Bye-Bye, Rick Grimes? 6 Things You Might’ve Missed in the ‘Walking Dead’ Promo For ‘What Comes After’

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Gene Page/AMC
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History Repeating Itself

Particularly powerful is the repeated imagery from The Walking Dead’s Season 1 poster; Rick riding back into Atlanta on the abandoned highway. The buildings on the horizon are the same, as is the configuration of the traffic lanes and the cars in the lane next to him. Feeling nostalgic yet?

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Walking Among The (Still-Living?) Dead

In perhaps the most unsettling moment from the promo, Rick walks among a sea of dead bodies and kneels down with them. If you look closely, a few familiar faces can be seen — namely, Jesus and Carol (wearing her Kingdom armor). Yikes. Is Rick pulling a Tony Stark and hallucinating his friends’ deaths, even though they’re still alive? Is this The Walking Dead’s twisted version of Heaven?

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The Hospital Room

Of all the strange, nostalgic and shocking moments in the promo, this one might be the most interesting. Rick seems to stand at the foot of his own hospital bed and hallucinate himself in it, still in his coma from the show’s first episode. Are Ricks past and present about to have a conversation?

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Don’t Open, Dead Outside

“What Comes After” is really pulling out all the stops when it comes to Season 1 — and the show’s — iconic imagery. Rick seems to make his way, whether in reality or just in his head, back to the hospital where he first discovered something was very, very wrong with the world. It seems he also finds the same doors, still barred, painted with a similar warning as the one he saw after waking up from his coma — except now, the dead are outside.

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One Last Ride

Well, now we know what scenes John Bernthal was filming when his return for Season 9 was announced. Rick’s old-buddy-turned-enemy-turned-walker-turned-hallucination is seen at least once in the trailer, when he and Rick sit in what looks to be their old car and eat lunch like old times. It’s also entirely possible that Shane’s watching Rick ride through the city on horseback at a different point in the promo.

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“We Don’t Die.”

Comics readers will know this as Andrea and Rick’s famous line, and it makes sense that Michonne would say it given how fully she adopted Andrea’s role from the source material. Since it doesn’t seem likely Rick’s going to make it back to Alexandria from Atlanta, this is probably a hallucination of the woman he loves, meant to keep him going as he faces death for perhaps the final time.

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Well, Walking Dead fans, it’s really happening.

One way or another, it’s the end of an era: Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) final episode is less than a week away.

AMC has left no holds barred in a promo for Season 9’s fifth episode — “What Comes After” — that showcases all the imagery and symbolism from the show’s pilot episode while also raising several questions about the nature of Rick’s reality in the next installment. Is he really leading a herd of zombies back into Atlanta? Is he leading them over the bridge? Or are these the visions of a dying man impaled on a piece of scrap metal?

Click through the gallery above for seven things that stood out in the trailer for what promises to be an emotional, heartbreaking conclusion to Rick’s story.

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