Even though he was betrayed (again), suffered the loss of a friend, and was brought to his knees (literally), Rick Grimes refused to stand down against Negan in the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead. In fact, Rick once again reiterated that he WAS going to kill Negan. Not today, not tomorrow… but he will kill Negan, even if Negan were to ‘take Rick’s hands’; as Negan threatened to do.
But what does allowing his son to die accomplish when he was previously willing to bite a guy’s throat out in order to save him? Andrew Lincoln recently spoke in an exclusive interview with Comicbook.com , in which he answered that question:
“There’s a point at which after – and, I think it is this sort of arc, it certainly makes the arc of the season – which is that the man is diminished. He’s absolutely been demolished by Negan’s reign and the loss of two of his greatest, dearest friends. There’s too much blood on his hands of the leadership. So, he relinquishes responsibility, and then of course the back eight, him being built back and returned to where he feels… People want him to step up and be the leader. So, it’s a more combatant, a more thoughtful leader than he was, I think. Although, he’s still uncompromising and has to be because they’ve got so much and the opposition is so large and they have so much to lose.”
This is true, we’ve seen the character of Rick Grimes go through the hell of a rollercoaster ride of events from Season One. Lincoln also spoke on the topic of how Carl Grimes almost took a deadly beating from Lucielle… and how even if that were to happen, Negan still would not win.
“When I was doing in that scene, there is an inevitability to what’s about to happen. The double-coss has happened. But, then he looks Negan in the eye and he says, ‘You’re all already dead,’ meaning he realizes the victory is his because he has family, he has friends, he has a civilization, he has people, he has loved ones that he’s fighting for and the future. And, Negan is alone. He is a man ruling by fear and oppression and control. And, he looks him square in the eyes and say, ‘No matter what happens next, I win.’ That’s the way that I was able. So, there wasn’t an anticipation of, you know, the calvary coming. It’s more just like, ‘I am never going to bow to you ever again. You can’t beat me.'”
Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when that loved one is your other half. Since Season One we have seen some of our favorite characters lose their better half. Whether it be to a Walker or to an enemy, it seems almost inevitable in the current Dead realm. Lincoln also touched on how heartbroken Rick would of been, had he actually lost Michonne.
“I mean when he knelt down, and he thinks that it’s her, she’s gone, he’s broken. He’s broken again. But, you know, that’s why the strength of what she gave him enables him to answer Negan and say, ‘You’re all already dead. I’m never gonna…’ This is the power they have over Negan: the fact that they have this incredible bond between this family and now, an extended family, a civilization. It’s pretty much what you saw is what Rick was feeling. And the interesting thing is in spite of that, he’s strengthened by her. He said it a couple of episodes back, ‘If I’m the one who doesn’t make it, you’re going to go through it.’ That’s how important it is now. It’s not like the Governor. It’s not like the Sanctuary. This is about ideology. This is about choice. It’s about freedom.”
The Walking Dead will return in with its 8th Season in the Fall.