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- "It all kind of runs together at this point... Hard to narrow it down. It's one solid block of bad all boiling down to one thing... the worst thing I ever did... live. When so many others... who should have... didn't."
- —Rick answering Negan's question of the single worst thing he has ever done.[src]
Rick Grimes is the protagonist of Image Comics' The Walking Dead who was first encountered in the first issue of the series. Rick has been described as an everyman who emphasizes moral codes and values. Over the course of the series, he succumbs to sheer and uncompromising brutality in order to protect his fellow group members and later community from harm.
A police deputy from Cynthiana, Kentucky, awakens from a coma to find the world infested with zombies. He searches for his wife, and son, and encounters many survivors along the way. He gradually becomes the leader of the group, and is often faced with many leadership struggles, overcoming them and changing his mindset to prioritize safety in numbers. His leadership qualities and experience lead him to become the leader of a sizable community near Washington, D.C., continuing to deal with many human threats along the way that cost the lives of his friends and loved ones. He acts as the main instigator in the war against the Saviors and years later, leads the network of communities against the Whisperers threat.
Rick is one of the three remaining members of the Atlanta group of survivors. The series is meant to follow his life for the approximate 300-issue run.
Rick experienced an average childhood, where he grew up alongside his younger brother Jeffrey, his father was a noble man who taught him about the moral lessons of bravery and integrity to where Rick inherited his personal moral code from. Throughout elementary school, Rick firmly defended his younger brother from bullies, however he freqently lost these fights which resulted in Rick getting beaten up by his peers, these losses occasionaly caused him to lose confidance in himself, his father consoled him with the boys don't cry speech to which Rick tried his best to adhere to but never properly prevailed in.
Academically, he entered college for police administration with the intention of becoming a police officer. During his sophomore year, his parents made Rick chaperone at a New Year’s party set up by them, but his parents had to attend another party elsewhere. Thanks to his younger brother, he was introduced to a high school senior named Lori. Although there was some chemistry between them, they couldn't explore a possible relationship, due to Lori moving away to attend college as well. Despite this, Rick and Lori kept in touch with each other while he finished college. After Lori dropped out of her first year in college, she returned to Cynthiana, where they could finally develop their relationship. Soon after, Rick and Lori were wed, so Lori became Lori Grimes.
During this time, Rick officially became a police officer, where he was assigned a partner, and soon best friend, Shane. Life for Rick was perfect, with a burgeoning career in the police force and the happy news of Lori's pregnancy. Soon they had a son whom they named Carl.
At the beginning of the series, Rick was wounded in a shoot-out, and was put into a coma for about a month. Upon awakening, Rick finds the hospital and the rest of the town desolated and overrun by zombies. Rick remains dazed by all of the confusion as he stumbles out of the hospital and onto the streets of Cynthiana. He makes his way out of the hospital and uses a bike to get back to his house.
He arrives and finds it deserted, he breaks down and after a few minutes heads outside to think, however he is soon hit in the back of the head with a shovel. He wakes up, having been knocked out by the blow to the head, and sees that he is in the house of his old next door neighbors. He is greeted by a man named Morgan Jones, who explains that he and his son Duane Jones have taken refuge in the house. He informs Rick of the outbreak that has happened during his time in a coma. Morgan also informs him that the government was telling everyone to go to Atlanta. Rick is overjoyed upon hearing this, as he sees that Lori might have taken Carl to Atlanta to stay with her parents. He also realizes that he will need both a car and guns. To accomplish this, Rick takes Morgan and Duane to his police department and supplies them with guns, ammo, and a car. He then leaves Morgan and Duane in Cynthiana, so he can go to Atlanta. Along the way, Rick's car runs out of gas, so he decides to continue the trek on foot. Along the way he finds a farm house and goes inside to try and borrow some gas. Upon his entry, he sees that the entire family killed themselves during the initial outbreak. He goes around to the stable, and finds a horse and a hatchet (this becomes his main weapon throughout the rest of the series). He rides the horse for the rest of the trip to Atlanta.
Upon arriving in Atlanta, he finds the entire city overrun. His horse soon becomes spooked, and falls over. The horse is quickly swarmed and eaten, leaving Rick to try and fend for himself. He is, however, thankfully saved by a man named Glenn, who rescues him and leads him to safety along the outskirts of the city, where Glenn stays in a makeshift camp with another group of survivors.
Upon meeting up with the survivor group outside of Atlanta, Rick finds Lori, Carl and Shane. He also meets new survivors including a man with an RV camper named Dale, two sisters taking a road trip named Andrea and Amy, an emotionally burdened man named Jim, a mother named Carol and her six year old daughter Sophia, and a family of four with father Allen, mother Donna, and four year old twins Billy and Ben. Shane explains to him that he was taking Lori and Carl to stay with her parents until the outbreak was over and that he would go back for Rick. Rick quickly takes up a place with the survivors as a hunter along with Shane. During one of their trips Donna is attacked by a zombie that wandered into camp. Rick asks Shane if they could move their camp away from the city but the proposition was rejected. Rick accepted this but realized that they would need guns.
The next day Rick goes into Atlanta with Glenn. They find a gun store and collect as many guns as they can carry and barely escape the city without dying. This gains Rick favor with the other survivors. He also trains them in target practice. A few weeks later the camp is once again attacked, leading to the death of Amy and the infection of Jim. The group decides (against their will) to leave Jim outside of Atlanta, so he can reanimate and be with his family. After these events, and seeing that the only reason this attack happened was because Shane would not move the camp, Rick confronts him, but Shane punches him in the face. After seeing this, Lori smacks Shane and yells at him. Shane runs away but Rick chases him and confronts him once more on what had happened. Shane turns out to be more hostile and attempts to shoot Rick with a shotgun. Rick is saved by his son Carl, who ends up shooting Shane in the neck. The group buries Shane and, after becoming the leader of the group, Rick abandons the Atlanta Camp in search for a safer refuge.
While on the road, Rick and the group meet up with a man named Tyreese, who is traveling with his daughter, Julie, and her boyfriend Chris; although Lori has some reservations about them, Rick invites Tyreese to join their group. Rick spots a walled-off neighborhood called Wiltshire Estates and since it is around twenty miles from Atlanta, it should be relatively safe. While in the process of clearing out the first house, Rick is tackled by a zombie, and saved by Tyreese, gaining Rick's trust. They discover that the house was overly stocked with canned goods, and would make the perfect new residence for the group.
They spend the night in the house and in the morning set out to kill all of the infected in the neighborhood. Rick splits the group into two teams, one headed by Rick and the other by Tyreese. Rick runs back to the RV to grab Tyreese a gun and discovers a previously snow-covered sign that says that the entire neighborhood is festering with zombies. He runs back to the group to inform them that they have to leave, but he is too late, as Donna had just been bitten in the eye.
This event causes Allen to become emotionally compromised, but Rick manages to convince Allen to leave his dying wife. The rest of the group then escapes Wiltshire Estates.
Later, Rick, Tyreese and Carl go hunting. Carl is accidentally shot in the shoulder by another hunter named Otis. Rick, in a fit of rage, places a gun to Otis's head and threatening to kill him. However, Tyreese stops him by saying that Carl is still alive. Otis suggests that they go to his friend Hershel Greene's farm, where he can patch him up. While Rick and Otis run to the farm, Tyreese returns to the RV to inform the other survivors of what had happened. Tyreese and the survivors reach Hershel's farm just as Rick and Otis arrive with Carl.
Rick watches in fear as the two strangers operate on his son. Hershel removes the bullet, stops the bleeding and leaves Carl to rest, so he can introduce Rick's group to his family and friends, Lacey, Arnold, Maggie, Billy, his young daughters Rachel and Susie Greene, and Otis' girlfriend, Patricia. The group stays at the farm while Carl heals.
Rick confronts Hershel about allowing his group to stay in his barn so that they don't have to sleep in the RV anymore. Hershel protests saying that he has been placing all of the zombies that they have encountered in the barn. This information sets Rick off and they begin yelling at each other leading to the discovery that Hershel's oldest son Shawn Greene was bitten and turned at the beginning of the outbreak and that he is in the barn at that moment. Rick tries to explain that it is not his son but Hershel keeps denying the fact and walks off. Carl fully heals and as a show of gratitude Rick gives Hershel the rest of their spare guns and invites them to target practice. Rick hosts the target practice next to Hershel's barn but Hershel screams for them to stop saying that his neighbors' house is next door.
They see another zombie walking in the field outside the fence, and Hershel shows his technique for trapping zombies in the barn. However one of the zombies falls against the barn door and they break out of the barn. Arnold and Lacey attempt to save Hershel but are both bitten and killed. Hershel realizes that there is no saving the zombies and finally accepts that they must be killed. Hershel shoots Arnold, Lacey, and Shawn as a form of closure.
With the barn now cleared out Rick and Allen begin cleaning it up so that they can sleep there. However Rick finally cracks and runs off to yell at Hershel about staying in the rooms of the house. This leads to an argument and Hershel informs Rick that after Carl is fully healed he will throw them out of his house. Rick returns to inform Lori of this. She is outraged and goes to yell at Hershel. Lori begins a fight with Hershel and Rick intervenes. The fight ends with Hershel about to smack Lori when Rick stops him. Hershel places a gun to Rick's head but he is stopped from executing Rick by Otis who takes Rick's side. Rick decides that they will leave and packs everyone into the RV. Glenn decides to stay to live with Maggie, while Rick and the group leaves. The group continues on the road until Dale and Andrea see a prison in the distance.
Rick instantly sees the prison as a new hope for the group. With three rows of fences, and heavily fortified buildings, he really feels it's the best place for them to start a new life.
The group begins the long process of cleaning out the prison and fixing the fences that had been damaged, when they find that four inmates had been hastily locked in the cafeteria when the place had begun to be overrun. The leader of the inmates, Dexter, introduces the other inmates to Rick's group as Axel, Andrew, and Thomas Richards, as well as giving a tour of the prison to the group. In the weeks since the outbreak, these inmates had survived by the stockpile of food in the cafeteria's pantry, as well as using the walk-in freezer as a latrine.
Wary of the new people, the group attempts to continue the work of fixing up the prison while Rick traveled back to Hershel's farm to bring them all out to their new place. Apparently, things at the farm hadn't been going so well since the weather was warming up, and zombie attacks were on the rise, so the group is happy to come live at the prison. All seems well until Rick is awoken by a gunshot and rushes to see that Chris had killed Julie in a suicide pact by firing too early.
Julie reanimates without being bitten resulting in the revelation that all of the survivors were infected. Julie's corpse attempts to eat Tyreese, who is in turn saved by Chris. However, instead of gratefulness, Tyreese is infuriated and proceeds to murder Chris as Rick looks on in shock. Rick wakes up the next morning after having informed the group of what had happened the previous night, and sees Tyreese burning the bodies, and after a quick talk the two proceed to clear out the rest of the prison.
Hershel brought with him many of the supplies he needed to farm, and begins planting a garden in the prison yard so that they have a renewable source of food for the weeks and months to come. The inclusion of Hershel and his family allowed the group develop a sense that things would be safe from now on.
Upon the revelation that a bite doesn't turn a person, Rick travels back to the Atlanta Camp to dig up, and shoot Shane, commenting, "You were a good man, Shane, I don't know why you did what you did, but you were a good man.", among other things. He then heads back to the prison, having given his final words to Shane saying, "And I ain't gonna bury you again you son of a bitch."
Meanwhile, the feeling of peace at the prison is short-lived, as tragedy strikes when Hershel's two youngest daughters are found murdered in the prison's barber shop. The survivors instantly blame Dexter, the inmate who had told them he had been incarcerated for murder, locking him in his own room while they decide what to do. It eventually turns out that the murderer was actually Thomas, who attempts to murder Andrea. Rick disarms him of his knife, and in a fit of rage, beats him brutally, almost to death. He then precedes to tell the survivors that Thomas is to be hung, and why.
Later, he goes to Dale for medical attention for his hand, which was broken and mutilated by the severity of his attack on Thomas, though he stated he "doesn't regret a thing".
However, before they could hang Thomas, Patricia lets him out of his cell in an attempt to rescue him from his death. Instead of gratefulness, Thomas attempts to kill her resulting in Maggie shooting him several times. They then throw his body out for the zombies to feed on. Rick allows Dexter to leave his cell, and then, with Lori, tries to decide on what they should do with Patricia. This is interrupted by a force consisting of Dexter, Andrew, and Patricia all wanting to force Rick's group out of the prison.
