HOLLYWOOD—I still need a moment to recover from the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.” After nine seasons, the series said goodbye to its main character Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in the episode, ‘What Comes After.” Dare I say this was one of the best episodes of TV that I’ve witnessed since ‘Ozymandias’ in season 5 of the AMC series “Breaking Bad?’

Look if you have NOT watched the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” STOP READING RIGHT NOW I MEAN IT! The episode picked up right where last week left off with Rick being impaled in the chest after being thrown off his horse. With walkers nearing him, Rick struggled to pull himself up from the concrete slab, utilizing his belt as a pulley. He crawled to his horse, as blood poured from his chest, with a horde of walkers chasing after him.

While trying to escape, Jadis found herself at a crossroads, as her vehicle stalled. That walkie talkie returned with Jadis noting that she had an ‘A’ ready for transport, and that consequences could transpire if she duped them. Rick continued to doze in an out of consciousness as he attempted to reach safety, just as Maggie continued on her journey to take out Negan in Alexandria.

Our fearless hero managed to stumble into an abandoned cabin where he was able to stop the bleeding from his wound. This was an episode dedicated to flashbacks, as Rick returned to moments from his past. This even included shots with Shane. Rick’s reflection almost led to his demise yet again as a walker was near inches from eating his face, but he managed escape in the nick of time.

Back in Alexandria, Michonne was surprised to see Maggie in town. The friends found themselves at a crossroads, as Michonne warned Maggie not to kill Negan. The ladies battled with a war of words, where I honestly felt for Maggie; she deserved her revenge. What?! Michonne handed over that key to Maggie, could this be, could Negan meet his maker in the same episode that Rick Grimes bids adieu?

Negan pandered to Maggie, not aware that she wanted his blood on her hands. This was a confrontation long overdue. Maggie is playing perfectly into Negan’s hands to give him the opportunity to escape. At long last we see Negan’s face, which has been shrouded in secrecy since the start of the season. Just when I thought Negan might escape, he broke down in tears begging Maggie to kill him and for a moment she shared a moment of remorse, but realized it was a guise. I’m utterly confused, I honestly thought Negan was going to try to escape, this guy is indeed reformed.

Rick passed out on that horse, and in another dream sequence, he shared an encounter with Hershel. He seems to be repenting for past sins that cost so many people their lives. Rick saw the light, and found himself surrounded by all of his friends, but everyone was dead. However, he received a visit from Sasha who informed Rick he did all he could do; it was time to wake up. Rick fell off that horse, and awoke to a scene back at his base, where a blood bath had transpired.

Ok, things are looking dicey for our hero as more walkers dawned upon him at the camp. He fled to the road, still bleeding, as the walkers were behind him. He came close to that bridge, which reminded me of what Daryl mentioned last week. As death neared, the gang showed up to fend off the enemy. Michonne asked her love to fight to survive, but it was apparent that Rick was losing steam. Dammit, I knew it was just a dream sequence again!

Rick awoke and trekked to that bridge where he was able to wash all the walkers away by dismantling the bridge he worked so hard to have everyone rebuild. Nope, the bridge, held, just as Michonne, Maggie, Carol and Daryl arrived to prevent their leader from doing something he would regret. Michonne was desperate to save Rick, just as dynamite spilled over on the bridge. This was a massive horde of walkers, where Rick fired his gun blowing up the bridge and himself in the process. It was neat see those flaming walkers fall directly into the water.

However, the aftermath was epic. Daryl shed tears, Michonne screamed in agony, just as Carol and Maggie attempted to comfort her. I knew Rick Grimes would go out a hero and that was one hell of a way to go out, guns blazing to say the least. Jadis saw the smoke, just as a helicopter edged in on her location. She actually saw Rick, who I thought was dead, but very much alive, barely clinging on. OMG, Jadis is about to rescue Rick Grimes via helicopter!  What the hell is going on, because right now I’m speechless, has Jadis had the ability to save people all along and just kept mum about it?

I’m not sure what I’m watching, but it looks like a flash forward (it is indeed 6 years to be exact), where we see a young Judith Grimes battling walkers. Utter chaos, America, utter chaos. We have another time jump, Rick Grimes is NOT dead, but we have no idea where he is going and it looks like the scope of season 9 has changed dramatically in a way I never expected.

Remember this was only episode 5, we still have 3 episodes left before the mid-season finale, and another eight episodes after that before season 9 concludes. “The Walking Dead” is proving to be one hell of a ride this year, and I mean dare I say this might be one of the best seasons ever. Until next Sunday “Walking Dead” die-hards!