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"TWD" fans are quickly going through the stages of grief after Rick Grimes' penultimate episode, with plenty of denial, anger, depression and even some bargaining. No acceptance yet, though.

"The Walking Dead" really put Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes through the ringer in his penultimate episode, leaving both the character and the show's fans overwhelmed with emotion and fear.

It's not "Fear the Walking Dead" but it's totally fear how "The Walking Dead" is going to write Rick off of the show. We've known it was coming all season long, but no one ever bothered to tell fans how Rick would leave the show, leaving many hopeful that he would just ride off into the sunset a la Morgan (Lennie James) and maybe show up on another show.

After the closing minutes of this week's episode, though, now they're worried he won't survive to the end of next week's episode ... and the teaser for that episode isn't helping with that at all. Chock full of imagery from the series pilot, as well as a brief appearance of the late, lamented Shane (Jon Bernthal), it looks like it's going to be an epic fever dream for the good sheriff before he bids farewell.

But how much time does he have for dreams with not one, but two hordes looming over his prone form -- rebar through the gut -- as the episode closed this week. Even the shot of him riding on the horse with blood pouring out of his gut was small consolation because how do we know that's real?

If so much of the episode is going to be the madness swirling in his head, who's to say what's real and what isn't. Though we are looking forward to appearances by Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Hershel (the late Scott Wilson), and hoping for a few surprises, too. It's just too bad we didn't see any dumpsters for him to role under the way Glenn (Steven Yeun) did to delay his inevitable demise.

Honestly, that last one is a good thing, as that was one of the show's more hackneyed moments and it's really turned itself around creatively this season, with plenty of strong character moments and a real momentum that's exciting and unpredictable, even if Negan is still a pain in everyone's side, including the viewers.

We got a close effort at cheese-tastic drama when Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) spent the bulk of the episode in a pointlessly deep hole that seemed only to exist to slow them down and allow the characters some closure before Rick's big departure. But in all honesty, it was one of the most poignant and powerful scenes the two have shared in a long time, and something that needed to happen.

Rick stole moments with Carol (Melissa McBride) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt), as well, on the Rick farewell tour.

But it was the moments with Daryl, the white horse and the dramatic fall that left fans reeling and talking deep into the night. They'll have to sweat it out for another week to see if Rick survives his fall, and how he ultimately says goodbye to the show. For now, they're scared, angry, upset and touched all at the same time.

Read on to see what a state he and new showrunner Angela Kang have left fans in for the time being:

Rick Grimes' final episode of "The Walking Dead" airs next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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