The three soon realize that they hadn't shut the door behind them leading to the prison's A-block. The courtyard is soon swarmed with zombies. Rick sends Lori and the kids back into the prison and forces the "rebels" to assist in clearing out of the courtyard. Rick saves Dexter from a zombie about to kill him, but Dexter is incredibly ungrateful and coaxes Rick with the thought that he should have let it kill him.
Rick then takes the opportunity of the mass confusion to kill Dexter and cover it up as friendly fire. This event is only witnessed by Tyreese who is mortified by Rick's actions. The group finishes the clearing of the zombies, and they let Otis into the prison, as he had stayed at the farm to watch over the livestock. During this induction to the prison, the group also allows in the person who had saved Otis's life while he was outside of the gate: a katana-wielding woman named Michonne. They confiscate the katana from Michonne in fear of another possible uprising of the prison.
The group begins to burn the bodies of the newly killed zombies. As this occurs, Andrew runs out into the wilderness, to his awaited zombified state. The group decides to move on to more pressing issues as Andrea calls a meeting. Andrea, with the assistance of Axel, brings out the prison jumpsuits to make into clothes for the other survivors.
After the meeting, Tyreese confronts Rick with understanding of his decision to murder Dexter. After this course of events, Rick takes Dale, Axel, Tyreese, and Allen to clear out the A-block. Along the way, they find the prison's library, in which Allen is nearly attacked. After this takes place, the group splits up, Dale and Tyreese leave one way, while Rick, Axel, and Allen go another.
Along the way, Dale and Tyreese find a massive generator, meanwhile Allen gets bitten on his ankle. The group carries Allen out into the prison courtyard, where Rick proceeds to amputate his leg. Hershel shows up to assist and stops the bleeding.
The next day, Rick gets his bandages removed by Dale, and then proceeds to be a comfort for Carol, who unbeknownst to Rick, had just kicked Tyreese out of her cell for having an affair with Michonne. Rick then gets Lori to try and see how Carol had been taking things and what made the two of them split up. However, instead of a lamenting Carol, they were presented with an overly distraught Carol that had just slit her wrists in front of her daughter Sophia. Rick and Lori proceed to bring Carol to Hershel who would take care of her, and nurse her back to health.
Rick takes it upon himself to bring the sudden turn of events up to Tyreese, whom he finds in the arms of Michonne. Infuriated at the realization that Tyreese had actually cheated on Carol with Michonne, Rick proceeds to blame not only the suicide attempt on him, but his daughter's death on him as well. This results in a fight in which both parties wound up tossed over the second floor of the prison and on to the ground where they proceed to briefly pass out.
Both Tyreese and Rick are awoken by Glenn and Maggie. However, before they can resume their fight, Andrea enters the room to inform the group that Allen had died. Rick proceeds to get up and shoot him before Allen could reanimate. Suddenly, Michonne and Hershel witness Rick blacking out.
Rick woke up the next morning to find Carol sitting above him, the two talk about the current status of the group before she kissed him with much passion. Rick informed her that he would have to tell Lori, and she left just as Dale walked in. Dale tells him that he won't be the leader anymore, and that the group agreed on forming a committee. This committee consists of Rick, Hershel, Dale, and Tyreese. Rick walks outside to tell everyone he killed Dexter to protect all of them.
"You think we hide behind walls to protect us from the walking dead?! Don't you get it?!" he taunts the group.
"We are The Walking Dead"
On the next day, the generator is running out of gas. Glenn and Rick are about to go get some gasoline, and they spot a helicopter in the sky that is about to crash. Rick tells Glenn to get a car and they proceed to go into the forest to search for survivors, accompanied by Michonne. They discover the wreckage of the helicopter and multiple sets of footprints: Rick surmises that the possible survivor(s) were carried away somewhere close by.
After following the footprints leading away from the crash site, they found a little town called Woodbury. Suddenly, a gunman tells them to get down, and shoots the zombies. A survivor named Wes drags them to Woodbury, and another man named Caesar Martínez, tells Wes to collect their weapons.
He says it's their way to deal with safety and that he can show them around. A fellow survivor, introduced as The Governor, tells Martínez that he can take it from here. Martínez accepts, and The Governor takes the three with him on a tour of the town. Eventually they are led to an arena and Rick asks why they have an arena filled with chained zombies. The Governor explains it replaced television, and tells them that they feed the zombies with strangers.
The Governor's right hand men, Gabe and Bruce, are revealed to be aiming their guns at Rick and the others. The Governor wants to know where they came from but Rick disagrees, claiming that the three of them were on their own.
The Governor doesn't fall for Rick's bluff, and Bruce puts Rick's head onto a table. The Governor tells Rick he doesn't understand the situation, and proceeds to cut off his right hand. Rick proclaims he'll kill the Governor before blacking out. Michonne jumps on The Governor and bites his ear off, but Bruce captures her. He tells The Governor to say the word, and he can snap her neck, but The Governor tells him not to.
Rick is taken to Stevens, Woodbury's head doctor while Glenn and Michonne are taken into cells. Stevens patches up Rick, and when he wakes up, he tries to attack the doctor. Stevens' assistant, Alice, gives Rick a sedative and he falls asleep. Later, Rick wakes up once again and realizing that Stevens isn't like The Governor, asks what's going on. Stevens explains and says that The Governor is a monster, but he did bring a sense of normality back to the town, and reveals that The Governor's name is Philip.
The man himself shows up and wants Stevens to change the bandage on his ear. Rick and The Governor are having a tense discussion, and the latter says that Glenn told him all about the Prison and in thanks, let him go. He leaves a fearful Rick by implying that he had someone track Glenn's movements back to the Prison, saying that "if he's stupid enough to go there, he'll lead us right to it."
Later, a cage fighter named Harold, wants Stevens to fix him up and asks both Rick and Stevens if they will go see the fight planned later; they both decline. Another fighter named Eugene rushes in, and says Harold knocked his teeth out. Harold apologizes but Eugene says that sorry isn't going to cover it, and stabs him in the neck. Stevens tells Rick to help him stop the bleeding, but it is too late.
Martínez pops in, and notices Rick's injury. When asked about what happened, Rick starts to attack him. Stevens stops the fight and tells Martínez to leave. Later, Rick and Alice are talking about Lori, and their child. Martínez splits up the conversation, and tells Rick they have to leave immediately.
Rick is surprised, and tells Martínez not to touch him. Martínez says he has noticed that The Governor has become a real monster, and he has Glenn with him. They leave, and take Michonne, Alice and Stevens with them. Michonne leaves to deal with The Governor. As they are leaving the town, Stevens gets bitten by a roamer. He tells Alice to take the supplies he has with him and go on.
After escaping, they spend a night in the crashed helicopter. Michonne gets back, and when asked about The Governor, she says she isn't sure if The Governor is dead or not. They then start to head back to the Prison.
When they arrive, Rick discovers that the other survivors had accidentally left the gates wide open for zombies. Glenn, fearful of Maggie's safety, takes their car and drives into the zombies, wrecking the vehicle in the process. Rick and the others go help him, and Rick discovers a zombified Otis. It's assumed Rick shot him. Dale and Andrea discover them from the RV, and Dale tells Rick he saw Otis killed and that Hershel was bitten; the others he can only guess that they made it back inside. The group manage to carve a path through the roamers and reach the doors leading into A-block.
In A-block, everyone is happy to see each other. Hershel confirms that he wasn't bitten, and Carl and Lori are overjoyed to see Rick, but Carl is freaked out from the sight of Rick's missing hand. After explaining to a tearful Lori that it wasn't infected, Rick is told by Tyreese to stay with his family while the others head out to start burning the zombies. While burning them, Rick realizes Martínez hasn't been seen for hours; he's gone to tell The Governor and his men where the Prison is located.
Rick takes Dale's RV and runs over Martínez, crippling him. He kicks Martínez' gun out of his hand and confronts him. Martínez explains that while he was sent by The Governor and that he was going back to Woodbury, he was only going to bring the good people back with him to the prison. Rick reminds him what their people did to him and Michonne. Lastly, Rick strangles Martínez to death. Rick returns and calls for a meeting. Shortly before the meeting, he tells Lori what he had done and asks her if doing this to protect the group makes him a bad person. At the meeting, Rick tells everyone they have to be ready when the Woodbury people get in the Prison.
Weeks after, the group begin to prepare themselves in case The Governor tries to take the Prison. Almost immediately after Rick's meeting about Woodbury, Dale suggests finding the National Guard station that Woodbury has been getting their supplies from. Eventually Dale (and Tyreese) convince Rick that finding it is essential for their survival and they take a group out to search for it. While Rick wishes that he could be out there with them, he understands that he is unable to due to missing a hand.
While they are gone, Lori tries to tell Rick about her brief relationship with Shane but he stops her, telling Lori that he already knows. He also acknowledges the possibility that the baby isn't his, saying that his family is "all I have left in this world," and that he understands why she did it. He tells Lori that despite this, "I just can't hear you say it." Several days later, Lori goes into labor. Rick and Hershel rush Lori into the infirmary where Alice immediately starts to prep Lori. After several hours, Lori gives birth to a daughter who she decides to name Judith.
After Rick hears that a roamer was brought within the walls, he furiously goes out to shoot it only to be stopped by Alice who wanted to study one and to potentially develop a cure to fight off the infection. Also still angry, he allows it to stay on the condition that it's moved further away from the common area. One day, Carol approaches the roamer and allows it to bite her. After she reanimates, she is shot by Andrea and buried next to Allen. Several more weeks pass by and things start to return back to normal. One day, while Rick and Hershel are inspecting the garden, they are shocked to notice big trucks and a tank containing The Governor starting to assemble in front of the Prison's fences.
The Governor and his army begin shooting into the Prison group. Rick tells everyone to get down and Andrea (who's up in one of the guard towers) is able to pick off some army members. The Governor orders a cease-fire and tells everyone inside the Prison they have a chance to survive by opening the gates for them.
Nothing happens, and he orders the Woodbury army to resume firing. Andrea almost gets a clear shot at The Governor, but fails, because of her helmet. Realizing that the people shooting from the towers were causing many casualties for the army, The Governor angrily tells everyone to retreat.
A few of the survivors believe that the Woodbury people are giving up, but Tyreese speculates that they will regroup and eventually be back. Rick stumbles and falls down, and Tyreese discovers he's been shot. Andrea and Axel are revealed to have been shot during the skirmish as well (although not fatally.)
In the hospital, Rick's family is praying for his life. Alice says she'll need to take a sample of everyone's blood to see who would be a compatible match for a blood transfusion. Patricia confirms she has O-negative blood and Alice tells her to clean Rick's arm and prepare for a transfusion.
Dale convinces Andrea to come with him and take Billy and Ben away from the Prison. He tries to talk Lori into coming with them and let the Woodbury army take the Prison. Lori didn't want to split up again so Dale takes Sophia with him. At the last minute, Glenn arrives and tells Dale that Maggie and himself want to come as well.
Michonne and Tyreese leave the Prison in an attempt to ambush the Woodbury army in the woods. Michonne kills two soldiers and disappears while Tyreese gets captured. Rick eventually recovers and is told what happened. Rick believes whereas before they had a chance of surviving; now that half the group has left and Tyreese and Michonne went out to ambush the army, there is little hope.
After trying to fix the place and placing barricades, The Governor brings Tyreese in front of Prison gates. The Governor gives the Prison group two choices; they either let The Governor and his people in to the Prison or Tyreese dies. Rick, Hershel, Alice, Patricia, Axel and Billy, from the tower, can do nothing but watch as Tyreese is decapitated after refusing The Governor's offer.
Rick tells everyone that they have to fight or Tyreese died for nothing. In the Prison, later, Rick tells Lori the news and she angrily lashes out at him for not doing anything. She then leaves to feed Judith. Also, Rick tells Carl the news. He isn't sad, because people die all the time. Rick offers Carl to carry the bag, which includes food and some other supplies.
Finally, the Woodbury army arrives for the last time and immediately kills Axel. Hershel and Patricia join Rick in shooting the people from the relative safety underneath the cars. They are able to kill many more of the soldiers and The Governor, in a fit of blind fury, takes command of Jared's tank and drives it through the fences. The survivors begin to run and prepare to leave. Rick finds Alice pointing a gun into Lori's head. Alice quickly explains that it was a ruse in case any of the Woodbury fighters caught them. Rick tells them they have to run and hope they will not get shot.
