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The Walking Dead: 10 Greatest Rick Grimes Moments

 

Rick Grimes is gone from The Walking Dead. The end of the era has come and it is bittersweet to say the least. Andrew Lincoln decided to bow out of the role to spend more time with his family, and who could begrudge him of that? That said, Rick’s final episode (What Comes After) happened over a week ago and it was a fantastic way to say goodbye to the main character of one of TV’s best ever shows.

The journey of Rick Grimes from small-town cop, husband, and father, into the fearless, deadly leader of a zombie-killing faction has been phenomenal. As Rick once said to Hershel, “what the world is out there isn’t what you saw on TV. It is much, much worse, and it changes you.”

It’s debatable if Rick changed into something worse, something more feral than his original self, or if he became the man he always could be; self-reliant, cut-throat, and fiercely loyal. Whichever way you view it, there’s no denying that Rick Grimes is one of the most iconic television characters of all-time, and his greatest moments only tell part of the story, but it’s one worth telling.

Spoilers ahead!

10. The Beginning – Days Gone Bye

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The first episode of The Walking Dead is, almost entirely, a spotlight of Rick Grimes. In it we got a glimpse of the iron will that would come to define the character for the next nine seasons.

Days Gone Bye is one of the best and most re-watchable pilot episodes of any television show. Rick’s isolated journey through the new, confusing, and horrifying world, is incredible. Most normal men would crumble under the fear and pressure of the new circumstances he finds himself in, however Rick’s desire to find his family spurs him to leave his hometown and head into the swarming Atlanta cityscape.

Not only is this an iconic episode of TV, it’s also a wonderful showcase of who Rick Grimes is, the grit he possesses, and the man he will become.

9. Finding Lori & Carl – Tell It To The Frogs

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After escaping Atlanta, in no small part because of Glenn, Rick is reunited with his wife and son. Seeing the shock and joy on the faces of Lori and Carl is a heartwarming moment in a show that hands them out so rarely.

It’s also something of a pivotal moment for Rick because, now that he has found his family, he turns his attention to navigating the walker world and keeping them safe at all costs. He proves that he isn’t an Ed, who is happy to sit back and let others lead. Rick knows he must take charge.

As great a moment as this was for Rick though, what made it truly special was knowing what had been going on between Lori and Rick’s best friend, Shane. The look of shock and slow realisation of consequences to come on Lori’s face is devilishly delightful.

8. Killing His Best Friend – Better Angels

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Rick vs. Shane. It’s arguably the greatest story the show has ever told, and failed to live up to ever since.

That’s not to say the show has been bad ever since Season 2, it certainly hasn’t, but it’s never surpassed that level of drama and tension. The dynamic between Jon Bernthal and Andrew Lincoln was a special one; they genuinely felt like old friends, but the constant battle for leadership caused such a strain that it inevitably tipped over in gory fashion.

Shane’s mind felt like it was fraying, and it’s easy to see how he would have ended up similar to Negan or the Governor. As such, it was no surprise when he led Rick out into the woods before pulling a gun on him. Rick knew what was up before it even happened, though, which led to a tense showdown between the two best friends, both in love with the same women.

Rick managed to manipulate Shane’s warped mind to get closer to him, then stabbed him in the stomach. It was, perhaps, the first time Rick made such a monumental decision, and changed his trajectory forever.

7. This Isn’t A Democracy Anymore – Beside The Dying Fire

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Arguably the moment Rick Grimes was forever transformed from trusting, hopeful Sheriff, to badass leader, was in the Season 2 finale.

Much of The Walking Dead centres around Rick’s friction with other leaders, who don’t want to do things his way. As is often the case, the other leader gets overrun and Rick is proven right in the end. Such was the case at the Greene farm, when Hershel demanded Rick and co. get the hell out after Shane released their zombified family members from the barn.

Shortly thereafter, walkers overran the Greene farm and, while it burnt to the ground, Rick and his crew escaped in packs. Once they all reconvened in the woods, Rick’s anger had boiled over, and he informed the entire gang that their dynamic was no longer that of a democracy.

It was a truly awesome moment that showed Rick assuming full control and leaving behind his trusting side. He knew he had to be more of a dictator in order to maintain the safety of his group.

6. Killing Tomas – Sick

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That picture above is a mere second away from Rick Grimes showing us his true colours.

Flying out of the Season 2 finale, in which Rick informed the group he was firmly in charge, they made their way to the nearby prison. Upon entering they met a group of prisoners, enjoying the safety of the reinforced walls. Rick and the criminals made their way around the prison, clearing out remaining zombies to secure the facility. The leader of the criminals, Tomas, was constantly disrespectful to Rick and the two eventually came face to face.

At this juncture in the show, we fully expected Rick and Tomas to go back and forth for the majority of the season, until one killed the other. In a shocking turn though, Rick wedged a machete in Tomas’ head! It was an incredible moment as Rick fully established himself as being accustomed to the new world, unwilling to take any BS. He’d dealt with enough of Tomas’ type already, and he nipped that one in the bud. It was awesome.

