When The Walking Dead began, we saw a fragile Rick Grimes, fresh out of the hospital and thrown into a new world. Then we saw a Rick Grimes that became more rugged and dictatorial (The Ricktator) after he was forced to kill his best friend, Shane. But, now, we see a Rick Grimes that is broken. For the first time in three seasons, Rick now knows tragedy and pain.
*Warning: There may be spoilers afoot!*
Within the constructs of the Walking Dead universe, there has always been one over arching theme that stays true no matter what – no one is safe. Any reader of the comic book knows that, especially recently with the death of another major character. So, too, does the show adhere to that basic truth. But, after two seasons, everyone but Rick had known tragedy.
Hershel lost his wife, stepson, son and his right leg to the zombies. Andrea lost her sister. Michonne lost her brother and boyfriend (they were her pets, if you didn’t know). Carol lost Sophia and her husband. Daryl lost Merle (he thinks) and T-Dog, until last night… Well, T-Dog lost his awesome plaid hat from Season 1. So, in the world of the dead, you see that there is a price to staying alive. But, not for the Grimes family.
Eight months had passed from the siege of Hershel’s farm and Rick decided to use that time wisely by alienating his wife, Lori. He was too busy doing “important thangs” to pay attention to her, who he and we can assume was pregnant with Shane’s child. For whatever reason, Rick had taken back his forgiveness of Lori in the months between seasons. Had he forgotten that shit just happens when you part naked with Shane Walsh? Or was he trying to disconnect himself from the baby just in case something were to happen to it?
Although the physical affection was gone (perhaps it was gone because they were on the move so much?) Rick still loved Lori, even if we didn’t. She was the mother of his child and one of his only supporters when Shane was still around. Feelings like that are hard to shake, especially when she was one of the only things he had left to remind him of the old world. It was that foundation, no matter how chipped or cracked that it may have seemed, that kept Rick on firm ground.
But, that’s gone now.
Who knows if Rick will have the mental stability to continue on as the group’s leader. Perhaps he will, as the episode 5 preview suggests, go ballistic and go on a walker killing spree, putting himself and the group in danger. He has two seasons worth of rage inside of him that he is about to let out. And, who knows what kind of person will be left when all that rage is gone. Will he be more cruel than The Governor when he arrives (it’s inevitable that the two will meet), or will he be more quiet and weak like he is in the more recent comic books? Whichever it may be, just don’t let Rick near the telephones any time soon. He may try to call Lori in heaven, and that won’t do anybody any good.