Episode 4 of The Walking Dead’s seventh season turned its attention back to Rick in the aftermath of Glenn and Abraham’s death.
“Service” showed Rick Grimes bowing to Negan. The leader of the Saviors humiliated Rick long enough to get his full cooperation, although the rest of the Alexandria Safe-Zone community is not as happy to comply.
“Is that you under all that man beard’” asked Negan to Rick after he saw the video interview. “I wouldn’t have messed with that guy.”
Now, the leader of the Saviors finds a broken man full of regrets and fears, a new Rick Grimes without the courage or leadership to face Negan.
Negan might be wrong, what if Rick is still that guy, only smarter?
The old Rick is the real villain of the show. He started the quarter with Negan when he attacked one of his bases with no questions, no doubts, and no negotiations.
It was the first time Rick’s crew attacked first. They did it because they were sure there was no another group as dominant as Alexandria. The only voice against it was Morgan, and he is in Alexandria no more. Also, it seems he is no longer sure of what he believes.
Grown in confidence, season 6 Rick almost started a gunfight the first time he visited Hilltop. Only Maggie managed to stop the shooting, and, like Morgan, she will not serve peace anymore as she is looking for vengeance.
“I wouldn’t have messed with that guy.” Negan is right. Old Rick would not bow to anyone; he had attacked without hesitation or thought. He was a fearsome leader who could kill someone without thinking it twice.
It is what Rick showed when he proposed to “circle back and kill the survivors” after the group destroyed Terminus. Carol, Daryl, and Glenn were against it. Instead, new Rick is probably saving the cards for himself, just as he kept the secret of Judy’s true father.
Rick has survived and endure more than anyone on the show, and he has gone to great lengths to protect those around him
Ever since the group escaped the prison, the protagonist has lost a grasp of humanity. He had already suffered the death of his wife, Judith, and the betrayal of his best friend, Shane.
The main group has stood on the streets for too long before finding a real home, and the show has been cruel enough to destroy two safe places, the farm, and the prison. The group has always been defending themselves, surviving, scavenging.
Season five was the hardest one. The crew was in despair, hungry, tired, and with no destiny. They had to eat wild dog to survive and face “The Claimers” group with nothing but Rick’s teeth.
Is the new Rick going to fight back?
Abraham and Glenn’s lives weight on Rick’s shoulders, as well as Daryl’s destiny. He knows he took the group this far with his decisions, and now believes the best thing to do is comply with Negan.
The members of the original crew, those with the most voice after Rick, are all gone. Only Carol and Daryl remain, and they are not in Alexandria at the moment.
But the pieces are already moving: Eugene is building bullets, Maggie is seeking revenge, Michonne is reaching her breaking point, and Carl is rebellious as ever.
New Rick will have to figure out how to fend of Negan without too many loses because his closest friends are not happy with the current situation.