'The Walking Dead': Why, Rick Grimes? Why?
Caution: spoilers ahead (and in the video above):
We're three episodes into "The Walking Dead" and already Rick Grimes is making the kind of maddeningly selfless decisions that, back when "Lost" was on the air, sometimes made us want to bonk Jack Shephard over the head with his backpack.
His behavior in last night's episode, "Tell It to the Frogs," made for a great conversation-starter. In fact, I'm sure that many AMC viewers are currently having in-depth discussions about race relations, man's responsibility to his fellow man and how uncool it is when zombies have the audacity to snack on deer that -- hello? -- a hillbilly hunter just killed not five minutes ago. That said, the way Grimes handled a key decision during last night's zombie-pocalypse hour also drove me a little mad.
For the rest of my rant regarding Grimes and his pesky, inconvenient conscience, continue reading. But do so knowing that, as noted above, there will be spoilers.
After making it his mission to find his wife and son and fending off an untold number of flesh-eaters -- including some who attempted to storm a military tank and others who apparently thought it was Black Friday at a certain downtown Atlanta department store -- Grimes finally, by sheer, unbelievable luck, found his wife Lori and son Carl.
Naturally, the reunion was emotional. Grimes tearily hugged his son. He made sweet love to his wife. Then the next morning, he did what any of us would do after many days of battling zombies, attempting to recuperate from a coma and pining to see his family again: he announced that he needs to go all the way back to Atlanta to save a racist he handcuffed to a roof. Oh, and also to find a bag he misplaced that contains an important walkie talkie.
I mean, really, Rick Grimes? Really? Did anyone else watch this plot development and hear that familiar phrase, "We have to go back," ringing in their ears?
I understand the nagging feeling one gets when one leaves a person on a rooftop in the middle of a city inhabited by slackjawed beings hungry for brains. We've all been there. But at least carve out a little more quality time with your son. Tucking him in for one crummy night isn't quite enough.
Granted, Lori pretty much gave her permission for this return journey. She knows her husband and knows he won't be able to let go of his guilt -- again, so Jack Shephard -- so she made the decision easy for him. But shouldn't he insist on staying? Doesn't Rick realize how insanely fortunate he was to find his way back to his loved ones? Most people take far longer than three episodes to make that kind of progress. Why does he think the zombie-slaying gods -- who are the most awesome kind of gods, by the way -- will smile on him again?
Since "The Walking Dead" has already been renewed for a second season, it's fair to assume Rick will survive the next round of "Fight the Zombies or, If Necessary, Spread Guts All Over Yourself." (And before you go off on one of those understandable, "Well, if you read the comic you would know that..." tirades, please allow me to note that I am not assuming the TV show will precisely replicate the source material's storylines.) But that doesn't mean it makes sense to take the risk. I mean, Rick doesn't realize he's living in a work of televised fiction in which it's highly unlikely he will face death anytime soon.
I suppose I should start accepting that our deputy sheriff is the kind of guy who's probably going to do this a lot: miraculously survive one situation, then immediately put himself in harm's way again to help others. Which is admirable, but may be ill-advised when the key individuals receiving the help have names like Merle and Daryl and, in Daryl's case, will not hesitate to throw a pile of dead squirrels at you.
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