The trailer for Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) final episode on The Walking Dead features the return of Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal), among other things. Lincoln's impending departure has been looming over the show since it began its ninth season. Instead of shying away from the inevitable, AMC has treated every season 9 episode so far as part of a countdown to Rick's big exit. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays Negan) has indicated that The Walking Dead will essentially be rebooted after Rick's gone, but for the time being, the focus is on the former sheriff-turned leader's final outing.
Tonight's episode ended with Rick in pretty bad shape, after his spooked horse threw him off and into an exposed metal bar. With nobody around and a herd of walkers nearby, it looks like this is going to be the end of the character. However, as the newly-released trailer for Rick's final episode demonstrates, there's still a lot of stuff to get through before he officially bids goodbye to The Walking Dead.
AMC has released a trailer for next week's episode (titled "What Comes After") that mainly focuses on Rick, as he tries to survive with a stomach wound. Written by Matthew Negrete and Scott Gimple (with Greg Nicotero directing), the episode looks to shift back-and-forth between reality and Rick's visions - visions that reunite Rick (and, by extension, the show's fans) with characters like Shane, among other things. You can watch the trailer below.
Based on the trailer it's safe to say that Rick's current location won't be his final resting place. Someone will presumably come to save him and get him proper medical attention, as evidenced by the shots in the trailer of Rick hooked up to a breathing machine. AMC crafted the trailer in a way that it's not entirely clear which shots are from Rick's hallucinations and which ones are happening in real life - though, without a doubt, the shot of Rick sharing a meal with the deceased Shane in a patrol car is definitely not real. Question is, what inspires that specific vision?
Who'll come to Rick's rescue is another burning mystery. The trailer shows Michonne (Danai Gurira) assuring Rick that they don't die, which suggests she's the one who finds him. However, given how The Walking Dead set up Rick's imminent departure, it would make much more sense to have Maggie (Lauren Cohan) save him. Both Michonne and Darryl (Norman Reedus) have had their own separate moments with Rick throughout this season; Maggie is the only one who has yet to share a significant scene with him. This is especially important, given the still-unresolved tension between the two since Rick decided to keep Negan life in the season 8 finale. Giving the pair the time to at least come to an understanding after what happened with Negan would wrap up Rick's story in a satisfying way. It might also, ultimately, change Maggie's mind about wanting to murder Negan, once she's had a heart-to-heart talk with Rick.
The Walking Dead season 9 airs Sundays on AMC.