Outside, after Patricia and Billy are both killed, Rick discovers Hershel. Rick tells him to get going, but Hershel says to go on without him. The Grimes family starts to run and Alice tries to cover them, but is wounded. Alice is then personally killed by The Governor. As the Grimes family nears the truck, Lilly, one of the army soldiers, fatally shoots Lori in the back, killing her and Judith.
As Lori falls to the ground dead, Rick, with tears in his eyes, keeps running and tells Carl to do the same and not turn back. They change the direction they were going (originally, everyone is told to head towards the truck) and start to run towards the zombie horde. Hershel is killed by The Governor, and The Governor is killed by Lilly after she realized she had killed a baby. After Rick and Carl escaped, Carl notices that Lori and Judith aren't with them and tearfully asks where they are. Rick and Carl hug each other as a couple of zombies slowly approach, the Prison lying in ruins behind them.
After The Prison assault, Rick and Carl take refuge in an abandoned house, where he falls ill and passes out for several hours, leaving Carl to fend for himself. Eventually he manages to recover, and they later meet up with Michonne. After a long and sleepless night, Glenn and Maggie reach them on horseback. Glenn is curious why there are just the three of them and Maggie asks where her family is. Rick doesn't say a word and realizing what happened, Maggie starts to cry.
They leave the road, and go back to Hershel's farm. Andrea, Dale, Sophia, Ben & Billy are in the farm, and Andrea is happy to see Rick and the others again. Carl runs for Sophia and Dale apologizes to Rick for his previous actions.
Later, Carl says to his father that Sophia is crazy. Rick says he can't say that, and to not patronize her. Carl agrees, and Rick goes outside. Dale is with him out there, and says Sophia's only problem isn't sleeping. He says it's not the undead he's afraid any more. Rick confesses that they should have left with Dale when they had the chance. The latter tries to cheer him up by saying to not focus on the what-if's and to focus on the now, saying he'd be dead if he stays focused on it. Dale then offers to talk with Rick about dealing with the loss of a spouse. Rick thanks him, saying they can talk about it later.
Next morning, they meet three new arrivals; Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Eugene Porter. They say they need equipment, and Andrea demands that they drop their guns. They have an argument about the what has happened for the past few months, but Rick is able to diffuse the situation. Abraham says they're on their way to the capital and that Eugene says he knows how the plague began. After some convincing, everyone accepts Abraham's offer to leave the farm and go to Washington. Before leaving, Rick tells Carl not to trust anyone, even if they seem friendly and safe. They all leave the farm afterwards.
While on the road, Rick continually has nightmares over feeling guilty and responsible for the deaths of Lori and Judith. One night, Maggie tries to hang herself and Abraham decided to kill her before she could reanimate, not knowing that she merely blacked out from the attempt. Rick stops him from killing her and later on, Abraham threatens to kill Rick "the next time you put a gun to my head."
The following day, Abraham saves Rick from being killed by a roamer and chides Rick for being careless, earning some scorn from Rick. After stopping to check their map, Rick proposes to Abraham that they make a detour to Cynthiana to check in on Morgan and Duane. Abraham is against it until Rick informs him that he still has keys to the local police station, giving them the chance to secure some ammo and guns. Abraham eventually agrees and tells the others that him, Rick and Carl will return in a few days (Rick refused to leave without Carl.)
During the first night Rick, Carl and Abraham are ambushed by a gang of bandits. At first the bandits just want their supplies, but one decides to try and rape Carl. Rick attempts to fight back, but is overpowered by one of the bandits. Rick escapes by biting his captor's neck, releasing him. While Abraham shoots the one guarding him, Rick demands that the one holding Carl be unhurt, growling "he's mine!" Rick then proceeds to chase the bandit down and brutally kills him. After the ordeal, Rick learns of Abraham's past and talks with Carl about the things they've both done.
The next day, the three arrive in Cynthiana. Rick goes and tries to find Morgan when he is hit from behind with a shovel. He looks and sees Morgan above him. Morgan notices who it is and drops the shovel. Rick asks him what happened and Morgan shows him a zombified Duane chained up in the house. After hearing how Duane died, Rick offers Morgan to leave with them and go to Washington, handing him a gun to shoot Duane. Morgan instead shoots Duane's chain and agrees to leave with them. After making a trip to the police station (and taking the rest of the guns and ammo), the four of them begin to make their way back to the group.
Unfortunately on the way back, Rick, Carl, Morgan and Abraham encounter an enormous herd, wrecking their car and forcing them to continue on foot. Noticing that their current path will lead the herd back to the others, Rick and the others try to lose the herd by keeping them busy at a nearby farmhouse.
The attempt fails and the herd follows them back to the group. Rick tells the others they must leave now, but Dale has other plans: Fed up with how Rick always seems to put everyone in danger, Dale wants to stay at a nearby house with Andrea and the twins. Eventually, Andrea convinces Dale that they have to leave with them, much to the latter's disappointment.
After meeting back up with the others, Rick and the group continue to make their way to Washington. While on the road, Ben kills his twin brother, Billy. Abraham says they must kill Ben so he doesn't kill everyone else later. While the idea makes his skin crawl, Rick agrees that it has to be done, angering both Dale and Andrea.
Later that night, a gunshot is heard which wakes Rick up, Ben is found dead and both Rick and Glenn (the former being the first one on the scene and the latter who was on watch) says they didn't see anyone approaching the van, leaving the identity of Ben's killer a mystery. They soon meet Gabriel Stokes, who says that he can lead them all to his church which is close by. Following a zombie attack later on, Rick tries to humor Dale who is grieving over both Billy and Ben's deaths. Dale curses Rick and walks away. Rick tells Andrea to tell Dale that he is sorry.
After learning that Dale has vanished, Rick forms a search party to find him. Eventually Rick calls off the search for the day and they leave to go in search of Gabriel's church, promising Andrea that they'll get back to looking for Dale the following morning. She asks him whether Gabriel had a hand in Dale's disappearance and Rick mentions that the thought had crossed his mind.
Rick and the others eventually arrive at the church. Andrea notices someone watching them from the woods and angrily confronts Gabriel, accusing him of having some part in Dale's disappearance. Rick joins in and Gabriel tells them his story. The following day, Dale is found dropped off in front of the church, missing his other leg. Rick notices someone in the woods as well.
Telling Glenn and Abraham to take Dale to the church, Rick starts shooting towards the forest to provide them with some cover. Abraham informs Rick that the ones who took Dale are toying with them; he pointed out that while Glenn was shot in the leg it was to wound him, not kill him. Rick asks Dale what he remembers of where he was kept. After forming a search party consisting of himself, Abraham, Michonne and Andrea, Rick has Gabriel lead them to several possible locations where Dale may have been kept. Rick finds Chris, the leader of the Hunters who took Dale, and after trying to reason with them, leads the others to brutally kill them.
Rick and the others return and Dale thanks Rick for leading their group, dying later that night. After burying Dale and reminiscing what he did to the Hunters, Rick says that Carl probably couldn't bear to look at him if he knew what he had done. Rick hears something behind him; he turns and finds Carl tearfully looking at him. Carl tells his father that he was the one who killed Ben.
Several weeks later, Rick is seen looking for supplies with Carl in a nearby town. When they meet up with the rest, he asks Eugene if he could try the radio since they are close to reaching Washington; the latter insists that they should wait at least another day. Rick then tries to take it, which results in a struggle and the revelation that the radio had no batteries inside it. When pressured, Eugene admits that he was lying the whole time about being a scientist and is attacked by Abraham.
That night, Rick and Abraham are approached by Aaron who offers them to join the community he lives at called the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Remembering how friendly The Governor was when he first arrived to Woodbury, Rick knocks out Aaron and has him tied up. After fighting off a small wave of roamers, Aaron asks again if they are interested in going. Only after everyone else agrees with Aaron's offer does Rick finally relent and agree to go, later meeting up with Aaron's partner Eric.
Eventually Rick and his group finally arrive at Alexandria. Taken aback by the sense of normality the community has (noting to Aaron that he saw something he'd never believe he'd ever see again: smiling and happy children), Rick is taken to see the leader of Alexandria named Douglas Monroe.
After hearing of his past background as a police officer, he makes Rick a constable and officially welcomes him and his group to the Safe-Zone. However when they arrived, Abraham told Rick that it was a little suspicious that their weapons were taken from them and locked away, hinting that something may be a bit fishy with the community after all. Rick decides that this does seem odd, so he sends Glenn to scout the armory and to find a way to get their weapons back.
Rick later learns that one of the other residents, Peter Anderson, has been abusing his wife and son but is told by Douglas that they cannot get rid of him due to him being a doctor.
Rick then argues over the importance of how the residents behave before attacking Pete in his home and pulling a gun out on Douglas when he tells Rick he has to leave. Michonne attacks Rick from behind and has someone confiscate his gun. Rick looks up at her and realizes what he's done. Shortly afterwards, an angry and vengeful Pete tries to kill Rick but ends up killing Douglas' wife Regina instead, leading Rick to shoot him after Douglas gives him permission to do so.
After the funeral of Scott, Regina and Pete, Douglas relinquishes control of Alexandria to Rick, saying that he is no longer fit to run the community. During this time, Pete's widow, Jessie Anderson, moves in with Rick and the two start a relationship with each other.
During a routine sweep of the perimeter, a herd of roamers are seen approaching the Safe-Zone, prompting Rick to initiate the community to help fend off the herd. When they later break through the walls of the Safe-Zone, Rick is seen killing zombies alongside his friend Morgan, who is bitten on the arm during the assault. Later, when he and Michonne took Morgan to Rick's place, Dr. Denise Cloyd arrives to stop the bleeding. Rick is seen hiding in his house along with Jessie, Ron, Carl, Morgan, Denise, Michonne, Maggie and Sophia.
He wants everyone to escape, and come back for the others once they are safe. Everyone except Maggie and Sophia, and later Denise, agree to leave. Rick employs the technique he used with Glenn earlier in Atlanta; rubbing zombie guts on themselves to mask their scent from the roamers, so they'll ignore them. They get out, but Ron unknowingly attracts the roamers to him, causing him and Jessie to get eaten by zombies. As she's being devoured, Jessie is still grabbing Carl's hand and to prevent Carl being eaten, Rick apologizes to her and cuts off her hand.
Douglas, who had resigned himself to be eaten by roamers, suddenly begins to haphazardly shoot the roamers as they approach him. As he is overtaken by them, he fires his gun and accidentally shoots Carl in the head, destroying his eye and taking out a chunk of his face. Rick takes him to Denise and tearfully asks her to save his life. After several grueling minutes, Denise is able to stop Carl's bleeding. Rick goes out and attacks the herd head-on; this, in turn, inspires others to come out and join him.
After killing a good number of roamers, Michonne tells him to go to Carl and they'll deal with the rest. When he arrives, Denise tells Rick that Carl is alive but is currently in a coma. After she leaves, Rick promises Carl that he knows how to turn Alexandria into a fortified community and will do everything he can to make it an overall better place for him and all the other residents.
During the aftermath of the herd invasion, Rick is mainly seen with Carl by his bedside and eventually Carl coughs. Rick is excited about that but Denise informs that it didn't mean anything.
Andrea offers Rick to come over to her house to eat, which makes Rick grateful for her. Suddenly, Denise tells Rick that Carl is waking up. Rick is happy to see his son alive, until Carl asks where his mother is. Rick doesn't answer yet and just hugs him. Outside, Rick asks Denise what he should tell Carl regarding his mother. Denise becomes speechless.
Later, Rick tells Carl about what happened to Lori and Judith. Carl doesn't remember Judith, but notes he's sad about their death. Carl says he remembers the deaths of Amy, Tyreese, Morgan, Jessie and Ron. Rick is surprised he remembers Jessie and Ron. Carl asks if he can go to sleep, and Rick says he can.
Rick replaces Glenn, when a group of survivors goes to scout the immediate area for provisions. Later, he is found by Andrea crying in an office room. When asked what's wrong, he tells her that Carl isn't the same and while talking to him, he saw no chance of his son ever being a little kid again.
After defusing a tense stand-off with Nicholas, he tells Andrea that he actually thought of killing the man while he was reasoning with him. Rick goes on to tell her that he doesn't feel like he can act within a normal community anymore and with everything that's happened, it feels like he died a long time ago. Andrea disagrees, leading her to comfort him with a kiss.
