The Walking Dead is one of the most popular, eagerly talked about shows on the planet right now. It’s full of suspense, gore and drama and whilst it’s not exactly the funniest of shows, you can’t help but have a little laugh at some of the sinister ways walkers are killed in the show. Yet, even this often doesn’t compare to how utterly menacing Rick Grimes is.
Rick Grimes, in case you’re unfamiliar, is the gun toting, ex-police officer leader of the main group in the series The Walking Dead. Before the apocalypse went down, he was a good man. A man of honour, peace and was straight-laced to boot. Then he slowly began losing his family, followed by his mind, and then all hell broke loose. We’ve been given 7 seasons of brilliant horror/drama and the best parts have undoubtedly been when Rick has had a semi-mental breakdown and let his evil side come out.
Although the show is based around zombies, it’s really about the human element of what happens when the world turns to a big ball of undead. While seeing zombie heads flying around during a battle is great, the best part of the series is what unfolds when you need to fend for yourself and can trust almost nobody. It’s really exciting seeing the roles different people take to help fend off rival gangs and walkers whilst still summoning up enough energy to decide they wouldn’t mind living in a world that, to date, has shown no sign of getting any less messed up. And during the series so far, Rick has been battling these thoughts with the best of them. See below for the moments he’s has lost that battle, and lost his mind a bit, too.
15. Rick vs. Shane
This whole storyline during season 2 was great; pitting the two best friends against each other, fighting for the love of Rick’s wife. Shane, before the apocalypse happened, was Rick’s best friend, but once Rick was thought to be dead, Shane took it upon himself to protect the Grimes family, falling in love with Lori in the process. This started a storyline that would end in a field, with Shane on the end of Rick’s knife, before reanimating as a walker and being shot by the semi-stepson he loved. What’s more, after a mere couple of episodes later, the group seemingly forgets about Shane and gets back to their duty, knowing Rick is not a guy to be messed with. This was the start of some very messed up, if semi-noble, things that our anti-hero would do to save the rest of the pack, and himself. Peak Rick.
14. Taking Over Alexandria
After encountering a weak, slightly naive group in Alexandria, Rick finally sees the light, or the darkness, in season 5, episode 15. In the second to last episode of the season, Rick plays brutal town-crier and delivers some home truths of his own. In one the of the most epic speeches in TWD history, Rick delivers the harsh truth. They will all die if they continue living as they are. To a bunch of lovely, smart and innocent townsfolk, this is pretty harsh stuff. But what he is saying is true, as you find out in the following episode, when zombies break through their compound and Rick gets his ‘proof is in the pudding’ moment. Although as a whole this isn’t despicable, one look at Rick’s face all bloodied and his downtrodden hair, you notice that the gang controlled by Rick has just taken over another town, and another set of lives.
13. A Blade To The Head
Season 3 of The Walking Dead, and this time we are in the prison. We might not be surprised to find this in normal life, but Rick and the gang are shocked to find that there are prisoners in their new home, and these guys actually want to stay there— an unusual trait for a prisoner, though somewhat understandable in a post-apocalyptic world. Not quite sure what’s outside the prison walls, Tomas and the rest of the bad guys decide that they’re quite happy where they are. This descends into a foiled attempt to take Rick out of the game. Well, if you shoot, you sure better hit your target, especially if your target is a mentally unhinged marksman who is out of bullets, but loaded with hatchets. After cornering Tomas in a secluded part of the prison, Grimes launches into a huge chop to the head, leaving Tomas with a massive wound between the eyes and quite a few regrets.
12. Pray For Gareth
Cannibal and Bob baiter, Gareth is one of the main leaders of the group of people who live in Terminus, the ‘sanctuary’ our group heads towards during season 4. After capturing Bob and tying him up to a post, Gareth thinks he’s won when he begins eating part of Bob’s leg— until Bob tells the cannibal group that they are eating infected flesh, as he was bitten before capture. Surprise! Understandably upset, Gareth knocks Bob unconscious and leaves him outside of the church for Rick to find. This, naturally, irks Rick, who takes a posse of people to hunt down and capture Gareth. When Rick catches up to Gareth, he takes him to the church, where poor, old Gareth begs for mercy, citing mitigating circumstances for his taste for human flesh. As us viewers already know, mercy is not one of Rick’s main philosophies, and smashes Gareth’s head with his big, red machete.
