There was a lot of character development, but not a real push of the storyline in this episode. Sure, we get the obvious cliffhanger as to what Rick Grimes' fate may be, as we've had it shoved in our faces that next week is his last episode. The other stories seem irrelevant and almost uninteresting until this plotline is resolved. Once Rick is gone, in whatever form it may be, then perhaps we can move forward.

Review: THE WALKING DEAD “The Obliged” is Full of Heart to Hearts

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The rules and regulations of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) are old-fashioned.  Perhaps its time for a new sheriff in town on The Walking Dead.

Spoilers 23

Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) had enough, and she’s on her way to pay Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) a visit.  We’re teased this last week as we watched her and Daryl (Norman Reedus) walk down the road.  We now know that she went back to Hilltop to gather some items, specifically a crowbar, before making her way to Alexandria.  Still, we never get to see this confrontation.  And, with next week’s episode being the last of Rick Grimes, are we ever going to see Maggie’s encounter with the man who bashed her husband’s head in?

Daryl offers a ride to Rick in an attempt to tip off Alexandria of Maggie’s arrival, and after a scuffle, the two end up trapped in a man-made hole in the ground.  They have a heart to heart that is making Rick rethink how things are being handled these days.  There’s more than one way to handle justice in this world, and perhaps Rick’s law-man days should end.  Rick didn’t ask for followers.  It just happened.  But now, it seems that the communities want a different form of leadership and definitely a different set of rules.

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead – Season 9, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Negan’s refusal to eat spurs a visit from Michonne (Danai Gurira).  We get another heart to heart, much to Michonne’s disgust.  She has better things to do, like study government textbooks like she’s studying for final exams.  Negan tugs at Michonne’s heartstrings, and he plays off that he’s a softy for children because he and his wife were never able to have a family of their own before cancer took her from him.  Really, though, he just wants his beloved bat back, but Lucille’s out in the world somewhere, unaccounted for.  Did that really need to culminate with Negan bashing his own head against a concrete wall?

Anne (Jadis?) (Pollyanna McIntosh) has officially lost it.  She wanted to change, she even tried to, but she clearly hasn’t become a better person.  The blame of Justin’s (Zach McGowan) death, which she is certainly innocent of, must have gotten to her, and she has chosen a new path.  Sounds like she’s ready to pay the sacrificial fee to join the helicopter people.  She leaves Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) unharmed, oddly, with an unsettling farewell note pinned to his pocket.

Pollyanna McIntosh as Jadis/Anne – The Walking Dead – Season 9, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

And as for Rick, we’re left with a cliffhanger.  Being bucked from a horse, leaving him impaled, it looks like it’s the end of our fearless leader.  Or is it?  Does anyone else find it oddly ironic that his puncture wound is in the same place of his gunshot wound from the pilot episode?  It may be a way for things to come full circle for him.

This episode feels like a “part 1” of a bigger picture that perhaps will come to fruition next week.  We have a lot of unanswered questions, things in limbo, and unfinished missions.  Times are a-changin’, and I have a feeling that there could be complete turmoil next week.

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Kimberly Cook
Kimberly hails from the town that brought us SLAP SHOT and ALL THE RIGHT MOVES. She uses The Force to open all automatic doors. She became a Harley Quinn fan before it was cool to be a Harley Quinn fan. She loves peeking behind the curtain of kayfabe. Ferris Bueller is her hero. She lives in a tiny castle with her husband (who she met in the video game aisle of Toys R Us), 3 cats, and Wicket the Ewok dog. Kimberly is a TV, movie, and comic critic - her cups of tea include writing about badass women, WWE, Marvel, DC, The Walking Dead, and more. Be sure to follow her adventures on all of her social media links below. And while you're at it, be sure to follow Monkeys Fighting Robots & POPAXIOM across all social media platforms, too!