Yes, we’ve just seen the penultimate episode to star Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. Featuring the former deputy sheriff facing his own past sins as he continues to strive towards realizing his vision of rebuilding a peaceful, civilized world, there were references aplenty to faces from the show’s past and a real sense that something’s about to end, right up to that cliffhanger finale.
So, the big question is: will Rick live or die in the following episode? Lincoln and others have deliberately played it coy in the months leading up to this moment, so we still don’t know which way it’s going to go. All we know is that this is it for the man who’s carried the show on his shoulders for the past nine years.
Titled “What Comes After,” the synopsis for episode 5 of season 9 doesn’t offer many clues, only teasing that Rick is again “faced with the past.” Here’s how it reads:
“Rick is forced to face the past as he struggles to maintain the safety of the communities and protect the future he and Carl envisioned.”
As said above, the evidence for whether Rick survives or not is conflicting. Showrunner Angela Kang recently said she isn’t ruling out a return for Lincoln in a guest capacity in a future season, which suggests that his character makes it out alive. However, the man himself has teased that episode 5 will be very bloody, which kind of indicates the opposite. Obviously, TWD‘s long history of offing its cast makes us lean towards the latter, but Lincoln has reminded us that Lennie James’ Morgan Jones escaped unscathed.
Either way, we’ll find out the final fate of Rick Grimes when The Walking Dead 9×05 “What Comes After” airs next Sunday, November 4th.