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Could AMC’s The Walking Dead be taking out not one but two members of the Grimes family?
The closing moments of Sunday’s midseason premiere left the fate of series lead Rick Grimes (star Andrew Lincoln) up for interpretation as the iconic character was last seen in a scene, likely from the near future, leaning up against a tree, looking very pale and bleeding from the abdomen.
Season eight has toyed with the show’s central timeline, revealing during Sunday’s episode that the idyllic vision of Alexandria’s future — complete with Carl (Chandler Riggs) and a considerably older and bearded (and cane-using) Rick — was not a time jump forward as in Robert Kirkman’s source material. Instead, that was the future that a dying Carl had for his father as he urged Rick to stop the violence and prepare for what comes “after.”
What Carl’s vision of the future didn’t explain, however, was that tree scene which leading man Lincoln tells The Hollywood Reporter is not a vision for the future but a glimpse at Rick’s upcoming reality. The key to that is Rick’s final words in Sunday’s episode: “My mercy prevails under my wrath,” which is the same quote that Siddiq (Avi Nash) says when he first encounters Carl in the season eight premiere. (It’s also worth noting that Carl gave his life to help save Siddiq, who it turns out, is a doctor.)
So is The Walking Dead setting the stage to kill off Rick Grimes, the former sheriff who has been the face of the franchise — and whose comic-book counterpart continues to thrive, even 100 issues after where the show is? Below, The Hollywood Reporter talks with Lincoln about that terrifying ending and if his time with the AMC drama is coming to an end anytime soon.
Let’s start with that ending, with Rick sitting against a tree. What can you say about the last scene of what appears to be a dying Rick in the not-too-distant future?
I can’t really say anything about that, apart from it doesn’t look good, does it?
It doesn’t! Is that scene real or a vision, given how much the show has been toying with the timeline and visions of a future that aren’t real?
Now that you’ve seen the episode, you realize that so much of what was seen in the season eight premiere was a premonition — or a vision — of Carl’s hopes or ideas for the future. If you subtract that from the first episode [of season eight], you’re left with the scene under the tree. Rick says something under the tree — a reference to a real scene that has already played out in the reality of the world.
In that scene, Rick says: “My mercy prevails under my wrath.”
That harkens back to an earlier scene [when Carl met Siddiq in the season eight premiere, watch that below]. That gives an indication that that, in this scene, is not a premonition. The fact that I’m equating something, I think, probably gives you an impression that it exists in the real world of the show.