11. Biting A Chunk Out Of Joe’s Neck
A lot happened during season 4, but never had a situation turned sour quite like this one. Rival gang member Joe, enemy of the main group and madman to the rest of the world, doesn’t quite know what he’s done when he ambushes Rick, Carl, Daryl and Michonne. Threatening to beat Daryl, kill Michonne and Carl before turning on Rick, Joe’s buddy tries to force Carl to the ground and hurt/rape him. They clearly don’t know the force of nature that is angry Rick, as he jumps up into the arms of Joe, who asks “What you gonna do now, sport?”, perfect last words for a man who then proceeds to get his throat bitten out by Rick, ripping his jugular from his neck and spitting it into the camera. This is by and large the grimmest death of the whole program, but one which allows Rick to transform into protective father, leader and pure maniac.
10. Helping Maggie And Testing Negan
This is something that Rick actually does right, but unfortunately ends up having terrible repercussions for the group. Maggie, pregnant and unwell with Glenn’s child, needs a hospital. In pain and scared of a miscarriage, the group decides to head on out of their compound and look for a hospital for her. This ends up being a giant game of hide and seek with Negan’s men, who are blocking off every turn, corner and road the group go down. Finally, they take the last road and are blocked off once more. Negan’s men have captured them, and end up taking them back to a roadside retreat to wait for mega-baddie Negan to come and join the party. Rick’s decision to help Maggie ended up being the single biggest moment in the show’s history, as Negan promises— and delivers on said promise— to kill someone in the group. This ends up leading to our bye-bye to Glenn and Abe.
9. Threatening The Elderly
OK so Rick doesn’t technically threaten the elderly, but this is the first episode we see Rick really go to great lengths to save his community and his friends. Losing his saviour (Glenn) from the previous few episodes to the Vatos gang, but finding his big bag of guns (finally!) and an unknown called Miguel, Rick endeavours to return Miguel back to the Vatos gang in return for Glenn. As Rick and the gang exchange words about just who the guns belong to, Rick threatens them unless they give back Glenn. The stand-off ends up with a confused elderly lady begging Rick not to take away her son (Rick is in his police uniform, still), then mistakenly leading Rick to Glenn. After the first stand-off of the show, Rick ends up giving some guns and medicine to the rival gang, proving that, at least in season 1, he’s a pretty good guy.
8. Punching Dead Heads
Maybe not despicable as such, but just plain weird. Rick Grimes, upon trying to get into the compound of the Saviours, proceeds to use the severed head of a man who looks like friend Gregory, of Hilltop compound, to convince the Saviours that Greg was in fact dead. When long-haired Jesus begins to tell Rick that out of the three heads, one looks like Gregory but “the nose, Gregory’s is a different…shape”, our crazy leader decided to change that. With his fists. In my book, punching severed heads is one step away from insanity and yeah, even though it was for a reason, it shows just how ruthless Rick can be to get what he wants; or at the very least at trying to. Another reason that this scene is kind of gross is the noise the head makes while being punched. While Jesus looks physically sick, Rick cracks on. A splatter and a crack are no match for Mr. Grimes.
7. Leaving Merle On A Rooftop
Let’s get one thing straight. Merle Dixon was a straight up butt-head. More than that, even. But I’m under strict rule to watch language, so ‘butt’ is all I will go for. He was a racist, a misogynist and just a nasty piece of sh— work. So, when Rick enters the fray during season 1, him handcuffing Merle to a pipe is one of the crowning moments of the season. Yet, when the newly formed group leave Merle on top of the roof, you start to feel as though that might have been a step too far. OK, so T-Dawg dropped the key down the drain, and then ran off, but leaving a man to cut off his own arm just to escape is the start of the end for Rick and the gang. Merle goes on to pop up in season 3 with the Governor as his right-hand man (ahem) in a move that shocks everyone still alive from that rooftop scene.