A few weeks later, Rick is told that Abraham, during a scouting run with Michonne, was being held hostage by a stranger. The man introduces himself as Paul Monroe and offers to establish a trade system with their respective colonies. Rick has him knocked out and held in the infirmary.
After talking with both Aaron and Andrea, Rick decides to go with Paul to see the community the latter belongs to and takes Michonne, Glenn, Andrea and (unknowingly Carl) with him. There, he is shown around and introduced to Gregory. Another resident of the colony, Ethan, returns from a failed mission where all of his companions were killed except for himself and a woman named Crystal.
Ethan then tells Gregory he has a message for him and stabs him. Rick tackles Ethan to the ground and in the struggle cuts his throat, while the rest of the residents stare at him, shocked.
Later, Paul tells Rick, Glenn, Andrea and Michonne about a wandering band of killers that both protect and terrify the residents of Hilltop known as The Saviors. Carl asks if they would be willing to trade with the Safe-Zone if they helped eliminate the Saviors, an idea which Rick agrees with.
After some time, Rick is called to see Gregory and discusses the idea with him as well. Afterwards, it seems as if both Gregory and Paul agree with the plan and send Rick's group back to the Safe-Zone with some supplies. Although Michonne is upset by the idea, Rick says that it'd be worth it, saying "We've been surviving in order to reach this moment; where we can stop surviving and start living."
As they return from Hilltop colony back to the Safe Zone, Rick's group is ambushed by a group of the Saviors. After threatening the group and subsequently killing them, Rick sends the lone survivor back to Negan with a warning to stop terrorizing the residents of Hilltop. He later calls a meeting with the Safe Zone, suggesting that they can protect the Hilltop colony in exchange for supplies. Andrea then comes to visit Rick at his house and says that despite the looming threat of death around them they can still be happy.
The next morning Carl accidentally walks in on Andrea and Rick in bed together, naked, implying that Rick and Andrea had sex. Rick tries to explain the awkwardness of the situation to Carl but Carl says he already knows it all. Rick then hears Abraham's machine-gun fire and tells Carl to stay in the house. Rick then sees another group of Saviors are outside the walls and have taken Eugene hostage. After killing a good number of them (and the rest retreating back to Negan), Rick and Andrea find Abraham's body being eaten by roamers and take it back to the Safe Zone to be buried. When asked by Andrea what do they do now, Rick is genuinely afraid and says that he doesn't know.
Rick assembles a group comprising of Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Sophia, Heath, Michonne and himself to go immediately to the Hilltop to get Paul and others to fight the Saviors. Although they follow the same route Paul showed them, they are unable to make it to the Hilltop in one day.
During the night, Negan and a large group of fifty Saviors ambush them. Addressing Rick by name, Negan demands that the Safe Zone belongs to them now and has to punish them for killing so many Saviors. He eventually decides on killing Glenn, brutally beating him to death with his bat named 'Lucille'.
Rick breaks down into tears and swears that he will personally kill Negan for what he did. Negan dares him to do it and leaves, giving Rick and the others one week before they return for their first offering to the Saviors.Maggie angry at Rick for not doing anything to prevent Glenn being killed, punches him in the face several times calling him a 'fucking coward'. She then stops when Carl points his gun at her and tells her to stop hurting his father, she stops. Carl is then attacked by Sophia. Rick then decides that they can't stay here, they wrap Glenn's corpse in a blanket and drive the rest of the way to the Hilltop.
Arriving at the Hilltop, Rick is greeted by Paul who is surprised to see them again so soon after their last meeting; Rick shows him Glenn's body and Paul immediately takes them all to Gregory. Rick recounts what happened to Glenn and Abraham and Rick punches Gregory in the face and accuses Gregory of withholding information from them.
Gregory says that they didn't know that Negan actually existed; since no one had ever seen Negan in person before, they believed that he was made up by the Saviors to intimidate the residents of Hilltop. Paul resolves to go back with them to Alexandria and see what he can do to help. Rick and the others depart, leaving Maggie and Sophia at Hilltop after they expressed their desire to stay, in honor of Glenn's wish to start a new life there. Before they go, Rick embraces Maggie and promises her that he'll do everything he can to make Negan pay for killing Glenn.
When they arrive back to Alexandria, he sees that the Saviors attacked the safe-zone while they were gone. He fears for the worst, but Nicholas and Andrea arrive, telling him that no one in the community was injured or killed and that they killed a good portion of the Saviors who attacked. After hugging Andrea, she shows Rick another piece of good news; during the fight, they were able to capture one of the Saviors as a hostage: Rick recognizes him as Abraham's killer, Dwight.
After Andrea punches Dwight, Rick tells her to stop. Later on, he tells her about what happened to Glenn on the way to Hilltop. She argues that this is the perfect reason they should be fighting back against the Saviors, but Rick disagrees. He blames himself for Glenn's death, saying that he thought of Glenn and Maggie as hope for a better future. He also says that they had no idea what Negan was capable of doing and was caught back with how apathetic he was while killing Glenn.
Realizing that using the same tactics employed against The Governor will not work in this situation, Rick decides that Alexandria has no choice but to submit to Negan's rule for the time being and releases Dwight, much to the anger and uneasiness of several members of the Safe Zone, including Andrea, Michonne, Carl, and Holly. As everyone disperses, Rick, wanting to know what they are up against, tells Paul to tail Dwight and find out as much as he can about the Saviors and report back.
After Rick sends Paul to tail Dwight, Rick goes back home to find Andrea packing her things. When asked, she says she's still angry about him letting Dwight go and that she's moving out. As Andrea leaves, Rick finally tells her why he did it; Rick wants Negan to think that himself and the residents of Alexandria will submit to his rule. After biding their time and resources, then they can strike back at Negan and the Saviors. Andrea forgives Rick and kisses him, but asks why she was left out of the loop. Rick answers that he did it to keep her, Carl and the other residents safe.
The following day Negan arrives to Alexandria with a group of his Saviors. He demands that their one week is up and that they be let into the Safe-Zone. After menacing Rick to 'not make him ask' to be let in, Rick complies. Negan taunts Rick by demanding that he hold Lucille, the same weapon that killed Glenn, while he goes off to search some houses for supplies with the other Saviors.
After hearing that Denise and Carl are threatening Negan, Rick is able to defuse each situation. As the Saviors leave, Negan takes back Lucille from Rick and says to him, "I just slid my dick down your throat and you thanked me for it.'
After the Saviors leave, Rick is confronted by Denise who admonishes him for his actions. He angrily says that he doesn't want anyone to go off half-cocked again and cause them all to be killed. He also says that he's no longer in charge and if anyone wanted to leave, they are free to do so.
After going home, Rick asks Carl to come have a talk with him, but gets no response. After looking around and not finding him anywhere (and noticing that Abraham's machine gun was missing from the armory), Rick realizes that Carl either went off to find the Saviors on his own or was abducted by them while they were at the Safe-Zone. Him, Andrea, Michonne and Nicholas go off to try and find Carl but are forced back at the end of the day.
As Rick is sleeping, he is awoken by Paul who tells him to come take a walk with him. Paul tells Rick that he knows where the Saviors are holding up at and that when he escaped, he had heard machine gun fire; Rick tells him about when Carl went missing and both realize that Carl is with the Saviors.
They immediately wake up Andrea and Michonne and head off to the Saviors' stronghold. When asked how they will get inside (since the Saviors' base is surrounded by a wall of zombies), Rick says that he will simply knock on the front door; he reminds them that he wants Negan to feel that they are submissive to his rule and that knowing where his group resides will throw Negan off and reveal where Carl is.
While on the road, Rick's group is met by Negan and some of the Saviors going in the opposite direction. Negan says that this was mighty convenient because they were on their way to the Safe-Zone; Rick says that they were on their way to see him. Negan is suspicious and asks what they are doing here but Rick demands to know where Carl is. Negan says, believe it or not, that that was the reason he was heading over and that he can't wait for Rick to see what he's done to Carl.
After hearing this, Rick assaults Negan, but is eventually overpowered. He frees himself by biting Negan's arm, something that genuinely surprises the latter. Negan reveals that Carl was unharmed and admits that he was trying to get a rise out of Rick by implying that he did something to his son.
Negan tells Rick that he can be reasonable and that he also takes no pleasure in killing; he only does it to establish boundaries, "to make people aware of the consequences of their actions. I take no joy in those deeds." Rick says that while he is grateful for Carl not being harmed, "this doesn't change anything" and both Rick's group and the Saviors head back home.
Rick addresses the community and says that Carl was returned safely and that Negan can be trusted; when asked by Andrea what the community will think once they realize that Rick has been lying to them, Rick claims that they will be safe and it'll be worth the risk. After hearing from Carl the information he has about the foundry the Saviors reside in, Paul says that 'it's time that you met Ezekiel."
The following day, Rick and Paul are traveling to see Ezekiel when they are stopped by two men on horseback, and are then taken to a school, known as The Kingdom. Paul tells Rick that Ezekiel and his group of survivors live inside the school during the winter months and during the warmer months, they stay outside in tents.
As they arrive, Ezekiel comes out, greets Paul warmly and welcomes Rick to the community. Rick is taken aback when he sees that Ezekiel has a tiger; Paul mentions that he forgot about that and says the tiger is named Shiva. After agreeing to provide assistance to Rick, Ezekiel says they have another visitor and Dwight appears, admitting that he is one of the last people Rick would want to see but asks Rick to trust him.
Rick is furious and yells that as a member of the Saviors, Dwight can NOT be trusted and he refuses to listen to what he has to say.Dwight then says that Negan has his wife Sherry and that Negan would hurt her if he disobeyed and scolds Rick for thinking he has more on the line. Rick calls him a liar and punches Dwight in the jaw. Dwight says that at first, he believed Rick was intimidated by Negan but found out differently when he found Paul had followed him back to the foundry.
Also, Dwight says that until Rick came along, Ezekiel was the only one who "had the balls to stand up to Negan." He goes on to say that he is willing to share everything about the Saviors and offers to kill Negan himself and bring them his "head on a silver platter."
It appears that Rick decides to ultimately trust Dwight and proceeds to form an alliance with Dwight and Ezekiel in regards to getting rid of Negan once and for all. After returning to Alexandria, he tells Andrea, Carl, and Michonne about his plan to unite The Kingdom, Hilltop and other communities with Alexandria to fight the Saviors.
When Carl insists that he not be left out of fighting, Rick tells him that he is welcome to join them in the assault. Michonne is upset that she will be fighting again so soon and reminds Rick that she wants to be done with fighting all the time, saying that she ultimately wants to destroy her sword; Rick swears to her that once Negan is gone, she is free to 'melt it down.' He later visits Eugene and inquires about ammo production; he then tells Eugene about his plan. Eugene says that he believed his bullets would be used to fight roamers and as part of the offering to the Saviors, not to kill people; Rick counters that the bullets would be used against people who want to kill them. Rick then tells Olivia that they are going on a supply run, Spencer then confronts Rick and starts snobbishly says that Rick is afraid of Negan, Rick then tells Spencer he is talking bullshit. Spencer then he calls them like he sees them, and asks Rick wether he actually does have a clue to what he is doing. Rick then says he does. Spencer then says it isn't over between them.
Andrea, Carl, Michonne, Heath and Aaron prepare to go with Rick for what is believed to be a supply run, but are told by Rick that they are actually going to The Kingdom. After arriving, he introduces them all to Ezekiel and stops Michonne from attacking Ezekiel when the two cross swords; the latter claims that he merely wanted to see whose sword was bigger.
It is revealed that Rick has assembled quite a few people to take down Negan and the Saviors, including twenty people from the Hilltop and roughly thirty from the Kingdom. He tells Andrea that there is a chance they can launch an assault against The Saviors soon, although he wishes that Abraham was still alive because he was good at planning strategies while Rick isn't. Despite the Saviors having higher numbers, he believes that with Eugene's ammunition pipeline they have a good chance at evening the odds and succeeding.
When Paul arrives with the men from the Hilltop, Rick asks Ezekiel if they've heard back from Dwight; Ezekiel reassures him by saying that they'll have to wait for the right moment. Until then, 'focus our forces on their outposts and take them out.'
Unbeknownst to Rick, Negan arrived in Alexandria several days ahead of schedule and decided to wait for him to return. When Rick arrives back, no one is at the gate and roamers begin to surround the van. While Michonne dispatches them, Olivia arrives, opens the gate and informs Rick that Negan is waiting for him.
