‘The Walking Dead’: Rick Gets [Spoiler]

The Walking Dead 904, “The Obliged,” ended with a major cliffhanger as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), in his penultimate episode, was bucked off a horse into a protruding steel rod, forcing him into unconsciousness as a horde of walkers closed in.

While overseeing sudden difficulties with the bridge being constructed to literally and symbolically link Alexandria, Hilltop, the Kingdom, Oceanside, and the Sanctuary, Rick was alerted by Jerry (Cooper Andrews) that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) was headed to Alexandria after months away.

Rick then radioed the relay network to warn against allowing Maggie inside unchaperoned, but the order died with Rachel (Mimi Kirkland) of Oceanside, who neglected to forward the warning.

A nearby Daryl (Norman Reedus) offered Rick a ride home on the back of his motorcycle, telling him they’d make the trip faster than horseback. After Daryl raced past the turnoff point, Rick ordered the bike be stopped, figuring out Daryl sabotaged the relay.

“This time man, it’s gonna go the way it was supposed to,” Daryl said, knocking a walkie talkie out of Rick’s hands before shoving him and accidentally grappling downhill into a nearby pit.

Trapped, Rick and Daryl argued over Rick’s decision to spare and jail Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) took prisoner as a symbol of rebuilding a civilization with renewed order.

“You know what keeping Negan alive means to us,” Rick said.

“I know what seeing him dead means to her,” Daryl spit back, telling Rick he would be dead if it weren’t for Glenn (Steven Yeun), murdered at the bloodied end of Negan’s barbwire-wrapped baseball bat.

Daryl argued keeping Negan alive in a cell gives the Saviors hope things will get back to the way things were, while Rick believes sparing Negan “is how we make sure it won’t.”

“If this doesn’t work, if she kills Negan... he becomes a martyr,” Rick explained. “The war was for nothing! Every person who died, died for nothing... Carl. Carl died for nothing.”

“I’d die for you,” Daryl said, softened. “I would have died for Carl. You know that. But you gotta hear me. You’re chasing something for him that ain’t meant to be, man. You just gotta let him go. Let him go.”

At a stalemate, Rick and Daryl’s feud was ended by gunshots from the nearby midway camp, emerged out of the conflict stirred by Jed (Rhys Coiro) and other newly armed Saviors.

Worried the gunshots would draw the nearby walker herds Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and the survivors have been monitoring in the area, Rick and Daryl quickly devised a plan to escape, working together to free themselves as walkers began tumbling into the trap.

Rick was out first, grabbing a branch to steady himself as he extended his hand down to Daryl, who clawed at the dirt when trying to put distance between himself and the gnawing mass of walkers below.

“Brother. Brother... take my hand,” Rick said, grabbing Daryl and hoisting him up.

After fighting their way out of a pack of approaching walkers, Rick declared his intention to stay back and lead the undead away from the camp, earning Daryl’s protest.

“I’m not giving up on it, not yet,” Rick said of the bridge, already at risk of collapse by way of raging waters brought on by an overnight deluge.

Daryl suggested luring the walkers to the bridge, which would then collapse, washing the horde out to sea.

“I’m not sacrificing the bridge,” Rick said. “I’ll find another way.”

Begrudgingly accepting Rick’s refusal to destroy the bridge, Daryl told Rick to be safe before revving off on his motorcycle.

Rick slowly led a faction of the herd in the opposite direction. After turning a corner, Rick was confronted by a giant herd.

His horse, spooked, bucked him off — sending him directly into the path of a piece of rebar, now lodged in his left side midsection.

A scream of pain before unconsciousness as the hungry herd grew nearer with each shambling step. Rick passed out, helplessly vulnerable as the sea of walkers closed in.

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End of episode.

Lincoln’s Rick will get his sendoff in 905, “What Comes After,” which may leave the door open for a possible future return. Lincoln’s final episode airs November 4 at 9/8c on AMC.