The Walking Dead season 9 episode titles are out – and two in particular hint at exactly when we’ll be saying goodbye to Rick

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It’s not long to go now until we have to bid Rick Grimes farewell, and judging by The Walking Dead season 9 episode titles just released, it could be slightly sooner than we first imagined. The first half of the season – all eight episodes – now have a title (except one, but let’s get to that in a moment), a writer, and a director, and it all quite plainly charts the course for the season ahead.

We already had a fair idea that Rick would leave in the first six The Walking Dead season 9 episodes, but we can now (probably) zero in on the exact episode it’ll happen in. Courtesy of AMC (H/T Newsweek), the opening episode titles have been revealed:

A New Beginning – Writer: Angela Kang, Director: Greg Nicotero

The Bridge – Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Director: Daisy Mayer

Warning Signs – Writer: Channing Powell, Director: Dan Liu

The Obliged – Writer: Geraldine Inoa, Director: Rosemary Rodriguez

What Comes After - Writer Matthew Negrete, Director: Greg Nicotero

Untitled – Writer: Eddie Guzelian, Director: Larry Teng

Stradivarius – Writer: Vivian Tse, Director: Michael Cudlitz

Evolution – Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Director: Michael E. Satrazemis

Episodes 5 and 6 definitely have the most ominous names there. What Comes After reads like an especially dramatic episode (especially when you have ones like The Bridge in there… seriously?), and it’s even directed by Greg Nicotero, the series mainstay who has helmed the likes of Negan’s first appearance and the reveal of who was on the barbed end of Lucille. Basically, something big tends to go down when he’s around.

Then there’s the fact that episode 6 is Untitled. Unless The Walking Dead is going meta with its episode titles, that’s probably a placeholder before the reveal of something much bigger and bloodier. It appears that those two episodes are the key candidates for when we’ll be saying goodbye to Rick. It’d probably be best to mark November 4 and November 11 in your calendars now – and book time off work if you have to. That’s going to be a rough week.

So, exactly how will Rick leave The Walking Dead? We've got a few ideas up our sleeve...