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The Walking Dead Said Goodbye to Rick Grimes With an Emotional Episode—and a Twist

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Warning: This post contains spoilers for Season 9 of The Walking Dead.

AMC has been teasing Rick Grimes’ last episode of The Walking Dead since before Season 9 even began. And in Sunday’s installment of TWD—Season 9, episode 5—it was finally time for fans to say goodbye to everyone’s favorite fictional sheriff.

The Walking Dead has a sprawling cast of characters, but the story at its core has always revolved around Rick’s leadership of the group of survivors. Suffice it to say that Andrew Lincoln’s departure from the show is its biggest to date.

So what happened in what was supposedly Rick’s final episode of the series?

After freeing himself from the rebar he was impaled on in last week’s episode, Rick somehow managed to get back on his horse and ride slowly away with the horde of walkers in hot pursuit behind him.

As he continued to lose blood, however, he experienced a series of hallucinations in which he was reunited with people—including Shane (Jon Bernthal), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and even Hershel (the late Scott Wilson)—who played a major role in his post-zombie apocalypse life.

As the episode neared its emotional end, Rick was able to make it across the bridge that the group rebuilt earlier in the season. Unfortunately, it turned out the bridge was unexpectedly stable enough to also hold the weight of the herd, a development that paved the way for Rick’s final act of heroism.

As Daryl, Michonne, Maggie and Carol watched on from afar, Rick raised his pistol and shot at some loose sticks of dynamite on the bridge, blowing up the walkers’ path and (seemingly) himself in the process.

But the hour had one last twist in store for fans. The episode’s final sequence saw Anne (formerly known as Jadis) spot a still living Rick sprawled out on the riverbank before informing the man on the other end of the walkie-talkie that she had a “‘B’ not an ‘A'” as the mysterious helicopter hovered over her.

“I’m trying to save a friend,” she told him. “A friend who saved me. I have something for you now. We have a deal?”

The screen then cut to black before showing both Rick and Anne being airlifted away.

“Who Are You Now,” the sixth episode of Walking Dead‘s ninth season, will air Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com