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The Walking Dead: Rick Grimes

I have a lot of feelings about this show (a zombie show, really?!), so I figure I should just get them all out there for everyone to be annoyed by. I will probably go character by character, depending on my mood. Fair warning, there will be spoilers for just about everything. We shall start with the character the series starts on: Rick Grimes.

I think the way we open on Rick in the show says a lot about his character. We do not get any dialog in that first scene, really, we just see a sheriff who, while obviously affected by the devastation around him and reluctant to kill a little girl (even if she is a zombie) will do what he believes needs to be done. So far, in the show and the comic, this one thing really seems to remain constant with him. Given how compact a format a TV series often is when compared to comic books, I think this was the perfect scene to show exactly who Rick is. Having the little girl turn around and revealing that she is a zombie that he then has to shoot really just helps drive it home.

What I like about the show compared to the comic books is that we get a version of Rick in the show that is less ‘everything is going to go back to normal soon’ in the beginning, but also less pulled together right off the bat. We get to see much clearer in the ‘before the apocalypse’ scene that Rick was a calm and natural leader who was very focused when it was time to get shit done. In comparison, we get to see Rick immediately after he comes to, when he has not seen another living soul, and he breaks down crying and screaming for his family, doubting if this is all real and probably doubting his sanity. It seems a very realistic reaction and I have to credit to Andrew Lincoln for, in my opinion, doing a fantastic job in that scene.

In the parting scene with Morgan and Duane, we get to see yet again how much of a leader Rick is. Even as they are going their separate ways, he is making sure they know what they need to do to make sure their ammo lasts and how to get back with him when they do start to move on. In the first episode alone we see Rick take out three zombies, two mercy killings and one in self-defense. Not only does this demonstrate that he has a definite sense of right and wrong, but it also is shown in stark contrast to Morgan who, even knowing that is wife is dead, cannot bring himself to shoot her. However, this is not fair to Morgan while Rick only knew one and it was not someone he was particularly close to.

In the show, we are still with this characterization. While he tries everything he can, even corralling the walkers even as he feels it is wrong and dangerous, to keep his family and group in a relatively safe place peacefully, he shows that part of the reason he is the leader is because he has what it takes to step forward and do what no one else can. Much like Morgan could take out the walkers who were strangers but could not bring himself to shoot his wife; the other members of Rick’s group can take out Hershel’s family and neighbors, but cannot bring themselves to shoot Sophia. This whole scene is played out differently in the comic where Rick is very much against the walkers in the barn and, while he is not as unhinged as Shane, does yell at Hershel about the barn. I prefer the shows version simply because, by contrasting Rick and Shane’s reactions to the situation, it shows how Rick is trying to hold onto civilization and humanity while Shane appears to be losing his humanity. It also shows that, while Shane will talk big about making the hard decisions, it’s Rick who does what no one else can bring themselves to do.

The comic, of course, has gone much further along in the time-line so far. We see Rick becoming a harder man, showing that his first and last priority is his family, and turning into a man that resembles Shane to a large degree. It was at this point that I started to not like Rick. However, with the last couple of comic issues, we have seen Rick realize that reclaiming the world is possible and that ‘safety in numbers’ isn’t just a phrase from an obsolete way of life. He is regaining that bit of humanity that he had really started to lose, and he is becoming a character I can truly enjoy again. I hope that he can help his son heal.

Feel free to let me know your opinions, or even let me know which characters you want to know my opinions about. Next I will be talking about Shane.

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