outlook, the chess moves for the series are quite exciting from AMC network and the show creators. If you are a fan of The Walking Dead through and through, it does not get much better than this. If you are one of those people who watched the show casually, or were simply rolling your eyes as events unfolded over the past 2 seasons, this is another shaking-your-head moment.
Whatever it may be, kudos to The Walking Dead for the bold and daring attempt to keep this series going strong well into the future. That is why CrypticRock gives What Comes After 4.5 out of 5 stars, yet still hold a skeptical outlook toward what happens next.