Immediately following this, Denise runs over and informs them that Negan slashed up and killed Spencer. Rick flies into a rage and confronts Negan leading to a heated debate between the two men. Negan mentions that he has been more than reasonable (giving Carl back despite him killing several Saviors) and says that he never would have allowed his men to abuse Carl in any way. In a surprising act of charity, Negan says they can keep all the supplies they gathered but Rick refuses, saying that "A deal is a deal."
As Negan and his men load up and get ready to leave, Rick runs home and tells Andrea to get up in the bell tower, saying that it's possibly the best chance they'll get at killing Negan; he also tells her to assemble the rest of the Alexandria defenders and have them up on the wall. As Negan leaves, he sees Rick behind him and wonders why Rick is following them; a second later, the driver of the vehicle is shot through the head. Angry and confused, Negan grabs Lucille and exits the vehicle as another Savior is shot and killed.
As Rick aims his gun at Negan's head, it is revealed that Negan had Saviors outside the walls and they shoot the Alexandria defender's guns out of their hands. Negan claims that they are "fucking fucked" and walks up to Rick, holding Lucille in his hands.
Negan insults Andrea, causing Rick to try and strike him several times. Carl shoots off a portion of Lucille, earning Negan's rage. He shouts for Carl to be thrown over the wall, saying "I want him to pay for what he's done!" Rick tries to object, but Negan demands that they "Give me the boy or I'll bash in all four skulls of the people out here!" Rick says that if Carl dies, their agreement will be over but Negan states that it already IS over.
He orders his men to line up Rick, Heath, Nicholas, and Holly, then begins to decide who to kill first. Negan and Rick notice a figure falling from the bell tower and both believe it to be Andrea, causing Rick to scream out her name.
Negan says that "she went quick" and invites Rick to sing along as he chooses who to kill. With tears streaming down his face, Rick says 'just get on with it.' Suddenly Paul, who was hiding in the trench, causes a diversion resulting in him taking Negan hostage while Rick and the others to run towards the trench. The Kingdom survivors come up from behind the Saviors and attack them as well.
During the commotion, Negan is able to free himself from Paul's grasp and is able to flee. Rick demands that they follow them but Ezekiel disagrees, saying that the Saviors still outnumber them. Rick then runs towards the bell tower and finds Connor's broken corpse. Inside, Rick and Michonne find Andrea's body; despite all the wounds she received from Connor, she is still alive and Rick demands that they get her to Denise immediately.
Rick has his hand looked at by Denise and is told that it should heal in a few weeks. Rick wryly remarks that's good; "otherwise I'd be out of hands." After both Andrea and Michonne question Rick about losing their advantage over Negan, Rick still insists that despite the attack today, Negan still knows nothing about his overall plan. He then wants to have everyone who's able to fight from Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom gathered up in a few days and ready to "burn their place to the ground."
As Rick walks through Alexandria with his son, he commends Carl on how he acted during the stand-off and showed that he is someone Rick can count on. Despite this, Rick says that he wants Carl to stay in Alexandria.
Carl protests, saying that he's the only one who knows the layout of the foundry, but Rick says there is another reason; he tells Carl that the Safe-Zone won't be safe when the Saviors come again and due to how Carl handled the Alexandria defenders, Rick wants him to be in charge of defending the Safe-Zone while they are taking the fight to Negan. Carl, visibly disappointed, agrees but only if Rick swears that he'll kill Negan; "I will."
As they return home, Rick is greeted by Paul who says that today's attack could have gone better; Rick says it could have worked, but agrees that from now on their attacks will need to be planned out.
Paul then tells Rick that all of this couldn't have happened without him. Paul sees that Rick is building something that can change the world and wants to be a part of that. He also commends Rick that he's the first one to stand up against Negan: Gregory wanted everything to be smooth and Ezekiel hated Negan, but still obeyed for the most part. "You give people courage, you inspire people to stand up... to fight for what's right. You're a leader we can follow."
Several days later, Rick wakes up and prepares himself to begin the war on the Saviors. He admits to Andrea that while everyone looks to him for leadership, he is doubtful about what he can do and is burdened by Paul's view of him being a leader that people can follow. Andrea assures him that despite this, he doesn't give up and keeps going. She says that "whatever comes of this... it'll be worth it."
Later, Rick meets up with Eugene and asks about the ammunition production. Eugene replies that they have made two additional crates of ammo on top of what they've already produced. Rick thanks him and all the other workers on their contribution towards the war. He then meets both Paul and Ezekiel one last time before he calls for volunteers to go with him and the other two to Sanctuary.
He then hugs both Andrea and Carl goodbye, promising them that he'll be back as soon as possible.
Eventually Rick's army arrives and he shoots twice into the air, getting Negan's attention. Rick offers Negan the chance to surrender, saving lives on both sides. Negan initially plays along and asks what they will do with him and the others who have fought against them already.
Rick recalls back to the rule he made back at the prison where 'you kill, you die' and if Negan refuses, they'll come inside and "whatever happens, happens." Negan refuses, and reveals to them Gregory, who was kidnapped after the assault in Alexandria. Gregory states that the Hilltop will be siding with Negan, and that any Hilltop resident who refuses will be ejected from the colony. Rick looks to Paul, saying that he'll understand if Paul wants to leave but the latter says he's staying.
Only eight people leave the army and return to the Hilltop, earning Negan's wrath (due to Gregory saying that half of the assembled army came from the Hilltop.) After Negan kicks Gregory off the balcony and admitting that he thought more would leave, Rick offers Negan one more time to surrender. Negan refuses once again and immediately his snipers open fire, killing several members of Rick's army.
He orders them to fall back and to take out the snipers at the windows. Paul notes that the roamers around the walls are getting agitated and asks Rick if he's sure about this and Rick replies yes.
After several minutes, Rick's goal is revealed; all the sound and noise they made by shooting the windows attracted roamers from several miles to begin surrounding the fences (similar to the herd that attacked and broke through Alexandria.) Rick orders everyone back on the buses and, according to the plan made between him, Paul and Ezekiel, will stay behind and ram a truck through the fence to fill the Sanctuary with roamers. He is confident that once Negan finds him, he won't be killed immediately and Rick can potentially meet up with Dwight inside the foundry.
Unfortunately, another member of the army decided to stay behind as well: Holly. Rick orders her back to the bus, but she responds that Abraham's killer is inside and that she has to be the one to carry this out, saying that she's strong. Rick agrees, but still refuses to allow her to do this. She knees him in the groin and steals the truck, driving off towards the fence and leaving Rick behind, who futilely yells at her to come back. He is then somehow able to make his way back to the rendezvous point and says that the army shouldn't be celebrating right now; "the war has only just begun."
As the army is camping outside, Rick tells his forces about the next phase of his plan: with Negan having to focus his attention towards eliminating the roamers that threaten his life and those inside Sanctuary, the Saviors are essentially cut off from the rest of the world. Therefore, all of the Savior's outposts are now vulnerable and will be easier to attack and conquer. He tasks Michonne to take a group back to Alexandria to provide support for Carl and the other defenders while himself and Ezekiel will take the remaining militia and divide into two groups to take over the outposts.
Rick and his squadron focus their attack on one of the more fortified outposts. The fighting goes back and forth which results in numerous casualties on both sides, including Eric. They are eventually able to kill all of the Saviors except for one; they use him to gain access inside. Despite the Saviors inside putting up a struggle, Rick, Paul and the remaining survivors are successful in killing the remaining Saviors and take over the outpost.
After returning back to Alexandria, Rick is informed by Michonne that Ezekiel's group was annihilated when they attempted to take another outpost. Alarmed by this, Rick orders a meeting inside the church to discuss this new development.
He surmises that Negan must have eliminated all the roamers as well as discovering that Rick's Army overtook a Savior outpost, thus sending more troops to the remaining ones as reinforcements. Just then, an explosion occurs nearby. Rick goes outside and sees a house demolished and asks if there was anyone living inside; fortunately, he's told that it was one of the vacant houses. However, he discovers the source of the explosion; Negan is outside the walls with a large number of Saviors easily as big as the group that arrived the night Glenn was killed.
Although Negan threatens Rick with more grenades, he insists that he's here to strike a deal; unsurprisingly, Rick doesn't believe him until Negan brings Holly out of a truck. Rick only agrees to talk when Holly is safely inside the walls, to which Negan agrees and lets her go. Rick leads Holly (who is blindfolded and unable to see) back to the Safe-Zone and once she gets inside, he orders the gate closed. Unfortunately, Holly was killed and reanimated earlier and Rick unknowingly lured her now-zombified state into Alexandria and she bites Denise's arm several times.
Rick shoots Holly while more grenades are thrown over the wall and begin to explode. As he orders for a knife to amputate Denise's arm, Heath is caught in one of the explosions and ends up getting a leg blown off. Denise pulls away from Rick, saying that it's too late to save her, but not Heath and carries him to the infirmary.
Amid the explosions, Rick runs to find Andrea and Carl. Finding them, he says the perimeter houses are vulnerable and that they must leave. Another explosion goes off right behind Carl, blasting the three of them forward. He frantically shouts for Carl and carries him to Denise.
Rick lays Carl down on one of the gurneys and asks Denise to check him for burns or shrapnel, despite Carl saying he's fine. He makes his way to the front gate and Andrea asks him about the gunfire that came from outside the walls. Puzzled, they both look around to see who drove the Saviors off. He is amazed to find that it's Maggie as well as a squadron from the Hilltop.
She tells Rick that she's brought help from the Hilltop and asks how bad the damage is. Rick asks if she's in charge of the Hilltop now but before she answers, he blacks out from shock due to the attack.
About an hour later, Rick wakes up in Denise's house. Harlan Carson, the doctor from the Hilltop, says that he suffered a concussion from the blasts and is doing fine. When Rick asks for Denise, he is taken to a separate room where she is along with Heath. Heath says that she's in the final stages of infection due to being bitten by Holly and will die soon.
Rick leaves them alone and meets up with Andrea, Carl and Michonne. He is told by Michonne that Ezekiel and his remaining troops have suffered enough losses and plan to leave. Rick asks if the walls are still intact; Andrea replies yes, but there's not much else. Rick goes outside and sees the total devastation from Negan's bombardment that Andrea was referring to; numerous houses have been damaged/destroyed as wells as casualties including Charles, Betsy and the entire Orson Family.
Rick begins to place blame on himself, but Andrea justifies it. Nicholas comes up and announces that he's leaving Alexandria with his family, saying it's no longer safe. Maggie is planning on returning to the Hilltop and he wishes to take his family with them. Rick has no objections and says that he doesn't expect anyone to. Realizing the damage done was too great, Rick announces that they are all leaving Alexandria.
After talking to Ezekiel, Rick is approached by Paul and tells him that Eugene and his crew are gone. He says that although the building was swarming with roamers, there were no signs of a struggle and they are probably alive; however, due to the building being in the direction the Saviors were going, he believes that Negan captured them. Rick acknowledges this and says that they're too valuable for Negan to kill, but there's nothing they can do right now.
Paul attempts to volunteer and rescue them, but Rick glares at him and firmly says "No." After the funeral for the deceased, Andrea and Rick are packing their belongings to leave. Andrea asks if Maggie is fine with them moving to the Hilltop, Rick says she is. Rick notices the telephone he found after the prison and hesitates, wondering whether he should take it. Andrea asks if there is anything else Rick wants to bring, saying there's still room in the bag. Rick says no, leaving the phone behind. He takes one final look at the ruins of Alexandria before getting on the bus and traveling to the Hilltop.
That night, Rick goes up to the wall to see Andrea. When asked if Carl's asleep, Rick replies that with everything going on right now, no one is probably getting any sleep tonight and also Carl's too busy reading to go looking for him. He says that he's got a busy day tomorrow and has to get some sleep. Rick says that the only way he's guaranteed to get any sleep is to curl up next to Andrea "where I know I'll be safe." Andrea smiles and wishes him goodnight, promising to wake him up if anything happens.
Rick wakes up the next morning in Andrea's lap, commenting that it was the best night of sleep he's had in awhile. He tells her to get some shut-eye because he needs her ready to go in case of an attack. Rick later goes and meets up with Earl Sutton, reintroducing himself. He asks Earl that after the war is over, if there's a possibility for him to make Rick a prosthetic for his missing hand. Earl says that with everything he's heard about what Rick's done, he'd be happy to do so. Just then, the rest of Ezekiel's forces arrive at the Hilltop from the Kingdom.
