Thoughts on Rick Grimes’ Leadership in Season 7 of ‘The Walking Dead’

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Rick Grimes is in a position that he hasn’t been in for some time. He’s forced to live a somewhat fearful life, where any wrong move could be the death of his people. Despite his servant leadership efforts, doing what he needs to for the sake of those he cares for, his crew only sees weaknesses.

Showrunner Scott Gimple believes that some can see Rick is making the right moves. “The way [the season premiere] was structured, I really wanted to ensure that the audience was with Rick throughout that whole story, that the audience is looking through his eyes, or POV, that the audience went through the trauma that Rick did, which was an incredibly painful and horrific, and just utterly traumatic, experience.”

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Understanding Rick’s Point of View on The Walking Dead

In addition, The Walking Dead showrunner added, “I wanted the audience to feel more so that they would understand why Rick was going about things the way he is. I think the audience is sympathizing a bit with Rick’s predicament and how he’s going about it. I don’t think anybody, after the events of [the season premiere], goes, “Oh man, you should take [Negan] on right now. You should bash him over the head.”

With Negan in control this season, things can go horribly wrong at any minute. He’s got a short fuse, a fuzzy set of rules, and he enjoys doing these evil deeds. That, combined with his army of Saviors should be frightening to all.

“[Rick’s gang has] seen how quickly things can go horribly wrong and how difficult it was to lose the people they lost,” comments Gimple. “None of those other characters went through the experience the way Rick and the audience did, whether it’s Michonne or Carl or Rosita, these people didn’t take the journey that we did with Rick. They can’t think the same way that Rick did — having the ax in his hand, and it really did seem he was going to have to cut off his son’s arm.”

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Rick as a Leader on The Walking Dead

Rick’s newfound submissive nature is needed at the moment, on The Walking Dead. Others are making mistakes, such as Carl hiding in the back of Negan’s truck, and Rick being the one holding everything together — at least until he can figure something out. Rick doesn’t want anyone who to get hurt so he’s waiting and thinking, until he can figure out what the next move should be. He’s working a strategy.

As Gimple said, “This is a pragmatic choice that Rick has to make. It’s something that doesn’t make him look heroic, unless you’re going to look at it in a nuanced way. But taking those kinds of hits, doing the right thing even though it might not look that great for you, that really is leadership. I don’t think he’s incredibly proud of the position that he’s in, but I think he knows his number one job is keeping people alive. Right now he feels the way to do that is to accept the situation he’s in.”

Do you think Rick’s strategy will work? When will he make a surprise move?

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