When we last left Rick Grimes and his band of hardened survivors in the mid-season finale of AMC's The Walking Dead, they were yet again covered in guts and making their way through a zombie infested Alexandria. The events of the episode left fans wondering what exactly will be next for the survivors.
The television series has made it a point to go its own way, even if it sometimes arrives at the same destination as the comic books that inspired it. If the events of the comic books are any indicator, the television Rick Grimes could be poised for some major changes when the sixth season of the series picks back up this Sunday, February 14.
Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) recently spoke to EW about the terrifying remainder of the season and the changes we're about to see in Rick:
"We do realize very quickly in the returning episode that it’s almost like the end of a chapter. Something happens. Rick learns a lot about himself in this episode. What I will say is that the pace quickens a lot in the back eight. It jumps up a gear, maybe two gears, and we move very, very quickly. A lot of things happen in quick succession that propel us towards a very thrilling finale."
Rick's character has already undergone quite the evolution since the inception of the series six years ago. The hometown cop with a heart of cold has been slowly stripped away into a colder and grittier survival machine.
The mid-season finale featured Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam), Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge) and her sons Ron (Austin Abrams) and Sam (Major Dodson) all covered in guts and headed right into the hordes of roaming zombies. These events mirror the comic books rather well. In the comics the survivors were in a gunfight with the D. C. scavenger group and the noise drew a large herd of walkers to the walls of Alexandria, eventually overcoming them and flooding the town with the undead - and Rick, Carl, Jessie and Ron are the ones covered in guts.
There are developments in the comic book version of these events that transpire which, if they happen on the Walking Dead television series, would certainly be a catalyst to bring us a different Rick Grimes. We won't go into too much detail, but Carl is at the center of the event. What would Rick do if Carl was seriously injured and impaired, or worse yet killed?
The Walking Dead comic book series portrays a war that is fought amongst the surviving tribes and that war ends up being the end of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, at least temporarily. Once the war is over, the survivors return to Alexandria and spend the next two years rebuilding and expanding the fort, crafting a high-functioning pastoral utopia. According to Andrew Lincoln, the survivors in the television series will be choosing to stay and rebuild in Alexandria:
"The mere fact that they were able to build the fortifications and the solar panels and all of the infrastructure is an astonishing achievement — and with nothing, no soldiers or anything. Rick’s strength is seeing that we can fortify this place. A lot of these concerns and questions get answered relatively quickly in the first two or three episodes of this back eight. There is a time jump, I will say, at some point. And you will see why we stay in Alexandria."
Lincoln also alluded to the idea that Rick will, in fact, undergo a significant change yet again on the show, in the not-so-distant future:
I think you’ll see there’s a marked change in Rick as a result of what happens in episode 9. It’s one of those watershed moments that happens. And as a result he learns something vital about being a leader. And yet again, he changes. And he develops a new way of leading. And that could be said for the back 8, in that it turns very dark...
The online rumors are already flying about what epic events are going to round out the final eight episodes of season six, including the ever-present fear that Darryl will finally meet his untimely end. This singular fear, which inspired the viral battle cry "If Darryl dies we riot", was born because the character never existed in the comic books, so its impossible to even begin to predict his fate. If the Walking Dead show runners know whats good for them Rick and Darryl will both hang on until the bitter end.
The Walking Dead returns on February 14th on AMC.