This past Sunday featured the “final” episode of The Walking Dead with the character of Rick Grimes and I decided to watch it. I haven’t watched the show since the midseason of finale of the fourth season. The show had become something I really haven’t been a fan of, it was boring, repetitive and filled with characters I couldn’t care less about and oddly enough that included Rick. The thing that made me want to see this episode was the simple fact that I like Andrew Lincoln and I am a huge fan of this shows first season. In that first season Rick was actually a likable character and part of me wanted to get finality for that character. So please before you continue reading understand that I am coming from a place where I don’t like or watch the show. So if you’re looking for the opinion of someone who has a full understanding of the events in the episode, move along this isn’t the blog post for you.
The episode to my surprise was fairly entertaining and managed to be captivating so I imagine fans of the show would agree with that tenfold. I particularly enjoyed the Shane hallucination with the return of the great Jon Bernthal. The scene did a good job of balancing the friendship the two once shared but also the vile hatred the brewed between them. It was a great moment that had a lot of impact for fans of the early years of the show.
To contrast that were other hallucination, which didn’t have the same effect or impact. Not to mention that they feature horrendous green screen even by television standards. These other moments were unintentionally hilarious to me but also definitely the low points of the episode. The characters that were chosen to talk to Rick seemed like strange choices. I think it would have been much more emotionally satisfying to have Lori Grimes or Carl Grimes be there. Now I don’t particularly like the character of Lori because of where they decided to take her but ultimately her inclusion would have been far more impactful. Maybe bigger fans of the show could let me know the reasoning behind why this wouldn’t be possible.
Another aspect of the episode that I enjoyed despite having no frame of reference for anything that’s happening other than my passing knowledge of the comics was the Neegan and Maggie moment. I saw clips of Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing the character and he is quite good from what I’ve seen but in this scene he was on another level. You really felt the desperation of the character to just be killed so he can be with the people he lost again. It was really interesting to see how Maggie struggled to make the decision to not kill him despite what he took from her. It was a powerful moment and while yes a trope it is one that I have a soft spot for.
Then of course there’s the moment on the bridge. Now if I’m honest this part didn’t quite work for me 100 percent but that is largely due to me not knowing what really led up to that moment. However, seeing Carol, Michonne, and Daryl did really amplify that scene and their reactions to Rick “dying” were quite good. Another aspect of this scene I liked was the burning bridge with zombies walking off. It was a pretty interesting visual.
Now there are two more things about this episode that I want to touch on. I don’t really remember the order in which these two moments happen but I’m going to start with the Judith moment. While it was really goofy and cheesy to have this little kid save the day for Dan Fogler and company, I did end up liking her putting on the hat and saying her name. I thought that moment worked way more than it had any right to. The other moment I want to talk about is Rick being rescued. Now I don’t care that he didn’t die. I’m fine with that especially given the ridiculous announcement that came immediately after this episode aired. The thing that I loved about Ricks rescue was the call back to the first episode via the song Space Junk. It just sent nostalgia for the first season through my veins. It put a smile on my face and made me want to go back and rewatch the stellar first season.
So that sums up my thoughts on the episode but before wrapping this post up I have to address the Rick announcement in some detail. If you are unaware it was announce almost immediately after the episode aired that Rick Grimes story will continue in a trilogy of made for TV Walking Dead movies. Now while I think that idea has some real potential, even has someone like me who doesn’t like the show the timing of that announcement is awful. Yes we know he’s alive at the end but we don’t know where things were going to go or when we would get a chance to know what happens to him. Unfortunately this announcement entirely undermines the impact that this episode should have. I think that there really needed to be space between the episode and this announcement. That would have let audiences speculate and build hype. Ultimately AMC should have waited until at least the midseason break before the end of the year.
Did you see Rick’s “final episode”? What were your thoughts? Love it? Hate it? Let me know by reaching out to me on twitter @nerdycasual or by simply commenting here.