Spoilers for The Walking Dead show and comics follow.
If you were asked to name something on #TheWalkingDead that was used as a symbol of power and authority, what would be the first thing that came to your mind?
Dirt? Wrong post-apocalyptic movie. Money? Not so much any more. Guns? Now you're talking!
One thing you might not think of right away: Beards.
The Walking Dead has never been shy about giving the Bible some major shout-outs. From zombie-related verses on walls of abandoned churches, to #RickGrimes being painted as a savior and an actual group of survivors called the Saviors, biblical references have been everywhere.
One reference you may not have noticed, especially recently, is the interpretation of the story of the mighty Samson. In the Bible, he was the guy who kicked major ass when he had long flowing locks, but a complete dud without them.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? In the world of The Walking Dead beards = power. Don't believe me? Let's see.
Bearded Rick Grimes
Some of Rick's accomplishments while he was sporting his face blanket include but are most certainly not limited to:
Ripping Joe's Throat Out
Freaking An Entire Community Out With One Word
Not Becoming Gareth's Meal
Long story short? Rick has been growing that chin curtain of his pretty much since Season 1, and it has been EPIC at times. And in those times, he was one bad ass walker killer. But, along came a blonde hairdresser...
Baby-Faced Rick Grimes
And off came the beard. He still had his crazy moments, of course.
Whole Town Freak-Out Number One
But you can't confuse crazy for badass. The Rick we knew, The Terminus Terminator, The Claimer Slayer...in his suburban life, he started getting tame and, dare I say it, domesticated. He finally had a lady in his life. Partly because he executed her husband, but still. He and his group were safe and sound in a community with walls, water, electricity, and Carol's cookies.
He was losing his viciousness and getting comfortable, but he was about to meet a bearded man with a pet bat who would strip away what little authority he had left. A bearded man Rick thought he could easily kill in a bunker, in the dead of night...
Read more about Rick getting something stripped:
- Rick's Fate Has Been Decided: The Walking Dead's Showrunner Finally Reveals Their "Hand"...
- Wait, Rick Grimes Himself Voted to Have His Hand Cut Off?!
- Not Today, Negan! A Tribute To Rick's Badass Right Hand On 'The Walking Dead'
Negan from the comics doesn't have a beard when he introduces himself to Rick & Co., but due to filming The Good Wife, #JeffreyDeanMorgan needed to keep his muzzle-lashings (you the man, Herman Melville). That all changed in the Season 7 mid-season finale, 'Hearts Still Beating' when he shaved that shit. But what did he accomplish while he had his beard, up until now?
Call Him Iron Man
Strange Way To Introduce Yourself
The tides started turning at the end of the mid-season finale, and with a freshly shaved Negan, we also got a revitalized Rick Grimes and his revitalized beard.
If the show follows the comics, and it most likely will, with the All Out War storyline coming, beardless Negan will fall, just like Samson. Shaven Negan falls:
But while he's in jail, Negan grows a little (a lot of) stubble, and after a couple years in the cell, he escapes, and actually helps fight The Whisperers. Negan's rise:
Lucille is hardly the biblical Delilah, but with her, No-Hair Negan thinks he can ruthlessly rule everyone and everything forever. His rise, his fall, and his rising again all just so happen to coincide with The Beard.
What do you think? Does having a beard on The Walking Dead turn you into Samson? Like the theory or not, February is coming, and so is war!