Old Man Rick finally made his debut on the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead and it all still seems a little foggy to say the least. Fans were first introduced to Old Man Rick during San Diego Comic-Con and speculation has been flying around ever since, wondering just what exactly is going on. Before reading any further, you have been warned that there are SPOILERS AHEAD, so read at your own risk. Could Rick be dreaming? Or is this a flash-forward to the Grimes family's idyllic future? There are hints everywhere, and none of them make a whole lot of lot of sense at this time.
With guns blazing and explosions rocking, Rick Grimes and his united crew of allies finally launched an "All-Out-War" against Negan and the Savior forces. And for many fans who thought that Season 7 of The Walking Dead was one long, lopsided downer, it surely came as a welcome surprise and relief to see our heroes finally fighting back and taking matters into their own hands. Still, even with all the guns blazing, the lasting images from the 100th episode are those of Old Man Rick.
In the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead, a white-bearded Rick Grimes wakes up in a bright room filled with flowers. It almost looks like a funeral home, but it is actually Rick's home in Alexandria. He wakes at exactly 8:23 a.m., which may be a Lost reference. The whole thing seems to have a Lost Season 6 vibe to it with a possible 2 timelines idea happening. Rick has a cane, and a robe, and he seems happy in his implied retirement. Is it a Lost-like flash forward? A fantasy? A dream? Though not much information was given, it does squash the fan theory that Rick was waking from a coma in The Walking Dead season 8 trailer.
Later, Old Man Rick rises from bed and uses his new cane to limp his way into the living room of his old home, where Michonne and Carl greet him with the news that "everyone is playing hooky." Carl also insists that it wasn't him who put the goofy song on. That must have been an older Judith, who greets him with an exuberant "Daddy!" and tells Rick that they've made a "big owl for the party." Apparently, there is a festival about to go down in what looks to be a happy, peaceful community.
So, it could be quite possible that Old Man Rick is a flash-forward into Rick's idyllic future. In order to make this vision a reality, Rick apparently believes that he'll have to totally annihilate Negan and the Saviors, as well as anyone else that would try to make their world any more dangerous. As a result, when his group launches an assault on their enemies, Rick is completely consumed by the idea of eliminating Negan once and for all (possibly why he jumps the gun while he counts down). He's assured that his people cannot move forward toward a happy and healthy future with that kind of evil lurking, and the Season 8 of The Walking Dead premiere sees Rick's obsession to kill his enemy Negan put their entire plan in peril.
Thankfully, Father Gabriel snaps Rick out of his rage and reminds him what's at stake and that this isn't the "Rick Show." The team has come this far, it would be a shame for Rick to throw it all away right now for his Old Man Rick dreams, or whatever the heck they are. Old Man Rick is here to stay, so we're going to have to figure out just how that narrative fits in with the "All-Out-War" with the Saviors throughout Season 8. While we wait to figure out what exactly is going on with Old Man Rick, check out the new Season 8 trailer for The Walking Dead below, courtesy of the AMC's YouTube channel.