Later that day, Rick has a meeting with Paul, Ezekiel, and Maggie regarding their next move. Ezekiel says that it was smart to move all their forces in one spot in order to be easier to defend; Rick agrees but also says it's a downside as well since they've "put all our eggs in one basket." He decides to spend the whole day reassessing their resources, manpower and weapons in order to prepare for the next Savior attack.
Paul reveals that there's a small town about a half mile away from the Hilltop that can be used as a staging ground for their forces. Rick agrees and says that it could also serve as a rendezvous point in case the Hilltop becomes compromised: seeing the looks on everyone else's faces, he says that he's only preparing for the worst. Rick estimates that it'd take about one full day to set this whole plan in motion, hoping that Negan will take longer than that to strike again. He contemplates the safe zone through the window, unaware that The Saviors are in the nearby woods watching the Hilltop.
Rick is seen eating with Andrea and many other members from Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom. He notes how much food they have here. When Andrea asks if they'll be staying for good, Rick says they'll go back to Alexandria when Negan is defeated. Looking at the other survivors around him, Rick says that he looks at the world and "I just don't see how Negan ever defeats this."
Soon, Kal notifies them all that the Saviors have arrived. After refusing to talk with Negan, the Saviors break down the front gates and swarm the Hilltop. Rick orders the survivors to open fire, destroying the truck that smashed through and killing several Saviors in the process. During the firefight, Rick takes Nicholas and Aaron to box in the attackers. While they take cover, Rick unknowingly leaves himself vulnerable from behind.
Negan, who got separated from the other Saviors and has Dwight with him, notices this and the former demands that Dwight shoot him. Dwight shows some hesitation, but is ultimately forced to shoot Rick. An arrow pierces Rick's side, taking him down and possibly infecting him with the zombie virus.
After a few hours, the sun sets and Nicholas manages to help an injured Rick go back to the house. Eventually, several survivors injured by the Saviors' weapons start getting sick and dying. A knife coated in zombie-residue is the proof they need to realize that everyone injured by The Saviors, no matter how minor the injury is, will die.
Twelve hours later, several survivors have succumbed to the infection, but Rick continues healthy. He realizes Dwight shot him with a clean arrow and orders a small group to leave Hilltop through the back exit to outflank The Saviors when they arrive.
Negan arrives, yelling that he knows Rick is dead and demanding whoever passes as a leader to go out and talk to him. Much to his shock, Rick shows up. They start talking about the whole meaning of the war, with Rick showing several reasons why the war won't end well for all sides, and that their communities could do so much better united. Eventually, Negan agrees, commenting he now sees things from Rick's point of view. Just as he says this, Rick slashes his throat.
Negan falls down, and Rick announces that the war is over and that they have a doctor who can save Negan. With his last strength, Negan brutally attacks Rick and breaks his leg before finally passing out. As Dwight takes control of The Saviors and the survivors arrive to help, Rick insists to save Negan first.
With his leg bandaged, Rick explains to the others that he won't kill Negan because they're going, from now on, rebuild civilization and he'd like to "skip the ugly parts". He then makes a speech to all survivors about the rebuilding ahead of them.
Later, Rick notices Carl is gone and immediately deduces he went to kill Negan. He arrives just before Carl pulls the trigger and manages to convince Carl to not kill him.
Negan wakes up and asks that he's kept him alive, and now what. Rick then responds saying they will undo the damage Negan did and he will rot in jail while watching the survivors thrive without him, finishing off saying "he's fucked".
Two years have passed since the end of the war with Negan. During this time, Rick has Alexandria rebuilt and transformed into a thriving sanctuary. Due to his leg never healing properly after it was broken by Negan during the war, he is unable to have a more active role in the community and decides to take more of a behind the scenes approach to leading Alexandria. Rick has also changed his appearance now appearing with a number two haircut and a long beard to avoid being swamped by too many admirers.
Because of his leg never properly healing at the knee, Rick uses a cane to walk comfortably. He also has a prosthetic made by Earl Sutton to cover his right hand. Carl decides to be a blacksmith and wants to apprentice under Sutton, but Rick is hesitant to let him. He overhears that a new group were saved by Paul and Aaron's group so he decides to check them out to see if they'd like to join Alexandria.
He meets Magna and tells her the rules: they can stay as long as they surrender their weapons for two weeks. After discussing it with her other members, Magna agrees to the terms and is welcomed into the community. Rick then meets with Eugene, who reports on the munitions factory report and the herd duty. He says Eugene has become too valuable and won't go out on herd duty anymore.
After a long day, Rick returns home and is met by Carl, who tries again to let him go to the Hilltop to apprentice under Sutton. After some convincing, Rick agrees to think about it. Later, Rick and Andrea have a talk about how he's growing up. Andrea says to Rick, "your boy is growing up". Rick smiles and says, "Our boy".
Rick and Eugene are walking towards the mill when Rick asks if his relationship with Rosita is okay. Eugene says that he thinks it is. Rick questions what he meant and Eugene says that he's not sure if Rosita really wants to be with him and that he may make his fear of her leaving him a reality. Rick says that maybe he shouldn't do that.
Olivia is inside the mill, getting ready to take a new batch of bread out of the furnace soon. Rick says that he never realized how much he missed the smell of fresh bread. Eugene tells Rick that things are going well enough to start gearing towards ramping up production and when Alexandria has a surplus, they can start trading with other communities. Rick tells Eugene and Olivia that he doesn't think they realize how valuable the mill is to the community.
He says that if things keep progressing they way they are now, bread could be more valuable than bullets soon. Olivia says that she's felt that way for a while and is glad that the world is catching up to her. Eugene tells Rick that they should be getting over to the factory. Rick says that his speed won't slow them down. Rick thanks Olivia for showing him around the mill and states that it's amazing. Mikey arrives and asks if there's any more deliveries.
Rick says that Carl's told him that Mikey's been apprenticing here and asks how he likes it here. Mikey says that it's alright but he only does deliveries and that he wants to be able to one day run the entire mill by himself and that he just wants to make his dad, Nicholas, who died during the war with the Saviors, proud. Rick places his hand on Mikey's shoulder and says that he believes Nicholas would be very proud of him and to keep up the good work.
Carl is waiting for Rick to return from the mill on the porch of their house. Rick tells Andrea to give them a moment. Carl tells his father that he did nothing that day besides hanging out with Josh and carving some wood. He says that doing nothing felt wrong and that he needs to learn how to do something. Rick says that he knows how Carl feels. Carl stands up and asks him if he really knows how he feels.
He says that everyone worships what Rick's done. Rick tells Carl to calm down and that he's going to have to save his strength for tomorrow. Carl asks what's happening tomorrow. Rick tells his son that he's been holding his son back from taking on a trade while all his friends are working and that he just wanted to hold onto his 'little boy' a while longer and that he's sorry for doing that. He tells his son that him and Carl will be going to the Hilltop when Carl interrupts Rick mid-sentence with a hug, thanking him.
Carl asks if he can tell Josh, Rick says sure but Carl's already taken off, leaving Rick to look after his son as he runs away.
Negan says to Rick that his least favorite part of the day is shitting in a bucket but it's also his favorite as Rick has to be the one to come get it. Rick says that he's only bringing him food and that someone else will be out to clean his bucket later. Negan asks if Rick is taking Carl to the Hilltop, slightly shocking Rick.
Negan says that him and Carl are friends and that Rick couldn't break that bond. Negan asks if the creaking he can hear is a windmill, making Rick say that life would go on without him just as he said it would. Negan tells Rick that he's just getting things ready for him, and that he won't be in his cell forever.
Rick says that he knows Negan will die behind bars, Negan says that he won't and that deep down, Rick knows he should have killed Negan. Rick asks Negan if he's noticed that he doesn't use profanity all that much anymore and asks why that is.
Negan says he doesn't see the point and that it's best to save his energy. Rick tells Negan that it's not it and that "It's because I've fucking neutered you like a dog. You've got no fight left, you pathetic sack of shit." Negan stares at Rick angrilly as he turns around and leaves, telling Negan to enjoy his food.
Rick and Carl saddle up on horseback as Anna hands Carl a note. Rick teases Carl and says that it is a love note. Carl feels embarrassed and asks Rick to stop teasing him.
On the road, Rick and Carl pass by many people patrolling the area for roamers. They eventually stop for a lunch break when a few roamers begin walking out of the woods. Rick grabs his hatchet and tells Carl not to shoot unless it is needed.
Rick kills two roamers and then his leg gives in, Carl having to shoot the remaining roamers as Rick nearly gets bitten. A guard in riot armor approaches Rick and Carl. The rider dismounts and apologizes for the area not being clear, as he had just cleared it 5 minutes ago. When the rider realizes that it is Rick he apologizes even more.
Rick is angry and begins to beat the rider with his cane. Once he tries to protect himself in the fetal position, Rick stops. Rick asks the rider who he is and where he is from. The rider tells his name to be Benjamin, and he is from The Kingdom. Rick screams at Benjamin telling him that others would be grateful for this job and that he messed up badly. Rick says that he hopes this is is his first incident. Benjamin tells him that it is and that it won't happen again.
Rick and Carl arrive at the hilltop, where Rick is swarmed by admirers, much to his annoyance. Maggie takes him to see her child, named Hershel in honor of her late father. Maggie remarks that Hershel's peaceful sleep was only made possible because of the sacrifices Rick made in the past, which shocks Rick.
Rick protests that Maggie sacrificed as much as he did and deserves more credit. He, along with Maggie, Harlon Carson and Carl, are utterly shocked when Marco reveals the walkers were speaking.
Later, Rick and Maggie have a talk about the past and how everything has changed, and how the world is much more peaceful, and that things are almost better than they were before the apocalypse. Rick remarks that he still misses some of it, also saying he misses Maggie and "even after all this time", he still misses Michonne.
The next day, Rick, along with Maggie, Hershel, Carl and Sophia, sits on the deck of the Hilltop Mansion and watches the sunset, remarking how beautiful it is.
Rick prepares to leave and has a chat with Carl about remaining in the Hilltop and the letter he received from Anna. The two part ways with love, though Rick looks back at Carl with worry, and he leaves via carriage back to Alexandria. Rick then arrives back at Alexandria safely and is greeted with a passionate hug by Andrea. Rick then notices that Andrea and Magna are getting along really well and asks what he missed.
Rick and a group from Alexandria meets Ezekiel at Oceanside as they wait for a fishing crew to return from its expedition. The crew, of which Michonne is a part, docks, and Rick talks to her about her reasons for leaving the Kingdom and Ezekiel, with Rick declaring her his best friend.
Rick and crew return to Alexandria and is immediately confronted by Dwight. He reveals his disinterest in leading the Saviors anymore and tells Rick to find a new leader. This idea is met with Rick's suggestion that they hold a vote.
After the Saviors leave, Rick briefly meets with Andrea before going to see Negan. He is shocked to find the gate open and Negan sitting in his cell in wait. Negan reveals that Olivia had failed to lock the gate, and he decided to stay in order to gain Rick's trust a little. However, Rick tells him he still distrusts him and says he will NEVER trust Negan. Rick then leaves an angry Negan.
Later that night, Rick explains to Andrea that he is trying to set an example by keeping Negan alive, and that his "you kill, you die" rule was a poor rule of thumb.
With the fair preparations in full bloom, Maggie and the other Hilltop survivors travel to the Hilltop, and Maggie reveals that Carl's gone missing, likely headed after The Whisperers. Rick makes the decision to go after Carl, with a crew of Andrea, Michonne, and Dante.
The crew is traveling on the road when they run into a group of Whisperers. They take Rick with them to their main base, where Rick is reunited with Carl. He implores Carl to try and escape with him, but Carl declares he wants to be with Lydia. Alpha arrives shortly after, with her machete mattered with blood, Rick angrily asks what she has done before being punched in the mouth by another whisperer and says if he has hurt Andrea, Michonne or anyone in his community he will remember this, wiping blood from his lips. Alpha then escorts him at gunpoint to a building to reveal a field of zombies, which she says she would use to destroy Rick's community and is NOT an empty threat.
Rick asks her what she wants, to which she replies nothing, because he has nothing to offer her. She tells how she walked through the streets of Alexandria, calling their lifestyle a joke and a lie, a shrine to a long dead world. She says they are all animals who have always pretended otherwise, telling him the life of her people are true, that they live full lives the way they are meant to be, while his people strive to return to a live of slavery and petty desires instead of recognizing the gift the new world has to offer: freedom.
