Tough times for Rick Grimes, people! He watched one of his own die. Then watched another of his own die. Then he almost had to cut his own son’s arm off — the same son who just recently lost an eye and is currently sporting a very questionable haircut. Tough times, indeed!
So what now? We went to Andrew Lincoln to find out what these recent devastating events on AMC’s The Walking Dead mean for our hero going forward. Any way you slice it, it doesn’t look good.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Everyone was talking about the cliffhanger and who was going to die and all of that. Now the event is finally over. We’ve seen it. We’re done. We’re through it. We know the purpose of it all was that Negan really wanted to make Rick submissive. That was his goal in this. And the question really becomes now: Has he succeeded? What does this do to Rick going forward?
ANDREW LINCOLN: You’re right. My huge concern in this episode was to tell the story of a defiant man being turned into an obedient man due to grief and trauma. That’s why it plays around with time, because they wanted to start with a man saying, “I’m going to kill you one day” and then end up with a man begging him, in fact even thanking him, for sparing his son’s arm. It’s Abraham and Isaac isn’t it? That’s it. Negan is the omnipotent one. He shatters.
I did ask [showrunner Scott M. Gimple] and I said, “What are we looking for here? Is there any sense in which Rick gets out? There’s a plan, there’s a glimmer?” But he unequivocally said, “No, this is Earth-shattering.” And I was like “Oh really. We’ve got to do that, have we?” That’s why we had to do it in the way I had to do it. But I will say that there is a kernel of light in the darkest moment of the show, in my opinion. If it isn’t, I’m going to have a very seriously long talk with Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman.
What is that kernel, then?
The kernel of hope that is always in the DNA of our show is the moment he’s trying to protect Maggie and he just says, “He’s our family too. Let us do this. Let us still be united and the memory of this will be united in our family unit.” It’s the tiniest moment of anything resembling hope or community or love in this very sort of loveless and bleak new world that they just stumbled across. The quote that keeps coming back to me is from one of the greatest men that ever lived. It’s Nelson Mandela when he said, “The greatest glory in ever living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” And that keeps rumbling around in my head this season.
I know Daryl is going to be blaming himself a lot, clearly, for what happened. How much is Rick going to be blaming himself for his own hubris that led up to this tragedy?
Yeah, guilt is never very far from Rick Grimes’ shoulder. It comes with the package. He’s a man who takes his responsibilities very heavily, not lightly. And I think that makes him somebody that people want to fall in behind, or alongside. It’s also his strength, it’s also his weakness. This is shattering, what happened to him. I do think that it’s going to change who he is forevermore and through the end of the season.
How does everybody else in Alexandria react when Rick comes back and tells everyone about the new rules?
All I will say is that this is a rocky road. It’s a shocking beginning to a season, but it is the beginning of a season. That’s what people have to remember. This is where we begin, after the quake. This season is about rebuilding and about characters dealing with the trauma and grief of this brutal attack, but also this new regime that they are now a part of. And each react in their own individual ways. It’s more Lord of the Rings than Lord of the Flies this season.
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