In the final moments of The Walking Dead Episode 8x11, the AMC show may have revealed just what's going on in the flash-forward moments of an injured Rick sitting by a tree.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x11 and possibly future episodes follow!
Throughout the zombie drama's eighth season, Rick Grimes has been seen sporadically in a future-scenario where his eyes are watered, he whispers, "My mercy prevails over my wrath," and is bleeding through his shirt. When Negan covered his weapons in walker guts, claiming any wound from a bullet or other Savior weapon will mark the victim for death, the meaning of that Rick flash-forward scene may have been revealed.
In The Walking Dead comics, Negan uses the same tactics in issue #122. His weapons are covered in the muck of undead creeps and he marches on the Hilltop with his Savior army. When Dwight gets a clear shot at Rick, Negan orders him to take it. Dwight, however, remains true to his promise to Rick and company and shoots him with a clean arrow rather than one with walker muck on it. While Negan believes Rick is marked for death, the leader of Alexandria is instead sidelined to recover for some time before a triumphant return to fight the villain once and for all.
With the blood pouring through Rick's shirt, it's possible he has suffered the same injury and is realizing, after thinking himself doomed, that his son was right and life in this world is precious. "My mercy prevails over my wrath," could be Rick convincing himself to follow such a path.
However, the AMC show has a way of playing with fan-expectations based on the comic book source material. Assuming Rick has not been shot with an arrow, there is a chance this moment comes in the aftermath of his final bout with Negan. While there is no sign of a broken leg as Rick suffered in his fight with the villain in the final chapter of the All Out War comic book saga, Negan might have popped him in the side with a gun to offer that same feeling of terror over a serious injury to Rick.
After Rick ultimately would go on to win the fight and spare Negan's life in favor of imprisonment, he will be worn down by the entirety of the war and take a moment to himself to reiterate Carl's Siddiq-influenced belief of, "My mercy prevailed over my wrath."0comments
When the latter scenario was pitched to Rick actor Andrew Lincoln following the Season Eight premiere by ComicBook.com, Lincoln said the theory means the red-eyed Rick moment was "well watched."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.