It’s time to remember the stuff and things Rick Grimes has done on The Walking Dead, and the different Ricks we’ve seen over 9 seasons.
After 9 seasons of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes has been through hell and back. His journey led him down very different paths, giving us Ricks with many different beliefs and ethics. Admittedly some versions of Rick Grimes were better than others, but without the bad or annoying, we never would have had the badass. Although the character’s story will continue to be told in spinoff movies, his time on the core TV series is over. Here are the five most unforgettable Rick Grimes we’ve had over eight years:
Also known as diplomatic Rick, this is the Grimes that began and ends Rick’s time on The Walking Dead. Over the 9 seasons, Rick hasn’t always been of stable mind, but when he literally or metaphorically donned his sheriff hat, we got the most balanced leader.
This Rick isn’t impulsive, and makes fair judgement calls. Like any good leader, he listens to those he trusts before making a final decision. He also isn’t afraid of making the tough call, whether that’s banishing a friend, killing a threat, or even giving an enemy a second chance. This is the Rick we fell in love with, it’s bittersweet for it to also be our final Rick.
Having tried his best throughout seasons 1 and 2 to make the right decisions for the future of the group, Rick’s leadership came into question. At the end of season 2, the group lost the farm and Rick revealed he killed his best friend, Shane. His leadership thusly came into question, and Rick wasn’t having any of it. Democratic Rick made way for the Ricktator, marking the beginning of Rick’s new tough love leadership style. This is also where Rick gave his iconic speech:
Maybe you people are better off without me… Go on, there’s the door. You can do better? Let’s see how far you get. No takers? Fine. But get one thing straight, you’re staying. This isn’t a democracy anymore.
The beginning of season 4 saw Rick Grimes do a complete 180, changing from his Ricktatorship ways to a peaceful farmer who doesn’t get involved in serious business. Rick went through the ringer in season 3. He had to amputate Hershel’s leg, his wife died giving birth to their daughter, and the Governor led an (unsuccessful) invasion on the prison he called home. After the Governor went into hiding, Rick had had enough Ricktator-ing and decided to replace his gun with a spade. Farmer Rick may not be anyone’s favorite Rick, but it’s unforgettable and inspired endless jokes and memes.
Continuing his midlife crisis, Rick yet again completely changed gears. Farmer Rick got buried with the pigs to allow badass cannibal Rick to rise. Halfway through season 4, the Governor returned and forced Rick out of the garden and into a war zone. Following the Governor’s death, Rick’s story is subdued again, that is, until the Claimers appear.
The Claimers may be one of the more forgettable villains on The Walking Dead, but their antagonism led to one of the most memorable moments of the show. Threatening to hurt Carl, Rick went full walker and tore a chunk of Joe’s throat out. This same episode also featured one of Rick’s most iconic lines from the comic that (kind of) made it onto the show, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”
The best Rick Grimes doesn’t wear any hats literally or figuratively, he doesn’t swing any weapons or pass any sentences. The best Rick Grimes is just Rick Grimes: a dad, husband, and friend. Though happy, laid back moments are few and far between on The Walking Dead, when they do happen they’re that much sweeter.
Rick’s bonding moments with characters like Carol, Daryl, Hershel, or Glenn added a humanity to our fearless leader. Not to mention how heartwarming it was to see Rick and Michonne fall in love, and watch them parent Judith in season 9. Of course we mustn’t forget Rick’s love for Carl, the relationship that propelled The Walking Dead until Carl’s death in season 7.
Whether having a heart to heart or being ruthlessly protective (see cannibal Rick above), dad-Rick has always been the best Rick. As difficult as it is to say goodbye to the man who’s led us for 9 years, the show wouldn’t be the same to see him continue without the rock that gave him a reason to live in the first place.