The Walking Dead: Rick Grimes' Most Controversial Decisions - VRGyani News and Media

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Walking Dead: Rick Grimes' Most Controversial Decisions

Do we really need to say goodbye to The Walking Dead? It feels like just yesterday we were traipsing through the hospital with a deer-in-headlights Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), as he tried to figure out what the bleep was actually going on. For nine emotional seasons, Rick led us on a journey full of heartbreak, loss, suspense, and of course, walkers. Though he was our fearless and noble leader, he was definitely not perfect. It’s hard to fault such a selfless Sheriff like Rick since his actions were (usually) made with his group’s best interests in mind. But, there were several moments in the series that left us staring at our screens and blurting out, “Did Rick just do that?

Let’s look back at some of Rick’s decisions that left us with our mouths open like a hungry walker.

[Editor’s note: Major spoilers for The Walking Dead ahead]

9. Shooting Pete

Despite being presented as an idyllic refuge, the Alexandria Safe-Zone was a source of a lot of problems. A significant issue was the constant conflict between Rick and Alexandrian Pete Anderson. Pete was a pretty horrible dude, as he abused his wife, Jessie, and their sons Ron and Sam. It didn’t seem like Pete was going to change, and Rick was fed up watching Jessie repeatedly suffer her husband’s drunken wrath. Season 5 featured several arguments between Rick and Pete, especially when Rick encourages Jessie to speak up and defend herself.

Pete’s life comes to a bloody end in the Season 5 finale, when he confronts Deanna, Rick, and the rest of the group who surround a nighttime campfire. Pete threatens Rick with Michonne’s katana, and, in a drunken rage, screams at Rick that he isn’t one of them. When Deanna’s husband Reg tries to calm Pete down, Pete slices his throat. A distraught Deanna tells Rick to “do it,” and Rick, in the blink of an eye, shoots Pete in the head. What’s most startling about this moment isn’t that Rick kills him, but how easily he seems to do it. Rick’s learned from his past mistakes, and knew that if he let Pete live, everyone’s lives would be at risk. While it was certainly surprising, killing Pete was long overdue for the safety of others.

8. Going Rogue After Gregory Is Stabbed

In “Knots Untie,” the episode preceding the group’s attack on the sleepy Saviors, Rick’s animalistic instincts startle the members of the peaceful Hilltop community. Gregory and his Hilltop residents are backed into a less-than-ideal trade deal with the Saviors, with no real hope of getting out of it if they wanted to stay safe. Upon return from a meeting with the Saviors, Ethan, a member of the Hilltop, tells a confused Gregory (what else is new) that Negan killed some of their people because the delivery of goods wasn’t as big as they agreed to.

Ethan explains that Negan is holding Ethan’s brother, Craig, hostage until Ethan delivers a message to Gregory. Ethan apologizes to Gregory, then stabs him in the stomach. Rick pounces on Ethan and tackles him to the ground. A fight breaks out between the Hilltop and Rick’s group, as both sides try to protect their own people. Ethan pins Rick down, and says that anyone who tries to kill him is also killing Craig. Without hesitation, Rick digs his fingers into Ethan’s throat, causing him to immediately drop to the ground and bleed out. The Hilltop colonists stand horrified as they watch Rick kill one of their own. What makes this so shocking is how unphased Rick was by the entire situation. Covered in Ethan’s blood, Rick looked at all the frightened people and scoffed, “What?” Considering this was Rick’s very first time at the Hilltop, killing one of their people right off the bat was probably not the best move.

7. Secret in the CDC

By the end of Season 1 (which was only 6 episodes), Rick and his crew decided it would behoove them to try to make it to the CDC. When they finally arrive, they are disheartened by the number of walkers surrounding the facility, but receive some hope when Dr. Edwin Jenner lets them inside. Their hopes are almost immediately shattered, when they realize Edwin is the only remaining doctor, and the quest for a cure seems to be long dead. Because the CDC is running out of power to stay in operation, Jenner explains that the entire complex will self-destruct in a matter of minutes. Edwin tries to convince Rick and the group to die with him, but that wasn’t an option for Rick. Right before they escape, Edwin pulls Rick close, and whispers something in his ear that leaves him rattled. What does Edwin tell Rick?

