(WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Episode 10 of The Walking Dead Season 7 — you've been warned!)
#AndrewLincoln was right. In a past interview with Digital Spy, he said fans of #TheWalkingDead will be happier with Team Rick in the second half of Season 7, after villain Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his Savior ruffians took center-stage in almost the entire first half. Well, after two episodes since the popular zombie series returned after a break, the old #RickGrimes we know and love is definitely back!
"Rise up!" was the battle cry for Season 7b, and in the latest episode, "New Best Friends" — and even in last week's mid-season premiere — the esteemed leader of Alexandria has certainly rose up to the occasion. This is a real relief considering that this writer placed Rick Grimes last in a post in which key TWD characters were ranked from best to worst after the mid-season finale.
Here are five reasons to love Rick Grimes all over again on TWD (in no order of merit).
1. Willingness To Make Friends
There was a time when one felt that Rick Grimes is all alone in the mess that he created for attacking Negan's men without reason (or, to a certain extent, alienating Alexandria's original residents). Now, however, he's doing his best to make things right. From the Hilltop to the Kingdom and now The Heapsters (or The Scavengers, depending on which TWD school of thought you follow), Rick is willing to bend over backwards to win over strangers who can be his allies in the fight against Negan. Will Jadis (an original character, played by Pollyanna McIntosh) be Rick's new BFF? Only time will tell, but at least a less-skeptical Rick now has a new focus in his life.
2. No Walker Hard Enough
We thought nothing could beat the spectacular walker-slaying scene in the mid-season premiere where Rick and Michonne slashed more than 300+ walkers with just two cars and one long rope. In "New Best Friends," Rick's Gladiator moment with a vicious walker impaled by spikes is certainly the episode's most thrilling bit.
Somehow, we know Rick will make it through. Although, he did need some help from Michonne, who told him to defend himself using various pieces of garbage around him. Jadis and her merry Heapsters were mightily impressed. So were we.
3. Father Gabriel Has His Back (And Vice Versa)
The fact that Rick trusts Father Gabriel made the other team members raise their eyebrows. Had he not gone looking for the formerly cowardly pastor after he disappeared, Rick would never have met the Heapsters. Gabriel didn't let Rick down either, pulling a surprise when he held one of the Heapsters* at knife-point while shouting out Rick's strengths to Jadis ("Rick can do anything!"). Rick later explained to Gabriel on why he was glad to see Jadis and her faction because "someone showed me that enemies can become friends." Awww. (*Confirmed on The Talking Dead as Tamiel, the boot-wearing woman who walked into Alexandria and later took Gabriel hostage.)
4. Cat Artpiece For Michonne
What a sweet gesture from Rick! I was glad I was not the only one to notice all the rather impressive art-pieces made out from garbage around the Heapsters' arena. "Because we won" was Rick's reason for picking up the cat artpiece made of wires and handing it to Michonne. Longtime fans will remember that way back in Season 3, Michonne took a colorful cat statue from a cafe that she and Carl were raiding because "it was too damn gorgeous," only to have to leave it behind at the prison when The Governor and his troops attacked. Definitely one of the cutest and sweetest moments on the series.
5. He's Smiling Again
We haven't seen Rick this happy in a very long time, arguably not since that silly episode where he and Daryl went gallivanting in their truck and met Jesus from Hilltop for the first time. Rick broke into a huge smile (albeit rather deliriously) when he and the others were first surrounded by the Heapsters. And after Jadis agreed to join his fight after he brings guns for her gang, he was absolutely beaming as he strutted out — complete with blood dripping from his hand and thigh — and told his team, "We have a deal!" Let's hope Rick continues to be this happy for many episodes to come.
Episode 11 of The Walking Dead airs Sunday 26 February on AMC.
Will Jadis become Rick's ally or another formidable enemy?
(Sources: thisisinsider.com, independent.co.uk)