In response, Rick tells her that she's full of shit, asking if the ones who call her Alpha are truly free. Free to wear human skin and sleep out in the cold. He tells her that it's all bullshit to keep the sheep in line and answering to her. An overblown power trip. She then reaffirms her position that humans are animals and need an Alpha and a Beta, lest there be chaos.
They arrive back at the camp, where Rick tells Carl that they're leaving. The boy protests they won't leave without Lydia. He replies that they have a chance to leave in peace and that Lydia's place is with her mother. Carl then reveals that sometimes, at night, the men do things to her, and that her mother lets them, to Rick's shock. He angrily questions Alpha if that's true. Alpha asks why do they pretend rape is such a powerful act and does so much damage, since it is part of a nature far older than the word itself.
Rick then asks Lydia about it, she says it's true, that it hurt her and she didn't like it, but her mother said it wasn't something that should bother her, but knowing that there are people out there willing to protect her in ways her own mother doesn't, she can't go back to her old lifestyle.
Alpha says that emotion is something they can't afford, a weakness. That pain is supposed to be endured without emotion, something for the weak, and that Whisperers are not weak. That the world is not for the weak, not for the victims, but for the strong. She walks away and kneels, crying. When Lydia approaches, Alpha punches her, leading to Rick's intervention.
Alpha whispers in Rick's ear that she can't offer her daughter the life she needs, not there, not safety, but he can. To avoid the other Whisperers' intervention, she yells saying she doesn't need their help. She then banishes Lydia from The Whisperers.
Before Rick, Carl and Lydia can leave, she mentions she marked a border at the edge of their territory, telling them to never cross it again, or else their horde will cross onto theirs. Eventually they find the horses dead and the group gone. Rick, Carl, and Lydia jump onto the horses and ride for a while until Rick discovers the border marked by Alpha.
12 spikes with decapitated heads on top of them including Olivia, Josh, Carson, Tammy, Luke, Erin, Ken, Amber, Larry, Oscar, Rosita and Ezekiel. Distraught by the sight of the decapitated heads Rick falls to his knees and angrily asks himself why Alpha would ever do something this monstrous. They are later joined by Andrea, Dante, and Michonne. Andrea then asks Rick what do they do now.
Michonne reaches to put down Ezekiel when Rick stops her saying he can do it for her. She pushes him to the ground declining his offer. She later apologizes to Rick and opens up to him about her and Ezekiel's relationship. She tells Rick that there is something wrong with her. Rick replies with, "there's something wrong with all of us.".
After helping put down the rest of the reanimated heads, Rick leads the group back to the fair. He addresses a crowd, telling them "I'm afraid I have terrible news." Rick reveals to the crowd what has happened to the 12 missing people.
After a funeral service, loved ones of the deceased approach Rick. They begin to yell and demand war and retaliation. Rick tells them that they should not try to rush into things and that they need to be well prepared. Marco calls Rick a pussy and suggests Maggie should lead all of the communities. Rick asks Maggie what he meant by that. When Maggie tells Rick that she executed Gregory, Rick explodes on her, yelling and screaming that she has ignored everything he has been saying, and that she is ruining everything he has built. Maggie says that he snapped and is too crazy for her to follow his lead, which enrages Rick. Rick punches Maggie across the face with his cane. Maggie jumps onto Rick, beating him, saying that this is all Carl's fault for going after Alpha.
They later apologize to each other. Rick decides to go home and get rest. On his way home he gets glares from the community. As he walks inside he sees Eugene and Andrea. Eugene explains that these people aren't smart and that they want to go into battle half-cocked. Eugene goes on to explain that they have one advantage over Alpha they have overlooked, they have her daughter.
Eugene pitches Rick the idea of using Lydia against Alpha as a form of payback for the recent massacre of the colony members. He argues that Lydia has killed people as well and has lost her innocence, even going so far as to say they would kill Lydia if the Whisperers call their bluff. Rick dismisses the idea several times, saying that the girl is still a child, and she will not be put in any more danger. Andrea asks Eugene to leave, and he storms out of the house.
After Eugene's departure, Rick and Andrea speak about how Lydia will not be safe as long as Eugene and the other survivors have the same idea in their heads. Andrea agrees to escort Carl and Lydia to the Hilltop until the hostility blows over and they can form a more concrete plan.
Afterwards, Michonne is shown stealthily sneaking into the Grimes house, katana drawn, and sneaking up the stairs. When Rick pulls a gun to the back of her head, she explains that she was only trying to find Lydia and get her to safety. She fills Rick in with how Eugene's words are getting around town, and that tomorrow will be a very rough day for Rick. They go to the kitchen and talk over drinks.
Rick breaks the ice and asks Michonne how she has been holding up since Ezekiel was killed. She begins to cry a bit, explaining that she is upset and angry, then tries to dismiss it and leave, but Rick tells her to wait. He explains that she needs to stop pushing people away.
Rick begins to open up to Michonne, telling her about how he had started to grow distant towards Lori when he was still a police officer. His work brought to him experiences that Lori would have a hard time sharing even if he wanted to, making his emotional reactions increasingly inescrutable to Lori. When he found out about her and Shane, he did not really blame either of them, but he was still hurt. By contrast, Andrea and Rick have lived through a lot of significant experiences together. They understand each other and have no secrets from each other. They have bonded and grow together to an extent that he did not even think possible before. Rick feels closer to Andrea than he ever was to Lori.
Rick goes on to speculate that perhaps Michonne has a bad habit of feeling undeserving of happiness. Rick feels that Michonne let her ex-husband have the custody of her two daughters and pushed Ezekiel away from her life because at some level she wants to punish herself for no good reason.
He goes on to offer that Michonne is likely to move on and learn to live and be happy despite her losses and guilts, yet deep down she will hate herself for that. Rick himself feels that he would not manage to be quite as happy as he is now had Lori and their daughter Judith not died. He would still bring them back if he had any means to, but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing he can do to advance such a goal. As such, he has to accept reality for what it is and go on despite all the conflicting feelings, as has Michonne.
Michonne asks him if the pain will ever go away, and he answers point-blank that it will not, prompting a rare emotional outburst from Michonne. She begins to cry openly and admits that she never stopped missing Ezekiel, but at the same time felt that she was punishing herself properly for having failed her daughters. But now she sees that this is just a sick, pointless game of imposing needless guilts on herself for no good reason.
Rick encourages her to perceive the current situation as "being even": she lost Ezekiel, so she can allow herself to let go of the guilt over her daughters as well. Now she better let go of all dark feelings and pursue happiness as opposed to punishment. Michonne cries a bit more, wipes her tears and smiles at Rick, telling him that he is messes up yet she loves him.
The next day at Alexandria, the citizens are furious that Rick will not strike back at the Whisperers. The angry crowd becomes even more furious after Rick tells them that he has sent Lydia away for her protection. A small scuffle ensues and quickly escalates as everyone starts to fight one another. After being tackled, Rick gets up and pulls out his gun. He fires a shot into the air and aims at the still group of people. He tells the Alexandrians to go home or he'll shoot them dead. He explains that they will resume talks the next day when everyone has calmed down. That night, Rick goes to Negan and states that he needs his help. Negan has a grin on his face.
Negan becomes delighted as Rick states he need his help. However, Rick says he will never unlock his cage, which makes Negan feel embarrassed. Rick informs Negan about the Whisperers, and Negan asks Rick are they "us" or "them". Rick is about to leave, but Negan convinces him to stay. Negan gives him advice about him being the leader, and tells him that he has to lie to keep people alive and happy. Rick leaves and Negan starts to smile. Rick greets Eugene, who tells him that the radio is working but there is no one out there. Rick tells Eugene he wants to form a military, train people to use guns, and be prepared for the war with the Whisperers. Grinning, Rick says to Eugene the Whisperers "won't know what fucking hit them," which gives Eugene confidence as well.
Later that night as Rick is leaving Eugene's house, he is suddenly confronted and pushed to the ground by two hooded men. One of the hooded men proceeds to beat Rick while his hood happens to fall down, revealing him to be Morton. He is then told to stop by the other hooded man, who is revealed to be Vincent, and is subsequently tackled to the ground. Morton fights back against Vincent and then leans in to pick up Rick's walking cane. Rick intervenes by biting into Morton's neck, in which he dies in the process due to blood loss. Rick succumbs to his injuries and falls unconscious.
Rick, after being found by a panicking Maggie, is taken to Dr. Carson's house where he is surrounded by Jesus, Maggie, and Michonne. Rick tells Michonne to go find "him", after which she is then seen chasing after Vincent. Rick walks outside to see his people while Maggie is convincing him to go back in and get cleaned up and recover. Rick states, "they need to see me like this."
Rick proceeds to give a speech and talks to his people about how he was attacked by "two of our own" and that he is "Scared of things going back to the way they were." He goes on to say that he "Doesn't want to return to those days", in which he lost the ones he cared about, especially Lori and Judith. Rick states that they need to move forward instead of back. During this, Dwight and Laura walk in, Dwight having left the Saviors' leadership. Rick says that "out of frustration we attacked ourselves" as a retaliation to the "multiple heads on pikes" incident in Issue 144. He informs them that an army is being formed so that they can "wipe the Whisperers off the face of the Earth." Vincent is then brought up to the podium in which Rick forgives him for his actions. At the end of his speech, the crowd begins to chant Rick's Everyone is seen chanting "Rick Grimes" and Negan's cell is shown. Negan smiles while saying to himself, "'atta boy."
Rick and Dwight are training a group of people whom has volunteered to be part of the communities new militia. During training the group draws out a sizable pack of zombies for practice. For a moment it seems they may have overreached but Dwight assumes command and gets them out of the situation. Rick meets with Dwight afterwards and compliments him on his military instincts and implies that he wants him to become a leading figure in the militia. Dwight complains that he left The Sanctuary to avoid having to be a leader but Rick tells him it's too late and that they need him.
When they return to Alexandria, Maggie is getting ready to depart for The Hilltop. Rick asks her if she has decided how many people she can send to join the militia. She tells him that because Paul has decided to stay she could probably send ten but possibly more. Rick thanks her and tells her to inform Andrea, Carl and Lydia that they can come back. Rick heads home but Vincent catches up to him and thanks him for keeping him around. Rick assures him that killing him would only serve to rob him of the opportunity to make up for his one mistake and do more good. While talking to Vincent about this he suddenly stops to think and heads to Negan's cell. Negan wonders what he can do for him this time but Rick tells him he's just checking up on him, much to Negan's delight. Arriving at his home Rick discovers Gabriel waiting on the doorsteps. Gabriel tells him that having served as Alexandria's official reverend is something he is grateful for and feels he's been good at. Nonetheless, he has decided that protecting peoples souls aren't enough for him anymore and asks to join the newly formed militia. Rick agrees and says that he can start in the morning.
Going inside his house he finds a sleeping Michonne who awakens upon his arrival. She tells Rick that she is going out on the boat again with Pete but Rick argues that she shouldn't anymore and that he needs her at the The Kingdom to assume the vacant leadership left by Ezekiel. Michonne tells him that she saw this coming and admits that the people there need her to lead them but herself needed someone to push her in the right direction to actually commit. The conversation then turns to the Sanctuary which also lacks leadership since Dwight left. Rick asks for Michonne's opinion and she tells him she'll think about it and asks how old Carl is.
Rick meets Brandon, and tells him he is sorry about Morton. Brandon attacks Rick, but Rick knocks him over and states he has to behave or Rick will kill him. Michonne catches the two and Rick leaves. Later Paula informs Rick that the keys to Negan's cell are gone. Rick and Michonne run to the basement and see an empty cell.
Rick and Michonne walk up to the gate and come to the conclusion that Negan most likely escaped with Maggie's group headed to the Hilltop. Michonne and Aaron talk with Rick about going after Negan. Aaron tells Rick if Negan was smart, he would just leave and never come back, but Rick tells him that Negan will probably try to hurt Rick, the Alexandrians, and destroy everything they have.Rick asks Paul, the man who shot Marco, about what had happened. Paul tells Rick he was scared and that he thought Marco had snuck in like Alpha had, and that he was just trying to prevent more deaths. A shocked Rick then walks away, while Paul gets worried about what will be done with him. Later, Andrea returns to Alexandria and angrily asks Rick about the "SILENCE THE WHISPERERS" signs set up around Alexandria and is horrified to see that he has suffered severe injuries in her absence. When she tries ask what happened to him, Rick tells her that he has become a "better leader".