We wouldn’t find out until the Season 2 finale, when Rick admits to the group that he’s been keeping a CDC secret from them. After Daryl reveals he found Randall had “turned,” without having been bit by a walker, this prompts Rick to tell them Edwin’s secret: everyone is infected. While knowing this information wouldn’t have really impacted everyone’s fate, Rick shouldn’t have kept this from his friends. Them finding out this way made his most trusted allies, such as Daryl, Lori, and Carol, question his trust and wonder what else he would hide from them.

RELATED: The 9 Most Shocking 'The Walking Dead' Deaths

6. Killing Gareth

Rick and the gang’s stay at Terminus was surprisingly short compared to how much of a lead up there was to it. It seemed like Rick, Michonne, and Carl were trudging on train tracks for an eternity. Once Rick explains that they will not be joining their bizarre cult, Gareth, the bloodthirsty (literally) leader of the cannibalistic group rounds them all up and holds them as hostages. In a particularly nail-biting moment from “No Sanctuary,” Rick, Glenn, Daryl, and Sam are bound and forced up against a trough, moments from being beaten and having their throats slit. After Gareth questions Rick as to what was in his bag, Rick admits that he has several weapons, including a red-handled machete, adding, “That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you.” Gareth saw this as an empty threat, but boy was he wrong.

After being rescued by Carol, Rick had the upper-hand and Gareth knew it. In “Four Walls and a Roof,” Rick patiently listens to a shaking-with-fear Gareth, who kneels in front of Rick near the altar of a church. He knew his time was limited, and used his final moments to beg Rick to let him and his people go, promising they would never cross paths again. Rick counters by saying that he already made Gareth a promise, quickly unsheathes his red-handled machete, and hacks Gareth to death. Rick’s behavior prompts Sasha, Abraham, and Michonne to repeatedly stab some of Gareth’s men, and leaves Maggie, Tara, Tyreese, and Glenn—Rick’s allies—to lower their weapons and look at their leader in horror.

5. We Need to Talk About Randall

In the latter half of Season 2, the main source of tension comes from a young man named Randall, who Rick encounters on a supply run. Randall doesn’t make the best first impression, as he and his group repeatedly shoot at Rick. After Randall slips and impales his leg on a spike, Rick decides to bring him back to the farm before he bleeds to death. Shane and Rick then blindfold him and tie him up with the intention of abandoning him far from home. In the middle of his pleas for help, Randall mentions that he knows Maggie, causing alarm bells to go off for Shane and Rick. If he knows Maggie, then he likely knows where the farm is even though they blindfolded him and drove him far away.

Shane’s instinct was to kill Randall to prevent him from coming back to hurt the group. Rick, however, not only keeps him alive, but brings him back as prisoner. At this point, it’s very early in the series, so Rick hasn’t morphed into the ruthless protector that he realizes he must become to survive. It was a different world now, and Shane tried to convince him that they couldn’t afford to keep someone who tried to kill them on their land. Even Rick admitted he knew he’d probably have to kill Randall, but he just put it off until the choice was no longer his. In “Better Angels,” Shane goes behind Rick’s back and kills Randall, only to cause a bigger rift between Shane and Rick.

4. Killing Shane Walsh

As Season 2 progressed, it became clear to Rick and some of the others that Shane was more of a threat to the group than a team player, as he was consistently disagreeing with Rick’s leadership. Shane had accumulated quite the poor track record, having slept with his best friend’s wife, Lori, killed and lied about killing Otis on a supply run, and unleashed Hershel’s barn walkers in a moment of anger. Rick was fed up with Shane’s behavior, and knew that his words weren’t going to sink into Shane’s newly-bald skull.