6. Agreeing To Save Hilltop
In what turns out to be the biggest mistake in the whole of the 7 seasons of The Walking Dead so far, Rick agrees to the idea of saving Hilltop from the Saviours, getting a shed-load of food and stock in the process. It’s a good idea in theory, but what Rick didn’t know was that this was one fight he couldn’t win. And you know what? I’m glad. We spend season after season seeing the gang get by with only a couple of deaths here and there, but to see them pick a fight with some of the bigger boys and girls and come up short was refreshing. It just proves, though, that Rick is a little big for his boots and that you shouldn’t ever pick a fight, blindfolded, with a giant man and a baseball bat. It will end in blood, sweat and tears. And in return you don’t get anything. Nightmare scenario.
5. Sharp Shooting In A Bar
This is despicable, but only if taken out of context. Like, way out of context. Chasing after Hershel after he loses the will to live briefly, Rick heads on down to the local town where he finds a bar. A bar where Hershel is drinking. OK, pretty normal. But since Hershel hasn’t been a drinker for years, this signalled a bit of a ‘he’s lost his mind’ vibe, so Rick steps in and tries to talk some sense in the old man. It looks like it’s working, too, until they both overhear some things outside, followed by being greeted by a couple of no-good looking hillbillies. These guys, clearly not knowing who they’re messing with, decide to threaten Rick and Hershel. Something that is not advisable from my standpoint. What follows is the sharpest shooting in the whole series, as Rick pulls his gun quicker than these other two slow guys, and shoots one in the head, followed by the other in the shoulder, the stomach and finally in the head. 2-0 to Rick.
4. Siding With Hershel Over The Barn Walkers
One of the more minor of the pivotal episodes within season 2 is when the group find out about the barn full of walkers that Hershel has locked up on the ranch that is supposed to be the group’s new start. Shane, naturally, wants to have them all shot. While Rick, in his more diplomatic days, thinks that it is best to be accommodating and thoughtful to their new host’s whim/death wish. Everyone can see what Rick is doing and it’s commendable. But in reality, they are corpses just waiting to get their hands on some living meat. What should have happened was a strong word. Rick, at this point, was a people person. He should have spoken to Hershel and convinced him that having these zombies in his backyard was a terrible idea. If this had happened, then you never know, things might have turned out better in the long run between Shane, Rick and everyone else. Which, as we know, wasn’t quite the case.
3. Rick’s General Leadership
So, this isn’t technically one thing Rick has done, instead it’s his whole ethos. Yeah, this might be the zombie apocalypse and OK, tough leadership is needed, but Rick is basically unhinged to the point of no return. He’s become the opposite of what he started off as— a caring, small town policeman. All of this makes for excellent viewing, but the general feel around Rick is that he’s rash. Take the debacle around attempting to overthrow Negan’s gang, only to end up cornered, out-fought and essentially losing two of his strongest men in Glenn and Abe. It looks like he’s taken notice, a little at least, because he knows Negan is no longer a man to be messed with. Whether life stays this way, is anyone’s guess. Rick is what makes the show what it is, but if I was part of his group, I can’t help but think I would feel very hard done by.
2. Letting It Slip That Everyone Is Infected
What might not have been a great idea from Rick was to tell everyone that they were infected from the moment the virus spread. After one hell of a storm had yet to settle at the back end of season 2, Rick decided to tell everyone the secret that Dr. Jenner told him back in season 1. I think, in retrospect, this would have been a good idea at, say, any other time in the show. But just after Shane had died, the farm was ruined and they had no place to go, and Rick let it slip. Not one of his finer moments. Since then, we’ve kind of been made to forget about this issue, with infection not popping up since, which kind of negates this problem. But at a time when morale was low, Rick needed to keep his mouth shut. Bad Rick.
1. Basically Becoming The Villain Himself
This isn’t something he has done so much as something he has become. Rick Grimes seems to be turning into the villain as we go through the series. If he started out as the saviour and the good guy, he’s basically become Negan, just from a different place. He is unhinged, harsh and very rarely has anything good to say (team morale, anyone?). All in all, Rick Grimes is a bit of bully, a terrible leader and one tough nut to crack. This makes him an excellent character, entertaining and great fun to watch, but if you were under his leadership, would you be happy? I’m not sure I would. He’s allowed his dog-eat-dog mindset to become bigger than him, so expect plenty more terrible things to come from Rick Grimes in the future.