A new trailer for the fifth episode of The Walking Dead season 9 has arrived online that teases Rick Grimes' final episode. Ever since that fateful Halloween night back in 2010 when the small screen comic book adaptation first premiered, Andrew Lincoln has been the lead of the series and the character fans have followed on this journey for the better part of a decade. But his days are numbered and his very last episode is set to air next weekend. AMC is hyping up the event and they've released an emotional first trailer to prepare people for what's coming down the pipeline.
The trailer shows Rick with a massive stomach wound. He's clearly going to give it his all in terms of recovering but, as we know, that's ultimately not going to go so well. We see that the footage shifts from past to present, from his visions to reality. The episode is clearly going to be very heavy on Rick, as it should be. We even see a glimpse of Shane (Jon Bernthal) from early on in the show's run. Shane is set to return for the event. Not in the flesh, given his death, but he will be back nonetheless to see Rick off. One particularly heart-wrenching moment comes when Michonne looks at him and says, "It's not over. We don't die." Denial is a strong thing.
Normally, The Walking Dead does a good job of trying to not reveal when characters are leaving the show, as they pretty much always die on their way out the door and it serves as a pretty big spoiler. But Andrew Lincoln's departure was too big to be kept secret and the network has simply embraced it. The actor confirmed that he was going to leave over the summer at San Diego Comic-Con and ever since then AMC has been using that angle to try and keep viewers interested in season 9.
Unfortunately for AMC, that campaign hasn't been terribly successful, as the show's ratings have continued to decline rather sharply, even though the lead character is gearing up for his departure. It wouldn't be surprising to see the ratings climb for Sunday's episode, titled What Comes After, but the real question becomes, what will happen to the ratings once Rick is gone? AMC has lofty plans for The Walking Dead that extend for roughly a decade and they need a certain amount of viewers to justify those plans.
In any case, the show remains a big hit, even with the steep decline in viewership and for those who have stuck around, this week's' upcoming episode should easily be the most important in the show's history. Will the network manage to give Rick the send-off he deserves? We'll see when The Walking Dead season 9 continues this Sunday with What Comes After, which is directed by Greg Nicotero. Be sure to check out the trailer for Rick Grimes' final episode from the AMC YouTube channel for yourself below.