Can the Walking Dead Go on Without Rick Grimes
A Man Looking For His Family
The first season of The Walking Dead was far from perfect. The elements of a great story that spun off from the beloved comic books was there. Officer Rick Grimes was waking up from a coma in a deserted hospital surrounded by the dead.
Fighting his way back to his house and giving screen time to the first Walkers of the series, the little girl in pajamas, and the Bicycle Walker; Rick returned home to find that his wife and son had fled in the panic.
Episodes are spent until they are reunited and he finds that his wife has moved on to his best friend and partner fearing that Rick was dead- speculation followed for seasons something was already brewing between them.
We saw Rick Grimes become a leader to a ragtag group of survivors, they only trusting in him as the man that still wore a policeman's badge in this time of chaos but no one trains the cops what to do when people start eating each other.
While the early seasons were slow, we knew The Walking Dead to be Rick's story of how he found the strength to go on as challenges were thrown at him and friends and loved ones lost.
The show nine seasons later on resembles in name the same show.
Granted they has smartly "outlived" most of the Walkers as the human population dwindled into small societies that knew how to deal with the recently deceased and keep them from rising.
What was great about The Walking Dead was not in the story lines presented with the diversity of the characters backgrounds, but what had been and Every-man's tale through seasons and the need to keep outdoing the last for ratings, the show is no longer at its core a show about dealing with the zombies and some sort of weird post apocalyptic soap opera about warring groups.
Yes, this would be what would happen eventually given the circumstance, but the core of the show that The Walking Dead was has been stripped away by changes in show-runners and casting and cheapened by spin off shows and merchandising.
It was time for the story of Rick to come to an end.
At the core, this zombie story was centered around an Every-man trying to survive the Brave New World but when the story stayed "too safe" or was too predictable that every season another big bad would challenge the society for a season or two only to be brushed off, the heart of the show was gone. The Walking Dead has been on life support for so long, it's outlived Rick in the coma.
The Leader And The Farmer
One of the most annoying things with Rick Grimes was the constant flip flop of his character. While watching the man grow and regress from leader to farmer at the prison, Rick began bipolar to watch.
Going episodes or sometimes entire seasons hell bent on doing one thing, for no reason they would write the character doing the complete opposite for no reason other than an continuing story.
His character was becoming so flat that the writers began to pen in observations from other characters on how unstable Rick was, yet no one really challenged him against the decisions that he was making wrongly. When they saw him become unhinged no one else tried to run society instead. They just accepted for better or worse, Rick is our leader and they were going down with the ship.
And while some of his early ideas saved lives, people were realizing how much of their party was getting killed on Rick's watch.
Maybe the man had no idea what he was doing and when over later colonies came about the group was moving about and taking leadership from others. Rick was so hell bent on being right that it even cost him some that had been with him from the earliest days like Carol, Maggie, and Daryl moving away from his leadership.
When stupidly Rick decides to let Negan live after the disastrous story that took place in the Saviors few seasons, it was no wonder some of the biggest characters were dying to get off the show.
Following Rick through terrible decisions that were not for the best of the community at large- ever- the Brave New New was becoming less of a democracy and more of a Rick-tatorship that even old friends like Carol, Daryl, and Maggie couldn't wait to get away from.
Dumpstergate, Negan, And The Explosion
As the ratings continued to nose dive, The Walking Dead tried its hand at boosting the ratings through ridiculous extended episodes where they completely watered down the plot through so many scenes that would have hit the cutting room floor otherwise.
Trying to be artsy, the death hallucination episodes began to get stranger, and an entire season for some reason got devoted to minor character Beth staying in a hospital that added nothing of value to the season.
By the time we got to The Saviors, The Walking Dead was all over the place with an episode or two in the Kingdom then the next in Alexandria like it was the Melrose Place of the apocalypse with characters bickering over things that hardly mattered.
Then viewers were betrayed for the last time when they teased the death of Glenn and revealed a few episodes later he was hiding under a dumpster and had survived starting Dumpstergate and the jumping off point for most people still watching the show.
When Glenn finally met his "real comic book death" at the hands of Negan, The Walking Dead hyped it like The Simpsons "Who Shot Mr Burns" and devoted a whole summer to clues about the premier episode and re-shooting scenes where every major character had died.
As expected, the deaths of Glenn and Abraham were terribly graphic- but just as to be expected to the comic readers. Many fans were turned off by the level of violence, and suddenly all the episodes were toned down and many death scenes were cut away shots leading to the only zombie show on television that was afraid to show people being eaten by zombies anymore.
Thinking The Walking Dead might have learned their lesson now being in the hands of new show runner, Angela Kang, we find that the show that jumped the shark seasons ago was trying to do it again with first the shocker death of Carl Grimes, that few seemed affected by then the decision to kill Rick after Andrew Lincoln wanted off the show.
Everyone would be fine with the death of Rick, his character arc had come full circle.
The story of a man finding his family was complete.
But The Walking Dead is now run by idiots, and after an entire season playing up the death of Rick, just like they had done with Glenn- we get a big explosion scene on a bridge that was to be Rick's death.
Only it isn't as he is somehow not injured more than his previous wound from falling on rebarb which impaled him, and found in the water where he is whisked away in a helicopter so the possibility of "Where Did Rick Grimes Go" can always be dusted off if the story becomes too stale for even the most tolerant viewer still watching this garbage.
What Comes After
The episode up until the helicopter scene, was actually one of the better constructed ones that The Walking Dead has done in some time showing the full circle of where Rick has come from merging symbolism of the white horse and the hospital and showing familiar faces that had touched his life along the way.
All these pieces made for the journey of what made Rick the man he was now. We understood his losses and failings as a husband, father, leader, and friend.
We were willing to forgive the mistakes that he had made.
And then that stupid helicopter took that from us and the audience began to hate The Walking Dead again as it clung to what little it has left of the fan base.
For seasons this show clearly has no idea how to keep in touch with those that were still watching.
When there are no answers and instead of showing a grieving process, again we get a pointless time jump and the at least tenth child actress to play Judith Grimes. While I get that children often change hair colors as they grow, it is hardly convincing after having Judith be a virtual baby for nine seasons that now she is a dark haired young girl that is cast to resemble Carl.
What comes after for Rick Grimes?
Does anyone believe that someone that had become as cocky as he would just give up on finding everyone again?
What Does It Mean For The Series
With the character of Maggie departing the show as well, there is little need for someone else to really take the place of Rick.
Everyone on the show is so scattered as is and the dialogue has become more unbelievable as the seasons have passed so there were seasons where they have cut down the words so they looked less ridiculous. Seriously, Norman Reedus in the highest paid actor on the show currently and Daryl gets maybe a paragraph of lines in a season if that makes any sense.
While the story takes may paths, The Walking Dead is the story of Rick finding his family, losing his family, and finding new family with the friends that briefly pass through his life. There is nothing more to see here.
Dragging out The Walking Dead for another season or five is just pointless as the last about four have been about nothing. Sure there is still things we are just starting to explore like Oceanside, and The Whisperers, but who is around that cares anymore?
Let the show die before it becomes even more of a joke so that the great seasons of the show can still be remembered.