Rick is pushed to his breaking point in “Better Angels,” when he realizes that Shane wanting to go with Rick alone to find Randall was a big lie. Shane didn’t want to find Randall, because Shane already killed him. What Shane wanted to do was take Rick far away into the woods and kill Rick. Rick quickly catches on, and calls Shane out for his elaborate plan. The two have their most raw and honest exchange to date, as Shane tells Rick that he would be a better husband, father, and leader than Rick ever could. After Rick tricks Shane into believing Rick was surrendering, he stabs Shane in the chest, insisting that Shane’s actions up to that left him no choice.

3. Killing Victims in Their Sleep

By Season 6 of The Walking Dead, Rick is done taking chances. In Episode 12, titled “Not Tomorrow Yet,” Rick explains to his group that the only way to maintain peace at the Hilltop is to make the first move and attack the Saviors so they don’t make their way to Alexandria. Morgan is resistant to killing, and argues that Rick should first try to have diplomatic conversations with them before resorting to violence. There doesn’t seem to be any hope in swaying Rick, as he says, “We can’t leave them alive.” He does open the meeting up for discussion, though no one agrees with Morgan’s counter-plan. Rick ends his meeting by saying, “We kill them all,” leaving Tara to squirm in her seat. Was Rick just as bad as The Governor?

The group heads to where many of the Saviors are located, and barge into their quarters while they sleep. Everyone breaks off and sneaks into the Saviors’ rooms and, one by one, kills them in their sleep. Though they might have agreed to it, killing unsuspecting Saviors was not easy for some of Rick’s group, especially Glenn, who choked back tears after his first kill. Their plan is somewhat thwarted when a Savior catches Abraham and Sasha and pulls the fire alarm. After a rapid-fire gunfight, Jesus assesses the dead bodies that surround him and sighs, “So, this is the next world.”

2. Banishing Carol

In Season 4, a mysterious virus, in addition to the one that triggered the apocalypse, was circulating through Rick’s group. Carol expressed her concern with this new threat at a meeting, with Hershel acknowledging that it can quickly become lethal. Carol tried to explain to the others that they can’t wait much longer to see how bad things could get, but that they needed to start making tough decisions.

Carol makes the bold decision to kill and burn the bodies of Karen and David, two members of the group who were sick with the new virus. Yes, the virus was deadly, but not to everyone who gets infected. (Sasha and Glenn both get sick, for example, and survive for several seasons.) Rick, suspicious if Carol was the one to kill them, asks her if what he believes is actually true. Without hesitation, Carol admits to killing them behind his back, leaving Rick to question whether or not Carol can be trusted. In the episode titled, “Indifference,” Rick drives Carol away from the others, and banishes her from his group. He tells a teary-eyed Carol that he doesn’t want her around his family, and that she’ll start over and survive on her own. Ironically, Carol would return in the seasons to come and save Rick and the others on numerous occasions.

1. Not Killing Negan When He Had the Chance

The Season 8 finale of The Walking Dead, fans were treated to a long awaited face-off between Rick and Negan. The battle culminates under a tree in the middle of a field, with both men exhausted from everything they’ve been through up to that point. Negan tells Rick that he always wanted to kill him, he just couldn’t do it in front of Rick’s son, Carl. Negan proceeds to blame Rick for Carl’s death, and says he should’ve killed Rick when he had the chance. A helpless Rick begs Negan to spare him for ten more seconds in honor of Carl, which Negan does (Negan had a soft spot for Carl, and saw him as a son). Rick tells Negan that Carl believed they didn’t have to fight anymore, prompting Negan to break down in tears. Though it seemed like Rick was actually connecting with Negan on an emotional level, he slices Negan’s throat with a piece of broken glass. Covered in Negan’s blood, Rick imagines walking hand-in-hand with a young Carl.

After a brief moment of reflection, Rick makes an even bolder decision than slicing Negan’s throat. He looks on at his loyal army, who is ready to intervene, and tells them to save Negan’s life. Considering all of the loss and trauma that Rick’s people had suffered at Negan’s hand, his order to save him was unheard of. Maggie, whose husband Glenn’s head was smashed to smithereens by Negan’s bat Lucille, collapsed in agony upon hearing Rick’s command.

The final season of The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.

KEEP READING: 'The Walking Dead' Final Season Trailer Reveals the Beginning of the End



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