5. Slaughter In The Church – Four Walls And A Roof

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The fourth season of The Walking Dead was an eventful one. It started out in the prison, as we’d become accustomed to, but the second half saw the group scattered, eventually being taken hostage by a group of cannibals. Season 5 opened with their escape, as Rick and his crew found solace in a semi-abandoned church.

The group go looking for the leader of the cannibals, Gareth, but turn back when they hear a commotion at the church. It turns out Gareth and co. snuck in when they left. From nowhere, Gareth’s fingers get shot off, and Rick returns, forcing them to stand down. Rick tells them there’s no point in pleading for mercy, but they do so anyway.

As you may expect, Rick, Sasha, Abraham, and Michonne grant no mercy, and instead unleash a brutal attack on the kneeling cannibals. Rick drives a machete through Gareth’s skull, then bashes it into mush. It’s a vicious moment that suggests our group is no better than any other, and shows just what effect the war with the Governor may have had on them. However, ruthless Rick very well may be the best Rick.

4. Throat Bite – A

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You could make a very good argument for this being the single greatest Rick Grimes moment. The Season 4 finale is interspersed with flashbacks of Hershel telling Rick at the prison that his violent ways have made him a poor father. Rick agrees with Hershel and puts his guns down. Those words and Rick putting his guns down ring loudly throughout the episode, which makes the ending all the more brutal.

Stuck in a sticky situation, captured by the Claimer Gang, with his hands tied, and his son about to be abused and killed, it was hard to conceive of how Rick would escape his dilemma. It says a lot that most of us watching could not have predicted what he would do next. As the Claimer leader, Joe, grabs Rick to make him watch Carl be assaulted, Rick instead bites his throat, ripping out his carotid artery.

The savage moment showed how far Rick had come in four seasons, as well as the lengths he would go to for those he loved. Hershel’s words rang hollow that night.

3. Dealing With Pete – Try & Conquer

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After the horrors of Season 4, viewers got some reprieve in Season 5. Rick and the gang found Alexandria, a town relatively untouched by the outbreak. For a while everything went alright for the good guys, but, as they tend to in The Walking Dead, things eventually went to s**t.

Tensions had been brewing between Rick and the OG citizens of Alexandria for a while; Rick claimed their way of life was dying and they weren’t prepared, but they saw him as being unhinged. During this time, Rick clashed with a guy named Pete, who was abusing his wife.

Rick was being pushed to his edge which, granted, after years of death and the Governor, was a lot closer than it used to be. He and Pete brawled in the streets of Alexandria and Rick got the better of him, before unloading on the townsfolk with a damning speech about them being weak and naive.

A few short days later, Pete would kill the husband of Alexandria leader, Deanna, who then gave Rick permission to finally end Pete’s miserable existence. This felt like a passing of the torch in Alexandria, and a truly satisfying moment for Rick.

2. Talking Back To Negan – The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life

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Rick never met a man quite like Negan. The foul-mouthed leader of the Saviours took depravity to a whole new level, as he bashed both Glenn and Abraham’s heads in, right in front of the group. From there, Season 7 was an onslaught of Negan keeping the gang under his boot, while Rick bent the knee.

Finally, in the Season 7 finale, as all-out war breaks out between the two factions, Negan threatens to kill Carl in front of Rick. Rather than beg for mercy as he had done in the previous season finale, Rick found his gumption again and vowed to kill Negan. Bold words for a man on his knees and, essentially, at gunpoint. “You’re all already dead.”

This is an amazing moment for Rick, as he finally wrestles himself free from the mental shackles Negan had him in. Of course, Negan wasn’t much impressed by the little speech, but it marked a shift in the dynamic. Not many men could pull off such a line when under the thumb of a ruthless dictator, but Rick does it with such chilling conviction.

1. Refusing To Die – What Comes After

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The first entry in this list spoke of Rick’s iron will, established in the very first episode. However, no episode showcases that resolution, that willingness to survive, than Rick’s final episode, What Comes After.

After falling on a piece of rebar and impaling himself, Rick agonisingly pulls himself free and onto his horse. He makes his way back towards the bridge Hilltop and Alexandria had been building, hoping for it to collapse under the weight of the horde of walkers on his tail.

On his way, Rick is bleeding badly and falling in and out of consciousness. Still, he continues. After one of his dreams with a lost friend, Rick’s horse abandons him and he continues the rest of the way on foot. Eventually he reaches the bridge but it doesn’t collapse with the walkers on it. As the others run to try and save him, against a horde of thousands, Rick sacrifices himself by blowing up the bridge.

Of course, we know Rick survived and was airlifted to safety, but that doesn’t change his actions. He fought against death and mind-numbing pain to try, one last time, to save his loved ones. Typically selfless actions from the great Rick Grimes. Farewell, old friend.

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