Andrea and Rick are arguing in their house. Andrea is telling Rick to take down the signs, to no avail. Rick says the people of the communities need to direct their anger towards someone, and it can't be him. He reveals to Andrea of the plan to hurt Lydia and how he was attacked. He says he's manipulating the residents for their own good. Andrea says he sounds like Negan, to which Rick responds with silence. He tells her there's something she should know. Later on, he is seen with Siddiq, asking him to report straight to him if he see's something.
A week after Negan disappeared Negan turns up with Alpha's decapitated head and shows it to Rick and Andrea, who are very hesitant to believe and trust him. Negan reassures them that he only wants trust. He says Rick's way of thinking is inspiring and tries to convince them that his time in prison has rehabilitated him. He says he could've taken several chances and attacked Rick, but he didn't. He wants to fight with him, not against him. Rick finally agrees to let Negan out of the cell, but not in a community. He will live in an outpost, alone, with only enough food and weaponry to keep him surviving. He is not allowed these freedoms yet, though. He is going to be monitored for a long time and will fight on the front lines against the Whisperers. He will earn his freedom after the war, unless he slips up, in which case he will be immediately killed.
Rick speaks with Dwight on how this war will be different; it won't be a land war. They have the advantage in terms of firepower and strategy, unlike in All Out War. They won't attack until the Whisperers retreat, and when that happens they hunt down and kill every single one. They will also need people on horseback to redirect the herd of roamers. Rick remarks that although he doesn't trust Negan, he is a great asset to have. He asks Dwight to keep an eye on Negan, and Dwight agrees.
Rick laments to Andrea on not being able to fight in the war. Andrea mentions how she will be spending most of her time in the bell tower, making sure nobody slips through. He asks if she agrees with him on Negan, and she says that at first she wasn't sure about his call, but she has grown to trust Rick Grimes regardless of whether or not she trusts Negan. Rick addresses the people of Alexandria who are not fighting. "We are safe" he assures them, "and we are doing everything in our power to remain safe. There is no cause for worry."
Annie, Andrea, and Eugene praise Rick on his speech. Rick asks Eugene what he has been working on, but he tells him he cannot say anything right now. Andrea is on lookout when Rick arrives with lunch for her. He jokes he should have made Negan carry him around for breaking his leg, but Andrea says that would have been too good for him and dying on the front lines is better. Later, Rick is seen looking over maps to see if there's an advantage point to be found, telling Andrea he just wants to be "of some use". Later, Rick comments that Eugene had been busy making ammunition for them. However, Rick hopes that none of it will be used.
Rick is then seen questioning Heath and Vincent on what happened with the Saviors. Later at the bell tower, Rick tells Andrea that she not only has to watch for the Whisperers, but also the Saviors.. Andrea asks if things are that bad, to which Rick replies they might be and all they can do is be prepared. Rick and Andrea are discussing what to do if a herd or the Saviors approach; 2 rapid shots for the Whisperers and 3 rapid shots for the Saviors. Andrea mocks Rick's old man act, and he comments that being behind the walls is making him soft. Andrea disagrees with him, but Rick stays with his standpoint regardless. Eugene arrives with a large supply of ammunition. Rick greets him just as he falls from the horse, exhausted from working entire days without sleeping or even taking breaks. Inside, he tells Rick that it's the only way he can contribute. Rick tells him he has done a lot more for them than he thinks. They hear a single shot fired and race outside.
The Militia have returned, having defeated the Whisperers much to Rick's surprise. He greets Dwight as the others reunite, and Negan watches on. Dwight comments that they haven't heard from Father Gabriel, and Rick says they will search the area later. He asks Dwight to tell him everything. He explains how they were able to defeat them, but becomes agitated when Rick asks if he's sure they got them all. Dwight mentions it wasn't easy and that there were hundreds of the dead, and Rick yells that they need to get back out there. Dwight says that they won the war, but Rick tells him they didn't, as he saw thousands of the dead that the horde is still out there, heading for Alexandria.
Rick and Dwight turn to see the remnants of The Whisperer's herd rapidly approaching Alexandria. Rick tries to persuade Andrea from going out to help lead the herd away but she says that she'll be fine, a statement Dwight agrees with. Rick informs a worried Siddiq that they won't be evacuating Alexandria and that the walls will hold. As the herd starts gathering outside the fence, part of the fence collapses and Rick is knocked to the ground. He watches Paula get devoured and before he is bitten as well, Negan saves him and leads him away from the herd. While hiding from the herd, Negan tries to start a conversation with Rick while they wait for the herd to disperse but the latter stays silent. Eventually, Rick is asked what the worst thing he's ever done and he says to Negan that for him, it was living when so many others didn't who should have. Eventually, the herd thins out enough that the two are able to return to Alexandria. As more walkers approach, they are gunned down by the Saviors, now led by Sherry. A confrontation between the two groups leads to a standoff, but Rick offers to talk with Sherry in order to defuse the situation. Inside, Sherry says that the Saviors want out of their trade deal and then tries to kill Rick. He holds her off and accidentally kills her in self defense.
Andrea arrives back from herd duty and collapses in Rick's arms, showing him her bite. Horrified, Rick calls out for help and has Michonne help bring her to their house. Rick confesses how much Andrea has meant to him but she says to knock off the crying. He laments that despite everything he's done, there wasn't anything he could do to save her. He asks how he'll keep going on without her but Andrea says he will just like when anyone else dies. After professing their love for each other one more time, Andrea passes away. Rick aims his gun at her, but ultimately can't pull the trigger. Then, Andrea reanimates and knocks him down. After trying to shoot her again, Rick pulls out his knife and stabs Andrea in the head. After mourning Andrea's death, Rick remembers her last words of inspiration and goes outside, where members of Alexandria and the Hilltop are there waiting for him. After hugging Carl and several moments of silence, Rick says that "there is still so much for them to do."
Dwight approaches Rick and tells him he got everyone organized and everything back in working order. Rick thanks him and tries to apologize for Sherry's death, but Dwight tells him he doesn't need to. John calls out to Rick and tells him that they respected Andrea and they are sorry for his loss. Rick tells them that he appreciates everything they have done and hopes this can bring them closer to peace. John asks where Sherry is, and Rick tries to remind him where they were before they began to cooperate. John demands to know where Sherry is, and Rick admits she is dead. John points his gun at Rick and tells him any hope for peace died with Sherry. Dwight pulls his gun and tells Rick to go inside, but Rick insists everyone stays calm before explaining that Sherry attacked him and her death was an accident.
Negan steps forward and insists that he handle the situation. He tells the Saviors that they are alive thanks to him and Rick. He offers them the chance to go back to how things were when he was in charge. Dwight starts to panic, but Rick insists they let him finish.The Saviors start to leave, and Negan offers his condolences to Rick. As everyone helps to rebuild Alexandria, Maggie and Michonne carry Andrea's body outside as Rick and Carlhug. They hold a funeral for those who died. Back inside, Carl tries to comfort a despondent Rick before going to bed with Lydia. Rick takes off his shirt and his prosthetic arm before heading outside, and he falls asleep at Andrea's grave.
The next morning Rick walks through the burial ground and is greeted by an angry Maggie, who then demands explanation about Negan being free. Rick explains that he is no better than him, since he killed just as much husbands and wives as Negan did. Rick assures Maggie Negan will be on his way very soon. Rick has been informed about the radio, and he arrives at Eugene's with Siddiq. Eugene assures Stephanie Rick can be trusted and the two have a conversation. Rick suggests they should form a route to her community, and Stephanie asks for a day to think about it.
Rick plans to establish a small team to send to Ohio. He is then greeted by Dwight, who wants to have a word with him later. Carl states he will go back to Hilltop and help to rebuild it even if Rick wants him to stay. Rick asks Jesus to go with the team, but he states he will stay in Alexandria with Aaron.
Rick approaches Dwight later in the day and offers him to go on the trip to Ohio. Dwight bluntly declines and challenges Rick's leadership, saying that his current decisions have made him unfit to lead; he cites escalating a conflict with the Saviors, having Negan diffuse said conflict and killing Sherry (even if it was accidental). Angered by this, Rick vows to keep his eye on Dwight and threatens not to provoke him in his current state as at that point, "what's one more fucking grave?" he asks.
This list shows the victims Rick has killed:
- Bicycle Girl (Zombified)
- Front (Zombified)
- Shane (Zombified)
- Allen (Before Reanimation)
- Otis (Zombified)
- Caesar Ramón Martínez (Alive)
- Chris (Along with his fellow survivors)
- Theresa (Along with his fellow survivors)
- Albert (Along with his fellow survivors)
- David (Along with his fellow survivors)
- Greg (Along with his fellow survivors)
- Charlie (Along with his fellow survivors)
- Patrick (Alongside his fellows Alexandrians)
- Sandra (Alongside his fellows Alexandrians)
- Peter Anderson
- Abraham Ford (Indirectly Caused)
- Glenn (Indirectly Caused)
- Holly (Zombified)
- Morton Rose
- Sherry (Accidental)
- Andrea Grimes (Zombified)
- 1 horse (Caused)
- 1 unnamed marauder
- At least 1 unnamed Scavenger
- At least 5 unnamed Saviors
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed survivors.
- Rick is the sole survivor appearing in Issue 1 to still be alive, if not counting a photograph of Carl.
- Rick is one of the three remaining Atlanta camp survivors still alive, others being Carl and Sophia.
- Rick is the only adult of the camp still alive.
- Robert Kirkman has said that early on, he was willing to kill Rick in #6, instead of Shane and show how it would affect Carl, having a dead father with Shane being with Lori, etc.
- Rick is one of the many amputee victims, and one of the few still alive.
- Robert Kirkman has expressed annoyance that Rick lost his hand so early on and has said it has caused great difficulty in writing for the character in the issues that followed.
- Every member of the Grimes family (excluding Jeffrey) have been shot at some point in time.
- Rick got shot prior to the apocalypse by an unnamed criminal, causing him to fall into a coma. He was later shot in the first attack on the prison by Woodbury and was pierced by an arrow in "All Out War" by Dwight.
- Carl was shot in the chest by Otis and later in the eye by Douglas Monroe, both times being accidental.
- Lori was shot while carrying Judith by Lilly Caul, killing both of them.
- Rick Grimes was named the 26th Top Comic Book Hero by IGN.
- Rick's physical appearance has undoubtedly changed the most since the beginning of the apocalypse (not including visible injuries). At the start of the apocalypse, he has short hair and is clean shaven. After the fall of the prison and during the subsequent journey to the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Rick's hair and beard grow to great lengths until he eventually shaves and has his hair trimmed as he tries to assimilate in Alexandria. This process repeats throughout his life in Alexandria and during the conflict with the Saviors. Afterwards he decides to alter his appearance by having a buzz cut-like hair style and decides to grow his beard to great proportions. It is interesting to note that his appearance now closely resembles that of Douglas Monroe, the former leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
- His similar appearance to Douglas has been noted in Letter Hacks, Kirkman stating that it's a pure coincidence.
- It's also been noted in the comic series, where Rick states that he doesn't want to be recognized by those who think he is some kind of war hero.
- It has been "promised" by Robert Kirkman that Rick will not survive the entire series.
- In the Walking Dead spin-off "The Walking Dead: The Alien", it is mentioned Rick went by the name Richie.
- Rick reveals that he is 38 years old in Issue 162, although it's said in the script book he was 29 when the outbreak started.
- In the Letter Hacks of Issue 165, Robert Kirkman thinks that Rick's physical limitations make him a better character.
- Even though Rick lost his right hand in Issue 28, there have been several times that he's been seen with both of his hands;
- Issue 48, while hugging his family.
- Issue 49, while looking for some supplies with Carl in an abandoned house.
- Issue 54, while he jumps out of bed.
- Issue 54, while walking with Carl, it shows Ricks left hand is missing instead.
- Issue 59, while escaping from the herd.
- Issue 61, while holding the telephone with his right hand in one panel.
- Issue 69, while he's talking with Abraham about Alexandria.
- Issue 72, while leaving the house
- Issue 97, while talking with Andrea.
- Issue 123, while shooting his handgun.
- On the Compendium Three Barnes & Noble Variant cover.
- Issue 168, where he is instead missing his left hand instead of his right in the second-to-last panel.