Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Breaking of Rick Grimes

Many people have been up in arms about the cliffhanger at the end of The Walking Dead episode "Last Day on Earth", the Season 6 finale. Everyone had been waiting, and taking bets on, to see who would die by Negan's hand.

Negan's arrival was predicated all the way back in Season 5 and as the final episodes ticked down to his arrival, people were rightly excited.

Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple gave the explanation that the reason the cliffhanger was there was because whoever Negan killed is the start of a new story. The current story had just finished and so they found it a good ending point.

Also Kirkman loves cliffhangers, but that's besides the point.

I agree with them on their reasoning and disagree with the people crying outrage. I admit the cliffhanger had to grow on me before I accepted it. It was such a good cliffhanger and, therefore, extremely painful.

The story that was told in the finale was one of the breaking of Rick Grimes. Rick goes from being sure of himself to a shell of a man in the course of this episode. I will follow Rick's journey of revelation from Alexandria all the way to Negan.

At the start of the episode, Rick is full of confidence. He has been through hell and back. He has survived this long and has become a good leader. One that walks the fine line between demon and angel, a line that he has crossed in the past and will in the future.

That's just the way The Walking Dead's morality works.

Rick has no idea what will happen and figures there will be no real problems for him on the road to Hilltop where he will be getting a doctor for Maggie. Denise's death has left Alexandria with no doctor to speak of.

It is a simple journey that shouldn't be full of many setbacks.

Besides, Rick can beat whatever is coming at him.

Spencer Monroe, Deane's son, asks Rick what should the people remaining in Alexandria do if the Saviors were to come. Should they make a deal?

Besides being suspicious and making it seem as though Spencer is an informant for the Saviors, how else could the Saviors have known to set up the road block at that time, it is an ominous warning to Rick.

A little sign to not be overconfident and that he has bitten off more than the mighty Rick Grimes can chew.
First Road Block

Not long after the start to the journey to Hilltop, Rick and gang encounters a road block. The roadblock is formed by a few Saviors and there is an injured man laying in front.

Since the character that speaks isn't named, I'll be calling him Trevor as he's the voice actor of Trevor from GTA 5.

Anyways...Trevor tells Rick the usual Savior spiel about giving them all their stuff. Trevor is confident as he knows he is on the winning side in this confrontation. He warns Rick, after Rick makes a comment, that Rick should consider the safety of the others in his care.

That Rick should think about what if this was the last day he saw one of them.

At the end of the confrontation, Trevor tells them that they're free to go to their destination.

Rick is confident that he can still get to Hilltop, that there will be no trouble from the Saviors that will be too difficult for him to overcome.

He thinks he will overcome because he is Rick Grimes.
Second Road Block

After deciding to go to Hilltop a different way, they run into yet another road block. This time there are even more people and not the same ones from the earlier road block. The Saviors know the ways to Hilltop and decided to make a second road block in case the first one didn't work.

Them being different ones could also be a way for the Saviors to show off their numbers. Not only are they showing that Rick can't hide from them, they are also much bigger than he thinks.

Rick can see that this isn't a battle he can win. While watching the premiere I wanted him to fight now because every roadblock after would just have to get worse, so this would be the second best chance to put up a fight (first one was the first road block).

He knows he can't win this battle as the people have been waiting for awhile. The more prepared your enemies are, the more likely you are in for a big ass whopping. The numbers were also a sign that Rick's group wouldn't win due to mere numbers. Your enemy tends to have a greater chance of defeating you if they outnumber your group.

So Rick ends up driving away from yet another roadblock.

Why fight a battle you can't win?

Rick drives away from the second road block with a little less hope, but he still is certain he can get Maggie to Hilltop. No matter what.
Third Road Block

The third road block is much different than the previous two. Instead of cars and people, there are Walkers. Rick immediately realizes that the Walkers are in too few of numbers to be a real threat and so the Saviors must be close by, merely watching to see what their prey does.

What Rick doesn't immediately realize is that the Walkers are wearing things from captured group members. A sign from the Saviors that they have people from Rick's group, either alive or dead.

Rick becomes horrified at this realization and pauses just long enough for Saviors to start shooting him and the others. What probably made him pause was the fact that there were some dreadlocks from Michonne, a woman he had recently formed a romantic relationship with.

As he runs back into the van he realizes that the Saviors are playing with them. None of the ones shooting were aiming to even graze their skin. They just wanted to herd them forward like sheep to a predetermined destination.

This isn't good and Rick starts to realize he might not win this fight. But he won't give up until he is at Hilltop with a doctor for Maggie.
Fourth Road Block

Rick and gang find their way blocked by a large pile of wood. As the group is looking at that they hear a scream and turn around. The man that was lying in the road of the first road block is now hanging.

Aaorn wants to shoot him down to end his pain, but Rick commands him not to. The group doesn't need to waste bullets and they wouldn't be able to shoot him down anyways.

So it is in somber silence that the logs catch on fire and Trevor reminds Rick again that this may be his last day on Earth. Also Trevor reminds Rick of the guilt he would feel if any of his people died. The Savior ends his speech by telling the group to get out as the fire will spread.

As Rick goes he realizes that the simple drive to Hilltop has become something he might not be able to overcome. That attacking the Saviors wasn't the smartest move he could ever do. That one of his people might end up dead because of his errors.
Splitting Up

Rick lets it sink in that they can't keep driving and running into road blocks. Maggie won't survive if they keep failing time and time again. So he takes Eugene's suggestion to split up.

Eugene will drive the RV while the others will walk to Hilltop. This is because it can be deduced that the Saviors are following the vehicle but not the individual people. So if everyone but Eugene is in the RV, that could possibly fool the Saviors.

Rick is at the end of his rope and so he agrees to Eugene's plan.

To say that Rick is less than hopeful would be an understatement. He is feeling the terror now and knows this is the last chance they have to make it to Hilltop. If Eugene's plan doesn't work, then all hope is lost.

Now we reach the end of the episode. Now we reach the end of all hope. Now we reach Negan.

Negan's announcement made fans feel that the person he killed would be the most talked about thing during the episode. Even I was talking with people to see who they thought he would kill by the end of this episode. When we didn't find out who he killed, it seemed like something was missing. That something was wrong.

Until you look at the fact that the episode was about Rick Grimes being brought down to size.

Upon being captured by the Saviors, Rick realizes that all he thought was wrong. That the Saviors were a bigger group than he could've ever imagined. He realizes that he should've done his research more and considered the fact that the Saviors weren't your average gang.

But Rick thought he had handled some troubles and, therefore, could handle anything that was thrown at him. That he had taken down the Governor and survived Terminus which meant he could take on the Saviors. He probably even had his ego raised when Daryl was able to take out some on their first meeting.

Upon being captured by the Saviors, Rick feels all hope leave him. He is more than afraid. His terror is made worse by the guilt he feels.

When Rick looks at Negan, the real Negan, he realizes that no one else could be him. The man is powerful and cruel beyond anything the former sheriff could ever dream.

How could anyone beat him?

Negan is something much more than Rick has ever deal with. There is no way he can ever fight back.

Rick realizes that whoever dies is dying because he was too confident. That this is his fault.




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