Say what you will about the quality of storytelling in season 8 of The Walking Dead, you can’t deny the show is introducing some compelling new elements in the form of flashbacks, flash-forwards, and dream sequences. For the first half of season 8, the show kept on tossing us random glimpses of a grey-haired Rick Grimes hobbling around with a cane. It wasn’t until the end of the mid-season premiere that we learned these were nothing more than Carl’s visions of a bright and peaceful future.
That’s not the only mysterious Rick that’s been popping up. Also regularly seen during the season: quick shots of what fans are calling “Red Eye Rick.” How he fits into the grander scheme of the show is still unclear. All we know is what we’ve seen, which is Rick sitting under a tree with a nasty looking wound and a million-mile stare.
But The Walking Dead may have finally given us the keys to this particular puzzle in episode 11. During the episode, Negan comes up with a plan to coat all the Savior weapons and ammo with walker guts. Now even the smallest of wounds is as good as a death sentence. It’s no more Mr. Nice Negan now. The show ends with the Saviors preparing an assault on Hilltop, and Negan makes it clear that he wants as many slow and painful deaths as possible to send a message.