I’ve been doing the weekly reviews of “The Walking Dead” for many years thanks to our fearless leader, Andy Burns, and although I loved all the characters on the show, there was only one character that I focused on. Who is Rick Grimes, and what will happen to the series after he leaves?
Three years ago, I wrote a post explaining my love affair with Andrew Lincoln’s character. I have watched Rick transform into a person I sometimes liked and disliked depending on what was happening in a particular season. It’s near impossible to pick five favorite episodes from eight seasons; I loved them all, but here we go.
Even though “Night of the Living Dead” was definitely the forerunner for the shuffling ravenous dead, it never covered the long-term effects of surviving the apocalypse. In the first season we meet Rick as he awakens from a coma. We also meet Morgan on this first show. We didn’t know then that Morgan’s and Rick’s lives would be forever sealed in a brotherhood against the walkers, but they are and once Morgan updates Rick on what happened while he was in a coma, Rick goes searching for his wife and son.
Through a series of unfortunate events, including Rick’s horse becoming a walker snack, Rick is rescued by Glenn, and then later meets Andrea, Morales, Jacqui, T-Dog, and Merle. Rick, still in cop mode, handcuffs Merle to the rooftop after an argument. Rick finds his wife and son living with the other survivors, which includes his ex-partner Shane. Rick was confused at the beginning of the first season, but took readily to the position of leader of the pack, and Team Rick was born
I began writing the weekly reviews on “The Walking Dead” with the third season, but this episode “Seed” was my favorite, as we follow Team Rick after they had fled Hershel’s farm. Rick and the surviving group of survivors come across an abandoned prison. While clearing out the walkers, Hershel gets bitten, and Team Rick learns that they are not alone. There are inmates trapped in the prison and Rick has to prove his leadership once again, which he does with flying colors. We also get to know more about the mysterious Michonne after she saves Andrea. We also learn the Merle is alive, sans hand, and is working for someone called the Governor.
Season 3 was definitely my favorite season, especially with the Governor and his tank of heads. In “Killer Within” we realize that Rick is up to matching wits with a worthy adversary in the Governor. Michonne and Andrea disagree with the Governor’s method of control and Michonne goes to the prison. Lori goes into labor and Maggie and Carl are unable to save her. We are introduced to the little ass kicker, Judith. Rick is devastated by Lori’s death, and starts seeing her ghost everywhere. Rick was not at his best form in this season because he underestimated his enemy.
In “Here’s Not Here” Team Rick has been living in Alexandria, but they had their hands full trying to blend in with the people of Alexandria while dealing with walkers and two-legged wolves led by Alpha wolf (Benedict Samuel). We still don’t know if Glenn is dead, but Rick has the hots for a married woman with a crazed hubby. Morgan has found his Zen after meeting Eastman (John Carol Lynch). Carol tricks everyone into thinking that she’s just a helpless little homemaker with a killer tray of cookies. Rick makes several bad choices which prepares us for the most shocking season.
It was this particular episode that changed the way we looked at Rick. Even with all his faults, we knew that Rick would outfox his enemy, but not in this season, and not with Negan. Rick lost people and Negan, played fabulously by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, made sure he rubbed the loss in Rick’s face. Rick had to kneel there in the dirt as Negan used Lucille to beat Glenn and Abe to death. Rick is further humiliated when Negan takes a liking to Carl. This was the first time that Rick was outsmarted at every move by an enemy. Team Rick had to make difficult choices as Negan continually revelled in his ability to break Rick. Even the biggest bullies make mistakes, and Negan failed to notice that the women in Team Rick were the more dangerous warriors. We lost a tiger, but the season ended with Negan captured.
Season 09 is almost upon us, and rumor has it that Andrew Lincoln will only be in the first five episodes. I am not sure what the consequence will be with Andrew Lincoln’s leaving, but I know the show won’t be the same for me. I will still watch it, and do the weekly reviews on my Gilbert Speaks Blog, but unless someone that is believable as a leader steps up to the plate; my heart will not be in it. Whom would you like to see in charge? For me, it would be Carol. I think it’s time.